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 🙂
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.
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.
Here are the corn seedlings, they all seem to be fairing well and enjoying the sunlight on our balcony. I don’t leave them out on our balcony overnight just yet because it’s still dropping to around 4-6 degrees C.
This is one of the pumpkins who seems quite happy and healthy unlike the soil to the right which is an older chili plant which seems to have some white fungal growth. I will be replanting it today and covering with new soil to see if that helps any. Though it’s no problem if it dies because I have newer plants (2 I was gifted), and some I have planted earlier in the year.
This is the first time I’m growing burdock…and haven’t actually ever eaten it other than in as a flavour in artisanal soda, but it will be interesting to see if these take off once they are planted out on the allotment.
Our experiment in growing the painted mountain corn worked a treat! Plan on growing more next year now that we know it does well in our climate. Quite frost resistant and does well even on our windy lot.
One of the great things about living in Sweden is the rule of Right of Public Access which means that people have the right to roam the countryside (as long as they follow some rules). For example camping, picking berries on public property and walking/skiing, It is more important that you dont disturb the area.
This morning my husband and I went and collected some blueberries, raspberries and smultron which are a type of woodland strawberry. They are smaller thatn regular strawberries but have the most amazing flavour.
This afternoon we went to water our plants at the allotment and I have included a picture of how our beans are coming along. 🙂 As well as the corn which needs some weeding but is coming along pretty nicely as well.
This is the painted mountain corn we planted on the allotment, it seems to be growing fairly well. I need to go down and do some weeding but I am fairly happy with this first attempt with growing corn.
I just wanted to share this photo of some of the corn i planted yesterday. Its called painted mountain and is such a beautiful colour. Is apparently great for grinding so I might turn it into tortillas or flatbreads.
The greenhouse is partly up, we had alot of issues getting it together with the wind and only the two of us trying to build it. The instructions were also sadly missing alot of key elements which made it extremely difficult to put together. But it will be great once it is together.
You can also see the amount of dandelions and other weeds in the photo. We only just started using the lott last year and because we are not going to use a mechanical tiller we have to go a bit slower trying to remove all the dandelions. It is suprisingly alot better already (not that its easy to tell from the photo).
I really thoroughly dislike using the lanscape fabric but because we dont currently have enough mulch or the ability to remove the weeds, we have been using it to reduce the amount of weeds. It is also used over the winter to prevent all the snow melting into the soil and just sitting on top of the soil. The soil needs a alot of organic compost added to it, we have a large amount of well rotted horse manure on parts of the lot which has substantially helped the texture and the level of compactness of the clay soil.
Here is some of the garlic my husband planted.
We also planted the apple tree we bought at the Nordic Garden Fair and some of the berry plants. We also planted two types of corn and I am really excited to see how they fair, some potatoes and some bortolli beans.