Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year dear readers - and if you are celebrating something else, like Chanukka or Kwanzaa I wish you Happy Holidays and A Happy New Year (hope you can stand that I don't know the proper greetings for the festivities)! This year this blog goes on vacation during the holidays and starts again the seventh of January 2009. I'm up to my ears in preparations for Christmas and am quite enjoying myself. The Indoor Hubby and Indoor Son sends their greetings with this soon to be gingerbread house; old man Pettson's cottage with hen house and privy non the less. I hope you all are enjoying the season!

Friday, December 19, 2008

To do list: study ecological farming and feed the worms

Yupp, I'm keeping the schedule! Yesterday I studied ecological farming...

erm... reality I read a few pages every day, so you'll have to wait a bit for my Big and Learned Post on the subject. Untill then I can say that it's interesting to read about something in quite another size than my own fiddlings.

Today I fed the worms. That was something that took me a looooooong time to do. I was expecting odour, but when I finally came around to do it I did it so fast that the smell couldn't keep up. Self-preservation is a good thing.

Before I emptied the can of food into the compost I poured out the worm fluid. About three deciliter (more than a cup) of prime black water to feed to the plants. When I watched the level rise in the bottle I realised that I've reach a milestone, one of those I've waited for

I'm now selfsuficiant in fertiliser

The vermicomposts did the trick. When I came around setting them up the rest was a matter of weeks. Still I think a celebratory woho is in place. Wohoo!

So, this is what's left on the list

  • Sterilise soil
  • Mix new potting soil (jay for home made worm fertiliser!)
  • Repot seedlings
  • Buy sills, consoles, lamps, chains and flourescent lights
  • Paint sills
  • Put up sills and added light
  • Move the mound of pallets under the window in the study
  • Put the potted plants in their new places
  • Order seeds

Will I keep the pace? Let's see...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To do list

My lungs used their veto today, I need to take it easy. Instead of repotting my seedlings I'll make a to do list for slow execution - else nothing will be done in this household.

To do

  • Sterilise soil
  • Feed the worms (the tin can is full again)
  • Mix new potting soil (jay for home made worm fertiliser!)
  • Repot seedlings
  • Buy sills, consoles, lamps, chains and flourescent lights
  • Paint sills
  • Put up sills and added light
  • Move the mound of pallets under the window in the study
  • Put the potted plants in their new places
  • Order seeds
  • Study ecological farming

I should be able to do one thing per day. Stay tuned to see if I succeed! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Plant care

The best tip I've ever heard was to have a tad fertiliser in the water every time you water the plants. Plants eats like us; a bit at the time. If you only had a meal a week you wouldn't feel so good, even if you had a thirty five course banquet. Plants works in the same way. Rather obvious really, but we tend to think that the soil will work as a larder, portioning out the nutrition evenly. Unfortunately it doesn't do that all the time, and the chance is that you water it out when you overflow the container.

I've been using a mild nutrient solution for two weeks. Have I noticed any difference? Well, the tomatoes has set more and bigger fruits. Now, tomatoes are hungry beeings, so I'm not that surprised. My other plants have not changed in the same obvious way, but they do look healthier. Right now I'm short of grown up plants, but it will be interesting to see how my 'gardens' fare when I've got all my beds up.

And it's time to crank up the pflantzensprüher to hunt thrips again. My chives have turned both curly and bald.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Muppet Show - Banana Sharpener + collection

Don't we all have problems with those blunt bananas laying around unorderly? No? Dr. Bunsen Honeydew still has a solution in this small vid from Muppet Labs. Enjoy!

Collection of the week is the one I prematurely presented on Thursday (impatience is a virtue :) ).

The Indoor Gardener's Christmas Gift List

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas 2008 at Baytree Garden Centre

I'm not sure what this has to do with gardening. Unless Santa has rationalised his sleigh ride and the english are forced to hang their stockings in the garden to get anything (swedes are spoiled with a personal visit by Santa on Christmas Eve). Big garden centers do get a bit desperate over the winter, and I can honestly say that the big plant malls in Sweden take on a similar look in October.

Having delivered this cynical piece I'm going to lean back and indulge in something I love; wide eyed enthusiastic endorsement of christmas, Christmas, CHRISTMAS. I love this holiday, and to be honest I really wish for MORE glitter, tinsel and decorations. (Humming "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas".)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tired indoor gardener arranges Christmas collections

Ouch, first pneumonia and then winter vomiting disease. I feel pummeled soft right now. I spend my day in the rocking chair while the plants are on their own in their containers. They seem to be doing fine, thanks to cloudy days and my use of lifelines. The Indoor Garden hubby stays at home caring for me and the son, so I can take it easy for a while.

Strangely enough I can take it easy when it comes to Christmas too; we've already bought christmas food and most of the christmas presents. I don't know how this happened, normally we'd run around like madmen now. Since this makes me able to spice up the details I thought this blog deserved a gift of sorts.

The gift is a small 'collection' (ie. a christmas gift list) I've set up at Send A Cow, a registered charity in the UK. The items you find at the list will be sent to people in Africa to rebuild torn societies and you can either buy an specific thing, like magic muck or harvest training, or donate a sum of money of your choice.

