Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Everything but housemaid's knee

The illnesses of winter broke into my plans a few days ago. I've planned my lemon balm plantation for quite a while now, to have leaves enough for tea for cold and other viral diseases. Then vomiting disease struck our little family, and we put ourselves in voluntary quarantine. I'm ever so grateful that our friends Cicci and Monika did some shopping for us during that time. They called us from ICA (swedish equivalent of Walmart)
"Hallo, did we write the note wrong? Do you really want five lemon balm plants?"

Yes, that's what I wanted. I showered the plants brutally to rinse off most of the thrips, and planted them in my aging herb garden. Some day I'll have to empty the entire container and replant everything with fresh soil, but not untill I've got rid of this cold. My nose feels as thick as an elephant's trunk, and the container do look good on the windowsill.

Reading "Håll krukväxterna friska!" (transl: Keep your potted plants healthy!) by Maj-Lis Pettersson doesn't make this any better. There is an horrible amount of diseases and deficiences for a little plant to contract, and all of them results either in yellow leaves or dry leaf edges. Did you know that mealybugs can hide among roots? And I was so proud that my calamondin at least was free from them. The calamondin and my lemonbalm are currently suffering from all maladies in the book, except for, possibly, fungus as a result of a humid climate.

The cure Maj-Lis Pettersson recommends is simple and full of work; keep the soil humid and shower the plants once a week. My mother used to shower her plants twice a year, and I - well, let's just say that I do it even less often. Mrs Pettersson's methods involving ec-meters and luxmeters seems more fun, since I'm a gadgeteer on a grand scale. I don't care if these contraptions are expensive, I want one of each!

Well, it's time to nurse the cold and my fataly ill calamondin. I'll be back.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Planning continues..

"The Indoor Kitchen Garden" by Joy O.I. Spoczynska has given me some ideas, although it isn't easy planning plant successions for indoor gardening (full review on the book will be given soon). I've realised I need to plant a lot more lemon balm during cold season. Partly because they are have an impact on virus growth, and mostly because they grow very slowly during winter. I simply need more plants to pick leaves from. Another idea is to make an overview over different crops, their needs and the time from sowing to harvest. Another thing I've understood is that I need to focus on tropical plants that can stand me spraying them with water every day.

Oh, and flouroscent lights, oodles of flouroscent lights.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Garlic and sciriadae

I spread cut up garlic leaves in my containers today. The smell of a tasty spagetti bolognese spread through the house and I got a headache. I hope the sciriadae ahces too. Usually they get upset when I do this, and apparently loose their apetite for sex, since they disappear for a short while after my attacs. Earlier times I haven't had enough garlic to follow up, but now I've planted cloves from half a bulb in my gardens. It's war...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Closer to Paradise on Earth

Here's a gardeningblogger who've come closer to Paradise on Earth

"A Gardening Section of One's Own"

Shop, books and gardening at the same time! Add one of the most beatiful bookshop interiours I've ever seen. Congratulations to both of you! I'll come and visit as soon as I figured out* where the shop is.

*Geography is not my forte.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

If books are medecine...

...then they've started to work. I'm planning my new and bigger cultivation areas right now.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

So, what did I borrow?

One book about growing vegetables indoors ("The Indoor Kitchen Garden" Joy O.I. Spoczynska) that I didn't own myself! One book about growing herbs indoors ("Fönster med basilika" Marguerite Walfridsson, title translated "Window with basil", probably only available in swedish) where the use in food for the herbs are thoroughly discussed. I still have a problem with bountiful harvests where I know nothing about what to do with the stuff.

The third book was called (translated from swedish) "Keep your container plants healthy!" ("Håll krukväxterna friska! Maj-Lis Pewttersson). I took the title as an order and borrowed it, eventhough I had only returned two other books. My second excuse was that the books I was borrowing was awfully thin...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How to cure gardening blues on an empty pocket.

Go to the library and borrow a lot of colourful and funny gardening books. That's what I'm doing. See ya! :-)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Gardening blues...

...that's what I think it is. Jodi (Bloomingwriter) calls it winter-itis, which is another good name for it. Nothing is fun, nothing works out well and I don't feel like anything.

There is a cure, though.


If I only had money I could buy some new seeds (the ones I already have are JUST the wrong kind) and every kind of scented geranium Wibrants Trädgård (link in swedish only - sorry)* are selling - their catalogue arrived today. Plus a small intricate gadget just to cheer me up...

...but I don't have any money. Meh.

(Don't worry. I'll pick myself up tomorrow.)

*Wibrants Trädgård are specialising in geraniums and fuchsias. Not that they have the biggest assortment, but scented geraniums and fuchsias of all kinds hits a soft spot in my gardening heart.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Mineral deficiencies - a homepage

Mineral deficiency. No one wants that - it weakens the plant and makes it vulnerable to other diseases and pests. If you grow stuff in containers or hydrocultures it's particurlary important to be able to diagnose it, since you can't count on Mother Earth to provide what's needed via the soil. And since Mother Earth sometimes can be pretty tight-fisted I think we all can benefit from this homepage

Color Pictures of Mineral Deficiencies in Plants

Thanks to Parkettmaken (the Indoor Gardener Hubby) who found the link!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another thing about winter...

