Wind is the enemy of every balcony gardener. It dries out the soil in your pots, burns leaves and causes flower buds to drop prematurely.
The wind has been particularly troublesome on the 13th floor of late - summer storms, tropical gusts, and some ferocious northerlies have battered the edibles leaving this gardener in a state of constant fret! What with the caterpillar attacks on the basil, peppers and strawberries, aphids on all the flower buds and D-Day-style ambushes by some leaf-sappers on the eggplants, I haven't had a wink of sleep. Fortunately the Pest Oil, and companion planting seem to be slowly working and a host of predators including a troop of praying mantises have been helping man the battlelines.
Never underestimate the huge forces of nature that can be at play on the most innocuous of balconies.
It's a war out there.
The three red horn pepper plants have taken a battering with only three flowers making it to fruiting stage so far.
But what whoppers they are!
They are easily going to be the length of my hand when they're fully matured.
Fortunately this pepper flower somehow managed to survive last night's storm.
The eggplant is sustaining more attacks than Peter Garrett
The white papery spots and patches were caused by little leaf-sapping flies and the large holes have been chomped by caterpillars.
Somehow the flowerbuds have remained intact and the first one flowered yesterday.
It is quite large with gossamer thin mauve petals
Quite beautiful really
After a week of settling in the edbile herb wall hasn't fared too badly. The winds have belted it around but all the plants are establishing roots and new shoots.
The longer-leafed varieties have fared the worst - particularly the sorrel. The Japanese greens which are too-deep rooted for a vertical wall went to flower straightaway so I've replanted it in a pot.
The lettuces, chives and mints seems to be faring the best.
Of course when I get a bit despondent about the wind and the pests I turn to the happy faces of the nasturtiums....
With their big bright open flowers.....
everything seems right with the world and I live to fight another day!