The Indoor Gardener's Christmas Gift List

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Hallo, hallo, norovirus...

...thanks for a day of cleaning up after my son while my stomach was twisting in cramps. Luckily enough (for me) lemon balm tea sothered the sickness. A tip for others sharing the same fate, perhaps.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Help, help, I'm being...

Can't help thinking of some of the organic farmers I've met when I see this. You can't add much more than this link. Monty Python is posting their best on YouTube to get us buying more of their dvds, so do go on; make someone laugh this Christmas!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Virginia Farm Bureau - In the Garden - Christmas Decorations

Some home decoration ideas for christmas. I had no idea that needles comes in those sizes - swedish pine trees are more humble.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Good harvest at the library

I was offline yesterday due to my visit to Uppsala City Library. The café over the street has a pretty good wlan, but it was out of order yesterday. Rats!

Anyhow, I found some interesting books. You know, since I've recently had pneumonia I should take it easy on myself. And the sensible thing to do when being easy on oneself is to borrow one book. My addiction for gardening books have reached an serious level ie. I'm going for agricultural books now. A couple of months ago I borrowed a textbook from agricultural school and I wanted to read it again. However it wasn't on the shelf so I settled for a handbook in "ecological farming", a sensibly written one.

Since I couldn't spend the afternoon surfing on my favourite café I returned to the library after lunch - still believing I could refrain from borrowing more than one book. But I found a very small book; a scientific report on ecological farming in Sweden. You know, I've never before seen a scientific report you can fit into your handbag. And someone had dribbled compost (?) over the pages. I'm beginning to find those little traces of former readers quite charming, and since the weight was next to nothing I borrowed that too.

It could have stayed with that. Unfortunately I crossed the indoor square where the librarians displays books they think you should borrow and entered (drums of fate) the 'foliant' section (if "foliant" isn't an english word I can tell you that books in folio formats are the Big Books in a library).

With one normal and two Big Books in my backpack I stumbled out of the library on my way to daycare to pick up my son. I mean, it's soon christmas and a book on christmas celebrations can come in handy. Don't ask me why the artist made the little kids on the cover look like zombies - there's probably some deep reasoning behind. Beeing a romantic I couldn't leave "Planting a Bible Garden" or "The Shaker Garden" on the shelf either.

With five books and a computer in the backpack I my steps were somewhat heavy, but since I survivded the journey home with my son I can probably say that I am on the mend. Hooray!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


The last time I watered my plants with mild wormfluid sollution I noted how bad it smelled. The soil then seemed to absorb the odor since I can't feel anything reeking around my plants - and I have a good sense of smell.

Vermicompost fluid doesn't pass through the worms all the time. Sometimes it pours directly from the kitchen waste into the tray for liquids, at that's why some of it smell bad. I keep the kitchen waste in an airtight tin on the sink before I put it in the compost. Since I only empty the tin about once in a week the scraps starts to break down. Things that breaks down with little oxygen smells bad.

So, what am I to do about it? Well, for a start I'll empty the tin more often, and in the long run I'll drill some extre holes in the vermicompost containers. You may remember that I found foul smelling food when I divided my compost into two some time ago, and I suspect the containers to be a bit to tight.

And I'll by a bokashi. I know I've been going on about this contrapition for a long time now, but I haven't bought one (too much month at the end of the money). If Santa is nice I'll be able to buy one on the evening the twentyfourth of december. If not I'll have to save up for a few months - and in the meantime be nit-picking about emptying the tin.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A thought...

I have four eggplants growing, and I'm the only one in the family who likes aubergine. Maybe I should start looking for pickle recipes already.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I've soiled my hands...

Today I gathered strength enough to pot some of my seedlings. I realised that I wouldn't be able to handel the entire batch so I settled for the eggplants since they looked perky. The project then grew fast; the terracotta pots needed soaking, it looked like I was running out of premixed soil which meant I had to drag out used soil for sterilisation. The used soil was dry as tinder, and I used about five litres (1 1/3 gallon) of water to get it moist enough for the heat of the oven (dry soil smolders and stinks).

After doing all this I had the pleasure to mix my own soil. I brought out one of the vermicomposts and harvested the produce by hand from the top layer. Not the most sofisticated method, but a start. I mixed the compost with sterilised soil, the rest of the premixed soil and water. It'll be interesting to see how it works.

After half a year of testing I can recommend coconut fiber as a grow medium. You may remember that I brought some home from Nordic gardens this spring. Since then I've mixed it with my soil and used it for tomatoes and other plants. Works really well. The fibres add structure to the soil and prevents it from building that crust you'll find in a pot when you try to save a plant you haven't watered for a while. The fibres also makes the soil easier to handle when you dig around in it. The fact that they are sold in briquettes makes them easy to store - a plus when you are gardening in small spaces.

I'll buy a generous amount of coconut fibre when my wallet so allows. Appart from using them in my soil I'll use them as bedding in my vermicompost. I've tried newspaper, shredded egg cartons and moist leaves, and I do suspect that coconut fibre will be the bedding most easy to handle.