... is that my lust for gardening is hibernating. I look at my tufty containers and my dried out precultivations and instead of feeling that rush of
"Hi ho, lets go, clean this up!"
I think

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


You won't stand free from seasonal changes, even when you are growing stuff indoors under plant lights (as I said before). My lemon balm growth has slowed down to a fourth of the summer pace. On the other hand its leaves are much darker.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Quick update

The tigernuts and the sciriadaes have regained strength in almost equal pace. I've sown some more garlic to fend them of (the sciriadaes, I mean), they keep diminishing as long as I put fresh chopped garlic or garlic leaves on the soil.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A one week paus...

...for business planning. Will be back next Monday.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gah! Yet another batch of dead seedlings!

Oh well, the seedlings died as soon as they sprouted. I suspect a combination of bad light and lack of interest to be fatal. (Who wants to water something that doesn't grow?) Should I give up my attempts to pregrow plants in special little pots? When I think of the fact that I'm fully able to get plants when I sow directly into normal soil I am tempted to change policy. But I still want to learn to pregrow plants.

Harumpf! I'm going to the library tomorrow. I'll borrow a book on precultivation - a good one. In the meantime I'll water my seedlings, it looks like the common purslane is still alive...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's blooming!

The calamondin! The buds are opening! And there are loads of them! Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah!

Friday, November 02, 2007

That's MY blog!

This spring I reviewed a new swedish gardening/interior design magazine called Rosie. I did subscribe to it too, since I liked it. Now, a few days ago the last issue arrived. I flip through it in that semiconsiuos stage the parent of a toddler experience in the evening. Today I finally read the copy. To be honest I had a plan to plug my blog by sending a letter to the editor and include my url in the text.

Someone else had already done that. (Do read her blog if you know swedish.)

"Dang." I thought and was about to go on with my chores when this huge, praising citation printed in orange on the letters page caught my eye. There was a reference, with url, to Parkettodlaren (the swedish version of Indoor Gardener)!

Now I'll lean back and enjoy my fifteen minutes of fame before I go back to my plants. For you I'll sample my tips for the season, enjoy!

  • Extra light
  • Selfwatering containers
  • Chopped garlic on the soil to scare away the sciriadae
  • Common purslane survives most mishaps and you can harvest it for a long period of time.
  • Sprouts (if you are not oversensitive to them - I am, but the sprouts are in general a great indoor crop)

(You can buy the picture as a poster or on a mug in my Cafe Press shop btw.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A small afterthought

Hm, from now on I'll let the seedlings grow big enough to have broken their little egg cardboard with their roots. In this batch the egg carton dries out instead of sucking up moist (like I thought it would do), which makes the soil around the seedlings dry and they become more thirsty than an alcoholic at a godtemplar meeting. Rats! Ah well, sometimes we learn best from mistakes...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Next project

Doesn't look good, does it? Seems like only the lemon balm is doing fine. Lemon balm, on the other hand, is among those plants that grows uncontrollably once you've got them started. The only reason this plant is small is my habit of making lemon balm herbal tea every other day. I have no idea why the parsly is white (thrips?) or why the chives are ridiculously thin.

My ignorance is certainly a hindrance. Perhaps the best thing is to dig this garden up, sterilise the soil and start afresh. I dream about using plants from seeds this time, but I have no money to buy the seeds*. Next sowing will be strawberries instead (I have the seeds, the leaves are good for herbal tea and the fruit are good for bribing kids - perfect!)

My seedlings are mostly fine. In some dull thought of doing good I put on the plastic hood on the green house - and didn't see that mildew started to grow on the ice plant pots. I've removed the hood and I hope the molding will die as the air starts to circulate around it. If the ice plants survive they'll probably kill their 'guest' all by themselves. They have a habit of poisoning the soil around them with salt. (Hm, I realise this means I have to create a separate soil bin for ice plant soil. Yes! Another project to loose myself in!)

*If you want to make it possible for me to buy some more seeds do click the banner ads. Google AdSense is kind enough to convert my enourmous revenue from peanuts to swedish kronas ;-)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Replanting recycling

I've replanted my little seedlings and couldn't resist making a 'photo reportage' out of the process. Enjoy!


Clean out the greenhouse. As you can see there were soil left in it, which can carry diseases. This is a fancy factory made greenhouse for seedlings I bought before I realised the coolness in using odd stuff left at home. Ah well, at least I had use for it now.


You need; old newspapers, some form of tray for the pots, a spoon you can dedicate entirely for soildigging, soil and something to role the paper around. I used a plastic bottle that hid behind the plastic bucket on this shot. PET Garbo!


