Sunday, August 31, 2008

Beware of the wrath of swedish old ladies...

You have to admire the guy with the camera who reacts to the ruckus behind him. My tip to the yuppie in the cab; next time you encounter an old lady asleep(!) at the zebra crossing, a friendly call will work much better! Old time favourite vid that I now realise is shot in Sweden - little old swedish ladies rules!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mulching your Garden with Newspaper and Cocoa

I knew it! I've finally found a way to combine gardening and chocolate!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The tomato window again

My current pride. Tomatoes and chard. Fits the available space and will be delicious when cooked. Yum!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I'm starting to get the hang of this! Still everything isn't fixed, and I'm working hard to streamline the methods, but I know what I need and how I am to put things together. If I'm lucky this next year will be filled with building the systems and adjusting them.

If I'm lucky - life has a habit of throwing in surprises in the last minute, and then the real work starts.

I want to exchange my homemade vermicompost for one or two Can-O-Worms, and add a bokashi set to that to be able to handle meat and fish too. An unexpected bonus is that I can buy bokashis in Sweden, joy! I'm about to construct and put up an automatic irrigation set for those plants not growing in self watering containers. Right now a few days of extra work elsewhere means that I leave them without water. In one window I'm planning a aquaponics system, with 'normal' pet fishes. Tilapia is popular in this connection since the fish gives a lot of food on a cramped space, but the water needs to be warmed for it to thrive, so in the beginning I have to stay content with this alternative. The Indoor Gardener Hubby, who is an engineer and former chairman of the local aquarium association, will have a lot to do this autumn.

Speaking of surprises. I just googled "Can O Worms" on german websites and the first hit was a site with worms conserved in tin cans. I hope they are sold to fishermen, but one never knows - worms are protein too...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Environmental friendly ponderings

The worms thrive in their compost, but find it a bit small. I wonder if this is a good reason for travelling to Great Britain and buy a Can O' Worms? But if I go there to buy something that makes me more environmental friendly it feels pretty stupid to go by air (saving on the pennies while wasting on the pounds so to say*). Going by train adds considerable to travel time, and this means I "have" to stay longer at the destination. The question is how am I going to justify that, considering the added cost of lodging and so forth.

Yes, I know it's simple to order one online and get it sent home by post, but that's not as fun.


*For some reason a translation of this simile felt more natural in brittish currency, but since I know I have a lot of american readers I can't resist making a conversion
"saving on cents while wasting on the dollars". There. And I didn't even need an online converter ;)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wooden management

You may have noticed that I'm not updating daily as I used to. It's because I'm reading up on podcasting and projecting two podcasts. I'll return to the content of these, right now I'm just happy to be able to exercise my project management skills, which is the reason I posted this vid. It truly catches the life of a project manager.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Light, please!

When someone is hinting like this you have to take action. My stevia "Steve" was placed in the darkest corner of the darkest window I use. As you can see he's gone far to make clear that he wanted change. The plant have reached from one corner to another, becoming entangled with chives, sage and basil in the process. In the meantime I've been busy with other things.

I'm still busy with other things, but you can't ignore a plea for too long. Today I cut down Steve completely and put what's left of him in the sunniest window available. The tops of the branches were put in a glas of water to be used as cuttings. Putting them directly into soil works better, but I had to budget my strength and opted for the lightweight alternative. The rest of the branches were stripped of leaves, and I put the leaves in a netbag to dry them for further experiments.

Now, when I had gained speed I used the excess basil to make a litre of spicy oil, using basil (surprise), a fresh chilifruit, garlic and olive oil. This oil is great to use when making baked root vegetables, and has become the saving recipe when I need to trim my herb garden. We will eat yummy root vegetables until October.

Now I can lean back and enjoy the nice sight of oil jars in a kitchen that is twice as bright as before. Wow!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How to get rid of fruit flies

One of the fun things with blogging is the commentaries you get (hint, hint :) ). Whitney sent a link to the blogpost of last day. It's an article about getting rid of fruitflies, which means some of it won't bite on fungus gnats, but the text gives valuable hints on how to think, and some tips works for everything. In addition I know irritating a fruit fly population can get once it's established in your home, so I do think this is a link for everyone.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dark-winged fungus gnats

Vermicompost with flytrap in their natural environment (I didn't use the flash due to low battery when I took this photo - I haven't soften it to make vermicomposting romantic ;) ).

Bummer! The other week I tried to show my son the worms in the vermicompost - of course with the evil plan to introduce him to recycling and the circle of life. I mean: worms seems to be an important part of boys' childhood, he could hardly find them repulsive.

And he was ok with the worms. It was the CLOUD of fungus gnats he didn't like. He found himself some important thing to do in another room, and I was left alone with the composting chore. I was warned that vermicompost would bring out flies, and now I could see the result of not putting up fly-traps in time.

The gnats thrive among my plants too, and I've added a hunting session to my daily routine. Every gnat I find is killed on the spot. This wont make my home completely free from the pest, I'm aiming for a substantial decimation of the population. I don't want to use pesticides, we live here ourselves and I feel sick every time I step into a room where spray has been used. Nemablom, an insecticide containing nematodes, is under consideration, but I won't use it untill I know if this kind eats other larvae and worms too. If they infect worms they're not much use in a vermicompost...

There are a few advantages. Crushed fungus gnats (which I think sometimes are refered to as fruitflies even in english language - this is a common mixup in Sweden at least) smells good. Some smells faintly of musk, others like sea- and lemon scented cleaning agents. This sometimes work the other way around, I know elders that can't stand the smell of modern cleaning agents since they associate it with fungus gnats. For my own part I focus on the positive side - and wash my hands afterwards.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rain - Madonna

I've just returned inside after three hours of work in grey and cold rain. That weather looks so much better on video, but my chard is growing so I'm happy anyway.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Indoor Gardener is silly tonight...

