Category Archives: Balcony Larder

Balcony Larder: Salad success, a fruiting triffid & strawberries from Wimbledon to the Olympics

I’ve had only one resounding success in this summer of dire weather. And that’s in the production of salad leaves. Lots of ’em, several kinds including the very tasty, impossible-to-buy chervil. I reckon I’ve had over 25 platefuls of the it.

I went away for a couple of days, though, and the stuff bolted. No, don’t eat the flowers, I stupidly learnt the hard way they don’t do you any good at all — though, as you can see in the picture, nasturtiums can be part of a salad, they have a peppery taste.

On the advice of the GreedyGardener I brutally tore the bolting salads all up.  And my infant granddaughters and I got delightfully dirty in sowing some more.

Balcony Larder: Growing food teaches some hard facts of life

I’m delighted to report that pay-back time has begun. I’m eating stuff I’ve grown! There’s something cool about popping out on to the balcony with a pair of scissors and snipping my own salad for lunch.

So far I’ve chomped my way through about £3-worth of lettuce. I’m hardly on the road to self-sufficiency — woman cannot live by leaves alone. I’m pleased, though, even slightly smug about it all.

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Balcony Larder: A stonking great aubergine plant

I’m told that aubergines can grow like weeds in hot, dry places, though Wikipedia describes them as a “delicate perennial“. There’s one of their kind doing pretty well in my kitchen, as you can see. Decidedly  indelicate, robust even.

Given to me as a titchy little thing by @policyworks at the end of April, I plonked it in front of the window that catches the morning sunshine, and gave it a desultory water from time to time. Then these surprisingly enormous leaves started to happen.

The excitement of new liff

I hadn’t quite bargained for the shiver of excitement when I saw the seedlings first stick their noses up over the compost.

And, like seeing my very newborn son many moons ago, I mistook my thrill response for aesthetic appreciation.

Just as I mistook a purple wizened ET-like babe as an utterly beautiful Meaning of Life, so I mistook the sight of spindly kale as a Meaning of Life too.

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Balcony Larder: Winterbourne ups the ante

Oh dear.

I’ve already got the Greedy Gardener as a guilt-tripping personal trainer on this malarkey. And now the Winterbourne people are joining in.

They’re going to be carrying out a parallel experiment. That really ups the ante.

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Balcony Larder: What I’ve bought

The photo shows everything but the compost on my to-buy list from the Greedy Gardener — plus a couple of items chosen off my own bat too (marked with an * on the list below).

Starting at the bottom left-hand side of the photo and working round from there, here you can see what I’ve bought:

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Balcony Larder: The start

Over the next few months, I will be converting my west-south-west-facing balcony space (150cm x 480cm, see left) into a living larder.

As I’m fairly clueless about what to do, the Greedy Gardener is advising me.

I’ll be keeping a running total of expenditure set against what I save in food bills.

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