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 ;-)