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Obama pictures

I admit it! Mea culpa! Instead of watering and doting on my plants I spent my precious time reading Pundit Kitchen, a blog making "Lol news and lol politics fun". When I came across this picture I realised I wouldn't write much about flowers tonight. (And since I'm a christian I can't help thinking things like "My, that is a gorgeous chasuble in the front line. We should get one for the dome.")

But I should return to the general vegetable theme of this blog;

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Obama pictures

Well, yes, George W Bush often turns up on pictures where he makes funny faces and seems to have a low IQ. I think I need to even things out a little. What do you think of this?

Political Picture - Al Gore
see Obama pictures

That's enough! If I continue I'll track down the respective lol for every politician in the world (I actually found one with former swedish prime minister Göran Svensson). I'll return to my normal me on monday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tomatoes and softener

Well, those tomatoes didn't taste much. I have a feeling that if this fruit* are put to ripe in a bowl instead of on the plant loose the ability to form taste, which means I may have been prejudiced. Or I may have picked one that wasn't ready yet. In any way I can rely on the fact that we'll have new tomatoes in a few weeks. Cultivating Tiny Tim is pure joy, the plants are dark green and of the modest height of fifty centimeters (about one and a half foot). The first flower clusters have lost their leaves, which mean I'm watch over them to see when the first fruit forms - I never grow tired of that.

The advantage of growing tomatoes is that they are sensitive to pollution. If there is anything unhealthy in the air or the water they'll start wither. The interesting thing with these and my previous plants is that neither seems to suffer. The first plants were watered with water from our dryer - water that smelled of non-ecofriendly softener. I've changed to an ecofriendly one; you tends to be squeamish when the softener returns to your own stomach via the vegetables you grow. Perhaps I didn't need to worry since my old tomates did fine. However, I can now bask in the warm and cosy feeling of being ecofriendly.

*Yes, tomato is a fruit, but used as a vegetable.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


This sunflower was picked by mistake at the allotment yesterday. I'm no friend of big and bold flowers, so I'm surprised how well it fits into our kitchen - which is decorated in turqoise and mild yellow tones. And while the flowers lights up our kitchen table I can study its finer details fit for angel bookmarks.

Sunflower is said to be edible, and who am I to refuse an experiment? I picked a yellow leaf and put into my mouth - with a considerabel amount of suspicion. Mom taught me that flowers are poisonous, and the voice of your inner mom is never silent. In addition to that the leaf tasted like perfume, that oldfashion kind with lily of the valley and lilac base, and left a bitter aftertaste. I have to admit I wondered if I would be sick and spent the rest of the evening watching over my stomach. But, I survived!

If I would use sunflower in my cooking I would go for Middle East inspired food, where rosewater is used regularly and where that hint of perfume is desirable. Hm, perhaps it's already used? The climate is right for the plant down there, and there's a good will to use plants creativly.

The small bowl contains another experiment. I picked the tomatoes from my previous plants before I tore them all down. By then they where minute, and I wanted to see if they could ripe eventhough they where dark green. They've taken a few weeks to blush, and they collected some dust bunnies meanwhile. Like most tomatoes made for commersial cultivation their skinns is pretty thick, and it'll be interesting to see if there's something more inside when I try them out for lunch today. I'll post some further report tomorrow.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Finally back to reality...

Aaaaaah! Daycare's open after summer vacation. The flat is silent and I can work. The son is probably as much relieved as I am, since he finally get to meet other children - where we live they are in rare supply during summer. Regardless of that I'll pick him up early since too much of a good thing is overwhelming in the beginning. After all we can visit the neighbour and take a look at the rabbit, something he like as long as I don't chat too much with its owner...

We'll have to visit the allotment wether he likes it or not, since we need to pick some more potatoes for dinner. I've taken the decision to not weed with him in tow - today my nerves won't stand explaining the difference between a weed and a usuful plant.
"Here we have a thistle, we are going to... NO! LEAVE THAT SUNFLOWER ALONE! Right, this thistle... Oh, you're a crane! And a pretty strong one too! Go for it! Now, this thistle... NO! THAT'S THE RHUBARB!"

Teaching threeyearolds to garden is not for the fainthearted. I think I take the easy way out and ask him to choose new plants for his window.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Snake + weatherman...

Well, they managed to pry him loose, I've seen the entire vid on CNN (the weatherman works for KCCI Des Moines). I admit to not understand why he's carrying a albino python in the first place, they are not that dangerous to humans and surrealisticly stupid. On the other hand, you can't understand everything, so in this case I think you are allowed to smile a bit.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sunbrewed Mint Iced Tea

Hmmm, if we have another heatwave I'll try this on my balcony.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Those little things...

It's time to sow for new indoor gardens, which means I have to clear the Table, which means I have to tidy.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Herb oil

It's cold, rainy and windy today. I should be out there hunting killer snails, but I don't really feel like it. Instead I study chinese in the warm comfort of our home - it's really important to know how to call a cab in China right now...

I've finally found a way to use the surplus of herbs in my kitchen window. I make herb oil following a simple formula; cut off anything that's too much, stuff it in a jar and pour olive oil over it - sometimes I add some cloves of garlic and sambal oelek too. The end result has a mild taste, but apparantly a delicious one. We tested the first round on some roasted vegetables yesterday, and we both had two helpings and used some bread to get that last oil on the plate.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Fruit and Vegetable Creatures

Harvest time for outdoor vegetables is starting in Sweden. If you have some knife skills you may find some ideas for banquet displays here ;-)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Vertical Garden

This one looks promising. I actually hope some of our plantmalls buys it. (If you want more information you can look at