Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Urban Garden Success Story: Laitue!

The rain today has washed away all hopes of a mid-week evening sunset Guerrilla Yoga... which was disappointing. However- it did mean that we had more time for supper preparing and balcony garden discovery!

Although supporting local, sustainable farmers is all great and good, my ultimate dream is to grow my OWN food... and I wholeheartedly believe that it is possible to grow edible food on a tiny city balcony.

This year's strawberries so far... similar to last year!

Last year was our first attempt at food growing (ever!) and it was a lovely experience. I adored watching the tiny seedlings push up and flourish. I also watched the garlic and peas whither away and shrivel up. Although a learning experience, our 'garden' really didn't produce anything more than a handful of strawberries, three pea pods and a few carrots. Not exactly meal conducive.

This year I was determined to grow a TON of food and use better soil. We attended a local talk on urban garden at the downtown library. I learned about a local urban and community gardens and beehive keepers (VERY cool! Rooftop beehives!!) and that potted soil should be 75% compost-type and 25% regular soil. 
So surprised they actually grew back this year, survived snow!
We reused our pots and bought a ridiculous amount of organic worm poo, ordered organic and non-GMO carrot, broccoli, lettuce and radish seeds. Sadly, we found a balcony-handicapped but otherwise perfect dream apartment.
radishes... see the skinny roots?
I ultimately decided to plant our lettuce, radish and broccoli seeds anyway and throw caution to the wind. We'll find new homes for the plants. Hopefully.

I am so excited to announce some success!

Although the radishes are kinda skinny and the strawberries (actually grew again this year!) are only producing a smattering of berries, the LETTUCE. Oh my.

Lettuce is a staple in this household for vegetables. Pair my anxiety around new vegetables and Andrew's anti-vegetable stance and you get a lot of non-adventurous salads. 
Forest of Lettuce- enter dramatic classical music.
Last week, for three days I picked little leaves for my sandwich. As it was baby lettuce I figured they were ready. Didn't really think they would continue growing, even though I left a bunch of little tiny leaves. I felt like a strange urban gardener, out there each early morning in my work clothes, delicately plucking little baby leaves and swearing whenever I accidentally pulled them out by the roots. By the end of last week they were looking quite razzed and I assumed that would be that.

Fast forward to today and cue leaf motherload!! It was as if *I had never even been there* (duh duh duuuuuuh). YES! Look at those beautiful fluffy green leaves. Half of the planter produced two bowls of salads, and I only took the biggest leaves... hopefully allowing the smaller leaves to continue growing.
 Le Bol de la fameuse Laitue!
I'm so sad to have to consider giving such a bountiful plant away! I'm considering keeping the lettuce up next to one of our windows in our new place... 

If you live in the city and have a balcony, all it takes is a pot, some dirt and worm poo and a few seeds. Take that step into becoming a self-sustaining yogi(ni) and use your outdoor space to grow Life.

I tell ya, lettuce rocks.

(one week and we'll be in our new place!! WOOT!)

Blessings from rainy Halifax

article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. I have a nice sized balcony, facing south. I did try to grow things one year, but it didn't really work out. I don't think I put enough effort into it. If I'm still in this apt next summer maybe I will try again.

  2. wow! congrats, that is too cool :) I got a bunch of leafy greens (haha, literally!) with my CSA this week so looks like lots of salads and green smoothies :)
    Good luck preparing for the upcoming move!

  3. oooh, exciting! i grew lettuce last year and it was amazing. this year, i've been less ambitious with my wee dark balcony space, just planting some mint and vietnamese coriander. but it's still very gratifying!

  4. I'm so completely excited by this. My garden has a long, long way to go. I'm so excited for yours!

  5. They look beautiful! And it's very exciting to grow things and then eat them. Sigh... I'm working on my gardening skills but I still haven't grown anything other than a few herbs ;)

  6. Your lettuce is beautiful! Congratulations--we are currently trying to sprout some herbs (and keep them alive), which is the extent of our (sub)urban gardening. I am learning all sorts of things to do with our endless supply of CSA greens, so if you and Andrew ever want some easy, non-threatening veggie recipes, you know who to call!

  7. Wow. Gardening is definitely an adventure. This is our first year and so far so good. I love the lettuce because it goes wild and makes me feel like a real gardener. The wonderful husband planted sweet corn that is coming up. And, we even have a few things that we planted that we can't remember what they are. So that will be a fun surprise!! I think growing lettuce in window boxes in your new place is totally appropriate!

  8. Love to see a photo tour of your new apt sometime ;)
    May the move be smooth and quick!

  9. OMG that is so inspiring! I have a tiny city balcony too. Now, come spring, I think I am going to have to get my ass in gear and grow something other than decorative potted trees...

  10. What a great patio garden. The lettuce looks amazing. That is one thing it is just to HOT to grow here (or in my experience anyway). We are becoming over-run in cucumbers and basil. Should prob post about it soon:) Good luck on the big move!

  11. Leaf lettuce! Congrats!!!
    (It's known as "cut and come again" which is why, you can pick it and you get more! and more! and more!)
    Balcony gardens rock!

  12. Congrats on the NICE laitue! :)


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