Gains and losses

Hi there,

thought I will give you a quick update on my edible balcony garden experiment. As this is my first attempt in a weather condition I am not really familiar with, I was prepared for some losses. And I think the first loss to report is my bell pepper. I got the plant from my mum, planted it out at the beginning of may on the south side of the balcony and hoped for the best.
Now bell pepper loves a warm climate and I knew where I live the weather is not exactly mediterranean. Still, I gave it a try but the constant exposure to wind and rain were just too much. The plant did not grow a lot and now all of the leaves are showing some brown discoloration. The brown discoloration is also on the leaves that had just come out so I don't think there is much more growth to be expected. I will keep the plant for a bit to see if indeed it is dead and if there will be no change to it's current state, it will be replaced with some leavy salad.
Before pic above. The bell pepper is the plant to the right.
After picutes. The bell pepper plant in close-ups. No real growth, and brown spots on the leaves. 

Apart from this loss, however, I have to say that the rest looks quite well. My carrots are coming up nicely and now show some actual carrot leaves. I had to do some thinning out in the weekend and when I pulled the excess plants out, they already smelled of carrot!
The rocket developed loads of new leaves and the last of the tomato plants finally went into bloom as well.

Rocket in progress, making loads of baby rocket leaves. Pic below shows the carrots. I will have to pay more attention on equal sowing, though.

I also added a pot with petunia, verbena and lobelia on the south side of the balcony to attract some bees and bumblebees and I already spotted some bumblebees two days ago.

Insect-attracting  flowers. Come over here, bees!

As for today, I will do absolutely nothing garden-related because the weather is horrible. It is raining constantly and if I had to find one good thing about that than it would be that the rain collector I built is doing a really good job. It collected 10 liters yesterday from a night full of rain and thunder and lightning and it should collect some more today so I will have enough to water my plants with for a couple of days when the weather gets better.

This is acutally I point I cannot stress enough. If you are planning to add plants to your balcony, if that will be decorative or edible plants, try to figure out a way to water them efficiently and sustainably. Look into options for rain collection that may work on your specific balcony. In my case, an upside-down umbrella with some holes poked into it works a treat. It is not hard to make and does not take a lot of time to "assemble", just secure it with some rope against the wind, pop a bucket underneath and it is ready to go.
Rain collection is a good thing to think about. In my case, I wanted to save money on grocery shopping and eat more organic food by growing my own veg. So it clearly would not make sense if the money we may save on groceries then has to go into paying a higher water bill. I also think that watering plants with tap water is somehow a "waste". The water had to be collected and cleaned for us to be drinkable, but plants really do not need that clean of water. On the contrary, tap water does not have a lot to it anymore because of the processing it went through. Rain water, on the other hand, is unprocessed and while it does contain rut and a bit of acidity, especially in the urban areas, it also contains more nutrients needed by the plants. So by collecting and feeding rain water to your plants you will not only save money on your water bill, but you will also feed them what they are accustomed to and what is good for them.

See you next time.

 Extra bonus pictures from when the weather was nice, last sunday.