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Working full time and managing a garden, even if it’s just a little balcony garden, is proving to be rather more difficult than I ever imagined. During the week we pedal out just as the sun’s coming up and it’s dark before we even leave the office. I’ve become the crazy lady muttering amongst her pot plants in the dead of night armed with a watering can and a torch.

When the weekend rocks around I can’t wait to be out of my bed and into the dirt ones outside my window. This morning I spent a good couple of hours watering, pruning and planting. Following instructions isn’t one of my strong points and quite a few of the little crops I planted at the end of summer never really took off and the beans I tried to grow out of season a few weeks ago struggled on for a bit, but eventually died of cold, poor things. After consulting my gardening books, I buried my dead and have planted peas (turns out march wasn’t the right time for them), roquette (which I tried and failed to grow before, not sure how this lot will go) and some blue pimpernels to add a little more colour come spring.

Living in an apartment block, composting is tricky. My solution is to return the pruned off cuts to the soil, except when they’re diseased. I’m hoping that and fertiliser will be enough to keep my plants relatively healthy until we can move into a proper house and not worry about stinking out the neighbours.

There’s been a few outbreaks of pests and diseases too. My silverbeet and beetroot are being taken over by white powdery mildew and my chilli bush, which burst into flower out of nowhere last weekend has been viciously attacked by aphids.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The silverbeet I’m growing in pots is doing very well indeed – we may even have some as a side with dinner tonight and my two cherry tomato bushes seem confused about the season, poor dears. One’s branches are breaking under all the ripening fruit while the other is flowering for the fourth time since spring. While most of the beans are slowly dying off, the broad beans are going strong. They are turning into absolute monsters. My flowers are also flowers are also doing extremely well. This morning I discovered the first of the Primula Lollipops blooming with tiny purple flowers, and it looks like there’s more on the way. The pansies look like grumpy old men, and there’s more of them every time I look.

First of the pimula lollipops starting to bloom

Casualties of the dreaded white powdery mildew

Summer fruits in June?!

Grumpy old men

More grumpy old men

Sutera codata: possibly my favourite flower in the garden.

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