Despite the rain I went to the allotment bright and early this morning. Very happy to see the broad beans are growing nicely. We will be harvesting some to eat but the majority of the seeds will be used to plant next year.

The next two photos are two of the largest of our pumpkins, which are still not the vibrant orange one associations with kuri (hokkaido) pumpkins but hopefully a few more days until the temperatures drop too much and the frosts come.

Harvesting pickles

We have already harvested a bunch of rather large pickles (Northern Pickling). The plan is to ferment them for later on. As you might be able to see their is added dill, horseradish, chili flakes, mustard seeds and garlic. I use refillable tea bags to help keep the spices submerged and I have a combination of glass lids (weck brand) and some ceramic pickle weights. If anyone is looking for a reliable recipe for fermenting pickles I can recommend this recipe.

I also harvested about 2 kilos of black currants and turned it into a cordial syrup for my husband. I used this recipe if anyone is interested.  We also harvested about 4 kilos of red currants some we ate fresh with our breakfast but the rest are frozen for later on. We don’t eat alot of jam and I still have some canned from previous harvests so I haven’t made any more.

I haven’t been doing a whole lot of work at the allotment even though I would really love to start prepping some garden beds for garlic . I unfortunately have had some issues with my thumbs because of hypermobility in the joints. I am hoping to get back into it in a week or so. Wish me luck. 🙂

It’s been a while since I posted, both due to my  lack of ideas of things to update you guys on, as well as some personal sadness in having my friend  Elizabeth die of cancer. I have been spending the past week feeling quite sad and so haven’t had the energy to write a blog post. 

Our allotment though continues to grow (weeds as well). We have harvested approximately 3kgs of red currants as well as the saskatoon berries and some raspberries.
The raspberries are from shoots that have come from our neighbour’s plant on the allotment. I really don’t love how rapidly they invaded our hugelbed but we will have plenty of canes to replant when the time comes.

We have also harvest 3 large heads of pac choi (these probably should have been harvested a bit earlier), and our garlic harvest. Though I feel unsure as to whether we have grown enough garlic to cover our yearly consumption, it’s still lovely having our own fresh garlic to enjoy.

Images: A lovely male pumpkin flower , our first cucumber of the year  (Northern Pickling) I am very excited about these,as we have had some difficulties growing these with frost damage,  voles eating up the seedlings and aphid issues in the past so I am pretty chuffed about getting to harvest these and hopefully fermenting them for pickles.
The corn silks have been pollinated and are starting to wilt and turn brown, which is a good sign., some of the pac choi harvest and a female pumpkin flower 🙂

Hopes for pumpkin!

I am really hoping this pumpkin plant produces some fruit this year, I LOVE PUMPKIN! When I first moved here I was pretty shocked by the lack of edible squash/pumpkin varieties. You can normally find butternut just about everywhere during autumn/winter and I can occasionally find a delicious muscat or kuri (red hokkaido) but that’s about it. I grew up eating a ton of pumpkin so I have really been wanting to grow my own, but we haven’t had much luck in the past with either early snap freezes (prior to us having any decent fabric to cover the pumpkins – which we have remedied) or they were eaten by animals. You can imagine how much I am hoping this beautiful plant can produce something.

The new bed it’s growing in is quite heavy clay and still gets quite a bit of grass growth which we can remedy to a point but it does need another year or so for the larger chunks of clay to brake down into smaller pieces making it more manageable.

The 2nd image is of the lovely female flowers on our cucumbers (which I’m really hoping to ferment), followed by the saskatoons which are slowly turning ripe. We harvest them as they ripen because in previous years they have been gobbled up by visiting birds.

The final image is a pea flower. These plants were growing very slowly but seem to have recovered from the cold we had in June which seemed to have stunted them a little. We have had these under cloth cover to help reduce some of the wind they get buffeted by at our allotment.