These are my little seedlings grown in eggboxes made out of cardboard put in plastic trays originally used for takeaway food. (Sorry about the lousy picture. They probably said something funny in the podcast I was listening to.)


This is one of the boxes I'll use for the plants when they grow bigger. I took it out to meassure the size of the pots I was about to make. The layer of soil will be thin; no more than ten centimetres (four inches). It'll be interesting to see how the common purslane and the iceplants adhere to that. The tigernuts had no problems with it.


Potterytime! Tear a strip of paper roughly twice the size of the pot you are making. Tear in the most easy direction (paper has an easy and a hard tearing direction due to the fiber alignment), rather than according to the form of the paper. You can manage with a rather short strip.


Role the strip around a cylinder of some sort. I'm using a plastic bottle here, the ideal is a small yamjar of glas.


Fold in the paper like this.


Go on until you've formed a bottom.


Gently pull the thing off the cylinder. (I did mention that the cylinder should be next to 100% smooth? My bottle had a small speck of glue that hooked the paper all the time - don't do the same mistake.) Fold the top edge too. This stabilises the pot and makes it possible to further adjust the size.


Fill with soil for potted plants or perennials.


Put the pot on the tray and pour water on the soil. Once wet the pot will soften and will be hard to move around without damaging it. Here I'm using water from our dryer (if you read swedish you can see that it's written on the carboy) since it free from lime. I've had a problem with white crusts in my pots.

A few words on stuff in the soil are in place here. As you can see most of the papers I'm using are bright purple. I don't like it, since the colours are definately not made for eating. If I continue using these kind of pots these colours will bleed into the soil, and since I'm reusing it and are planning to wermicompost leftover vegetables the percentage will get higher over time. When I replant this for the second (and last) time I'll tear away most paper to limit the bleeding. For the next round I consider experimenting with tigernut grass and vegetable glue. Let's see if I get around to it.

Back to the story.


Cut out and trim one of the cups of the eggbox.


Put the little 'bowl' in the bigger pot. The cardboard is porous enough to allow the roots to pass, so I don't do much more than this. This is the first time I experiment with this kind of method, so I don't know how well it works.

The greenhouse is filled with pots and I've used the old trays for collecting the garbage. Trashbin next!


Remember to lable your seedlings. These lables are hard to see from above (mostly you look down on this kind of greenhouse), but you won't accidentaly switch them if you happen to put on the transparent roof the wrong way. Yes, I've done that, and I don't intend to do it again.

Tadaa! My little seedlings have more soil around their roots, won't need constant watering and can grow big and strong.

Besides, my calamondin are growing oodles of buds.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tiger nuts and garlic

Tiger nuts, tufty tiger nuts. I replanted them a week ago, and I'm checking them out several times a day to see if they are growing or withering. It's hard to tell so far. The grass is slightly greener in one of the boxes, the other seems less lively. On the other hand the straws haven't turned completely yellow, so I guess it's hope left for it. I didn't think repotting would be so exciting.

The little white things you can see between the straws are chopped garlic cloves. Perhaps you remember my discovery that sciriadae disappeared when I planted garlic in one of my gardens. I've been experimenting a bit and found that sliced cloves spread on the soil does the trick. My guess is that the little gnats don't like some of the volatiles in the bulb. To be on the safe side I've planted garlic in the boxes anyhow. My plan is to pick the leaves when they're big enough, crush them and spread them on the soil. If that works out I'll save up on garlic.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Autumn today, spring tomorrow...

My little gardens have reached their personal autumns. Won't last long; growing stuff indoors makes you less vulnerable too seasonal changes. The real autumn is noticable too, however, the plants don't press themeselves against the windows anymore, and the added light becomes more and more important.

The reasons behind the personal autumns are my lack of time for the gardens combined with bugs. I have thrips in two windows. At first I planned drastic cures; to empty the windows entirely, clean them and then leave them empty for two weeks. Felt boring though, I mean; two entire weeks without growing anything. So I decided on a milder version. I leave one of the windows be for the moment. I grow my herbs there, and they do fine as long as I spray them with water a few times a day. Thrips don't like a humid climate. The other window will host my tiger nuts. Tiger nuts grows like a weed (ahaha) thrips or no thrips, and since it's the tubers you eat I can spray the grass above as much as I like.

But spring is not far away. Today I brought out my seed envelopes to what I'll sow today or tomorrow. My plan is to do new sowing every other week during some months to see how well this meets the needs and demands for vegetables in this household. One or two times a week I can already add vegetables for my lunch completely out of the containers. The goal to feed the entire family comes closer.

As you see on the picture I have lots of envelopes. I buy seeds like others buy fabric, and I haven't even opened some of them. Adding to that is the seeds I took from my calamondin and a bunch of tasty grapes we bought. It was with a bit of anguish that I selected what to grow this time:

*Common purslane
*Salad 'Frisée d'Amerique'

I'm counting on the calamondin and the grapes to be difficult to grow, so I'll sow them only for fun. To be honest I don't even know what I'll do with a couple of calamondin plants - I guess I'll give them away. Grapeleaves are edible, so they do have a place in this garden. Gadgeteer as I am I'm already inventing contraptions to make it possible to move the plants and provide them with added light.

