2023 Balcony Garden Update

My 2023 Balcony Garden Update

I mentioned earlier this year that I hadn’t been planning on having a garden this year, but I’m so glad I changed my mind and went ahead with planting a few things. My garden isn’t very elaborate or productive, but it’s so satisfying to see things grow.

You can check out how I started my garden in my 2023 Balcony Garden Post.

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Balcony garden planters
How things started on my balcony

What I’ve been growing in my balcony garden

This year I went simple with my garden and tried to use up the seeds that I had from last year. I didn’t want to make a huge investment of money this year because last year’s garden didn’t produce enough to make that worth it.

I’ve been trying to grow:

How things have been going on my balcony garden

Things in my balcony garden haven’t been much different than last year with respects to productivity, but I have been able to harvest a few small things.

Beets, Radishes, and Basil

My beets and radishes grow an impressive amount of greenery, but don’t ever seem to produce fruit. I assume this is due to some issues with the soil, but I’m not motivated enough at this point to try and figure out the solution. It was worth a try to grow them again since I had the seeds, but I did not get rewarded with any fresh produce from the attempt.

I planted basil because it tends to grow really well no matter where I plant it and this year was no exception! My only problem is that I don’t ever remember to use the basil from my balcony because I don’t often cook with it. Even so, it’s still satisfying to see something grow so well!


I didn’t expect my kale plant to keep surviving after I chopped off the tops to get rid of the dying flowers, but it did! Unfortunately the plant became home to a number of aphids and a little caterpillar that munched away at the plant, but they eventually moved onto a different home and I was able to use a few small leaves for a pot of vegetable soup. None of my new kale plants grew, which is likely due to the mischievous Stellar Jays burying their peanuts in my planters and disturbing the seeds.

If my kale plant flowers again, I’m going to try to save the seeds from it. I was introduced to this concept by Cecilia who commented on my first garden post for this season. Here is what she has to say about saving seeds:

First off choose your best performing plants and mark them.

For the kale and peas – let them go to seed and let the seeds dry on the plants. Keep watering as usual you want the seed dry not dead. If you are only growing one variety there is no need to bag them.

Once dry pop the seeds into a well labeled paper bag and into a glass jar. If there is no condensation in the jar you know they are dry enough to seal. Store very cool.

Thank you for the reminder to make a seed saving post – or at least begin a seed saving chapter in the posts.

Nothing happens overnight in a garden as you know. And I love saving seeds!

Snap Peas

Even though my harvests are relatively small, I feel very rewarded by my snap pea plants. I planted in two locations on my balcony, but one must have had too much sun as the plants stayed small and did not produce any peas. The other plant was in a shadier spot and produced a small, steady stream of peas for me for a few weeks.


Cucumbers are one that I get really excited and hopeful for. When my first sprout popped up I was like a proud parent and when the first flower appeared I couldn’t contain my excitement! I did have some worry, though, about whether I would get both male and female flowers to be able to pollinate the plant.

Eventually I did get both flowers and did some hand pollinating, but what was even more exciting was seeing bees start to land on my plants. I hadn’t seen that last year and I wonder if it is because the plants grew quite tall this year and the yellow flowers were more visible over the railing. Whatever the reason, I was so happy to see little bumble bees stop for a snack!

There are not too many cucumbers growing, but there are a few that have grown quite large. I’m waiting to pick them a bit longer to see if they grow a bit more. I picked them too early last year, so I’m trying to be a bit more patient this year.


I tried to keep my garden a little more colourful this year both to enjoy seeing the flowers and in the hopes of attracting some pollinators. I found some marigold seeds in a free little library, so grew one plant from seed. I also purchased some other pretty plants to place around my balcony–some survided well and some didn’t, but I enjoyed them while they lasted.

2023 Gardens

While it again hasn’t been a very successful year with respects to having large harvests of food, it has been so satisfying to see my plants grow. I’ve enjoyed tending to my garden and it truly is great for my mental health to dig into the soil and do some gardening. Every year I learn a little bit more and, while I’m no where near a very knowledgeable gardener, I’m really happy at how my confidence has grown over the last few years of attempting to grow my own food.

How has your garden been growing this year? Have you had some good harvests already?


  • Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader)

    This year I relocated my tomato plants to a sunny corner of the garden because of the construction happening on our deck. They have done very well. I might put them there next year too. I also have a couple of pepper plants that are thriving with a couple of nice sized peppers almost ripe.

  • Kevin Foodie

    Congrats on the success of your balcony garden. Last year, my Indoor garden was bit of a success. But this year is a flop. The extented cold weather and indoor heat here in NYC were not condusive to start the garden on time. Better luck next year to our grow your own initiatives. Thanks for sharing your garden story.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Thanks! Growing a little garden has certainly given me a bigger awareness of the changing weather from year to year. It can make or break a garden’s success for a season. Here’s hoping next year is a success!

  • Stephanie Francis

    Yum! Those snap peas are making me hungry just looking at them. Food that you grow yourself is always more satisfying (and doesn’t come in gross toxic packaging). A plastic owl would probably keep those mischeivious Jays away (unless, of course, you enjoy their antics).

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Right?! Homegrown food is so satisfying!
      I’ll have to give the plastic owl trick a try next year. Their antics were enjoyable at first, but I think I’ve enjoyed it enough now haha.

  • Andrea Hunt

    This is so cool! Love seeing the veggies and flowers you chose. This is great how you set this up on your balcony I’ve been thinking about doing this as well. thanks for sharing!

  • Molly | Transatlantic Notes

    I always read people’s garden updates with such joy as it’s something I would love to do (one day I will have a garden or area/balcony where I can grow things). It seems like the kale was quite hardy even if it did end up being home/food to little critters for a while! It seems like you have such a lovely array of lovely things!

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!