Gardening, has always been an interest of mine and have often imagined having a garden. In 2016, in Abuja, Nigeria, I started the journey when I rented an apartment with a balcony. I grew tomatoes, radish, lettuce and peppers in containers. Unfortunately, they didn’t survive. The weather was too hot, and I didn’t water them as frequently as I should. I tried again the following year, with a bit more success.
Fast forward to 2022, in Berlin, with a bigger balcony, I decided it was the right time to grow a lot of vegetables and experiment with the weather in Berlin.
This post is coming a bit too late, given it’s August and I have been harvesting quite from my garden since July. Nonetheless, I wanted to share my journey as an amateur gardener learning along the way.
The goal for 2022 was to grow all the crops I was interested in, figure out how to take care of them, and decide what I’d grow moving on. I started 90% of the crops indoors in May. Some grew faster and were hard to manage indoors since they couldn’t be put out due to the cold weather.
Here’s a list of all the plants I’m growing on my balcony (in containers) in 2022.
Salads and Brassicas
Salad Mix: I tried different salad varieties from seed. They grew very fast and I harvested most before could go out.
Kopfsalat (head salad): This salad was a joy to grow and I harvested it throughout spring. It was tasty and kept growing as I harvested. I am looking forward to growing it again in fall, and is number one on my list of salads (lettuces) to grow.
Endive Lettuce: I enjoyed growing this endive lettuce. It grew fast and really well indoors and outdoors. I harvested as much as possible before it bloomed due to the intense heat this summer. The leaves get really bitter when it starts blooming so I decided to let it bloom to attract bees.
Feld Salad: This was my first time seeing this salad. It came in the salad mix I bought so I decided to try it. It’s quite easy to grow and maintain. I didn’t enjoy eating it very much, but it looks quite good. I have let it continue to grow and bloom to attract pollinators. It has started giving of seeds which I will collect for planting in autumn or the next season.
Wild Italian Rucola (Rocket Salad): I am actually not a fan of this salad because it’s often bitter, but it came in the seedling box so I decided to try it, and I was pleasantly surprised. It tasted really good with mild and subtle flavour. Very different from what I taste in the restaurant. It’s possible it becomes bitter the longer it grows. I harvest it often and do not let it get close to blooming.
Mini Pak-Choi: These were amazing to grow in late spring to early summer, and I got an amazing harvest. They quickly bolted during the summer heat, but wasn’t an issue since I had a lot of recurring harvest throughout late spring.
Radish: Grew in early spring and harvested right before summer.
Ox Hear Cabbage:
Wild Purple Basil: This basil variety is very easy to grow and has a very strong and exceptional strong and minty basil smell. It grows and blooms very fast when the weather gets warmer. It’s easily propagated via cuttings and I currently have 5 containers from a tiny cutting over wintered from 2021. This is one of my favourite herbs and would highly recommend. Here’s a link to the plant.
Russian Shrub Basil: Another amazing basil variety which grows abundantly. This basil has a very strong, but pleasant basil scent. Making pesto is a must with this basil.
Common Basil: Not sure what this is called, but it’s the most common basil variety in Germany and probably the whole of Europe. It also grows abundantly but not as much as the previous two. It doesn’t branch out as much and I have to grow a lot of seedlings to harvest throughout the season.
Sage: Another amazing herb! It smells and tastes good.
Citrus Thyme: Love this thyme. It smells and tastes refreshing and grows abundantly. The variety I’m growing is like a carpet and easily takes over space.
Parsely: This is the second year I have struggled growing parsely. Despite good weather and soil. The growth often becomes stunted.
Arabic Tea Mint: This mint variety is subtle, and pleasant, but still has a strong mint flavour. The leaves are a bit dark and tastes great when used as tea.
Moroccan Mint: Has a very strong mint smell and grows endlessly.
Chamomile: Not sure if this is a herb, but I love me some chamomile tea.
Jiaogulan: Jiaogulan is a dioecious, herbaceous climbing vine of the family Cucurbitaceae widely distributed in South and East Asia as well as New Guinea (wikipedia). I use it for tea. It’s slightly bitter, but I find the bitterness to be very subtle .
Vegetables and Fruits
Cherry Tomatoes: Lots of different cherry tomatoes. I started them indoors and transplanted 5 seedlings into separate containers. I am extremely happy with how well they are doing and continue to give tomatoes every day!
Black Cherry Tomatoes: I bought these tomatoes from a supermarket and a kilogram was very expensive so I saved the seeds and grew them. I transplanted 3 seedlings.
Muchamiel Tomatoes: These are the bigger tomatoe variety in the garden. They have been growing so well and quite large. I am looking forward to the first harvest.
Sugar Snap Peas
Cayenne Chilli Pepper
Mini-mint Green Peppers
Large Green Peppers
Ecuador Chili (Purple)
Ecuador Chili (Lemon Drop – Hot Lemon)
Different Sunflower varieties
I have learnt a lot from growing many vegetables in 2021. This will enable me define what I want to grow next year. With Autumn here, my plants are slowly dying, and I am ushering in new crops which can withstand the cold. Mostly some brassicas and peas.