For some reason I found it really hard to get to grips with a plan for the balcony. Perhaps because it's a space that at the moment we really don't use (since it overlooks the road, although it also overlooks the river, and which I'm aware has no nearby water source.*
I've already done a survey, a sector/zone analysis, and some research on north-facing plants** but I'm still not feeling hugely inspired. However... planting season is coming up, and I'd like to put something out there.
As a result, I've constructed an interim plan, with nothing permanent and no huge time, money, or effort investment at this point. It's a fairly small space, long and narrow. The plan looks like this:
- A couple of pots (at least 9" deep) of peas at each end, against the fence dividing our balcony from next door on each side. I'm not sure how well these will do, as it may be a bit too shady, but I have loads of pea seeds so may as well give it a go.
- A collection of pots/troughs/containers along the railing, with a mix of salad greens (rocket and lettuce), nasturtiums, marigolds, alpine strawberries, violets, plumbago, and pansies (the pansies are already there). Perhaps also some poppies as I have some seeds from last year.
- A big pot of mint (transplants from the back garden).
- Chuck in a few seed bombs -- I have some from EAT 2011 and some from a Christmas present exchange.
I'm considering mini kiwis for next year, but I'll see how this year goes first. I don't want anything too tall or too vigorous to grow along the railing as it would get in the way of the view of the river from the sofa.
This is my task list, then:
Move all the big pots up to the balcony.
- Fill all the containers with compost.
- Throw in my existing seeds (rocket, lettuce, nasturtiums, marigolds, poppies, seed bombs).
- Order some violets (plants here; apparently it's the wrong time of year for seeds), plumbago (blue or white), and alpine strawberries (plants or seeds).
- Transplant some mint into a big pot, possibly amidst some of the seed mix.
I'll update once everything's planted...
* There's a drainpipe at one side, which I could put a diverter into for a small water-butt, but I think I'd need to talk to the neighbours on that side about it, and we never really see them.
** It turns out that I already wrote a version of this up last summer, which goes to show what's happened to my memory of late.