I'll replant the tiger nuts as well. This includes sterilising soil, boiling soil walls and cleaning boxes. My friends; I'll put my body through a training session a bodybuilder would be proud of.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Will my weed survive?

I realise few gardeners do this, but I grieve my weed. Of course, since I pick weeds to grow this is quite natural, but I still get this surreal feeling about it. What you see above are my tiger nuts, grown in a container too small and neglected for just one day too long. Compare with the photo I took just a few weeks ago.

That's quite a difference, yet I though this tuft was too big and needed to be split up over a bigger area in a deeper container. I looked forward to harvest a few tubers in the process to get a first taster of the plant.

Other things stalled my plans temporarily, including a mysterious virus infection that have kept me down but not given me any fever. This day I regain vigour and when I started to plan my new gardens I discovered this catastrophy. Tiger nuts are a weed because it's impossible to dig up them entirely and every little pice of root left has the ability to grow a new plant. On the other hand they don't take draught well - I think. The tiger nut is related to papyrus, a plant with a big need for water, and the only advice I recieved concerning the 'nuts' was "don't forget to water". Now I fear I've lost parts of my cultivation the very moment I was about to expand.'

I'll see what happens. Fortunately I have two plants in another container, so I'm not entirely without tiger nuts when I'm starting up my new gardens.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


This photo is called "Tom Thumb" (CC), the photgrafer is called Mykl Roventine, you find more of his photos and his profile here.

The other day I harvested my last carrots. They were pretty small. Like a thumb, more or less. And then it occurred to me that this carrot is named "Tom Thumb". Duh! I didn't expect the name to be so close to reality. But it's good to see, now I know this kind fits into smaller containers. I'll be able to save up on soil and to look out through my windows.

Containers are my biggest problem right now - or perhaps my own stingyness. Up untill now I made my own selfwatering containers using plastic boxes from IKEA. One advantage with them turned out to be them being transparent, which makes me able to see the status of the soil and the minor roots through the walls och the container. On the other hand I have to pay precious money to get them. In our storage I have several 'real' selfwatering pots gathering dust. If my carrots grows into 'thumbs' why not use them?

Experience tells me that soil in those pots turns into spongy yuck in a few months - probably because I can't see if water is needed and overwater the plants inside. I'm a notorious overwaterer. But my stingyness is whispering to me
"It'll turn out okej this time. After all you've been growing things systematically for over a year."

This is where I'm stuck, between a rock and a hard place - or perhaps between plastic and pot.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Yes, I have been surfing before, but I was more of maturing the websites in my bookmarks collection. Now I have taken time to read some of them carefully, and have even added some new. To be able to pick out the best I rethought my motif to do this experiment. The first requirement is that there's as little trouble as possible. "Trouble" in this case is to many new and complicated procedures in the growing method, too complicated containers and soils.

Hm, perhaps I should rephrase that in a positive way. Indoor vegetable gardening should be easy, leaning to the most on well known methods and should be done with stuff you can find at your home.

This rule kind of disqualified this site, Greenpinelane, were indoor gardening using LEDlights is recorded. It's hard on the eyes too, but I included it anyway, because it's a comforting fact that you can grow in such an advanced way using so simple materials. And who knows; the day we actually buy that castle sized flat downtown (posh in Sweden) I might single one room out for LEDlight cultivations.

Container Vegetable Gardening is better. Someone who really knows something about cultivation have written a short text(yes, short. You don't know how loooooooong things like this can become) about growing vegetables in containers. This is mainly for beginners, but an experienced beginner like me have use for it too, as a cheating note on what you 'should' know. I value the table at the bottom most, where you can see the size of container needed by different vegetables. (For my non-US readers; it's an US gallon ie ~3.8 litres, and an inch meassures roughly 2.5 centimeters.)

The last site is a favourite. Container Gardening: Plant and Grow Tomatoes in a Small Space for Healthy, Nutritious Meals. I may not be a fan of tomatoes, but this site gives me some tips on high producing kinds - highly sought after by an indoor gardener. Except for the fruits tomatoes are poisonous, so I think this is a plant for my future study.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Erysiphe betae in the bin

Today I removed a lot of leaves from my remaining turnips. They have turned white and moldy on the top side, so I suspect Erysiphe betae (I haven't found the common name). This irks me a bit; those leaves are good eating. Today I just tossed them. I have no idea on what to do with Erysiphe betae, neither do I know if it's possible to eat it. I need to do some more research!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Time to surf!

