Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Little Garden Begins



We've still had no word on a community garden space, and while I'm not giving up hope I am beginning to focus on growing things on our balcony in back. (I'm also plotting - pun entirely intended - on growing things on the front balcony, too.) There's  plenty of interest in the building and with some of the other English teachers, so I think we're going to go for it. 

The previous tenants graciously left me some pots, potting soil, and some seeds for dill, basil, and rosemary. Yesterday, I purchased (at least I'm pretty sure this is what I got) seeds for beans, peas, and cardinal climber. (I put in some of the Russian kale seeds I brought, but I did see a big fat mourning dove on the power lines above me this morning and I do have some concerns about raiders. I'm hopeful, but I may start some other seedlings inside, too.) I also picked up some seedlings of flat-leaf parsley, nasturtiums, johnny-jump-ups, and swiss chard. While I really wanted to purchase one of everything (as I do each spring), I decided it would be best to stick with things that we like to eat. (I know I can't eat cardinal climber, but I also want to attract some pollinators.)

The nursery is a nice small one with a good selection, and it's roughly four or five blocks away. (Tokyo is not organized in a grid at all, but that gives an idea of the distance I walk.) Mostly flowers - annuals as well as perennials - with a handful of vegetables, houseplants, and some small flowering and fruiting trees. I recognize most things, but there are others that I have no idea what they are. They might be normal even for the States, but since my focus has always been mostly on growing vegetables and/or native plants I don't recognize some. I'll try to include photos sometime later. 

Container gardening is something I haven't had to do for quite some time, and I've never tried to do it in earnest, either. I won't be able to provide all of our vegetables, but I'll put a dent in things, I think. Since we live in an apartment I can't compost like I did at home, so I'm going to have to think about this a bit. I don't want to use conventional fertilizer so I've been stirring our coffee grounds and tea leaves into the pots on a daily basis. Other things - orange peel, cabbage leaves and cores, stubs of assorted unknown greens, etc. - go either in the burnables bin or a little bowl of items I'll cook up to make broth later. At the moment, my idea is to cook them up and then bury them in a big pot of dirt and see what happens. Without worms and other critters though, I'm not sure how far I'll really get. Any advice from folks out there? 

3 comments:

Linda Diane Feldt said...

you're in Japan - seaweed is a great fertilizer. Either chopped up and put right in the soil, or tea made by steeping it for a day or two. Vermiculite and perlite are the container gardener's friends. Good luck!

Woody said...

Joan - How about a worm composter? Mary can give you pointers. She has a small tub under her sink.

Woody said...

How about a worm composter? Mary has a small tub under our sink that she dumps food scraps in, and newspaper strips, for air or texture.