Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let There Be Light!

We finally got our lighting done for the balcony. We had a few delays due to rain and needing maintenance come to replace the rotting balcony railing. The lights we used can be found at Target: Frosted String Lights.  We used 3 strands to get the right look. What I really like about these lights is that there isn't a lot of extra cord between the plug and the 1st bulb. When the end of one strand is plugged into the next, you barely notice.

It took us a few tries to get them perfect, but love how they look. Each bulb also has a clip that makes it easy to install on the rain gutter. They just clip right in. It feels like a little outdoor cafe now. Now, we finally have enough light to entertain at night out on the balcony. 

You'll also notice that we decided to return the chairs and replace them with benches. The benches make it look like we have a little more room. Pin It

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lights Put on Hold

So, our lighting is being put on hold until further notice. The management is going to be replacing and repainting the balcony railings throughout the community over the next month.  Right now, my window boxes are off the railing and sitting on the bench next to the other container plants. Hopefully, they get to our balcony soon. I really want those light up so we can use the balcony at night too. 

I had thought that all the heavy rains may have drowned a lot of my vegetable seeds. But, most of them are starting to sprout. They just took their time germinating, I guess. My Worm Factory is also going strong. I added another 2000 worms last week and now, they're really going through the veggie scraps. I can't wait to start adding more trays and harvest that black gold.  Pin It

Monday, April 2, 2012

Regrowing Celery. It's That Easy!

This is really a neat trick I learned from Chickens In The Road. Did you know you could regrow celery from the cut end of a celery stalk? I sure didn't, but I had to try. 

It's quite simple, really. I've taken a few pictures of my progress so far. 

First, I cut off the celery end and soaked it in water over night. 

Then, it's out to the container garden on our balcony. I buried it under about 1 inch of soil. 

About 6 days later, it started to sprout! 

This is as far as it's gotten so far. I'll keep updating as it grows. I may just have to plant one every few weeks so we have a constant supply of fresh celery. 

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Did The Rain Drown My Seeds?

It's been over a week since I planted my veggie seeds in the windows boxes, and nothing has sprouted yet. The lettuces should have sprouted by now, as per the info on the package. I'm wondering if the heavy rains we had 2 days after I planted them, drowned the seeds. It has been cool at night also. I'm wondering if that might be affecting the seeds. I'll give it a few more days before I decide to replant. 

In the mean time, I purchased a packet of Hummingbird Haven seeds from Botanical Interests, and planted them in the last wind box. We have a few Hummingbirds here and want to attract them to the balcony. I'll try the flowers, and may purchase a Hummingbird feeder later on. 

I'm waiting on installing the lights until after I have maintenance come and repaint the balcony railing. I'm hoping to borrow a little paint so we can color match a pole that will be used for the lighting. We have rain possibly coming this weekend again, so the lights will have to wait about another week. Pin It

Saturday, March 24, 2012

As The Container Garden Grows.

We finally started seeing nice weather again, so I got outside and started setting up our container garden. We ran out to the local garden center and picked up a few terra cotta pots. I like the nice and simple look. None of those fancy patterns or shapes. 

I decided to plant the following in the 4 terra cotta pots:

  • Thai chili pepper
  • Poblano pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Green Onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery (experimenting with replanting cut end)

I also had a few plastic terra cotta window boxes I wanted to use for herbs and lettuces. 

In the 2 window boxes, I've started planting spinach, lettuce, and a few more green onions. I still have room in one of the window boxes, but want to see how much room the spinach takes up. 

One window box is left. I ran out of soil and not sure what else to plant. Maybe I'll fill it with flowers for the hummingbirds, since I can't think of another type of herb to plant. 

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Rainy And Cold Weekend

Well, this past weekend saw no progress on the balcony. While my home state of Michigan saw 80 degree weather in March, we saw tons of much needed rain and cool air. Sunday did finally clear up, but the rug is soaked and can't do much work outside until it dries. We did run out to the local Armstrong Garden Center and picked up a few terra cotta planters. An added bonus from the rain is that I don't have to pre soak the pots now. 
When it warms up this week, I'll start planting a few veggies and herbs. Some of the plants I have in mind are:

  • Poblano peppers
  • Lettuces
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Green onions
  • Carrots
I may even set larger planter on the ground and grow a few potatoes. I just have to remember to rotate the soil after harvesting potatoes, since they do not grow well in the same soil for about 3 years. At least that's what I've been told. 

Anyway, that's the latest update on the balcony. Hopefully we'll have some of the planting done and lights up later this week. 

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Container Garden Location

Before I work on the lighting, I am trying to decide where to set up my container garden. I've be keeping track of how the sun hits the balcony and Notice that the south railing gets the most sun. The problem I may have is trying to figure out how to make a shelf that's high enough so the plants get enough sun, and also looks nice. Check the photo below to see what side of the balcony I'm referring to.
Possible planter location. 
the other choice is the east wall. About 80% of the east wall gets sun. It also gets less sun that the south side. We have a large tree on the west side of the balcony that shades our bedroom wall during the evening. It also shades half the balcony. This location would be the easiest to set up since we already have a makeshift bench. What I'll probably end up doing is setting the larger plants on the east wall, and placing smaller planters on top of the south railing for herbs and other small plants.
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