I almost forgot how fun gardening was until I found this rooftop garden project in Canada in the internet. Initially, I wanted to make my hydroponic installation at my balcony (I’m always interested in growing crops hydroponically), but it turned out that it was more costly than I thought. So I scrapped the idea and moved into conventional gardening: pot, dirt, and compost, at balcony 60 meter above the ground of Bangkok.
So, I bought the materials: tomato and chili pepper seeds. Is that it? For now yes. The grand plan was: make the seedling myself. While waiting for the seeds to grow root and shoot, I could then buy other materials: compost and coco peat, and recycle some things from kitchen. The latter ended up with me cutting the top of the 6 liter mineral water bottles (they were used, not new). They were going to be perfect for potting.
I had confidence that I could ideally provide the perfect environment for germination of my tomato and chili seeds. I had ever grown chili, corn, eggplant, and countless ornamental plants in my campus back in 2000-2002. But, this time, after my hands cleaned from dirt and manure for many years, the confidence faded away as the seeds were staying hibernated after almost 2 weeks. In easy term, I was failed. Not completely, but failed.
Refused to give up and refused to delay picking ripe tomatoes from my balcony any further, I went to Chatuchak weekend market and bought tomato, chili pepper, and thai basil seedlings. Well, for the tomato and chili, they were not seedlings per se. You know why? Fruits had popped out among the leaves! I would say they were teenager seedlings. Price? Descent 25 baht per seedling.
Oya, for your info, Chatuchak can be your good friend to fix your ruined plan as it provides almost everything. It has many kinds of crops seedlings, countless numbers of flowers, fertilizers, compost, many other kinds of mediums, and gardening tools. There is a good and complete gardening store near book section, across the message shop, not far from MRT Kampengphaet station.
Coming home, gardening started, balcony ruined. I mixed the compost and coco peat, and transplanted the teenagers into the reused water bottle. All actions took place at my 3×1 square meter balcony. I had a feeling that within a week or two, I could harvest tomatoes grown by my own hands. That was a good feeling indeed, the feeling that my wife sometimes jealous of (she does not mean it off course).
Finally, the time arrived. After 2 weeks nurturing those crops I was ready to pick my first tomato as the teenager had now grown up. I let the chili, basil, and morning glory (oh, I forgot to mention that I grow it too) free as they were not ready for harvest. But they were just about to see their neighbor delivered the first crop to the owner, me, and so it would motivate them to produce quicker.
I’d been waiting for this maiden harvest. It was a bright morning. The balcony wind was gentle. The stage was ready. I prepared a short speech for the audience.
At 8.00 am sharp, I delivered the speech to the attendees, my green friends: Mr. Chili Pepper, Mrs. Basil, and a bunch of Ms. Morning Glory. They were as enthusiastic as myself celebrating the day. Mrs. Tomato stood a bit further from the audience, showcased its beautiful yellow flowers, and was ready to hand its ripe fruits to me. Not long, with a help of a cutter, I pick my first reddish tomatoes and the crowd cheered and applauded. Some of them could not hold their joyful tears. It was so emotional moment…
Now, weeks after that happy day, I’m seeing outside to my balcony and finding my green pals are standing there still. Mrs. Tomato is producing more and more fruit nowadays after I feed her with her favorite guano. Mr. Chili is in a bad shape as it is badly attacked by irresponsible aphids but I’m still taking care of him calmly (thankfully he shows a sign of recovery). Mrs. Basil has been giving me her young leaves which end up on delicious spaghetti made by my wife, giving a stronger yet unique taste to the cuisine. Ms. Morning Glory and her siblings is continuously support me in giving the vitamin and fiber me and my wife need. It is not to mention how many carbon around us that they’ve absorbed and a psychological joy and peace they’ve given us. What a family we have here….