Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Polytunnels, cold frames, greenhouses, propagators & more. How to get the best out of yours...

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alan refail
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby alan refail » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:23 pm

Elmigo wrote:You got an eye for detail I see! I'm from the Netherlands. Are you anywhere close to this area?


Ver weg in Wales!
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Primrose » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:31 pm

I was idly browsing some YouTube videos this afternoon and came across this one for growing tomato plants upside down in bottles. Another one for you to try perhaps, although I think you would need to choose the tumbling variety of tomatoes !

https://youtu.be/lCo_KkRamhQ
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby retropants » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:37 pm

Everything looks so healthy and vigorous Elmigo! Good going, hope you get an abundant harvest this year. I too started out balcony gardening, it's amazing what you can squeeze into a small space :D
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Elmigo » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:41 pm

Primrose wrote:I was idly browsing some YouTube...


Beautiful, thank you! I've heard of that before. Currently I'm sprouting tomatoes but it is a stem variety, not the tumbling ones. Might give them a try too.

retropants wrote:Everything looks so healthy and...


The thing about having such healthy looking plants is, it makes me paranoid at even the slightest sign of deficiency. Would you mind sharing some of your crops, some photos of them? I love to see how others go about their balcony garden!
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby retropants » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:44 am

Elmigo, I'm afraid this was back in 1995! So I don't have any photos, sorry!
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Primrose » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:16 pm

Elmigo, better to condition yourself to having a few unhealthy looking plants over the years. There are so many bugs and plant diseases about.

You have one advantage in that you're not growing your vegetables on an allotment where the diseases on other peoples' plants can quickly spread to yours, but of course spores from diseases can still be carried in the air. I dont know how high up your balcony is but it occurred to me that the effects of wind could possibly damage or scorch your your young seedlings. Don't get disheartened though. You will often find that damaged or imperfect plants can recover still produce reasonable crops.

I have redcurrant bushes that every year produce leaves full of blisters due to some kind of aphid infection yet every summer the bushes are so full of healthy redcurrants that it's an embarrassment knowing what to do with them all. Similarly my vine has blistered leaves every year which I don't know how to cure yet still produces a good crop of grapes.
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Elmigo » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:31 pm

Primrose wrote:Elmigo, better to condition yourself to...


You're probably right. I wonder how real farmers go about this! Do they all spray chemicals? I'd rather have some unhealthy looking crops than do that to my future food. The balcony is only on the first floor. May need to create some nets to at least get the plants protected from the notorious cabbage white or birds.
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Elmigo » Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:01 pm

The beans have been put outside! Spring just began and the balcony is already full of veggies and fruits.

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Some curly lettuce...

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Pak choi grows pretty good too!

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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Primrose » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:22 pm

My goodness Elmigo, you have used every inch of productive space. You will need to shrink your feet so you have space to stand when you water. No space even for a small chair so you can sit out there and enjoy looking at your crops?
Your plants look very healthy and I expect being on a balcony with a cover overhead will provide some useful protection for yiur beans.

I think you're the only person on the forum trying to grow vegetables under such restricted and challenging conditions so I'm fascinated to see how everything develops and grows and I'm sure others are too.

Tell me. - do you suffer from slugs or is growing at first storey building height the ideal solution for growing slug free lettuces and salad crops?. Perhaps the slugs don't bother to climb that high ??
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Elmigo » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:58 pm

There are definitely some slugs up here, my pak choi has been eaten a little bit, although a lot less than I find them on ground level crops. Sometimes I sprinkle some egg shell pieces around the crops, it keeps most slugs away except for the stubborn ones. The main problem is summer heat. Containers dry out very quickly in full sun, unlike a piece of land which always keeps some water and nutrients stored in the ground in clay and other absorbing particles (which is why I'm looking for clay loam too). On real land you also have worms naturally making the soil more well draining. I use perlite and hydro clay pebbles.

Up here it's always very hot in the growing season. Even worse than on the ground, so my peach tree may do very well here. Lettuce struggles during summer heat because when the temperatures hit 90°F (it does every summer) the balcony feels more like 105°F because the sun is always on here. Don't want to put my chair there anyways, except for late evenings, maybe...

Perhaps the temperatures are not even that bad as I love tropical fruits so much :lol:
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Primrose » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:06 pm

Elmigo. - it may seem a strange thing to suggest but have you thought of lining some of your pots and containers with nappies or similar other similar absorbent material?. They would decompose over time but over the course of one growing season they would absorb moisture when ever you water and probably help to retain it for longer. After all, their purpose is to retain a different type of moisture ! I saw this suggestion on the Internet today. It rather surprised me but it obviously works for some people who've tried it.

The other thing you can use is water absorbent crystals if you can buy them from garden centre outlets in Holland, or possibly buy them over the Internet. I mix them deep into the compost in my patio containers before I start up my summer planting and this also helps retain the moisture and reduces watering. Worth a try.
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Elmigo » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:09 pm

That is not even such a crazy idea, never thought about that! I figured it would be a great solution to use clay pebbles, perlite or other absorbing substances in my pots too. I try to fill the pots with as much absorbing material as I can. It seems really weird but I even thought about placing highly reflecting material on the pots too. What it does is (in my theory), it reflects most sunlight so it doesn't reach the containers and dry out the soil as much. At the same time it also reflects light to the plants, giving them a brighter spot to grow in!
Last edited by Elmigo on Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Diane » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:26 am

Wow - that's so impressive. An amazing collection of healthy plants.
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Elmigo » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:44 pm

Hi everybody!

I'm really excited to share with you that the bush beans and pole beans are both explosively productive! Once more I discovered that some plants don't even need a really large container, or a full year to grow. From seed to beans took just about two months! The temperatures cooled down again to 45°F or about 7°C so I placed them indoors for the evenings. Just what they needed!

Oh and because they were really large I've cut off the growing tip, the part of the pole beans that swings around the pole. This made them stop growing in height and start growing in width more! It's really worth trying with some of your own pole beans. They might even flower more but I'm not sure.

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Pole beans producing already!

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Bush beans also producing!

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Bush beans full of flowers :mrgreen:
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Re: Let me introduce you to my tiny little heaven!

Postby Primrose » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:52 pm

How exciting! The first crops of the season are always a special treat. Is this the first time you've grown them ? You're right about beans not liking the cold so they probably welcomed their overnight indoor stay but it must be a certain amount of hassle having to bring them in inside at night. . Do you have any garden fleece or perhaps some old net curtains you could wrap around them to keep them protected outside?
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