Hope your gardens are all growing well.

mini update

I haven’t got much to share just right now, but took these photos at the allotment yesterday while I was watering the plants. The saskatoons are getting ready to harvest, and the red currants are still a bit off from being ready to pick. The white flowers you can see peeking from amongst the currants are from flowering ground elder. While I thoroughly dislike them being in our garden beds because of it’s invasive nature and the difficulty you face trying to get rid of it, we have had a lot of butterfly and other insects visiting the flowers so at least I can feel like they are helping support the natural wildlife even if it does drive me bonkers! 🙂


just a side note…

This is an image of some of the food my husband and I shared during our visit to Helsinki.  This is from a absolutely fantastic restaurant called Restaurant Grön / Ravintola Grön in the Kamppi district.

This isn’t something I would normally post on this blog, but I just feel like it does cross over into what I would like to share with people which is a joy for locally produced, high quality seasonal produce. Rather than this being about the process of growing, this is the end stage enjoying the produce in the best way that also honors the ingredients.

The idea behind Grön is to create tasty, focused, plant-based and  inspiring food that concentrates on high-quality ingredients.
 All this we do in an atmosphere that makes our guest feel relaxed, happy and welcome. 

We offer a small selection of à la carte dishes as well as a four course “Grön Menu”.
The food is based on seasonal, 
organic, wild  and the Scandinavian produce. What grows determines our menu.”

The meals we enjoyed were so delicious, and well prepared. I think this opened up a whole new world for me in thinking about what is available in Sweden, especially things that can be harvested from the wild and how you can prepare vegetables in a really simple but also delicious way.

If you ever get a chance to visit their restaurant I’d highly recommend it.

BeFunky Collage

Our meals were meat free but they do also have a meat based menu.

Some kind of yellow pea ? with kale, cabbage and vinegar. (Tasted better than it sounds)

Asparagus with summer herbs and a special dip (I can’t quite remember what it was sorry!)

Roasted carrot steak cooked overnight, with char-grilled carrots and and carrot slices, and mushroom reduction sauce.

Spruce shoot ‘granita’ with pine cream and almond milk cream.


It’s been a quiet around here since my trip to Finland, which while it was good to be able to go away; our trip wasn’t at the best time for anyone who gardens.  Planting was somewhat delayed because of us going overseas and not having anyone to help water at the allotment so I had to delay planting some seeds, and seedlings.

When we got back we discovered that one of the pumpkin plants had been eaten up (likely by voles) which we have seen scampering around the allotment. I have since then bought an organic seedling from a plant store to replace the one that got eaten, as well as planted some other seeds/seedlings (beetroots, broad beans, some beans, cucumbers, mizuna salad and probably other thing that I’ve forgotten right now).

Thankfully because we had bought some fabric to cover the plants and protect from frost the plants survived without too many issues the cold weather than came in early June. Which I have learnt is that this cold snap in end of May/ June is fairly normal for this part of Sweden, it’s certainly been a learning curve over the past few years for someone from an area that very rarely experiences any sort of frost/cold weather.


The first image is of the invasive ground elder that covers one of our allotments which we try to kill off by covering with black tarpaulins and then by cutting back the weakened plants.

The second image is of my new favourite garden tools courtesy of an ebay seller in japan (though I believe they might have been made in China).  They work amazingly well even in our heavy clay soils. Because my husband is left-handed I bought him a left handed lie to test out which he approves of.

The second row of images is of our pickling cucumbers and the painted mountain corn (which looks rather short and stocky) but I’m hoping the combination of the warmer days and the cover might still give us something to harvest.

The final row shows the development of colour in our red currants and our saskatoon berries.  I am looking forward to getting to harvest them once they are ready.

new garden bed

I forgot to take a photo before we started to dig up this new garden bed for corn and pumpkin. It has previously been overgrown with knee-high length grass and dandelions as well as moss, nettles and wild garlic. Needless to say it was pretty heavy work trying to break up all the grass roots, especially because we have heavy clay soil. It was covered with black tarpaulin over winter (seen at the front of the bed) and newspaper.


