Reply To: Growing 20: Reflections

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Through the years I have been trying to grow plants from cuts and from seeds, some were more successful than others. When I moved to my current house in Amsterdam, I’ve tried to grow plants in my balcony, sunny bedroom windowsill and, more recently in my small elevated bed kitchen planter. The 2nd and 3rd options were more successful, as my balcony is turned south and extremely windy, so dealing with this erosion has been my major challenge.

This module gave me new ideas and made me try new exciting things. I especially enjoyed making a planner, learning about perennials, plant guilds, themes, wildlife needs, kokedame and moss, I also have joined the FB for Amsterdam Guerilla Gardening.

I tried to grow plants from cuttings, which worked best for geranium, lavender and thai basil. I have also been making new plants from organic kitchen herbs bought in the supermarket. Peppermint, parsley and rosemary did very well but basil seams to always wither suddenly or is attacked by pests.

For some strange reason, I’ve always bought or swap seeds and never thought about harvesting and gathering them. This caused a great impact on me: strange how I never realised that this is the most natural, practical and economical practice! For sure I will start harvesting and collecting seeds from now on. Chilly, bell pepper and 2 avocado plants that grew from gathered seeds (plus 2 other sprouting now) are doing well. I’ve tried to grow lemon and tomato from seed but I wasn’t successful (maybe next year). Ginger is growing in my balcony from root and I can just see its first sprouts. Next, I am going to try to grow a mango plant.

I feel now more connected to the wheel of the year, the cycles of nature and to the local flora and fauna. I started being more aware of the needs of insects, especially the local bees. This is a subject of paramount importance that I would like to learn more about. I’ve included food, shelter and water in my little balcony to invite them in.

I thought about building a herb tower and wall of herbs to hang indoors from my ceilings and walls but ended up giving up on the idea as they are both too thin and unreliable.

I still dream about building a herb spiral but I don’t know where. After all, it is said that if your herb spiral is far enough to make your slippers dirty, it is located too far!