Thursday, 31 December 2009

Review of 2009 part i: The Project

Quite simply, what an incredible year it's been.

It was in fact, only nine months ago that I started the London Vegetable Garden project, although back in April, the 'project' was simply a few seeds and a few scribbles on a brand new blog. As 2009 draws to a close, I've taken time to reflect upon everything that has happened along the way, all of which has accompanied a budding passion for gardening.

The 'Project'

The original aim of the London Vegetable Garden was to see just what I could (and couldn't!) grow on my small London balcony. Looking back, I'm actually staggered by the range of things I have managed to keep alive and cultivate! Admittedly, the only way I would have been self-sufficient on my produce is if I'd have been a caterpillar, but nevertheless, the diversity has been surprising and enjoyable too.

I successfully managed to grow:

Rocket / Lettuce

Perhaps one of the easiest things for urban gardeners to attempt, these grow well in sunlight and spring up in only a few weeks. Definitely the easiest thing to have a go with, it's also fantastic to go outside and pick fresh leaves for your salad, rather than messing about with a mushy bag of old salad from the supermarket.


Through trial and error, I've determined that radishes like deep pots and a bit of space, so my yield of radishes didn't generate copious amounts of edible produce! Nevertheless, I did manage to grow two different varieties, both of which were delicious additions to salads!


Again, as with the radishes, the humble carrot was a vegetable that took a great deal of trial and error. In April's earthy enthusiasm, I sowed rather too liberally, resulting in the plants becoming too crowded. A revised pot containing a very sparse sowing of seeds yielded a far better result, although in 2010 I aim to provide these plants with deeper spaces to grow.

Runner Beans

One of the genuine surprises of the London Vegetable Garden, due to the vast space required by the plants, I managed to harvest a good crop of runner beans! These plants require plenty of space for solid root growth, so my bottomless pots on top of grow bags seemed to do the trick. They really were delicious to eat and one of the things I was most proud of.


These really were the jewel in the crown! I always thought that I was getting too enthusiastic about the gardening project and that these would prove too difficult to grow without a greenhouse. In a beautiful twist of irony, it turns out that not only were the tomato plants the most successful vegetables (although technically a fruit!) on my balcony, but also the most enjoyable to grow. I felt a real affinity with these beautiful plants, watching them grow from delicate saplings to hardy stalked plants. These yielded tonnes of fruit and lasted throughout the summer. I really have a passion for growing tomatoes and want to attempt different varieties in 2010!

And those not so successful...

I've always endeavoured to be authentic on the London Vegetable Garden. True, it's fantastic when you are able to photograph produce grown from the confines of a tiny urban space, but I've always remained adamant that authenticity is at the forefront of the project.

Well, in light of this, it's only natural that I've had some failures along the way! Vegetables such as beetroot and butternut squash have both been valiant attempts, but failed to join the ranks of success. One of the major factors to consider when planting in pots is the lack of depth. I think that planting in the ground affords vegetables plenty of room to grow down, so larger plants and root vegetables need special consideration for urban gardening.

Thank you to everyone who has read the blog, commented and been kind enough to provide tips, help and advice. I've enjoyed every second of the journey so far and hope that you'll join me once more in 2010!


  1. Happy New Year - really enjoyed this blog - thanks!

  2. I wanna do the same, must be so great just go to the balcony and get your fresh salad! Congrats on your garden mate!



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