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The basics for a complete newbie…

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    I have just started a potted garden on my balcony (again). Notorious for my black thumb, I need some advice.

    I have planted carrot, corriander, and several types of lettuce seeds. I also have a choc-mint plant I bought as a small plant.

    How often should I water? How can I tell if the soil is moist enough?

    I’m sure I’ll have more questions as time goes on…




    Hi Liz

    I’m not a gardener (Scarecrow is, I’m just the cook) but she told me the best way to test to see if the soil is wet/damp is to stick your finger in the soil at least a couple of inches down and see if the soil sticks to your pinky :confused:

    S’pose if it sticks the soil is damp 😀

    Regards 😉


    Of course if the wet finger trick is not to your taste :confused:there are some quite cheap moisture testing probes on the market that do quite a good job. Check your local hardware or nursery.


    Liz, water with a fine spray mist every day, even twice a day to keep the seeds moist. The seeds should not dry out until they germinate. They don’t have to be wet, just moist. Good luck. 🙂


    I have brown thumbs when it comes to pots but I’m getting better!

    Pots dry out very quickly, so I’ll say ditto to what Rhonda said: mist or water them lightly/gently a couple of times a day.

    If you balcony is sunny/breezy you’ll need to water them daily once established anyway.


    Carrot I cover with felt so I can water more heavily with a watering can – whenever the felt seems dry. The only thing is, you have to check under the felt once a day … if any carrot is sprouting, the felt comes off. Misting I have found is too light, but my pots are North/West facing, in a very hot spot. Carrots took at least 3 weeks to come up for me, so don’t loose hope.

    I’ve not had much luck with coriander, maybe consider buying some if you have problems, also I believe there is a more heat tolerant coriander type plant – cilantro or culantro, but I haven’t tried either. And I’ve never tried lettuce 😉

    Oh, and a lovely easy veggie is beans, put say 4 poles in a 50cm diameter pot, I found Blue Lake good in our climate, also Kentucky Wonder. Scarlet Runner is beautiful, but it got too hot in a Sydney summer for mine to set seed.

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