In my first apartment after college, when I had just one roommate, a little more space, and greater maturity, I had a nice little balcony. It was the perfect spot for a miniature garden and the location that really got me dreaming about having a yard and full garden one day. Here’s what I planted.
I became obsessed with nasturtium as a child when I found out it was edible. I wanted to grow edible plants. Our yard had very little sun, so I grew a plant in a pot outside. It did fairly well, but I wasn’t a very attentive gardener at ten.
When I had a balcony of my own, with a nice, bright sunny spot, I knew I had to grow nasturtium again. I put the container on a wrought iron plant stand to allow it to trail down toward the ground. It was both pretty and useful. I enjoyed the leaves and flowers in salads that summer.
I really wanted to make this balcony both beautiful and practical, so I grew a few herbs as well. Returning to my childhood once more, I chose chamomile, a favorite tea when I had an upset stomach.
Chamomile is a pretty plant with little daisy-like flowers. It really complemented the bright, bold nasturtium well. I also discovered how easy this plant is to grow. It shot up like a weed and thrived in a sunny spot with regular watering and not much else.
I wanted to grow vegetables but felt intimidated by the process. I also didn’t have a lot of money. I got a couple of packets of lettuce seeds to try and discovered how easy leaf lettuce is to grow. As I would discover later in life, a balcony was actually a great spot to grow lettuce because the nibbling deer and rabbits couldn’t reach it.
Just for color and flowers, I added a couple of small pots of impatiens for the shadier corners of the balcony. I knew from my shady childhood home that impatiens were among the easiest annual flowers to grow. They did very well in my little balcony garden.
While I love my large yard and nearly limitless beds today, I will always think fondly of that balcony garden. It was my first real adult gardening experience and it set me on a path to becoming a lifelong gardener.