Thankfully we have a grelinette (broad fork) which helps to break up the heavy sod much more effectively than  a shovel or a regular fork.


The pumpkin and corn seedlings are now covered to help reduce the wind and sun and to provide some extra warmth during the nights.

My husband and I will be in Finland for a few days this week and so our planting has been a delayed somewhat because I don’t want to plant seeds/seedlings without having someone to water them.

But fingers crossed the corn and pumpkins (as well as some beans) are able to establish themselves without too many problems and that we get some rain while we are away.

Allotment visits…

Visited the allotment again today to start weeding all the ground elder (kirskål) which covers one of our lots as well as all the dandelions which seem pretty proficient this year. I took down a 18 cm Japanese hand sickle I bought on eBay to test out.

It works quite well, so I think I might invest in a left handed version for my husband. The seller has a variety of different types but as I haven’t got much knowledge of the different uses for them I opted for a basic grass/weeding sickle. Makes removing the ground elder a lot easier compared to just pulling it out, even using the push mower fails because it just flattens them to the ground rather than cutting them off at the base.

I also managed to get the cover back on the plastic greenhouse (polytunnel/plastväxthus) which I can say is probably a fair bit easier with 2 people! hah everytime I would get it about half way the wind would blow and I’d be try to hold it to keep it on. This was also an ebay purchase from a while back. It was quite cheap and despite the frame being pretty flimsy it’s still holding together (3rd season this year).  Looking forward to getting some thing planted out in it :).


This is a front left hand view of the allotment which shows how isolated it is. It is surrounded on two sides by a rape seed farm and just to the left is the railway line. Behind it is a small field and then a closed off yard that the municipality (kommun) uses for growing trees for planting in the suburb.

A problem with the isolation of the lot is that we can’t leave any valuable tools or even furniture down at the allotment because members have had it destroyed or stolen. A few greenhouses were burnt down last year as well, probably by people using them to party in and then leaving a bbq burning or cigarettes.

It is unfortunate because whilst we would like to have a beautiful allotment, at the same time we don’t want to encourage people to stay down there when we aren’t there.

The ups and downs of allotment gardening!

Some inspiration…

Now it’s pretty obvious that I’m not a gardening guru, nor an expert on Nordic farming or a particularly active blogger. I would very much like to move from our apartment to a farm however we aren’t quite ready financially to do that, so in the meanwhile there are a few people who I follow or read about a regular basis and learn tidbits from or are inspired by their endeavours that you might also enjoy:

Jean-Martin Fortier‘s  “The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming” This is a book I have owned for a while now and while it’s not aimed at the home gardener for someone who wants to farm I found it very inspiring, despite maybe not entirely practical/transferable for the swedish market it is a really great read.

There are some critiques of his book that are also interesting to read, if only to help get a more rounded view of farming practices and why this technique may not be applicable in all places.  

In Swedish there is also a podcast called ‘Odlarna’ which is also pretty great and has interviews with a lot of well known gardeners and maybe lesser well known. (in swedish).

I also follow quite a few Instagram accounts, though many are US-centric they can be pretty fascinating to follow. Here are just a couple:
@women_who_farm – Based on a book that features predominantly  white woman in the US/ Canada, this instagram is more broad as they also share farming women of colour, of various ages living in international locations all doing agricultural work. Very cool!

@workinghandsfarm is an Oregonian farm/CSA. I find it really interesting to see what machinery they use as well as the types of produce grown in other parts of the world. – This is not a farmer but actually a Japanese greengrocers. I just love the photos on this account. The produce they sell are really very beautiful and of high-quality. Would love to visit this store. 🙂

For home gardening I love the swedish blog bondjäntan which is more home partial self-sufficiency which is really fun to see.

That’s all for now – Happy Gardening (or reading) 🙂