Green onions

Green Onions

Flora Friday featuring green onions!

This week’s Flora Friday post features green onions! What it also known as spring onions and/or scallions. I grew some from bulbs this year and I also regrow the ones I buy from the store! It’s definitely the easiest plant to grow and maintain on my balcony garden.

Scallions aka Allium

Deriving from the genus Allium, spring onions are in the same family as shallots, chives, leeks, and garlic. They are much milder than other onions and can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be used in dishes or as a garnish.

Green onions

How to grow it

The fastest and easiest way to grow green onions is to buy a bunch at the grocery store. Stay with me here. Buy one bunch and you get 2-4 more for free! Just keep the ends with the roots and you have 2 options: grow them in water or in soil. Both options work, but I personally prefer growing them in dirt.

The other way is to buy bulbs and plant them in dirt. They do well in full sun for 6-8 hours a day and in well-drained soil. Bonus is that they take only a couple of weeks to grow!


Thyme

Thyme

Flora Friday featuring thyme!

This week’s Flora Friday post features another herb from my balcony garden, thyme. It’s not a herb I use often, so if it didn’t come in herb planter I bought from Lowe’s, I honestly probably wouldn’t have planted it myself.

Thyme aka Thymus vulgaris

A relative of oregano, this herb is most commonly used for culinary purposes but also has medicinal uses. Used as a fresh or dried herb, it’s added to many dishes for added flavour. An entire fresh stem with potatoes or steak brings an added boost of flavour. When dried, the herb loses some of it’s fragrance, but is a great alternative when the fresh stuff isn’t available.

The great thing about this herb is you can freeze it to prolong it’s shelf life. Something I will most definitely be doing!

Thyme

How to grow it

Thyme does it’s best in full sun with well-drained soil. Although, it’s known to survive deep freezes, so it makes for a really easy herb to grow.


Curly Parsley

Curly Parsley

Flora Friday featuring curly parsley!

This week’s Flora Friday is taking a deeper dive into the herb planter I bought at Lowe’s for my balcony garden. It has a few different herbs in it, including curly parsley. This definitely isn’t a herb I would have purchased on my own, so it hasn’t been getting the most use.

Parsley aka Petroselinum crispum

Curly parsley is more commonly used as a garnish while flat parsley is more commonly used in cooking for its robust flavour. Comparatively, curly parsley has a more bitter flavour and less flavour. While it’s not commonly used in dishes, it can be a substitute for flat parsley but it’s important to note that the flavour won’t be the same.

Curly Parsley in the bottom left-hand corner.

How to grow it

Parsley is a very common garden herb that’s very low-maintenance. Needing sunlight and regular watering, this herb works well in a bed with other herbs and vegetables. To promote growth, it’s important to harvest parsley regularly. If you can’t find enough uses for your harvest, parsley freezes well and extends its life expectancy.

Curly Parsley

Rosemary

Flora Friday featuring rosemary!

I missed Flora Friday last week because we spent the weekend in nature, camping. It was an absolutely fabulous weekend, but I’m excited to get back to featuring the herbs and vegetables in my balcony garden. This week, I’ll be featuring the herb rosemary.

Rosemary aka Salvia rosmarinus

Rosemary is a perennial herb with a woody, evergreen fragrance. This resilient herb can survive even the toughest of climates like droughts and can live for up to 30 years! This tasty herb is frequently used in cooking but it is also traditionally used for medicinal purposed.

Rosemary

How to grow it

While it can survive droughts or a severe lack of water, it requires full sun exposure. Since it doesn’t require lots of water, this herb requires good drainage so it doesn’t sit in moist soil. For that reason, be careful not to over water this herb! This herb will survive indoors during the winter, but be sure it gets the maximum amount of sun exposure possible.

Harvesting the herb…

When harvesting rosemary, cut the stem and use the youngest stems for the freshest taste. Don’t harvest more than a 1/3 of the plant at a time so the plant has time to regrow.


Mint

Flora Friday featuring Mint aka Mentha

This weeks featured herb of my balcony garden is mint. The herb is a fantastically aromatic option to have in the garden, that pairs well with fruit, desserts and drinks. It is also a very calming herb that has been used for thousands of years to help with indigestion or soothe an upset stomach. This resilient plant comes in many different species and hybrids and tolerates a wide range of conditions. It’s a fast growing plant, so you won’t need to plant too many to meet the needs of your household.

Different varieties

There are many different species and hybrids of mint, but the most common ones are:

  1. Peppermint is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint. The leaves are generally used peppermint tea and is used as flavouring.
  2. Native spearmint also used in flavouring food and herbal teas.
  3. Scotch spearmint a hybrid mint cultivated for essential oils and used to flavour chewing gum.

Some mint species are more invasive than others, but due to their speedy growth, it’s a good idea to separate this plant from others. Planting it in a separate pot on it’s own ensures that it won’t steal nutrients from neighbouring plants.

How to grow it

This resilient perennial can survive in a variety of conditions. Most will tolerate some shade, but ideally they thrive in full sun exposure. It grows the best in confined areas with moist, well-drained soil. From there, minimal care is needed other than keeping the soil evenly moist.

How to use it

I love using mint leaves in the summer by adding them to naturally flavoured fruit water. The fragrant herb adds another level of freshness that pairs wonderfully with cucumber and lemon.

I also love making mojitos with my fresh mint for a delicious summer cocktail.


Balcony Garden

Welcome to my balcony garden!

This being our second summer living here, I’m happy to say that I’m finally able to start a balcony garden in the little space I have to work with. We’re fortunate enough to have some outdoor space even though we live in a condo. A small balcony that faces southwest provides the perfect amount of sunlight for a few vegetables and herbs. I wish I could utilize even more of the space available but we enjoy sitting out there too much to dedicate it only to plants.

What am I growing?

Herbs

For my first attempt at a balcony garden, I started small and easy. I’ve grown herbs in the past, so I knew that it was an easy and mandatory addition to the garden. My favourite part of summer is using fresh herbs to create deliciously fresh and flavourful dishes, so if I’m going to add anything to my already full balcony garden it’s going to be a few extra herbs. At this point, on my balcony garden you will find: mint, basil, curled parsley, rosemary, oregano, and thyme. Really though, I’m just missing some coriander and dill and I would be 100% happy with balcony garden’s selection of herbs.

Vegetables

In addition to herbs, I also wanted to give it a go at growing some vegetables this year. I knew I wanted to grow tomatoes so I started my tomatoes off from seedlings. My first ever attempt, but looks like I’ll have some tomatoes in the weeks to come! I have one planter going from the seedlings I grew myself and also have some patio tomatoes growing in the large herb planter I purchased. I also planted some Kale because it grows like a weed and figured it’s one where I can’t really go wrong. So far, both vegetables are doing splendidly and I’m excited to watch them grow over time.

Unplanned experiment…

I’m some not so good news; I bought some packs of strawberry bulbs and asparagus bulbs but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. They have now turned into experiments.

The packaging said that there were multiple plants, 5 of the strawberry and about 10 of the asparagus. Well, when I opened the packages they were both 2 giant clumps of I don’t even know what. They didn’t resemble bulbs to me so I decided to throw both large clumps into the dirt and just see what happens. There is some teeny tiny, scattered growth starting to appear but I don’t hold much hope to anything coming out of this particular planter. It’s fun to just see what happens and see how resilient some seedlings may be so we’ll have to see if there are any exciting updates in the future.

balcony garden

Next week…

Next week and for the weeks to come, I’m going to take a deeper dive into a one specific plant growing in my balcony garden. Can you guess which one will be featured first?