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.
I love to garden, but I don’t love going to our allotment. The neighbours we have are a mixed group, we have some great ones like this fabulous guy from Iran is extremely talented at growing and is always happy to help out, and our direct neighbours are a really lovely older Chinese couple who are happy that I love coriander and often give us bunches of chinese vegetables… but there are others who unfortunately make me incredibly uncomfortable. I won’t go into details but it’s not really a place I feel particularly safe at, which is a huge disappointment because gardening is something I really enjoy.
Because we live in a rental apartment, and it is difficult to get allotment gardens where I live we decided to continue gardening but try to find ways of making it so I felt more comfortable being there. I tend to go quite early in the mornings to avoid people being there however I needed to drop off some cardboard for covering weeds, and so I went around lunch time today.
This was the first time I have been since winter so it was exciting to see how the garlic was coming along and to see the saskatoon berry bush in flower.
A panorama of one side of the allotment taken on my mobile phone.
Hoping to get the pallet collars (pallkrage) down there in the next few days to put inside our small greenhouse and get some more weeding done, as we have an invasion of ground elder (kirskål) to deal with.
As part of the course I was taking were two visits one on the property of my teacher Patriks homestead and the other on Eva’s farm.
The photos above are from Evas farm including some havtorn (sea buckthorn), just a very small amount of the cabbage plants she grows as well as leeks and carrots.
And these are from Patriks land and one of his rare variety goats.
As an Australian, I am pretty well aware of Costa as both a super enthusiastic permaculturalist but also as a TV host, excellent speech giver and all-round likeable guy. This is a TEDx talk from Dubbo, Australia where Costa talks about getting children involved in gardening. His passion is infectious and I hope you get something from watching his video.
Costa is also host of Australian Broadcasting Corp. – Gardening Australia but also Costa’s Gardening World amongst others.
I keep forgetting to share this photo. I was forced to re-pot my husband’s palm and I love the pattern on these old pickle tins from my husbands workplace so they make ideal decorative pots for this plant.
Återvunnet burk som jag fått av min man. Jag älskar mönstren och tycker det ser verkligen gott ut i vår lägenhet.
Trädgårdsmässan 2014 – Nordic Garden Show (Stockholm -2014)
Spent the morning at the Nordic Garden Show a once a year exhibition that has everything from home decoration to composting toilets, tulip sellers from the Netherlands and organic seeds. We went early but it was already full with people (and as we were leaving it was extremely difficult to walk around).
As much as I love seeing large groups people who are interested in gardening, the stands this year felt much more aimed at people who maybe want to get some tulips or their balcony or some concrete garden decorations rather than people who want to grow vegetables or learn about new garden techniques. My husband and I are less interested in consumerism so I guess it didn’t win me over because of that. Another negative is that there are some pesticide companies that go to the exhibition.
However we do buy our seed potatoes from there as well as our fruit bushes as the shipping costs are covered by the price of entry. But unless there is a large shift in next years exhibition I am not sure we would go.
I would however be much more interested in a Permaculture/ Organic garden fair with workshops or lectures rather than just decorative items.
Another criticism is that there didn’t appear to be any activities for people with small children, I think it would have been much less stressful for parents and children if there were some planting activities or similar.
Sorry for the long absence, despite unseasonal warm tempetatures we haven’t
been doing all that much gardening and I have been ill for the past month on and off.
It looks like the cold weather might be coming this week but we hae already
started planning our allotment and looking forward to trying some grow lights
as well as some new plant seeds.