where there’s a will there’s a way

At our previous [much-loved & still missed after 3 years] apartment we had not a lot of space but conducive enough environment at least to grow a few pots of culinary herbs, and flowers.

Our current apartment features generous balcony space with sunny north-east aspect but overlooks a city train line, the ballast dust from which means nothing survives other than succulents, and hardy geraniums that have few flowers but which I maintain as it appears the leaves are a desirable food source for caterpillars… that the native Noisy Miner birds enjoy… every thing has to eat.

Hardy city apartment balcony potted garden… train line in the background

During last month’s necessities trip to the supermarket I spotted a Jamie’s Garden Mini Green House for kids on sale for $5.  The G.O. watched with amusement as I spent a fun Sunday morning hour assembling it, applying stickers and planting way too many seeds onto the coir matt. My logic was the roof of the greenhouse would keep out the nasty ballast. And sure enough, within days there were tiny sprouts of green.

It started with Jamie's Garden... and wouldn't have been right without stickers
It started with Jamie’s Garden… and wouldn’t have been right without stickers

Of course, this success this wasn’t sufficient so running with it I purchased one, then another, big clear plastic storage tub with lid that I employed the G.O. to cut flaps in… I’m banned from very sharp implements due to my cack-handedness. I assembled odd containers and potting mix, added seeds to finally create a modest, but oh so gratifying to a frustrated gardener, productive edible space.

Tubs planted with pots of watercress, basil, rocket, mixed herbs, spinach, parsley, cress and coriander

The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee

34 thoughts on “where there’s a will there’s a way

  1. I can understand how satisfying it must be. What a good use of those tubs — clever you! The Jamie Oliver greenhouses are very cute, but your tubs are far more inventive.


  2. Well played. That’s a great idea.I confess I’d be tempted to leave one plant out to keep the caterpillars and miner birds coming. I can’t think of another way I’d get a bird at my age.
    xxx Mega Hugs xxx


    1. Thank you 🙂 Up until now I have been making do with buying pots of kitchen herbs, utilising the complex’s communal herb garden offerings – never reliable, and contributing to the financial viability of Newtown Garden Centre via my trial and mostly error efforts.


    1. True… I had considered a small greenhouse from Bunnings but while the balcony is fairly spacious, it’s not that big and that option I decided would be cumbersome & overkill. This was a simple see how it goes exercise. I can also see how in the future it would be good for growing micro salad and sprouting seedlings at TA during the frosty winters.


  3. Kudos for greening your balcony successfully and usefully . . . . am certain you can dream ahead for when you will have all the room in the world up north 🙂 ! Am so spoilt by golden silence here in the bush that, methinks, trains rushing past would take awhile to be absorbed into an unheard outside world . . .


    1. It’s amazing how much we missed those few pots of herbs and flowers we were able to have at the old apartment, and the relative silence. And no, you wouldn’t, we haven’t ever gotten accustomed to the noise. Trips away to the country are all the sweeter for the silence.


  4. What a fabulous idea.
    I seem to be growing all my veggies for the local slugs (I’m sure there’s a signpost directing them to ‘Vic’s Diner’), perhaps I need to take a leaf out of your book 😀


    1. Thank you 🙂 Good point. Despite the rail ballast, and my best efforts with the potted plants we still have caterpillars and aphids. Hopefully the tubs will be a barrier, for me, and for you 🙂


  5. Wow… now that is enterprising times 10! Well done. And an added benefit is that you keep the snails, slugs and other nasties out as well. I’m so impressed I’ve started casting greedy eyes at a couple of my big storage tubs…. 😀


    1. I dream of a lovely glass greenhouse but if a tubs are a workable reality I’m prepared to set aside my delusions of grandeur and go with practical, and cheap 🙂


      1. I’m definitely going to give it a try with my lettuce. When I first grew lettuce on my deck there were no snails. Now the little bastards have learned where the good stuff is and I have to pick them off everything. :/


        1. Pour the snails a beer… in a deep container or pot saucer. They will flock to it, drink and drown. Or you could get ducks, or persuade a blue tongue lizzie to hang out 🙂


        2. I like the sound of that but methinks I’d need a bath tub full of beer. Last year we seemed to have a plague of them and I’ve already found heaps wintering over in my vegie garden.


    1. We have no shortage of plastic tubs, and washing baskets for storage. Handily they fit under the bed in our space lacking apartment. I find the lids are quite fragile, so maybe you could put spare lidless clear tubs over the garden plants to protect them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 Cack-handedness… 25 years later the scar near my left hand first knuckle where the knife went to the bone while cutting up pumpkin remains as a reminder…


  6. Brilliant! There is definitely a plant for every position but you’ve excelled yourself with this lot. What a great idea to use the plastic tubs.


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