Autumn

It’s now August and the days are getting darker and darker. Whilst still warm during the days the weather is shifting into Autumn and the last of the plants are being sown. 
Garlic can go into the ground up until mid October where we live, asian greens and dill are also late season items that people can grow. Our plans are turning to next year and winter protection including using leaves to cover any sensitive plants. 

What are your plans for next year’s growing season? 

Sundays in summer

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. 

ImageThis 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. 

ImageThis 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. 
Image

The allotment

Image

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.

Image

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.

1st Hugelkultur bed

Image
Went to the allotment this morning to using the trees and the twigs we collected last week. We are hoping this helps us fro having to run down to swater everyday and helps to aerate the soil more because it’s mostly just highly compacted clay soil. 

The allotment was unused for over 3 years and when we started trying to grow last year were met with  just a mass of dandelions and grass roots so we have been slowly trying to improve the soil. 

Image

Our final bed is probably about 1 foot higher than the rest of the lot because of the slow compaction of the wood and also because we were sure what the allotment would think of a high hugelbed so it just looks like a standard raised bed. 

Can’t wait to see how well it works

Compost vs Mulch

Mulch and compost serve two different roles in the garden.

Compost is somethingyou want to become apart of your soil, rather than something that is intended to simply cover it like mulch.Compost is chock full of disease fighting organisms and  essential nutrients your plants need to thrive especially important if you’re an organic gardener, or simply trying to use fewer chemicals.  Compost needs to be where the roots are. If you place compost only on the surface, like mulch, it will help, but to really be effective, it needs to be incorporated where the action is.

Image: Created 6/12/2006 Photographer: Kessner Photography

Image: Created 6/12/2006 Photographer: Kessner Photography

Mulch on the other hand: mulch (for example leaves, shredded bark, or straw) , will eventually break down and add important nutrients to your soil, but the primary purpose of mulch is for it to cover your soil, to protect it and plant roots growing there from extreme temperatures, retain vital moisture, suppress weeds and soil-born diseases.

There are some great tutorials and information about composting available online.

Including:

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/compost/process.cfm
http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/composting/

Mulch:

Gorgeous Gardens From Garbage: How to Build a Sheet Mulch

Spring/Summer 2013

It’s hard to express how excited I am to start the growing year this year. My husband and I had our first year on our allotment last year but we were also plagued by terrible weather including blizzards in may and mostly rain and no sunshine. We were also too busy with our wedding to be able to walk to the allotment (kolonilott in swedish) enough to maintain it properly (weeding, watering etc).

This year looks like the weather will be alot more kind to us and so I thought I could share some things I’m really excited to grow this year, and some more information about our lives and how gardening is involved in it.

vintique_image (10)

Coriander/Cilantro: Having moved here from Australia, I can tell you one thing home-grown is SO much better. The coriander available in supermarkets here sadly has nearly no flavour. I miss being able to buy herbs cheaply that are flavourful but my own grown coriander tastes amazing. This year I am using cilantro from Baker Creek Seeds (USA) and Coriander from Runåbergs.

paeonies

Paeonies/Poppy flowers: I have a combinating of paeonies and poppies that I plan to grow.

vintique_image (11)

Tomatoes/ Tomatilloes: We eat alot of tomatoes and mexican inspired food. I have wanted to grow tomatillos for quite a while and hope to preserve some at home.

Pickling cucumbers:  My husband and I are big pickle lovers, I favour kosher salt pickles while he loves vinegary pickles.

Chillies/Paprika: I love to use a variety of chillies in my cooking and preserving. This year I am growing a combination of Ancho chillies and some paprikas.

Intro

As an Australian gardener living in Sweden brings up some challenges (frost for example) but it also brings the joy of seeing the flowers poking up through the melting snow.

Last weekend was the Nordiska Trädgårdsmässan (Nordic garden show) in Stockholm and my husband and I went and bought a variety of plants and listened to some talks. We picked up a Japanese Wineberry tree, apple tree, quince tree and a saskatoon berry tree (from Blomqvists plantskola in Finland). I had already pre-ordered my seeds from Runåbergs seeds (Sweden), and Örtagården (Sweden). It was really fun seeing all the stalls and seeing the demographcs of gardeners here (mostly being older women).

 

Vertical Garden  Nordic Garden Expo

Vertical Garden Nordic Garden Expo

I also got to meet my gardening idol Lena Israelsson, author of some fabulous gardening books here in Sweden who gave a talk about heirloom seeds in Sweden, her new cookbook amongst other topics.

Image

Here’s a photo of some of the items we bought at the expo.