Tag Archives: salad

growing food

My fingers are a bit raw from scrubbing to get the soil out from under my nails. I had forgotten how dirty gardening is. Or how good it feels to spend a few hours outside digging in the dirt. Time for an update on my balcony garden!
tomatoes. little home by hand blog.
The tomato seedlings are coming along well and are in the hardening off stage already.
blooming. little home by hand blog.
We (meaning person, animal and plant) have been soaking up every last bit of sunshine and warmth and the apple tree is gratefully pushing out blossoms. I take this as a very good sign that there will be more than one apple (last year’s harvest) this time.
balcony gardening. little home by hand blog.
balcony gardening. little home by hand blog.
The peas are poking their cute first leaves through the soil. Yes, I just called peas cute. Such a proud plant mama. I made them a trellis from some leftover pieces since I couldn’t find a suitable mesh but I’ll still need to hunt down some sticks in the woods to add to it.
balcony flowers. little home by hand blog.
balcony flowers. little home by hand blog.
A few early flowers are really brightening the space up while all the other plants and flowers are just getting started.
salad. little home by hand blog.
kale. little home by hand blog.
In addition to starting the tomatoes and peppers inside in my light box the more cold hardy crops have been doing well in a little foil greenhouse outside.
The salad boxes are overflowing and in dire need to be thinned out and the kale is ready to move into its own window box as well.
Hard to describe how satisfying it is to watch all these seedlings growing strong and big. A very primal feeling of content. We may be creatures of polished office work and smartphones by day but doing things by hand – be it growing food, or knitting, sewing, woodworking, building, you name it – is a need that runs deep.

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spring fever

Spring is here and as always, I am so excited to get out and grow things! We’ve had unnaturally warm and sunny weather in the past few weeks and the balcony is already coming alive – sorry US readers, I’m just telling it how it is. We had the never ending winter last year!
spring balcony gardening. little home by hand blog
spring balcony gardening. little home by hand blog
My seed order has arrived and I’ve started most of them. This year I will be growing tomatoes (a personal variety from a friend of a friend’s garden in Spain), peppers, lots of salads, sugar snap peas, spinach and kale. That’s the plan anyway. The hardy herbs, mints and strawberries are waking up from their winter sleep too.
spring balcony gardening. little home by hand blog
spring balcony gardening. little home by hand blog
New on the list this year are flowers, I will be trying violets, nasturtiums and snapdragons to brighten up our little space. The calendula seeds I mixed in here and there last year have survived the winter and this little guy was the first splash of color to surprise us a week ago.
spring balcony gardening. little home by hand blog
To start seeds I have three ‘classes’ of plants: Some are started indoors and kept inside until the end of May. These are the delicate tomatoes and peppers as well as some flowers. I have set up my DIY light box again, which has served me very well in past years.
There’s also a little poly greenhouse on the balcony (just a shelf with foil cover) which acts as a cold frame where I grow the salads, kale and some flowers. Others such as the peas and spinach can be started our in the open directly.
spring balcony gardening. little home by hand blog
spring balcony gardening. little home by hand blog
There’ll be updates on this little balcony garden frequently throughout the growing season.
What are you growing this year?

gardening 2011 – part 6

Time for another balcony garden update! We are in the midst of a tomato rush.
We picked all these for sunday night dinner and made a nice easy tomato sauce to go with spaghetti. We even had some left for the freezer.

We sowed and planted four types of heirloom tomatoes: the small red ones, tigerella, green zebra and a yellow type. As you can see, the tiny sweet red ones and the tigerellas have been most productive so for next year I’ll probably be replacing the other two with new types to try. The yellow ones especially haven’t done great and are very soft.

The leaves of the tomato plants are starting to yellow and shrivel and after letting the last of the fruit ripen the plants will be ripped out.
The zucchini plant is on its last leg as is the cucumber. We had three big cucumbers from it though and still need to eat these two biggies.

Apart from these there are still plants just getting started as we head into fall early this year (my, it gets dark early here with all this rainy and cloudy weather). The peppers are growing nicely, some plants only just flowering, some already laden with small peppers.
The herbs are still doing nicely and we have a first baby melon!

I tried brussels sprouts from seed because I like them so much. I read they are hard to grow but so far mine are doing great and I only regret not having two or three pots of these instead of just one.

There is also new lettuce to be had in a few weeks. Two trays of m√Ęche and arugula were eaten by slugs but the others are doing great.
So I’m excited to see the fall plants grow in the next few weeks.

random weekend shots

I post random weekend shots so often, I should make it a regular feature…
Beautiful sunrise (I’m a morning person, I get to see sunrises on weekends):

Spending some time at the barn, rescuing toads who have got lost on their way to the pond. They make the journey once a year to mate and then our lanes at the barn are full of toads. Later, when the baby toads have outgrown the pond, they will do the journey likewise, going back into the woods, in millions.

Harvesting the first fresh greens off my balcony. These are my salad thinnings, but they made for a whole bowl of delicious salad.

Still haven’t gotten around to doing the plaid scarf tutorial I promised. Time just flies between work, and sleep, and spending some time with the pony. Maybe this weekend. I hope.