[gallery link="file"] I've tried out a few new things this year with my balcony / gardening to make it easier to take care of the plants.
I installed the Gardena Micro-drip System. It did cost a bunch, and one may find cheaper alternatives (I couldn't here, so I went for this), but so far so very worth it. I have most of my containers set up, only need to do the last few pots, which means I only have to hook up the garden-hose and turn it on and the plants get watered. I took care in placing the drippers and sprinklers in the right place to not waste water -- or at least, as little as possible. I water some parts manually, because that works out better.
It creates a better controlled watering -- and less waste of water -- than me hauling the big watering can around.
For even better watering I added clay pellets to the bottom of most of my containers. This works because the holes in the containers sit above these pellets. The pellets need some time to suck up the water, so this way they sit in a layer of water for an hour or so until they absorbed it all. After that, they slowly release the water, keeping the plants happy.
The heat wave we had this week didn't kill off many of my plants, which I consider proof that the system works!
For sowing I bought some of those peat pellets I've read about. I though about using them last year, however, considering their price I didn't buy them back then. This year I bought some to try and I really like them. No messing about with trying to get the poor little seedling out of the tray. The gauze around them degrades over time, although I sometimes remove it if the roots haven't grown through them yet. I've only planted a few seedlings out using these pellets and they all do well, which may or may not mean anything.
The second photo some of my mini lettuces ...