Greening the Balcony – Part 2

Avalus continues his balcony gardening adventures and he has shared some more thoughts and pictures.

Visitors from the Past and Visitors I want to go past!

(This is from about the middle to the end of May.)

Content warning: A spider at the very end!

Green stuff is growing and exploding everywhere!

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Salads, tomatoes, nostrums, herbs, and potatoes.

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More salads, cucumbers, strawberries, and radishes. One sweet potato in the middle for good measure. The climbers will be led along the different rails or suspended on strings dangling down from the piece of wood, that also serves as an extension to the rails for balcony boxes.

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And on the other end of the balcony climbing beans, mangold, more potatoes, more salad and tomatoes On the bottom you can see capsicums. These really did not want to germinate this year, they took over four months to get this tiny.

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In the boxes, the bush beans are coming up, the ones on the right were from very old seeds, most did not germinate. The ones on the left are from new seeds. I did not take a picture of the broccoli box, but you can see, that it is still blooming. At a later date, it will sadly fall victim to tragedy.

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This year, I used up a lot of old seeds I collected over the years, just to see if they were any good. I did not expect much and was proven right, out of around sixty seeds I got three snowpeas and four to five weak bush beans. Then I got rid of the rest of the old seeds by digging them deep under the soil and, surprisingly, I was greeted by fresh pea sprouts three weeks later. Of course, this was after I bought and planted fresh seeds. Well, more peas!

I just really like peas! The trellis is made from hazelnut sticks I gathered in the surrounding area. It looks very flimsy but held up to a massive storm already.

Also, notice something odd about this sweet potato?

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There is a pumpkin, either muskat or hokkaido, growing on the left. How did it get there? Last fall I peeled pumpkin seeds and threw the supposedly empty shells in the empty bin and then later planted a sweet-potato shoot on top of the chaff. I very carefully removed the pumpkin plant. It will travel to my parent’s garden and will get a nice spot in their old compost pile. You can see the extracted plant in one of the pictures above.

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This spring I cut down my sage (it was getting constant mildew and was too sprawling) and decided to try and multiply it via cuttings. So, I used some paper pots I had left over from last spring, trying to grow some kind of tomatoes. Nothing came of these seeds, the pots have been completely dry for a year. And this year, of course, three tomatoes germinated! I wonder what kind they will be.

With greens, there are aphids.

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Especially my capsicums were hit hard, with leaves getting all curly or falling off altogether. As of writing in mid June, they are still very weak.

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But with aphids, there come fierce predators! Here is a ladybug hunting on basilicum.

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I have no idea what caterpillar/larva this is, but the empty aphid husks tell a gruesome story of brutal murder.

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The same goes for these bright orange larvae that are dining on the aphids. Probably some kind of wasp?

Sadly, with aphids also come ants.

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In a garden, I like to have them around but on the balcony, they sadly have to go. That is the one time I use poison to get rid of creatures, but in past years I learned the hard way that ants become a huge problem in compact spaces, herding aphids and eventually invading the apartment.

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Here is a very different caterpillar, happily munching on a cabbage. The cabbage itself was a result of an experiment: What would happen, if I were to just plonk the centrepiece of a cabbage I ate in a glass of water? It grew and has given me some nice leaves so far. I have no real plans for the cabbage other than pick some leaves every now and then, so the caterpillar can stay. Enjoy your meal!

And for PZ, a newly hatched batch of tiny cute orb weaver spiders and their mom hiding in the rosemary. There are many of them around on the balcony, their nets are getting filled with winged aphids!

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See you next time, for hot plant sexy times.


  1. Tethys says

    Wow, you’ve got a huge variety of stuff on the balcony! Hopefully it’s all become a lush jungle of peas and greens.

    I can’t identify the caterpillar, but the aphid ‘husks’ are shed skins. There are parasitic wasps who lay their eggs in aphids, which then become balloons and mummify. The new wasp will leave a small exit hole in their brown dry remains.

    The orange larva is an Aphidoletes. They bite aphids in the knee and drink them, which I’ve always found strangely hilarious.

    From wiki;

    Aphidoletes aphidimyza, commonly referred to as the aphid midge, is a midge whose larvae feed on over 70 aphid species, including the green peach aphid.

  2. avalus says

    Ah, I can comment again. Nice.

    @chigau and Trthys: Thank you!
    The mistery caterpillar is a hoverfly larva, says a biologist I know. They suck aphids dry, but I did not know that when I sent the things to Charly.
    Aside: Aphidoletes would make aphid skyrim in a horror game xD

  3. Tethys says

    a hoverfly larva

    Ah, I did suspect it was not a Lepidoptera species, but the details are too blurry for my crappy eyes.

    I’m glad I’m not an aphid. The lady beetles eat them whole, the wasp larvae consumes them from the inside and uses their corpse as a cocoon, and the Hoverfly and Aphidoletes drink them like a juice box.

    Don’t worry about misspelling my Nym. Modern technology is notorious for auto-mangling any language that isn’t English.

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