Don't you think this is a nice picture. It's Biosphere2 in backlight (photographer is flickr alias ericvh, you find his profile and more of his photos here). Biosphere2 was meant to be a gigantic perpetum mobile, built as a selfsustaining eco system providing both water and oxygen to the inhabitants. Among other things you find in there is an ocean and a savanna. 1991 six persons moved in an the doors were sealed tight behind them. Nothing from the outside world were to be allowed inside, not a single molecule. The aim of the project was to... was to...

And that's what's proved to be the snag of the thing. What I learned via media at that time was that this was a scientific study to learn thing useful for longtime spacetravels (at least this is what I recall). But the bionaut soon disagreed on the aim of the project. Was it a scientific study, a business project (it was a private company that payed the whole thing), or an arts installation. People who had been friends for a long time stopped talking to each other for years, even after they had left the biosphere. That the oxygene level sunk alarmingly and that they weren't able to feed themselves properly probably added to the tension.

Perhaps the conflicts could have been avoided if anyone had taken a look at psycological studies made at persons living isolated in small groups. Because there are actually persons living under similar conditions, eventhough they don't have a bonsai ocean handy. One way is to go sailing, make a long trip and stay at sea for a very long time. Another way - the one most studied - is to go on scientific excursions in the Antarctic, living completely isolated in small groups for as long as six months.

Today Biosphere2 is managed by Arizona University, and you are alowed to visit the place. Guided tours are arranged for a fee. If I ever get a chance to visit the USA again I'll try to get there. I have a soft spot for the project. After all, my own vegetable project is something similar; trying to sustain edible life in a totally weird place. And it's worth pondering that one of the big mistakes was to not look for lessons already learned. I'll spend some more energy trying to understand ordinary indoor gardeners, as well as look for predecessors to my vegetable gardening.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I'm back!

My tiger nuts needs repotting...

Hallo everyone! Thanks for all your kind comments!

I'm finally back. I've worked hard on my paper and was then forced to rest. Now my spirits are finally returning; I want to clean up! You know how a home looks after a member of the household has been immersed in some important task? Laundry in big piles, post (snailmail) ends up whereever there's place for it and, since our roomba has broken a brush, a heavily pebbled floor. (This particular brush has to be sent for from the USA, since the swedish retailer don't have it in stock. Why on earth sell roombas at all, then? On the other hand I wouldn't have an automatic vacuum cleaner at all if they didn't have them, so I'm only complaining a little.)

I can't complain about the spirits of my indoor plants either. Last week I used only homegrown vegetables in a casserole for the first time. Every morning I enjoy a strong lemon balm tea, which are said to restrain viral infections. By a coincindence I've discovered that sciriadae don't like when garlic are planted into the containers. I had a few cloves that had started to sprout, and I dug them down into my herbgarden just to see what happened. After a few days the little things were almost gone from the container. I have to try this out on my other gardens to see if I'm right!

The project has reach a level where it needs some check ups and evaluations, though. I now know that I can grow vegetables in containers. It's time to calculate how I am going to do to get a full amount for three persons.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I aten't dead

I'm just writing a paper on the psychosocial factors maintaining identity within religions in the conflict in southern Thailand.

I'll be back!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Harvest festival at Uppsala Botanical Garden

The picture is from the Uppsala University webpages over exhibitions, and can be seen here (link in Swedish - unfortunately there are few links in english about the event).

If you are planning a trip to Uppsala this year I suggest you schedule it for September, or somewhere between the sixth and the sixteenth to be more precise to see the Harvest Festival in the Orangery of Uppsala Botanical Gardens. The university (which owns the garden) doesn't run it every year; I've been told it should be on every other year but if I haven't missed a show it was three year since last time.

The biggest reason to go is of course that the scientist and graduate student are making the most of their hard earned fundings and grows vegetables from all over the world. I saw ulluco for the first time at the Harvest Festival, and it was there I realised that most plants are possible to grow in a container. Of course, the scientists do have more funding than I, most of the stuff were grown in sturdy wooden boxes. Yet they were still in a size that would fit in a normal flat. Inspiration!

The show is pedagogical, at least as far as I could tell last time. You see, the entire room is filled with vegetables, plants, vegetables in pots, plants in pots growing over arches, pumpkins on the tables together withs squashes, eggplants and numerous kinds of cabbages. Only to see the countless varieties of brassica was quite overwhelming. All this greenery made me a bit woozy and I didn't get all the pedagogical stuff.

Another reason for my enthusiasm was (and will be, I hope) that this is a goldmine for anyone who wants to grew plants out of the ordinary.Why buy synthetical suger substitute when you can grow stevia? And the ulluco that give soups a silky feel instead of the powdery from potatos. I want to try it! Most of the stuff were actually possible to order as seeds from Impecta. (Perhaps I'm lucky they don't sell all of it, I would soon overload our flat with plants if they did.)

Last time I did the mistake of not taking down notes. The exhibition catalogue proved to be old, and didn't record all the fun stuff. On the other hand everything was written down on nice cirdboard signs, so it's a small thing copy them. (The texts is copy right of the author, so if you use a digital camere, don't put those picture on your website. One Dickens is enough.)

