Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Almost everything is up now!

The regular peas are the last to poke their heads through but they finally have and the lettuce, radish, snap pea and spinach are all up. Just had a storm blow through with VERY gusty winds. Luckily, none of the raised containers toppled in the wind. All of them were well watered by the storm as the winds were blowing sideways and directly into the balcony. Nothing better than rainwater for plants : )

Today it's 20ºC out with showers. I think we can finally look forward to some good growing weather. I will be looking into what to plant next.

Two days ago I put out my flowers even though it was very windy and the temps weren't great. I found that the flowers really didn't like the warmth of the apartment since they were already hardened off. So as soon as the danger of frost passed, I put them out AND they are doing much better. Will transplant them into an appropriate container as soon as things dry up! Forecast: more showers for the next few days. Argh!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

FINALLY we have peas coming up!

Well the weather has been cold since I planted back on the 9th of April I believe. Today was the first really nice day we had (19ºC) and windy with partly sunny conditions. By 4:45 I went out to check on the containers and lo and behold, I saw three nubs of pea shoots coming up! I watered them with left over kale steaming water and the rest with regular water that was sitting outside against the wall so it warmed up a bit before I watered the rest of the containers.

So we'll see if anything else shows tomorrow but the winners, the first on the scene are the regular peas. They are organic and from Saskatchewan from an organic grower in the area close to Saskatoon.

I'll post if anything comes through tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

STILL cold, raining, snowing and lightening?!

Last night it was 4 above overnight, raining and lightening. Being up on the 19th floor gives on a good perspective of the storm. I find these so weird. I have also seen it lightening during a snowstorm here in Toronto.

NOTHING is sprouting in those containers I planted between 7 and 11 days ago. This spring has obviously been just too cold and there has been barely any sun. Grey, misty, snowy, rainy. That is what almost everyday has been. The temps have been well below normal. Supposedly that should turn this week. We'll see. The weather network lies. *laughing*

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's April 17 and it's SNOWING.

These are below seasonal temps for southern Ontario. Not just little light flakes but swaths of white sheets blowing in horizontally. It's one above.

I checked to see if any lettuce, peas, spinach have come up and nope, nothing. It's just too cold I guess. Will keep you posted.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pansies, Ranunculus for the first balcony flower container of the year

Yesterday I picked up a few flowers for my first floral balcony container of the year. I picked up these pansies from Davenport floral center on Dupont and Davenport here in Toronto. Their prices are pretty good and the service is awesome! Carla there is always so helpful and a great gal to boot!

I noticed on my way back that Forest Hill Loblaws had some pansies out that looked suspiciously like the ones I had just bought at Davenport. They were about a buck cheaper per 4 pack. Oh well. 
My pansies smell sweet and their color is absolutely beautiful.

 Here is another plant I picked up at Davenport but I don't know what kind it is as there is not tag and I am such a novice. I will have to find that out and post it when I do.

And here is my beauty, one of my favourite flowers, ranunculus! I think they are more beautiful than roses and they are indeed a spring flower. I wish they flowered throughout the year, but they don't. They did great on my balcony last year, so I am hoping they will do so again this year. 

She is a beautiful golden yellow orange!

And the cat looks on, sleepy after her first meal and having a good go on the cat grass I bought for her yesterday. It's actually oat grass (which I didn't know) and I will be looking for some seed so I can plant her several feeds of it through the summer. That and catnip! Hope I can find some organic seed and plants as that is so much better!

It's only 6 above today and temps are going down to -2 tonight (according to the weather network) so I won't be planting the container today. I just don't want to risk losing the plants. So I will wait till the temps go up a bit (with no overnight lows below 0) and then harden them off before I do. They're just too pretty to lose.
Here is the Environment Canada weather report for today in Toronto - they don't predict minus temps over night. 
However, I am still going to hold off till Sunday to plant and also leave the container overnight outside.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A good time to plant lettuce, spinach and peas!

Back on April 9th I planted three long basket containers (about a foot and a half to two feet long, 8 to 10 inches wide and about 8 inches deep) with a variety of leaf lettuce, snap and regular peas and spinach. Supposedly you can plant these vegetable varieties this time of year as they are cool loving plants and the cooler temps won't hurt them.

The above photo gives you some idea of the view and the balcony I work in. The long baskets and containers that are planted with peas, lettuce, spinach and radish are all lined up against the apartment outside wall on the left of the photo. I have wooden units (two old dresser drawers turned on their side so that I put the planters on top) and a large wooden, I thin it was an entertainment unit of some kind, that I put the basket containers on  to maximize their exposure to sunlight. Supposedly you need 6 hrs of sunlight a day so I am hoping to improve the odds of gardening success!

Today is the 14th and I do not see any growth as of yet. However my chives that are from last year and the year before are all coming up. Notice the little smidge of green in the lower left hand of the photo.
Here is another group of chives that I have in a hanging basket attached to the guard rail of the balcony. It seems to overwintered very well and it is also an organic plant. It is doing very well! On the guard rail it gets the most light out of any of the other places on the balcony. It seems to be able to handle the wicked winds that blow up here. So chives are VERY hardy and do quite well on a balcony!

That's it for now. I'll keep you posted!

Planting Radishes in a balcony container.

This is the first post on my Toronto balcony gardening blog. Today is April 14th and I just planted some radish seed in a long planter basket. The sun is shining on the balcony now which is west facing. I read in my travels that in order to have some success in balcony gardening you should have a south or west facing balcony. This is the third season I will be attempting to grow food on my balcony.

I will post my successes and failures in hopes that it will help you with your balcony container gardening if you live either in an apartment or condo. I am on the 19th floor and things get pretty windy so we'll see how this year goes!

It doesn't look like much, but here are the containers planted. Lettuce close to the wall and radishes in front of it.

This is a great little bit of information on growing radishes