This year, the landscapers trimmed back some of the branches from the tree that is directly in front of my balcony. My home will get a little warmer this summer, but the good news is (or may be) that I will be able to plant things that require more sun. Up until now, it was mainly impatiens that were in my window boxes.
Obviously, I'll have to wait until the leaves come in to see how much sun I'll be getting--there's another balcony above me, and I have a solid wall on mine, not a metal lattice like on some buildings I've seen. So that may also be a consideration.
However, if all goes well, I'll be planting herbs and nasturtiums at the very least. Nasturtiums are really tasty in a salad or as a garnish; they're a bit peppery and add some color. I am fast running out of pesto, so basil's a must, and I'd like to grow some mint, parsley, chives, oregano and thyme. I'd love to grow tomatoes but I suspect I'm not going to get enough sun for that.
Of course, if I don't get enough light, I'll go to plan B--lots of shade loving plants and flowers. I resolved to turn the balcony into a true oasis. When the summer gets hot, it's nice to sit out there in the morning and eat my breakfast. And it looks pretty when there are plants on it.
I have two other garden plots--one in my town (part of a community garden project--I am partnering with the organizer) and one where I work (which I suspect also doesn't get a lot of light--what is with that??). If I had my druthers, I'd have a house with a sunny yard, but alas, I just don't have the money to buy a home and I'm allergic to the idea of losing more than half of my take home pay to any kind of a payment--including a mortgage payment. My current mortgage payment is quite manageable thankyouverymuch, and I've been in my humble condo for 12 years now. I'm not a believer in flipping. I am a believer in fresh-grown produce, though.
I also tightened my belt a bit and joined a CSA--and got a membership for the winter (two months) as well as the summer. They had a flower CSA, but I have to be mindful of where I put my money (that happens when you leave a job from hell for a much better but much lower-paying gig). Also, I have a cat who loves to eat plants. And she will eat flowers. (She sometimes likes to munch on the rosemary plant I have inside for the winter.)
I'll post on my progress--maybe if I get my stuff together, I'll even post pictures.