In short; bring your notebook and come. You won't regret it.

Harvest fetival in the Orangery 2007/09/06 - 2007/09/16*
Uppsala Botanical Garden

*There are numerous ways to write a date. Theses ones are after the model year/month/day.

Monday, August 13, 2007

So, how's it going? 2007-08-13

Time for a new suite of photos documenting my experiment.

Let's start with my thripsberidden herbgarden. I do apologise for the blured photo; I have a disagreement with my camera. I want to take nice close ups, it says it can't. However, I've sprayed this garden with clean water from the dryer several times a day this week. The plants seems to do better, although they are not 100% healthy yet. The new leaves of the parsley have less dry spots than the old ones. I still don't know if this treatment is enough, but it looks hopefull.

This is my root garden. Everything is growing like weeds. Time for another 'thinning sallad'. And I owe an apology to my hubby after the post complaining about him making sallad before I could photo the plants I thinned out. I did tell him to do so. My only excuse is that hunger tend to affect memory...

In this garden I worry about the tiger nuts. They seem to hang their leaves, and are thinning out. The nasturtiums are doing better, although I'm not content with their spindly look. Next time I sow them I'll have to plan and place them different.

Perhaps I should put them together with these. Tiger nuts are classified as a noxious weed in the US, and here you see why. These plants are about one and a half months old, and have already filled their pot as well as the space above. I'm playing with the thought of dividing the gang next time I get around to do bigger things.

My calamondin is blooming. It's for the sake of this plant that I keep dryerwater in my spray bottle nowadays. Dryerwater is almost 100% free from calcium, something citrus trees don't like. This week I've tried to spray the calamondin three times dayly, since this seems to be the right amount for it. Every time I keep my schedule it starts setting flowers like this one. My next purchase for my indoor gardening hobby will be plastic bottles to store water and fertilised water for this baby.

Lastly I'll show you why my indoor gardening has been low key this week; I'm tied up in another project. As you can see even some of my indoor gardening items has yielded to this, since my gigantic pot was a too god drying rack for our wood to be ignored. The strawberries for the kiddo are waiting on the balcony, and I do hope they'll survive the rough weather.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Poll and campain wrap up

This photo is called "Garden party" and photografer is Les Chatfield. You find more of his works as well as his flickr profile here.

It's time for two wrap ups.

The Campain for adopting a nursery.

Noone has adopted this week. I'll return to the campain on tuseday.

The left margin poll.

The steamtrains won a crushing victory. Even when I count the votes from Indoor Gardener and Parkettodlaren together only one have said 'no' to the question if going by steamtrain adds to the fun visiting a nursery. Of course, steamtrains and gardens combined have a lot of advantages. A real train is good to have on a garden sight seeing (and suddenly I dream about having a small castle and a park to make it possible to have a full scale steamtrain...)

To decorate the garden with trains can be made on high levels. When I surfed Creative Commons to find a pic for this post I discovered that New York Botanical gardens has a small model railroad among their plants. Little trains puff their way around model houses from the big city. I wouldn't mind having one in my greenhouse - if I had a greenhouse, that is.

Outdoors I would opt for a garden railway. It's train big enough to be straddled. But don't you think I would use it only for fun. I'm dreaming about planning the rail to make it possible to transport compost material and soil when I'm digging (as well as garden furniture, toys and other stuff). This may not make the work easier, but way more fun.

Since I'm an indoor gardener those dreams may well stay dreams. It's hard fitting a modell train around pots in a window - even in the smallest scale. I wonder if hubby would agree to my plans if we ever buy a house? Of course, he is the one who wants to clear three meters (3 1/3 yards) of our bookshelves to make space for a modell railroad.

Results in the poll.

Indoor Gardener
No 0 vote
Doesn't matter 0 vote
Steamtrains and gardening, what an excellent combination! 3 votes
Makes it easier to bring the spouse 1 vote

No 1 vote
Doesn't matter 1 vote
Steamtrains and gardening, what an excellent combination! 6 votes
Makes it easier to bring the spouse 1 vote

I've a new poll in the margin. "Does your religion have an impact on how you garden?" This is a question good for many thoughts, and for once I'll keep mine to myself until the poll is over.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Ain't that the life?

Today I took my first harvest from the turnip/carrot/scallion box and added nasturtium leaves to that. Unfortunately my husband made sallad of it before I had a chance to take a photo.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

So, how's it going? 2007-08-04

Well, that's the question. I've taken pictures of all my working gardens to show the experiment in progress.

Here's my herbgarden. Currently I'm growing lemon balm, thai basil, parsly, chives and sage. As usual the lemon balm and basil are growing like crazy, but not the sage. The sage brought some kind of illness from the mall, and haven't recovered at all. The herbgarden is not to its best. I've been ill lately, and haven't been able to spray the gardens with water. The result is that thrips has taken over my lemon balm. Today I cut away the most affected ares (the buds, of course) and sprayed a lot. I'll do some extra spraying with water for three weeks to see if that's enough to scare those pests away.

