A large part of being healthy is eating healthy, as I have slowly learned over the years. So, this year, I decided I would try and grow some of my own vegetables.
I live in a four-floor townhouse in the city. I don’t have a yard, but I do have 2 balconies and a small cement pad. I decided to use that to my full advantage and start some potted veggies on those. I have planted carrots, tomatoes and herbs, with the hope to add beans very soon. I have a few pots on each balcony, but the one that is the most successful is the upper balcony just off of the main bedroom. It gets the morning sun and has a huge pine tree that protects my plants from too much wind. Rain is tricky. During rain storms I often have to bring some of the pots to the lower balcony, which is situated directly below the top balcony and offers more wind, hail and heavy rain protection. I guess that is one advantage to a potted garden. I have expanded this year and it is still a work in progress. As people in Calgary know, the planting season is short, and you can only really plant outside after May Long Weekend- it always snows and the danger of frost doesn’t pass until after that weekend. So, for us here in Calgary, the planting season has only just begun. I am planning to buy established plants for the empty pots and tend to them for the next few months of the growing season.
As a kind of experiment, I tried growing potatoes on the top balcony this year. Cuz, why not, right? Josh and I opened our cupboard to find that the potatoes had grown eyes and roots because we had left them too long. That will teach me for moving them to a dark top shelf. They weren’t mushy, so we thought, “Can’t we grow these? They are practically growing in here already!”
I quickly googled how to grow potatoes in small spaces. I used a little bit of information from all of them. Some of the ones that I came across and read were:
Unsure that it would work, I just grabbed an opaque reusable shopping bag, threw in some dirt and covered those bad boys. Then I left them. I forgot about them. I checked in a couple weeks and they had grown small green plants! It said to keep covering with soil as they got taller, and I did at first. I watered and covered with dirt and repeated. Then, eventually, I left them alone. I shoved the bag in to a corner of the balcony and kind of forgot about it.
Fast forward a few weeks, and the family and I were outside tie-dying some shirts. I looked over at the shopping bag and, my goodness, it was full of lush green plants. I looked inside the bag and the dirt was dry. I laughed and said to Josh, these are probably just weeds!
I pulled one of the stems and it was stuck in the soil, so I tugged a bit harder and what came out? A potato! It was small and round, but it was the perfect potato! I dug around and found 2 more. I got excited. I definitely sowed them too early as they were a bit tough inside, but they grew!! In a corner of my balcony, in a shopping bag that I cut drainage holes into the bottom of, with very little fussing. Wow.
Well, now I am excited to try again, with a lot of fussing. I plan to research a little further and make a proper bag for them so that I can grow more of them, and have enough space so I can allow them to get larger. I have found a great site that can teach me more on how to grow potatoes, which I intend to use to the fullest.
I can’t wait to bake some on the BBQ. Maybe I will serve them with our new favourite side, the purple cabbage that Josh served last night with crusted halibut.
My kids normally ignore cabbage and hate it. They complain about the texture, the strong taste, the amount they have to chew….anything they can think of, really. But last night Josh whipped up some cabbage that they loved. Three helpings adored. It was hard to get a photo before it was all gone! Since we all loved it so much, I wanted to share the “recipe” with you. It’s more of a method, actually, and depends on how much cabbage you intend on using. If you are making one to two servings, you can just drizzle these ingredients on.
Honeyed Purple Cabbage
2 parts Olive Oil
2 parts Red Wine Vinegar
1 part Honey
Salt, to taste
Whisk above ingredients in a small bowl.
Lightly boil or steam the cabbage until tender. Add dressing from small bowl and mix in.
Let sit for two minutes and enjoy!
That’s it! It is that simple and incredibly delicious.
Going back to gardens, I am getting some major inspiration from The Jungalow (@thejungalow) feed and the Alberta Gardens (@albertagardens) feed on Instagram. Especially @jamesipy’s impressive balcony garden. I could never keep up that scale, but it definitely inspires me. He is lucky to live somewhere that you can garden all year round.
So that is today’s Friday health feed. I hope you have a great weekend. We are finally going to get some rain today, I believe!