We live in a somewhat small apartment in the city, while my boyfriend finishes his studies. This does not mean that we cannot practice some gardening, while we save for a house in the countryside. We have a closed balcony with windows all around, which makes it a perfect greenhouse. In there we have grown onions, potatoes, tomatoes, chilies, beets and several herbs. Everything was in either pots or buckets.
I will make a separate post about our tomatoes, because they are not ripe just yet, however in today I will talk about our potatoes, beets and chilies.
To start with the easiest, we have beets, which we sowed in small pots, before repotting them into a larger one. We have five now, and they are of course smaller than the usual ones you buy in the super market. However, they were really fun to grow. The ones that did not get very big, had their leaves eaten as salad. However, the five that are now growing are actually becoming bigger by the week. We have harvested one so far, and I can see that the remaining four are larger than the one on the picture, since they now have more space to swell.
It was really easy to grow beets. They need some organic fertilizer now and then, but mostly, their hydration level needs to be good, if they are in pots. When we left for a week, we placed them inside, away from the sun, watered them a lot and then they could easily stay alive while we were gone.
Potatoes were slightly different, however. We grew them in a bucket after having put three to sprout. We took the strongest one, and placed it there, letting it make the potatoes. The plant got huge and crawled all around the floor (not like they would do in a normal large garden). We made sure to cover it with soil, so that no potatoes would go to waste. It needed a lot of fertilizing and watering, but after a patient wait, we dug them up in august.
And finally, my chili project. I collected seeds from one single chili and sowed them in small pots. It took almost four weeks for them to sprout, but they all did – one after another. When they have grown larger, I began to fertilize them now and then, and of course took off the first 9 – 10 flowers so that they would make more. I remember walking around several times a week with a brush, pollinating each flower by gently massaging it.
Chilies need to drink a lot, and I had to give them a lot of water before we went on vacation. But they survived. It took very long for the fruit to turn red once they have grown to their full size. However, suddenly it happened one after another, and we ended up having so many chilies that I put them in all dishes, salads and pickled them… Even after I have given away two plants: one for my mum and one for my mother-in-law…
I think it is amazing how much yield I got from one single fruit which seeds I collected.
I face one challenge however… It looks like the plant uses so much energy on making the fruit that its leaves are turning yellow and wither. How do you make your chili plant survive one year after another? I am not sure these ones will.