This garden is also filled with gnats, who thrives in the moist soil. Their precense is probably stressing the plants, making them more vulnerable to other pests. One way of getting rid of gnats is to inplant nematodes, and I have tracked down the swedish company selling these things (worms, actually). It wasn't easy, since the full name of the company isn't "Predator" like everybody's calling them, they are called "Lindesro AB, parasiter och predatorer" and their website is minimalistic.

This week I cut down the thai basil and made pesto. It tastes like ordinary pesto, although more bitter since I had to thicken it with more pine nuts than was originally intended.

What I've learned from this garden so far:

1. Spray the plants with water at any cost.
2. Get rid of those gnats!
3. Learn to sow your own plants from seeds even for those cheap herbs available at the mall.
4. Do have some almonds at hand when you are making original pesto. (Oh boy, will the genovesians kill me for this...)

I couldn't resist this angle when I took this picture. This is the box where I grow tiger nut only. It's also the first box that is half the size of my ordinary boxes, and with a weed the garden seems to work fine. I may think these plants needs a haircut, but I keep my hands away. This is the special garden for my son. He has started to help me with the plants, and he's seen this ever since the seeds grew. Every day I bring it down from the shelf, show him how it's grown and then he sprays it with water. These are things twoyearolds like.

What I've learned from this garden so far:
1. A twoyearold can handle a spraying can and likes to see how the garden grows.
2. Using a box half as big is fine.
3. Weeds are growing like, well, weeds.

And here's my garden unbrushed. I've sown turnip, carrots and scallion close together and now the different leaves are tumbling over to each other making complicated braids. It's time to thinning this out for the first time. At this stage the roots are thin like threads, and pretty weedy, so I'll make a leaf sallad for the family. The scallions and the carrot leaves will be used raw, but I cook the turnip leaves like spinach (surprise!). In this box I have too few, and to much trouble picking them.

I have a few gnats in this garden too and one turnip leaves have a dry spot. On the other hand this is a lot less than I've had before.

What I've learned from this garden so far:

1. Spraying water to prevent thrips works.
2. Turnip should be grown in bigger quantities as single crop in their box.

Do you recognise my thripsgarden I complained about some time ago? Don't those nasturtium leaves look dashing? I sowed them after I'd torn up the garden and I've watched them like a hawk to see if any of the pest has survived in the tigernuts (which I left) and started to affect them. So far so good. The soft soap spray seems to have worked, eventhough I didn't follow the recipe to the letter.

I'm planning to thin this out a bit, but I haven't decided if I'll take entire plants or just cut some leaves. The tigernut plants survived their haircut, and are ready for another one.

What I've learned from this garden so far:
1. Soft soap and water is enough.
2. Tigernuts do survive haircuts.

And the calamondin. Since I started to spray it with water its leaves has stayed on the branches instead of falling off en masse. (I once swept the floor in the room and got a heap of leaves and some pine cones instead of dust...) It's still suffering from cloros and I have changed the water in my spraying can to softened water to see if that's making any difference. The water of Uppsala is heavy with calcium and I suspect the calamondin is absobing the calcium through the leaves. (Calcium makes it harder for the plant to absorb iron, which makes it 'anemic' - it gets cloros.) Most of the flowers has fallen off, and dark green fruitlings are hiding beneath the leaves.

What I've learned from this garden so far:
1. Calamondins wants to be sprayed with water.

As you can see I haven't included a picture on a gigantic pot filled with strawberries. I haven't planted it yet. My biggest challenge right now is to keep the plants alive untill I get started...

And don't forget the poll in the margin ;-)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nursery campain wrap up 1

Funbo Plantskola

This is the first nursery campain wrap up.

Bloomingwriter (Jodi DeLong) in Canada holds a record I suspect will be hard to beat. She has adopted twentyfive nurseries. You can read about them in two blog posts here and here. All nurseries are companies outside "bigbox bullies" with helpful and competent staff. I don't know about you, but reading these posts makes me yearn for a trip around Canada. Visiting plant nurseries is an excellent way to get to know a country, and a seed envelope (oh, I admit it; a lot of seed envelopes) is an lightweight and nice souvernir*. She has even found a nursery with train memorabilia...

On the swedish side we find my own post on Funbo Plantskola, a small family company with a big love for gardening, sqeezed in between road 282 towards Almunge and Lennakatten preserved railway. A small wink to Joppe with the blog Joppes Gröna Rum (blog in swedish) who's found a small café with ties to gardening in Öhr, Småland (swedish region). As a former perpetual student at Uppsala University I fall for cafés, and will link to the reportage "outside the campain" once it's written.

