My first attempts are container gardening on my balcony.

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Seedlings, seedlings, will you grow for me?

Spring is in the gardening stores! Seed packets and gardening tools are starting to hit the shelves. I have decided to try and grow my own little seedlings this year so I can save some money. Thankfully, I have learned from some of my gardening errors last summer. I was able to pick the seeds that would be most suitable to the horribly growing conditions on my balcony and the fruits and veg we will actually eat! I love to garden with my son, a preschooler. The other night we spent an hour or so filling our windowsill greenhouse with soil and seeds. He was quite excited to help! He was a little disappointed when he looked the day after and didn’t see any plants yet! I told him that we need to be patient. I hope that they actually grow, especially the strawberries. He loves strawberries!

Buddha in the herbs

I have an extensive herb collection this year, more than a few of which are mints. I bought a new stacking planter to save some floor space on my balcony. I was also able to find a home for my mini-Buddha statue on the top floor of the herb tower.

My buddha snuggled in between Provence Lavender, Chamomile, Sweet Woodruff, and Calendula.

The other herbs in the planter include Anise, Lemon Thyme, Lemon Verbena, Eucalyptus, and Spearmint (not all are picture here).

The herbs are doing well despite the heat. I can’t wait for the Lavender to bloom so I can harvest the flowers for tea!

A little too hot and a little too windy

Mother nature was not kind to my plants this week. High temperatures coupled with a few rather windy days has meant a few setbacks for my garden.

The tomato plant blew over, but at least the soil was so dry from the heat that nothing spilled out of the container.

My strawberries and lettuces were completely sucked dry of moisture. The lettuces are recovering, but the strawberries are having a harder time.

I rearranged the plants to try and protect them from the wind, which also freed up some space on my balcony. Does this mean it is time for more plants?

The good news is that my seedlings continue to do well, with the first hints of the spinach and bean plants emerging this week. The cucumbers and broccoli continue to grow, and small peppers have emerged on my pepper plant.

Not sure if this is the spinach or the beans!

Unfortunately, the blueberry’s soil continues to refuse to change pH. I am kind of lost as to what to do next with this one.

Blueberry, blueberry… how can I make your home more comfortable?

I am not, by any means, a master gardener. I don’t even think you can call me a novice gardener. I am very much winging this, to a certain extent, and trying to figure out this thing called gardening as I go.

This is the blueberry bush in question.

I read that blueberry plants grow well in containers, so I picked one up at Loblaws for $10. I thought I would give it a go.

I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Blueberry bushes, I discovered, like to live in acidic soil (a pH around 3-4 is their comfy blanket level). My soil is has a pH around 7.0.

Off I go to Peter Knippel Nursery in search of a pH tester and an acidifier. The staff were very helpful and knowledgeable. I went home with both and some more herbs.

I tested my pH to discover it was about 7.0 pH and then applied the acidifier and watered, per the directions on the container. I tested my pH level the next day and it is the same.

I guess comfy-blanket soil for blueberries is as easy to do as to quilt a blanket. I can’t quilt. I am going to wait a few days and re-test the soil. Hopefully the soil will become more acidic as the product breaks down.

First Plantings – May 24, 2011

These are some of my first plants. Left to right: Container tomatoes, Container peppers, three broccoli plants, a "salad bowl" planter, some flowers, some herbs, bee balm (monarda), and a blueberry bush. Also, a pot of plants I kept alive all summer last year and this winter.

These plants have found a home on my "balcony" of my container garden -- that is the top of the air conditioner. From left to right: Mojito mind, strawberry, and a mixed flower planter.

The window ledge is home to my other mints (chocolate mint, pineapple mint) as well as lemon balm (Melissa), pineapple sage, radishes, and down below is a hosta and a bush cucumber plant.