6 April 2010

2010 - UN International Year of Biodiversity

Biodiversity is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of balconies, but a few pots of compost, some seeds and a little TLC can work wonders.

Last year saw tomatoes, dynamite lettuce, delight lettuce, spinach, plum tomatoes, chives, mint, basil, 3 types of strawberries, Romital hot chilli pepper and Kuros sweet peppers; which is about as diverse a group of plants as your likely to find 15 feet in the air on a sheet of galvanised steel.

Is Elevated Agriculture Bio-Diverse?

Well, that I'm not so sure about.

Do I do anything to encourage or accommodate wildlife?

After much head scratching, I have come to the conclusion that I'm a pretty great kinda guy and am perhaps the king of balcony based biodiversity.

Ok, so I'm not providing a home for the Steve the Urban fox, or Dave the neighbourhood badger, but the pollen found on the pepper and tomatoes flowers were rather popular, has attracted plenty of smaller creatures.

With this in mind, I have chosen to add Borage to this years offerings.

"What's borage?", I hear you ask, according to the Duchy Originals packet, it's bright blue flowers are attractive to bees and its leaves have a crisp cucumber flavour which are great for salads - so edible for me and also for our struggling British honey producers. 'triffic.

In a shock development, one of my chums who we shall henceforth be referred to as "The Birdman", has approached me to grow some dye producing plants for a top secret project, one of his four chosen crops (yet to be divulged) will soon be joining the edibles.

Its a small contribution to the food chain, but the flies attract spiders, the spiders attract birds...well, you get the idea.

All that's left to do now is sit back and wait for Ban Ki-moon to call...


  1. Nice post Chris! And more importantly, you raise some really crucial points, which many of us urban gardeners never even consider.

    I, for one, have been solely focused on growing vegetables on the balcony, with the odd flower thrown in too. Nevertheless, since this year is the International Year of Biodiversity, it makes sense that even us balcony gardeners have a think - after all, we really can make a difference!

    Just a few Borage plants, as you suggest, can attract bees, which is one insect group that desperately needs our help - and if that help means sticking an appealing pot of Borage on the balcony, then so be it!

    Great blog post - I just hope you don't get stung by a bee!

  2. Great blog Chris! I'm just starting out on growing things on my three sunny windowsills so great to see what other people are doing in similar small spaces. Like you I'll be focussing mainly on vegetables but I have got one flower windowbox on the go and yesterday scattered wildflower seeds over it so am hoping to attract the birds and the bees with field poppies, cornflowers, shasta daisies and corn marigolds!