Thursday, 29 July 2010

Balcony Pickings

So how much food can we realistically get from the balcony? It's a question that often crosses my mind. I'm not one to think in terms of yield or how can I get more but at the end of the day I am growing edibles. Yes, I enjoy the growing part the most if I didn't get anything to eat I'd be wondering what I did wrong. It's also the question that we get asked by friends and family curious to know if our odd patch of green is worth is after all. The short answer is yes.

In the long answer you'd need to know our goals for the balcony. Basically in summer I expect to be able to eat one meal from the balcony a week. Mostly it's stir fries with greens and/or beans. It's simple, infinitely adaptable and the quick cooking highlights the taste of the fresh veg. Last night I had one with asparagus pea, French beans, and pac choi with some cubes of deep fried tofu.

Sometimes it turns into another meal with slightly more special ingredients. Like the Strawberry Crapes and, less often we end up with something to preserve and use for the rest of the year like the shallots or tomatoes.

I also have a big salad for lunch at least once a week. Lettuce for burgers and sandwiches and almost all of our culinary herbs are picked from our balcony. The basil we buy in, the coriander needs supplementing and the bay is foraged but apart from that.

For us it's totally worth it. Knowing there is lemon grass above the kitchen sink and all the lettuce I want out side is fantastic. So we're happy to put in the work (that we enjoy anyway) and loose the space for an outside table and we're lucky enough to have the time, the money and the conditions on our side.

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