Six Weeks On: How's That Londonist Garden Growing?

Lindsey
By Lindsey Last edited 81 months ago
Six Weeks On: How's That Londonist Garden Growing?
A riot of tomato plants
A riot of tomato plants
Spinach is plucky
Spinach is plucky
Baby tomatoes hanging in mid air
Baby tomatoes hanging in mid air
A view of the garden taken late July
A view of the garden taken late July
Runner beans in late July (now eaten)
Runner beans in late July (now eaten)
Rainwater, drainpipe, watering can, garden
Rainwater, drainpipe, watering can, garden

How does our garden grow? Rampantly, is the answer, bar a few sad losses. We've learnt useful things about balcony gardening over the last six weeks. Here they are:

1. Planting up a balcony is immensely satisfying, especially the first time you survey your new patch, with all its baby plants newly sat in their organic, peat free compost.

2. Lettuce and other of its ilk grows really quickly and produced tasty leaves that you can pluck off and stick in a sandwich in no time.

3. However, if you surround them with tomato and runner bean plants, they will soon get swamped with looming greenery that blocks out the sun. Then, only rocket which can grow vertical (but which then doesn't produce great leaves) and salad that's sitting on the edges will survive. Don't overcrowd your planters. Lesson learned.

4. Also, watch out for your tomato plants getting too boisterous and leafy. If the plant's concentrating on growing leaves, it's not going to grow brilliant fruit too. We now know why you should 'pinch out' your plants. And if you miss the buggers sprouting, get a bit ruthless with un-flowery branches - rip some out to make the plants focus on flower and fruit and allow the sun through to lower branches.

5. Plant it and they will come. Lavender really is loved by bees and we had a butterfly on the balcony the other day. The culprit that's eating holes in the runner bean leaves has yet to be identified but slugs have yet to make it up to the third floor.

6. Thyme, sage and chives thrive in a herb pot. Remind your colleagues to pick it and put it in their dinner. Spinach is also a fighter.

7. Runner beans provide early wins. Our plants are still small but we've already had 10 beans off them. Lightly steamed, they tasted delicious. First harvest is a privilege reserved for the prime gardener. We can't wait for those toms to turn red.

8. Stick your watering can under the drainpipe and catch rainwater to make yourself feel like you're part of a virtuous circle of life even three floors up in Shoreditch.

Got any more urban gardening tips? Share them in the comments. Plus, email us pictures of your growing gardens to hello@londonist.com.

Last Updated 17 August 2011