Thursday, 14 May 2009

Day 45 Balcony Update – Lettuce Begin!

45 days ago, the world was a much more innocent place. The bubonic bacon bandwagon known as swine flu or ‘H1N1’ had yet to rear its ugly head (sniff), MPs were still nonchalantly claiming expenses for troublesome toilet seats and Peter Andre and Katie Price were still manacled together in marital bliss (at least when Max Clifford was in sight). A lot has happened in 45 days, however the event that eclipses all of these snippets of news is the astounding progress of the London Vegetable Garden.

Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve been determined to grow my own organic vegetables from the confines of a dreary London balcony and the resulting crusade has gone further than I ever expected – from mentions in Times gardening blogs and enquiries from London newspaper journalists, this project has grown quicker than my runner beans!

But enough chat – if you want pretentious piffle, my Modern Musings blog is the place to go. Here, I’m checking in with you, my faithful readers, and reporting the current produce progress happening outside the windows of my London flat.

As you can see from the new photos, the most impressive result so far is the rocket. After only 6 weeks, this looks like something you could actually eat! I’m waiting for it to get a bit longer before harvesting it, but it’s doing extremely well in its hanging balcony box – and getting a lot of sun every day.

The radishes look equally impressive, although I pulled a plant out to examine progress the other night and the stalk is simply attached to a root system – I have no idea when the actual radishes start forming, so anyone who can enlighten me, please leave a comment!

The tomato plants are looking sturdier by the day. This weekend, I plan to gamble with leaving a few outside. If that goes successfully, I hope to transfer the tomato plants into a grow bag for their final growing positions – they seem big enough already but once again, any advice from any experienced gardeners is hugely appreciated!

On a final note (and at the cost of sounding like a vegan hippy), I’m really beginning to connect with my plants. The tomato plants are filling the flat with an extremely vivid smell that evokes childhood memories of greenhouses and the progress the whole garden has made over 6 weeks is a visible reminder of the care and effort I’ve been putting in. All gardeners say how satisfying it is to grow your own, and with progress like this, it’s not hard to see why.

On your own personalised calendars you can track your gardening tasks and growth of plants along with your everyday appointments and holidays. You won't forget the last time you watered the tomatoes - or your mother's birthday!

For regular news and updates on the London Vegetable Garden, please subscribe to an RSS feed, follow the blog or join me on Twitter: @londonveggarden.


  1. Just read your entire blog, its very good and humorous too. When I lived in Thornton Heath I lived in flat with a balcony which was in full sun most of the day and about twice as wide as yours. Like you I crammed it full of veges and flowers, even sweet corn :)

    I'm lucky that now I have a garden to let loose in which I also blog about.

    You sound like you are having lots of fun, I'll check back often.

  2. Hi Kella,

    Thanks for the kind comments - always appreciated!

    Pleased to hear that someone else has had a successful bash at growing vegetables on a London balcony - the inclusion of sweetcorn makes for very impressive reading - my eyebrows are suitably raised in reverance as I write!

    The London Vegetable Garden balcony does get a LOT of sunshine; however it's within 10m of a very busy railway line (pollution?) and also extremely susceptible to wind, so we'll see what we end up with in a few months!

    Happy urban gardening,


  3. Yes the wind ca be a bit challenging, I think when I was balcony gardening I was lucky as that wasn't too much of an issue.

    The sweet corn was interesting, I did them in a half of barrel full of top grade potting compost mixed with some bagged manure, I think (its been a while) there were seven plants 6 around the edge and one in the center. I didn't feed them (because I did add a lot of manure) but kept them well watered. to reduce evaporation of moisture from the soil I under planted them with nasturtiums which leaves and flowers also doubled as another ingredients for salads and sandwiches.

    I like you don't drive but when I have to lug heavy items home on public transport I use my trusty Pack n Roll cart/s I got them a lot cheaper when I went to garden shows but if you search the internet I'm sure you could bag a bargain :) They come in two sizes and I always go for the bigger of the two which quite efficiently hold a 80L bag of compost.

    Anyway I look foward to yor next installment, happy gardening.

  4. So glad I've found this blog! I too have a London balcony and after years of having it stagnate with empty paint pots and broken bits of wood I've decided to grow stuff too. I've got some salad leaves and rocket too!

  5. How big's the windowsill - could you fit something like this on? - We guarantee success too....and love to talk...

  6. Enjoying your pictures Grumblemouse - I have to say, a balcony filled with living, breathing pots is infinitely more attractive and makes a world of difference - let me know how you get on!

    Thanks for the link GardeningAngels - looks like a lovely bit of kit, however my money is all used up on grow bags and pots at the moment!

  7. Amazing Altaner

    Tak til deling!



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