Prepare yourself for some shameless healthy food porn. (Yes, that’s a thing.) It’s gratuitous. You’re welcome.

This spring, forces collided in our favor, enabling us to start our first garden on our brand new (to us) Brooklyn apartment’s super-sunny, sixth-floor balcony.

We have small and large tomatoes, hot and mild peppers, basil, cilantro, mint, dill, thyme, rosemary and sage. All of it (except one tomato plant) was grown from seed in large clay pots and railing attachments, as well as a cool contraption of stacked pots speared by an old lamp post — yet another instance of David making my idea into a reality.

Our first tomato. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Our first tomato. Photo by Amy Sowder.

Check out these dishes of deliciousness made possible mostly through David’s green thumb.

1. David’s BLT open-faced sandwich using our homegrown tomatoes (and Dickson’s Farmstand bacon — the best).

Our first BLT open-faced sandwich with our homegrown tomatoes. Oh yeah. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Our first BLT open-faced sandwich with our homegrown tomatoes. Oh yeah. Photo by Amy Sowder.

2. My oatmeal with toppings including our homegrown mint.

Oatmeal using our homegrown mint. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Oatmeal using our homegrown mint. Photo by Amy Sowder.

3. My tabouli salad with our homegrown tomatoes, mint and basil.

Tabouli salad with homegrown mint, tomatoes and basil. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Tabouli salad with homegrown mint, tomatoes and basil. Photo by Amy Sowder.

4. My salad using our homegrown dill.

Salad with radishes, arugula, French lentils, feta and our homegrown dill. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Salad with radishes, arugula, French lentils, feta and our homegrown dill. Photo by Amy Sowder.

5. My sweet potato gnocchi with spinach, Hungarian salami and our homegrown sage for a sage butter sauce. OK, I bought the gnocchi in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s. But I’ve made it before from scratch. Sheesh.

Sweet potato gnocchi, Hungarian salami and spinach with our homegrown sage for a sage-butter sauce. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Sweet potato gnocchi, Hungarian salami and spinach with our homegrown sage for a sage-butter sauce. Photo by Amy Sowder.

6. My beefy, beet and squash flatbreads with tzatziki using our homegrown dill.

Syrian-spiced beef, squash, beet, scallion flatbread wraps with fresh tzatziki sauce using our homegrown dill. Photo by Amy Sowder
Syrian-spiced beef, squash, beet, scallion flatbread wraps with fresh tzatziki sauce using our homegrown dill. Photo by Amy Sowder

7. David’s Caprese salad using our homegrown cherry tomatoes and basil.

Caprese salad using our homegrown tomatoes and basil. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Caprese salad using our homegrown tomatoes and basil. Photo by Amy Sowder.

8. Although David is the resident master of melty-awesome toasties, I might have influenced this version as I grew up eating hot dog sandwiches, slicing the dogs in half longwise, placing between two melted cheese toasts. Courtesy of my mom. Oh yeah, there are homegrown tomatoes and mild green peppers in there too. Props to Dickson’s Farmstand for the best hot dogs ever.

Hot dog toastie with homegrown tomatoes and mild green peppers. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Hot dog toastie with homegrown tomatoes and mild green peppers. Photo by Amy Sowder.

9. My tofu Pad Thai (or maybe it was some peanut butter-ginger-soy sauce concoction; I didn’t Instagram it, so I don’t remember exactly) using our homegrown basil.

Tofu pad Thai using our homegrown basil. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Tofu noodle dish using our homegrown basil. Photo by Amy Sowder.

10. David’s cherry tomato feta cucumber salad with homegrown mint and basil. Perfect for a picnic lunch on the beach at Coney Island. Just sayin’.

Tomato cucumber feta salad with homegrown mint and basil. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Tomato cucumber feta salad with homegrown mint and basil. Photo by Amy Sowder.

11. And for dessert, my blueberry homegrown basil Greek yogurt popsicle, inspired by this smittenkitchen.com recipe. You rock, Deb!

Blueberry basil Greek yogurt popsicle. Photo by Amy Sowder.
Blueberry basil Greek yogurt popsicle. Photo by Amy Sowder.

Many other fresh fruits and vegetables pictured here came from our Kensington-Windsor Terrace CSA. Go forth and cook. That’s all for now.

8 thoughts on “These dishes are possible with novice gardening on a Brooklyn balcony

    1. Thanks! Well, I’m learning from watching my boyfriend that plants can require some problem solving through Googling, and to water morning and night, use good soil, spray with organic homemade insect repellant, and have patience because the growth from seed feels like it takes forever. But how fun now, to have so much food to eat that we created ourselves! Neat. Now we learned that pruning tomato plants earlier on will help them fruit even more. We still have a bunch though.

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  1. Yes, it’s awesome what you can do with a little sunshine. Not having a yard in a big city doesn’t mean gardening is a lost opportunity. My current home actually has plant space with much more sun than where I lived in Florida. Imagine that.

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