Friday, June 07, 2013

My Veggie Garden

 Well, okay. Not exactly a garden. Just an experiment with some herbs and snap peas. I am fortunate that my tiny balcony gets sunlight from late morning onward. It is a covered balcony so I can sit outside and read year round. In fact, during high summer temps it gets rather too hot so I hang two panels of sheer fabric to protect my plants and myself from dehydration and burning.

Anyway, the snap peas are living in plastic salad and bulk candy containers and share space with geraniums and some herbs. I cut little flaps in each container about an inch (2cm) from the bottom for drainage and aeration, popped in some good quality soil and added 5 starter plants about 4 weeks ago.

Not wanting to block the view with a wood trellis or long dowels, and having two hooks in place already, I ran fishing line from the small trellis (see pics below) up to the hooks. Added another line between the two hooks and have added extra lines that hang down from the horizontal one. Works like a charm; the pea tendrils curl around the fishing line quite happily and I don't have to worry about any latent chemicals that might be impregnated in the wood.

As much as I love my balcony it does have drawbacks. Even though it faces south and manages to draw a lovely breeze from the water there still seems to not be enough air circulation to prevent thrips, aphids and other pests for making themselves at home in the soil and on the leaves. The result has been that after years of experiments I've pretty well had to settle for tough hardy plants like geraniums, aloe and wood sorrel that are resistant. So the peas really are an experiment. But YAY!!! There are pea pods! There are still thrips; those tiny little fly-things that live in the soil and fly out every time the plants get watered. But now they fly right onto the bright yellow bug strips and stick there. Muahaha.

The peas look kind of spindly but they are producing so I have stepped up the seaweed fertilizer schedule. The herbs are two kinds of rosemary, oregano, basil and thai basil, chives and cilantro. The blue paperback is King of the Vagabonds (Book 2 of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle). Brilliant and funny. Magazine is Wired. I hid the ashtray so you wouldn't know I smoked.

Sadly, by early August I had to admit defeat. The bugs destroyed the plants but I did manage to harvest some peapods. They were yummy, crunchy and sweet.

***I did read on-line about spraying plants with a very weak dishsoap/water solution. Haven't seen a bug since spraying the surviving herbs every second day for a week. I'll try growing peas again next spring. The bugs did not bother the hens and chicks, geraniums, aloe or wood sorrel.

Cheers :)

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