Category Archives: balcony garden

Freshly picked

Finally the weather has turned around and the sun is shining and the temperatures for the past week have remained steady at 18-24°C. I have a fondness for the summer, not only because of the fact that I can finally dress myself in only one layer of clothes but also because it seems that my little garden seems to come alive. All of the veggies and herbs seem to be growing much faster and I have my pick of salad leaves or spinach or radishes. This year I started growing radishes for the first time because I was curious. I read on Farmgirlfare about the ease of growing radishes and I believe in trying everything once so I sowed some seeds in April. And you know what, Farmgirl was right! After 4 weeks I could pull out some radishes and believe me they taste so much better when pulling them out of your own soil.

 The first radish I picked, I just rinsed it and took a bite. It was crunchy, sweet with a slight bitter after taste, YUM! But I had a few more radishes thus decided to try a salad. Mind you, a home-grown salad! Some picked salad leaves, baby spinach leaves and some sliced radish et voilà. The dressing consisted of crumbled goat cheese, yoghurt,garlic and black pepper.

And since the radishes were so yummy they were gone within a week. I could’ve planted another vegetable on that empty spot but I ‘d rather liked those spicy veggies to munch on so I guess I’ll be eating more radishes soon.

I recently ordered yet another cookbook and of course I need to try some recipes so next time I’ll be revealing what I bought and which recipe I tried.

Have a wonderfully lazy, sun-filled day!

Raquel

 

Cooking with spinach from the garden

Today was the perfect day to do spend some time in my (balcony) garden. The weather was kinda bad the past two weeks so I stayed indoors al that time. But the weather wasn’t too bad cause my veggies were growing like crazy. So far I have the usual herbs; basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary and I thought I’d try purple basil this year. I discovered it doesn’t grow as abundant as Genovese basil but the purple color sure makes any pasta dish look more vibrant.

All herbs aside, the veggie that has been growing so well this year is my spinach. I planted it in February and by the April it was ready to eat. Since I do love my pasta, I thought I’d just toss some spinach pasta and mushrooms together. I sautéed the spinach with some garlic first then I added some sliced mushrooms. I poured in a bit of cream and some black pepper and salt. Finally the pasta was added and YUM, YUM.

Spinach picking

Nothing beats sowing your own veggies, picking them and enjoying them at dinner. I’m excited to see what other veggies will be ready for eating and figuring out what to make with them.  I spotted some radishes that are ready for picking so my next post will probably be about radishes.

Enjoy!

It’s spring on my balcony

I want to share all the wonderful veggies and herbs that are currently growing on my balcony due to this wonderful March weather. I am happy to report that everything is in full bloom. I started planting chillie, eggplant and pepper seeds sinds February and they have grown very well. They all have about 4 leaves right now. The eggplant that I sowed this year are Mini Violet Ruby and Violetta di Firenze. I love eggplants for moussaka, chinese pork belly hot pot and so many more dishes.

chillie seedlings

 

These seedlings are still kept in the propagator but in the morning I put them on my windowsill to get used to the sun. So far I have planted Jamaican red, Cayenne and Goat’s weed. Chillie plants do remarkably well in pots but I found that they are not as hot as they would be when growing in a warmer climate. But still I need my chillies.

Basil & tomato

I need lots of basil during spring and summer because I regularly eat pesto and all kinds of pasta. So I will be sowing basil seeds regularly. I am also trying out some purple basil just because it’s fun.

 The first time I tried this italian kale was last year and it didn’t disappoint. I loved it so much I impatiently waited for March to arrive so that I could sow. They are relatively easy to grow and taste like wild spinach in my opinion.

 I started sowing spinach seeds March 1st and they are growing like crazy. In the back I have some regular spinach and rocket and in the front some wild spinach. It seems like a lot but these will probably only provide me with 2 meals. Oh, well.

 These pea plants make me so proud and very greedy. See, I discovered fresh peas a couple of years back and instantly fell in love. So with that in mind I decided to grow them myself. I can only imagine picking the pods, shelling them and preparing them in some olive oil, salt and pepper, yum!

 I have started growing some sprouts on my window sill; daikon and cress. Whenever I fix myself and egg sandwich I grab some of each and enjoy. They just add a little extra to egg salad. Anyone can grow sprouts, within 2 days you notice the seeds have burst open and another 2 days( in full sun) you can already pick some.

 And these are my carrots (Parisian market). These will grow into small round carrots especially handy for growing in containers. They are ever so cute and also have a great taste.

In the following weeks/months I will be regularly posting how my veggies are doing. I will also be sowing some turnips, swiss chard, courgette and paksoy. So be sure to regularly check back!

It’s already time to sow again

It’s January so it’s time to start thinking about what I want to sow this year so that I can order the seeds in time. Last year I ordered my seeds at 123zaden which I was happy about. If you only have a small order like I had, it fits in your mail box so I only had to pay for the stamp which is perfect for people with small garden(balcony garden). The delivery only took 4 days so I am definitely paying their website a visit again. Other websites I visit for seeds are Vreeken’s zaden, Garant zaden, Bolster,

Fast forward a couple of days, I ordered some seeds from 123zaden and within 4 days they were delivered to my mailbox, perfect. Wanting some more seeds I visited Vreeken’s zaden situated in Dordrecht( about 15 min by train from where I live). I remember from 2 years ago that if you order in January or February it might be a while before your seeds get delivered because it gets really busy around that time. But I was happy to go to the shop as I always see so many useful things there for my garden. When I see the large greenhouses I can picture myself having one of those in my back yard along with my Continue reading

Guess what I harvested from my (balcony) garden…..

Last summer I wanted to grow something that I could not find in the grocery store and that turned out to be cavolo nero aka italian kale. I had no idea what it would taste like and I could do with it. Continue reading

Finally summer weather

I think anyone would agree in the Netherlands that the summer weather was pretty disappointing. There was lots of rain and it was rather chilly, in fact most of my summer clothes were returned to the basement unworn. And so last week I started packing all of my summer clothes and unpacking some of my clothes appropriate for fall. Much to my surprise the upcoming week was rather sunny and hot. So I headed to the basement again to grab a couple of dresses. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining because this is just the kind of weather my garden needs. So I thought I would give you an update of how everything turned out so far. The only thing that I had to throw away were the paksoi plants as they were infested with aphids. But it was kinda my fault as I forgot to water them a day or two so they were weakened and that made them an easy target for the aphids.

First the carrots and tomatoes. Continue reading

See how my veggies grow

The last time I put up some pics of my balcony garden was in March and you won’t believe how everything has grown, even I am surprised every morning I go take a peek at my plants. I can’t wait till I can actually pick a pepper or chilli from my own “garden”. Exciting!!! 🙂

Right now I have so many plants still on my window sill and every other place I can put them it looks like I won’t be able to sit on my own balcony any more. But I am ok with that, it gives me far more joy seeing my hard work pay off and that I will be able to eat what I grow. The plants I still have inside are of course the peppers, chillies, eggplants, courgettes, tomatoes and a couple of herbs like basil. But on the balcony I have strawberries, rhubarb chard, spinach, rocket, peas, beans, carrots, radishes and a lot of lettuce. Honestly the vegetables that are on my balcony now were not very hard to grow. What I learned from last year is that the toughest time is still to come and I am referring to aphids. Aphids are terrible little critters that attack my eggplants, lettuce and peppers. This year I am a bit more prepared because when you spot them early on, you have a better chance to get rid of them before they harm more plants. But I won’t bother you with all the ramblings about aphids because it is still too early for that. Instead enjoy the pics of my balcony garden! I’ll keep you posted on their progress.