Time To Garden – A Plant Update

May 2015: Tomato plants to give away.

May 2015: Tomato plants to give away.

I've been meaning to update you on my current plant family for quite some time and, after finally repotting our tomatoes last weekend, I think it's time I shed some light on the situation. Thanks to the internet and numerous blogs, it's very easy to get inspired these days – but said inspiration comes with a downside: Everything online looks so effortless and perfect and makes you yearn for more, for better. So it may come as no surprise that I would like nothing more than a flat whose windows face slightly further south and which comes with a balcony. Alas, why bother?! We're perfectly happy here (for now), and can't afford to move to trendier parts, so we are taking matters into our own hands and are creating a garden on our windowsills.

May 2015: Chilli seedlings ready for repotting.

May 2015: Chilli seedlings ready for repotting.

May 2015: Chilli seedlings ready for repotting.

May 2015: Chilli seedlings ready for repotting.

May 2015: Chilli seedlings in their new homes.

May 2015: Chilli seedlings in their new homes.

I'm by no means a gardening expert – I would leave such a feat to my mum who's a passionate gardener and knows her way around greenery and shrubs – but there is something very rewarding about seeing your plants grow and figuring out what they need.

This year, apart from tomato seeds, we also planted chilli seeds, as well as experimenting with growing lemon and orange plants. Avocados have so far been a failure – does anyone have any tips?! – but my lemons were thriving, until a spout of greenfly wiped out all but one (the last little survivor can be admired in the image below.)

July 2015: Our window box & pot tomato plants and a tiny lemon seedling.

July 2015: Our window box & pot tomato plants and a tiny lemon seedling.

Over the past few months, I've been nagging my boyfriend to finally build us three more window boxes, made from the wooden pallets we used to sleep on. Last week, they were finally completed and we spent last Sunday relocating all the plants into their allocated boxes.

May 2015: Chilli seedlings in their new homes.

May 2015: Chilli seedlings in their new homes.

July 2015: Tomato plants to give away and a chilli plant in its new home.

July 2015: Tomato plants to give away and a chilli plant in its new home.

After gifting away well over twenty tomato plants, I can safely say that swapping plants is a great way of sharing. I find the idea of my friends growing and eating tomatoes that I've grown from seeds both rewarding and endearing. 

July 2015: Our herb garden in the kitchen: Lemon thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, basil and chives. Moroccan mint in the bucket.

July 2015: Our herb garden in the kitchen: Lemon thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, basil and chives. Moroccan mint in the bucket.

Of course, our flat wouldn't be complete without at least one window box full of herbs! And what a difference those plants have made to our meals – I add thyme, oregano and rosemary to just about any dish I make, be it a salad or some oven-roast vegetables. In case you're wondering why the mint is all by itself in a small bucket: Mint tends to grow strong roots and take over as much space as you grant it. To avoid it killing off the other herbs, we're keeping it in a separate pot.

July 2015: Our bee-friendly plants and flowers in a window-box by the sofa. Our cacti and aloe vera plant catching some evening sunshine.

July 2015: Our bee-friendly plants and flowers in a window-box by the sofa. Our cacti and aloe vera plant catching some evening sunshine.

July 2015: A close-up of our petrorhagia saxifraga (a type of coronation) and lavender.

July 2015: A close-up of our petrorhagia saxifraga (a type of coronation) and lavender.

Last but not least: The bee-friendly window, by far my favourite – not only, because it is situated by my favourite space in the flat. Filled with two different varieties of lavender (one of which survived the frosty winter), a euphorbia variety, 'Diamond Frost', and some Alpine flowers, it is hopefully going to turn into a primer bee-watching spot soon.

And that concludes this little garden update. Do you have any plants at your home and perhaps even some growing or natural pest-control tips for me? I'm opposed to using chemicals and soap, as I don't want to harm any bees and want to eat my herbs & tomatoes without worries, so any insights and tips are more than welcome!

Lilly Wolf