The revolution is here: a brand new urban balcony garden

I have always been a rebel. You know, I liked coloring outside of the lines. I liked to explore the woods behind our house and catch butterflies, raise pet mice and chameleons waaayyy more than playing with dolls. Fast forward and you’ll see me getting arrested for civil disobedience at a nuclear rally when I was 20. The list goes on, within my unique perimeters, and at times the very gentle rebel.
Ok, I have ALWAYS loved to cook. My twin sister and I even made wine, by default, one winter – into – spring. More on that experiment in a grapes post, coming soon…
So, being that rebel at heart, when I see articles about neighborhood, homeowner’s association, or city ordinances battling the masses who wish simply to raise vegetables in their front yards, (this family WINS! deservedly) I really become rebellious. For what reasons are these gardens even making ripples? That they go beyond the historical, cultural norms that our society has created? Vegetables should be grown OUT BACK? That makes them seem, well, DIRTY! What could be more beautiful than seeing home owners out creating vegetable beds, carefully tending, watering and then harvesting their own food as you drive down their street? I discovered this family has a blog, you can check it out, too – Ferguson, Missouri resident Karl Tricamo and family at Blessings to them!
As I mentioned last month, my son and daughter in law just moved to their new place in Denver, a second story condo in a really lovely condominium complex, with walking trails, ponds, trees, a little creek and lots of welcome for canine companions – perfect for them. They miss having a yard, but it is working out really well with all the walks everybody gets to go on.  But what about a garden? This past weekend we made a start. Pots, dirt, plants, and an imagination for more. Even on a budget, the heart ravenous to grow can be satiated with a few seedlings. At least this fall.
The most fun was the day cruising likely stores for what we wanted. My son and I easily glide into a comfortable, witty (to us, anyway) repartee using words with the most syllables possible to describe the most mundane things. Such as – getting stuck on Quebec St. in rush hour traffic as we realized we needed one more bag of potting soil from Ace Hardware on Colfax: “If we’re detained on our mission, we do have a supply of pea shoots, lettuce greens and nectarines to sustain us.” “Yes, we will surely survive the journey with these provisions.”…… and so on…and so forth……through traffic, o’er hill and dale, and back home again.
For the autumn growing season, we picked from the nice selection at City Floral  on Kearney St. in Denver. My son chose mixed lettuces, sugar snap peas, chives, and heirloom beet seeds.
baby lettuces and chives through morning sun on the balcony
An urban balcony garden IS revolution. It is a statement to the world, our culture, and our stomachs. Growing vegetables instead of, or along with flowers. Gardens are IN. Pictured below is the ragged summer survivor, still with promise of new growth, flowers and Anaheim chilies we picked up for one dollar at Pete’s, a wonderful market complete with homemade gelato (try the salted caramel with dark chocolate.) We planted the beet seeds around the pepper plant. Ready to harvest in 45 days. Wish them luck!!
The $1 end of season Anaheim chili plant, with heirloom beet seeds planted all around
A balcony garden here, a balcony garden there. Community gardens being filled everywhere, with waiting lists.
A friend sent this out to members of a permaculture group here in Paonia, Colorado. It’s a very inspirational TED talk by a woman from Manchester, England, on how a few citizens started a revolutionary movement in their town: How we can eat our landscapes. They even are planting corn in front of the police station! And this TED talk, from a hilarious, very energized high school teacher from the Bronx on his amazing project, really a must see if you’re in need of hope for our future: The benefits of urban gardens.
And, as of Tuesday, one young couple in Denver began their venture into balcony gardening. No battles to win. No city hall. Just bags of soil to carry up a flight of stairs. I’ll be sure to share with you how it grows.
the balcony takes on a new life!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. I also wanted to mention that Oscar the Cat is already pretty happy with the balcony garden…. he immediately started eating the chives…..hmmmm

  2. plumdirt says:

    How exciting for them! I started my gardening habit on an apartment balcony and even had a small compost as well. I wish them the best of luck and the greatest of satisfaction at the process.

    1. Thank you! Yes it is exciting! My son grew up with various gardens over the years and this will be his first. We talked about them adding their crushed egg shells and coffee grounds around the little plants, and perhaps they’ll get into composting, too. I’ll pass on your good wishes to them ! Thanks again!

  3. Alice says:

    My soil is so poor here that I am revisiting pots as part of the garden. Lovely.

    1. I’m glad to hear you’re doing what you can to garden. Have you tried amending the soil with compost, etc.? We are so blessed in this fertile valley where I live, very grateful.

      1. Alice says:

        I have made about an inch’s progress in 3 summers. Inch by inch.

      2. All the best, Alice! Great perseverance!

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