Views 1138 | Intermediate 5

Balcony Garden

Dusty talks about growing your own plants outside an apartment window.

Mike: So Dusty, you told me that you tend to grow your own kind of plants and things, and you're into kind of greenery and into kind of like ecology.

Dusty: Yeah.

Mike: You grow your own plants on your balcony, is that right?

Dusty: Right, yeah. Well, you know, I live in Tokyo, and the balcony gets a lot of sunlight. It was actually a pretty good growing season, so we grow a lot of herbs on our balcony, like basil, thyme, mint, or lemongrass. They grow quite well. Even coriander, we have growing right now.

Mike: Wow.

Dusty: It's just going well.

Mike: So you use that stuff for your own cooking and everything, right?

Dusty: Yeah. You can really see the difference, especially when you're making sauces and things. It just has a lot more flavor to it. We've also started growing some vegetables, so we've got carrots going, and we've got lettuce. We're going to start doing grapes in about a month or so.

Mike: Wow! You must have a huge balcony.

Dusty: We are lucky. We got a pretty big balcony, but it doesn't take much room. And even some things you would never expect, like goya or grapes grow well on the balcony.

Mike: Really?

Dusty: Yeah.

Mike: Wow!

Dusty: And it's like good-

Mike: I always thought goya was like a tropical kind of vegetable.

Dusty: It will do okay in Tokyo.

Mike: Really?

Dusty: Yeah. And then the grapes, you know, the grape quality isn't very good.

Mike: Okay.

Dusty: But during the summer, they have leaves, and so it kind of cools down your balcony. In then in the winter, the leaves drop away, so you still get a lot of sunlight. It's kind of a very eco-friendly way of cooling your house.

Mike: So what advice would you give to somebody if they wanted to, let's say, grow their own vegetables or herbs, or whatever, on their balcony?

Dusty: Well for one thing, don't be scared to stack things.

Mike: Okay.

Dusty: Yeah. If you don't have much room, it's okay to kind of build a little shelf above one. Herbs don't need a ton of sunlight.

Mike: Oh, really? Okay. Wow, I didn't know that.

Dusty: So you'll be fine with that. And then also, grow things you're actually going to use. Like last year, we grew jalapeno peppers, and we grew habaneros.

Mike: Wow!

Dusty: Yeah. Habaneros are great. We've got tons of them, but we just couldn't eat them. It was so spicy.

Mike: Oh, really?

Dusty: Yeah. In the end, we eventually deep fried some of them and had like cheese poppers.

Mike: You mean, you eat them like deep-fried, all straight habanero peppers?

Dusty: Deep fried with cheese inside. But yeah, that was about the only way we could do it. And even just handling them, like your eyes would hurt afterwards.

The other thing is be ready for bugs. Even if you're up like eight storeys or nine storeys, you'll be amazed how many - you'll wake up one morning and just find your plants covered in caterpillars.

Mike: Really?

Dusty: Yeah.

Mike: Wow! I guess so. I mean, in fact, that makes sense. Insects fly, so they would eventually get themselves up there.

Dusty: Yeah.

Mike: Thanks a lot, Dusty. That's really interesting - fascinating stuff.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson



I heard you're into greenery.

We use the word greenery to talk about grass, plants, trees, etc. Notice the following:

  1. There's not much greenery in the city.
  2. The greenery of New Zealand is amazing.

grow your own plants


And you grow your own plants too.

We sometimes grow our own plants in a garden, but most often in and around our house.  Notice the following:

  1. When I try to grow my own plants, they always die.
  2. Do you grow your own plants?

take much room


Pants don't take much room.

The term 'take much room' is used to describe how much space we use for something.  Notice the following:

  1. My new king size bed takes too much room.
  2. His guitar collection doesn't take much room.



It's an eco-friendly way.

Something that is eco-friendly is kind to the environment.  Notice the following:

  1. Cotton shopping bags are much more eco-friendly than plastic.
  2. The city is starting to invest in more eco-friendly technology.



Handling  peppers can make your eyes hurt.

When we handle something that means we touch it or hold it in our hands.  Notice the following:

  1. Handling Chemicals can be dangerous.
  2. All restaurant employees are trained in food handling.

Vocabulary Quiz

greenery • grow your own • much room
eco-friendly • handling
  1. I'm sure my things won't take up in the apartment.
  2. It must be fun to vegetables.
  3. Our government is thinking of more ways of disposing garbage.
  4. We are losing much of our because of industrialization .
  5. Be careful in those expensive vases.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Free Courses from ELLLO

One Minute English Videos

Free Courses from ELLLO