Saturday, May 7, 2011

Balcony Garden Week 2: Strawberries

One of my all-time favourite Summer activities is to visit our local Farmer's Market.  In my case that would be Toronto's Brickworks Farmer's Market and with each weekend visit I fall more and more in love with it.  I love the scenery, being outdoors among nature at 7am, visiting the friendly vendors, and sensing that true feeling of what it means to be in a community.

Last week Mike and I started our balcony garden, a.k.a. urban garden, planting lettuce, kale and field greens seeds in long trays.  We also bought a mint, basil, spinach, and green onion plant.  As first time city gardeners we were ecstatic to see first signs lettuce and kale sprouts - I believe I literally screamed with excitement!

As we were even more excited to see how far we can go with our balcony garden, we decided to make another weekend visit to Brickworks (which will likely turn into a weekly event for the summer) and see what else we can plant.

The Brickworks market has really come a long way since I've started visiting just over two years ago, which is not that long really, but they expanded a lot, built an entire indoor market next to their summer outdoor market.  They also have some of the best organic and locally grown produce and plants to choose from.

From what I've seen in past years they have also expanded to include more locally made and prepared packaged foods, sauces, creams, drinks, etc. and crafts and books about gardening, particularly city gardening.

On today's agenda: Strawberries! Here I'm trying to pick out the best ones, at least in my opinion.

After riding through the muddy Moore Ravine (for the second time) to get home, with muddy pants and tired feet I was determined to get re-potting ... and I did!

Our strawberry plant's new home.

Our balcony garden: A work in progress.  We also re-potted chives and rosemary and planted pea sprouts today.  Can't wait to see what week three will bring!

Starting your own balcony garden can be fun and perhaps easier than you might think. It's a healthy challenge that can really teach us to appreciate our food especially when we see the amount of time and work goes into growing it!

Besides receiving some wonderful tips from Aaron at the market's Organic Garden Centre, I also did some research online and found some great books to help us get started, such as Susan Berry's Kitchen Harvest: A Cook's Guide to Growing Organic Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs in Containers.

Are you growing an urban garden?
Know any great tips or tricks you'd love to share? 

I would love to hear them, please leave a comment :)


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