Balcony ‘potager’ in temperamental May 2014 …

The weather this May has not been on its best behaviour … I am NOT happy to say! I could easily count in one hand the number of warm and sunny days that we have had so far and I am quite upset for my plants … or rather for my plan for this year’s potager garden.

This has entailed a lot of moving plants inside and outside especially in the evening  … and of having to cover some of the not-so-hardy plants that I have already brought outside, but which are not exactly lightweight enough for me to keep bringing inside and outside to accommodate the temperamental May weather. And having to see that a few of my seedlings are slowly becoming a little less healthy from their continued occupation of the windowsills and also having to battle with the pesky gnats and their hungry larvaes is not helping to lighten my mood either.

So, tired of waiting for warm sunny weather to visit on a more regular basis, I decided that I would just proceed to work on getting my balcony potager on track for this season … as long as it did not rain too heavily or as long as the temperature would not drop too drastically! Armed with layers of clothes to keep myself warm and a wide brim hat (to protect from both the sun and the occassional drizzles), I have been slowly but steadily making some progress on the balcony.

Only two days ago, the weather alternated several times between being sunny, cloudy, windy and rainy during the course of the day while I was working on the balcony. It was supposed to be sunnier yesterday, but still there were some cloudy moments as well as strong winds and light drizzles with the temperature hovering around 9 – 10°C while I was working.

However … I am pleased that I am at least making progress, and hopefully, if and when warm sunny weather comes to visit for good … the balcony and my plants are ready to welcome the sunshine!! 🙂

Here are just some photos of selected plants doing quite well right now …

Siow pai tsai

Less than a month later, the Siow Pai Tsai that I had re-potted in April are now ready for harvesting … so that I decided to re-pot more of the remaining seedlings. In the meantime, I have sown Chinese mustard greens and amaranth (or sawi and bayam in Malay, respectively) to replace these Siow Pai Tsai once they have been harvested.

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I have also repotted my salad seedlings into several different containers and they are doing well. In a few more weeks, the ones here should be big enough to be harvested.

PotatoesMy potato plants (which were planted one week after another) seem to be thriving well enough under the wet and chilly May weather. I just love how they are filling up the plastic growbags.

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Although I sowed several nasturtium seeds in April, only one actually sprouted from the batch that I had sown (the one on the left). The other two were volunteer seedlings that I recently found sprouting on their own in two different containers. I just love finding volunteer seedlings … and this year I found plenty of volunteers : chives, carrots, nasturtium, wild garlic, salads, strawberries  … just to name a few. 😀

Flowering herbs

Apart from chives, both my rosemary and thyme are flowering, too. And their flowers are just so dainty and lovely. I especially love the colour of the rosemary blooms.

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My first … and hopefully not the only one … Hungarian round pepper from a plant that was grown last season. I managed to keep it alive by bringing it inside during winter. It is now placed outside but is kept covered at night to make sure that it will continue to grow well and to bloom. It has flowered a lot but most failed to set fruit. Hopefully, the success rate will be higher when warmer weather is here.

Beans

The tiny Andante bean plant on the left has already started to produce little beans but as the weather is still a little chilly, I dare not take the risk of losing the beans and the plant by planting it outside too soon. So each evening, I will bring it inside. But as the Hestia runner bean plants on the right were getting quite large, I felt that I simply had to plant them outside in a proper container … but making sure that they are kept covered at night. Interestingly, these runner bean plants were grown from two seeds that I found on the table at the balcony. I decided to try to sow them … and voilà, within one week, both seeds sprouted! And now a month later, both are about to flower. What good luck! 🙂

Panorama

And last but not least, I have decided to take my chances by planting the sweet corns in their permanent spots as they were getting too big to be kept inside the greenhouse shelf in their little pots. Hopefully, they will survive the temperamental May weather, unprotected, especially at night.

I have also harvested my lemongrass from last year’s season and replanted a few for this year’s supply. The Tom Thumb pea plants grown last autumn are still surviving and producing pea pods, even if the numbers are not many.

It is my fervent hope that the weather improves so that I can get a lot more done on the balcony! But … we shall see lah!

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