Monday, November 14, 2011

Where to start seeds and a little inspiration

It's been a long time since I wrote the last post. It's been quite bussy arround here. So, I also haven't gotten the time to start my herb garden yet. So - sorry - have to write about the herb garden some time later.

What I want to tell you about today is where to get seeds started. My favourite way is to plant the seed into old yogurt or other plastic cups. I wash them out and punch a hole into the botton. Then I put already wet soil into it, put some seeds into the cup and a little bit more wet soil on top. If you don't water the soil before planting the seed it can happen that the seeds are being washed away by the water.

There are many other options on where to get your seeds started. For example
- toilet paper tubes
- egg cartons
- milk cartons

Do you know other ways? Let me know!

A very inspirational website concerning DIY projects for you garden but also for all other kinds of stuff is  There are a lot of projects with which you can recycle all kinds of different things for your garden, so you can keep the costs low.

Next time I will let you know about one of my greatest inspirations: Mike Liebermann -  urban organic gardener.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Today a non-garden subject!

Today I thought I would write something that has nothing to do with gardening, but has been on my mind too. I just wanted you all to take a minute and think about bone marrow donation.
I only know the procedure in Germany, but here it is quite easy to become a member of the programm. I donate blood at the local hospital on a regular basis and when the nurse asked me if I would like to join the marrow doantion programm I said yes. It only took one little test tube mor than usually.
The best thing is you get your information first hand, so here is the US donation programm: or the Germany programm

Of course every country has theier own programm, so check it out on the web and see how helpfull it can be!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cucumbers need Water

This is a picture of a little cucumber starting to grow. I was really happy because in the beginning the harvest seemed to become a great one. The plant had a lot of little yellow flowers and every flower ment a cucumber. Unfortunaly I had again made the mistake, that I had planted too many plants in a too little container. Cucumber plants need a lot of water and that they took away from each other. So most of the little cucumbers dried out before they were big enough to harvest them.
But next year I will try it again. I will also let the plant climb upwards on a stick instead of just letting it hang down my balcony.

So where to get all the water for the plants from?

This is what I do, instead of just getting it out of the tap.
1. Outdoors. I try to collect rain water in a bucket on my balcony. My balcony has a roof though, which makes it kinda hard.
2. Bathroom. The shower is the place where I collect most of my water for the plants. I am a wimp and hate cold showers. But the water always has to run for a while until it gets hot. So I always have a bucket in my bathroom to collect the water for the plants. This way it is not wasted.
3. Kitchen.  In the kitchen you can easyly collect water. The eggwater I have already mentioned in the post before. Another way is to collect the water from washing fruits and veggies. For that I use a bowl like this

The bowl has a plastic strainer in it. While washing my veggies the water runs trough it into the bowl. The water is a littel muddy though so I always mix it with the water from the shower.

By the way flowers don't like water straight from the tap. It is too cold and often has chlorine and lime in it. So what you can do is fill your watering bottle and let the water settle over night. The next day the chlorine has evaporated, the lime has descended to the ground of the bottle and the water has room temperature.

Do you have anymore tips how to collect water in your household? Let me know, leave me a post!

Next time I will let you know about my recent project the "winter-windowsill-herb-garden" and a super easy way to build a littel greenhouse!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Eggplants and Egg-Water-Fertilizer

Since Eggplants are one of my favorite veggies, of course I also wanted to try growing them on my balcony.
I am very lucky to have a south facing balcony so it is sunny all day. That is just perfect. I choose seeds from an eggplant that has small fruits. I made the mistake though to have 2 plants in one container. Looking back the container is just to small for 2 plants, so they don't have enough space for their roots and are taking away nutritions from each other. Even though until now I had a harvest of 4 fruits I think I could have had way more.
From mid September on it got colder and I put my eggplants into the littel greenhouse I bought. And it really helped, I have 2 new fruits hanging on theplant right now.

in September

Talking about nurtitions for the plant here a littel tip from me:
How many eggs have you cooked in the last time and how much water did you use? If you want to fertilize your plant in an easy, cheap and organic way you can use the water in which you boiled your eggs. This egg-water is rich in calcium and nutritions. I do it all the time. I always buy organic eggs .Someone told me you could also use the water from boiling potatos. But only if you boil the potatos with the skin on and of course without adding salt to the water! I havent't tried that yet but I will. If you have any tips on fertilizing your plants, leave me a comment!

Next time I will tell you about my cucumber harvest and easy ways to collect water for your plants in your daily household!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Strawberries and Tomatos

I started my balcony garden with a set of six strawberry plants which I bought at a local store. I was surprised how well it worked, even though I never had more than 3 ripe strawberries at a time.
So I thought why not try to grow a plant from the seed. I already had bought a little pack of tomato seeds because they had the funny name "Balkonzauber" (Balcony Magic). Since I wasn't quite sure how successfull I would be with growing plants, I sowed 20 seeds. Every one separately in an old plastic cup. First I punched a hole in the bottom of the cup, then I put the soil in, then the seed - done.

The result was that after 2 weeks 20 tomato plants were growing on my balcony. I was indeed surprised! Since I could only use 2 plants for myself I gave away all other plants to my family and friends. I even but a littel note onto ebay that I am giving away tomatoplants for free. It worked and I didn't have to throw a plant away. Maybe I also inspired someone to start gardening too, which would be a nice idea.

Very soon I had some littel green tomatos but it took forever for them to become red. Of course most of the tomatos were ripe when I was on vacation. So my neighbor was so lucky to harvest them all. For some reason she harvested but didn't water (there must have been some kind of missunderstanding), so unfortunatly the tomatoplants were totally dried out when I came home and I had to throw them away (very very unfortunatly not only the tomatos but also the strawberries and cucumber plants which I will tell you about later). At least I got to eat the last 3 red tomatos that survived on the dry plant.

Next time I will tell you about eggplants and egg-water!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How it all started!

Maybe it all started with my grandparents being farmers and so gardening is part of my genes.
But everything else started with the book Linnea's Windowsill Garden that my parents gave to me and my sister when we were little. In the book the little girl Linnea discovers everything that has to do with seeds, soil and plants. Basically you could say she was an urban gardener even long before it became so popular as it is today.
Nowadays where a lot of kids have to grow up not being able to play in an own garden,this is the perfect gift for them!

The heroine of Linnea in Monet's Garden returns with her own perspective on plantings, and offers an accessible guide to growing greens in small places. From an orange tree that started as a seed to garlic sprouts (from cloves placed in soil) to a silly game with plum pits and a suggestion for dyeing half a rose, Linnea has hints, step-by-step instructions and an occasional lesson in natural science offered by her friend Mr. Bloom. For all her enthusiasm, Linnea is wise enough to have realistic expectationsflowers don't always bloom by the book, and every now and then there may be setbacks. But her zeal is infectious; readers will be looking around the house for seeds they can press into soil or coax into germination.Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.