Finding good nurseries is a feat. Mostly you find them by hearing about them from other garden entusiasts. Note that Bloomingwriter has spent years digging up the nurseries she writes about. If you're out of hearsay the phone catalogue is a good tool - remember that many nurseries still don't have a homepage (on the other hand the phone catalogue may be online). In the long run you can use blogs to find good places. Do some sunday excursions and adopt the worthy according to these rules. (I'm hoping I'll have a nice logo and a central homepage for this campain up next week.)

*Do check the laws on importing plants and seed from another country. A rule of thumb for residents in EU is that you can brings seeds but not plants from outside EU's borders.

And don't forget the poll in the margin ;-)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Funbo Plantskola (nursery)

If you want perfect displays, visit Plantagen (or any other swedish gardening mall).

If you want persons who know gardening and love plants, visit Funbo Plantskola.

It hard to tell why you can feel the love in this place. Some plants could look better, and some places are overgrown.

The display pond of Funbo Plantskola

Still I have the feeling that the entire place would look like the display below, if the owners were given the chance. The staff and the owners are compentent and very helpfull. When I asked for nematodes for my selfwatering containers the owner phoned someone with better knowledge when she herself didn't know the answers. She was also ready to order a new Polstjärnan rose for me, but I had already seen the fun collection of other climbing roses they had and declined the offer. (At the same occasion we learnt that the favorite snowcone of the staff was Geisha.)

If you want the ordinary garden plants like strawberries, red and black currants, tagetes and others you'll find them here. It may be a good idea to make the visit early in the summer, since the nursery is close to many villa suburbias and since gardening is a trend in Sweden right now. Neither do you need to walk far to find the special in the assortment.

I fell for the figs in the greenhouse (someone bought the plant with fruits before I returned with my camera. Is that a way to behave? Destroying a perfect motif like that...) You can also find different sorts of verbeneceae, fuchsias and geraniums. Their motherplants are placed in the back of the greenhouse one on two big worktops. Different spices, chilis and tomatoes are available too. For some reason I didn't buy myself a new ordinary basil. The one I have in my gardens are thai basil, and I'm not sure I want to make pesto with liqorice flavour.

There was a second greenhouse. Half of it was filled with plants for sale, and half of it was marked for other things like test cultivation of tomatoes.

Small display showing perennial of the year through the ages.

This is where you find the big whine (and the worktop of the staff).

In here you find a sofa and some armchairs to sit down and rethink your garden, or your purchases (or just to hear your slim wallet cry softly). Note the style of the furniture and the truly authentich 70s style of the cushions.

My husband, ignoring the garden gnome tomato dealers.

This is one exemple of the care showed to customers. Visiting a nursery with a twoyearold can be a trying experience for child and parents/standupcomedians/eventplanners alike. At Funbo Plantskola you find a sandbox. And if there was only a sandbox it would have been quite the ordinary. This one is filled with toys. You don't have to bring your own or convince your little one plastic glases will work just as well.

To be honest my little one cared more for these.

Five blue budgies.

As I write this I realise I didn't take so much photos outside the greenhouses - which is natural for an indoor gardener. This is one of the welcome displays for visitors.

As you can see there are wheelbarrows available for anyone intent on big investments, and the outdoor garden are walkable. A small place, and still you find surprises around the corner almost everywhere. I found several trays of Rügen strawberries, impossible to find at bigger chains. Together with my little one I tasted the raspberries growing wild beneath the rose desks, and then I meditated over the whines.

I've dreamt about growing whine for a very long time.

How to get there? Well, by car is certainly an option. The nursery have parking lots, and is close to one of the bigger ways out of Uppsala. By close I mean; take way #282 towards Faringe, drive some ten kilometers, turn right and you're there. If you can't take the car there are out of town buses, ie bus 809 from Uppsala Central station, step of at bus stop Bärby in Gunsta and walk from there. The bustrip takes 12 minutes and the walk about 5.

Yo man! Want a deal on tomatoes?

In the summer you can make it a picknick (garden furnitures and icecreams available) and go by Lennakatten. The nursery is placed right beside the tracks and if you are lucky you'll see a steamtrain pass during the visit. If you go by the train you step off at Bärby and walk about 200 meters (roughly 220 yards). When I have traveled the train has had an cargo wagon used for prams, but I suspect that if you ask nicely on the way out or when you buy the ticket you'll be allowed to transport bigger items in there too.

If you haven't guessed it already Lennakatten is the preserved railway of Uppsala (ie. not attched to the ordinary railway system). An entusiastic association drives railcars and steamtrains between Uppsala and Faringe. The last time we visited Funbo Plantskola we were lucky enough to see two steamtrains puffing their way along the tracks. I really tried to get a good picture, but those ironhorses can be fast for an old digital camera.

This blog post is part of the Campain for Adopting a Nursery. Adopt one you too.

This was my adoption reportage of Funbo Plantskola. Now I hope to see more, and that's not because I want more of places like this to visit, oh no! ;-) Tomorrow I'll do my first weekly campain wrap up. And I added a new poll just for the fun of it.