Balcony garden in April … last year and this year …

As I stumbled across the photos of our balcony taken a year ago early this morning, I realised how late I had started my balcony garden this year … no thanks to the draggy winter that we have had this year.

Last year, on April Fool’s Day …

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… the hubby was already busy cleaning the balcony table and chairs in order to set them up! And the weather was warm enough by then for him to be just in his t-shirt and short!

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I remember nagging him to quickly set up this table last year so that I could work on the table when doing some of my re-potting … and of course so that we could enjoy meals outside on the balcony.

And …

… my balcony garden was already taking shape by then with many of my plants and seedlings already enjoying the spring sunshine on the balcony.

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A contrast to this year April Fool’s Day … with most of my plants still taking cover inside the two greenhouse shelves (as do the balcony table and chairs under the plastic sheets) … and the seedlings are still finding shelter on the windowsills of our home!

After losing a number of seedlings as a result of having taken them out too soon (even for only a few hours on a sunny day), I have not dared to bring out any of them again … unless I am very, very sure that they can survive. Yup, if you read about my entry on Basking in the spring sunshine … I am sad to say that a number of those seedlings that I brought outside on that day have died — tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, peppers, etc. You cannot imagine what a painful lesson it was for me to lose some of them when they were growing well enough before I took them out … especially for those which I do not have any spare seeds to re-sow.

But I still have plenty more seeds to sow and for now, I am just hoping for continuous warm spring weather for me to do so outside. Unfortunately, there is a tiny possibility that there might be some light snowfall next week in Lausanne-Vennes … so I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping against hope that the weather man got it wrong!

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Anyway, with some sunny days and afternoons that we have had this week, I decided to try moving my garlic plants and peas outside … but keeping a close eye on them to make sure that they could take in the chilly spring weather.

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Still … before nightfall, I would bundle up my peas and broad bean plants with bubble sheets to protect them from the cold night temperature. I could try to leave the cover off at night … but after the ‘accident’ with the seedlings and especially since this year being my first time trying to grow peas, I decided to err on the side of caution lah! I would not want to lose these plants when they are growing well enough for now.

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Oregano and lavender too are no longer enjoying the warmth of the greenhouse and I have even sowed some radish under cover the day after planting out the potatoes. I would have liked to start sowing some carrots and beetroot, too … but my priority was to do some tidying and repotting of the plants which survived the winter.

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Two of the chards from last year which I decided to keep and re-pot into smaller pots so that I would be able to clean up the pots that they were in and to sieve through the potting mix for re-use this year. More of these Swiss chards are growing on the windowsill … but are still only small seedlings.

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And the mint plants, too, was re-potted two days ago into a new pot with recycled soil (or potting mix) added with some fresh compost and fertiliser. I was quite surprised to see many new growths underneath the soil when I started removing the plants from the old pot. Hopefully, I will get lots of fresh mints this summer to make into teas. 🙂

Late this afternoon as I was re-potting these chives into several smaller pots so that I can have more of them, the sky suddenly turned very grey and I could feel a slight chill in the air as if it was going to rain. As the méteo had forecast some rain today … I quickly hurried through the re-potting so that I could then work on covering my potatoes, peas and broad bean plants and closing the greenhouse shelves before the rain start. But after I had tidied up good and even prepared empty containers to catch the rainfall, the sun came out again! Arggggh … naughty, naughty!!

Not as much as I would have liked to get done this week … but it is a start. And I am pleased that more of the strawberry plants are flowering. But I will share their latest photos in the next entry lah! 😉

Entries on gardening in 2013:

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