C really enjoys gardening, but being in Paris, our options are somewhat limited. We've had a few plants here and there for the past two years, but this year he wanted to expand. Our balcony is very long and narrow, so I bought him this book for his birthday in order to help him optimize it:
First we have the flowers - tulips, irises (bloomed in Feb/March), Lily of the Valley, pansies and orange daisies (yet to come).
The Kale Project and cherry tomatoes (yes, I do know that tomatoes aren't technically a vegetable).
Pots and window boxes can be quite expensive in France, so given the number of them we needed, we bought most of ours used either on Craig's List or LeBonCoin. A few of them came with the necessary hanging baskets, but some didn't - and buying new ones was pretty pricey, so C decided to make his own with some fencing materials. I immediately had thoughts of them falling off the balcony and on to pedestrians below, but so far, they seem pretty sturdy. There has already been an increased number of birds swooping around though, so we've also purchased some netting in order to keep any greedy little buggers away once the fruits start growing.
Because the book advised different soils for different plants, we've also been slowly accumulating different kinds over the winter. A trip to the sea? The perfect opportunity to scoop up some sand and rocks. A walk in the forest? Let's pick up some pine needles while we're at it. A day in the countryside? Let's dig up some dirt out of a field. (We also purchased a bag of regular dirt at a gardening store).
I should mention too that we don't have full rows of plants - there is probably about an average of 4-5 planted per type. So with the exception of the blueberries, we're not going to feed ourselves for a year or anything, but it's still fun to be able to pick something right out of the garden and cook with what we've grown.
I think I'll probably post a few pictures at the end of the summer with our harvest, to show how successful (or not) we have been. In the meantime, if you meet C, be sure to ask him about his garden. He goes to see it the minute he gets home and spends a lot of time out there making sure everything is going okay. I swear, his "babies" are almost getting more attention than I am!