Tuesday, June 30, 2009


This is one of the two runnerbeans 'Enorma' I sowed in February. They were standing in "preliminary" pots in the library for a long time, so long the project they were meant for staled. In the beginning of June I rearranged the balcony (another stale project) and put them both outdoors without any previous weening. The retribute was swift - they died within days.

The only green things left were a pair of leaves at the end of one stem. Since I'm a softy I couldn't bear myself to throw the plant away, so I waited a few days to see the last leaves die.

They didn't.

Instead new leaves were forming, and now buds have sprouted along the entire stem. I don't think this plant will be as lush and green as it could have been, but I hope to see it healthy enough and perhaps even set some flowers. I think this is why I keep growing things - it's so easy to be forgiven, and every now and then you get to watch rebirths like this.

I think this entire place need a rebirth by the way. The last weeks in Sweden have been hot, and this has affected the plants - mostly because I haven't been able to water as fast as I need. The thrips have had a merry old time, devouring my nasturtiums (*sob* they were beautiful - and I didn't get around to post a photo on the blog) and severly injured my tomatoes. I know the tomatoes are old and in need for a pension, but that's not an excuse for vandalism! In my dark moments I ponder throwing away every plant, clean every window thoroughly, and start from point zero. In my more sensible moments I wonder if this is really needed - it's not like it's an every day operation.

I've had a hard time sleeping in this heat, so I stop here before I entangle my squishy brain in some deeper gardening theories. If you think the light is strange in the picture above it's because I took the photo at 21.10 without flash - this is the season of white nights in Sweden. Take care untill next time!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tough decisions

You may have noticed that I've been absent from the blog for a few days - it's been a time of tough decisions and it's been exhausting. This thursday we looked at a house with a 7500 square meter garden (1.9 acres) outside Uppsala - and the entire family fell in love. Not only is the garden big, it's beautiful, with a barn suitible for any kind of companies you might wan't to start, a guest cottage good as a home for elderly inlaws or as a writing cottage for a writing mother. The son ran aorund the grounds bubbling with joy, and daddy concluded that not only was there plenty of lawns to run around, but also a small ravine to climb through - when our tiny heir gets a little older.

When feeling like that it's hard to make the decision to not buy the house. It's too far from other things we want in our lives; the right kind of schools, libraries and museums. Yes, you read it right; we are a family who wants at least one library and one museum close by to feel at home - a garden is the cherry on top. Besides, we would be moving so far away from friends that we would loose contact, and when there is a draw between people (ie. friends and family) and material things people is prioritized.

I say it yet again, it was a tough decision. Perhaps it sounds strange, but it was comforting when the broker called and we found out that bidding had already reached a level 250.000 SEK (~$30.400) above the prize we had set as our top bid (btw this was almost half a million kronas /$60.000 above the starting bid). I hope the house is bought by someone who will care for it as good as the previous owners - it's rare to see something that has been loved to that extent.

Another tough decision I had to make was regarding the future of Indoor Gardener. It's been dreary to blog for some time now, and I've toyed with the idea of shutting down completely. I don't want to; I'm almost at the conclusion of my experiment - I'm starting to get gardening into my bones and know what plants to chose if I want to harvest the year round. The "only" thing left is to trim routines and habits to actually get it to work. But now when I'm working I'm short of time, so short that I need to cut back on blogging to get time for the indoor gardens. After all, an Indoor Gardener blog without indoor vegetables would be rather stupid.

So I've decided to cut back on updates but keep on blogging. For the time being Indoor Gardener will be updated on Tuesdays, perhaps with one bonus post or another when I decide a plant needs to be photographed :)

The time I'll gained by these meassurements will be spent on different things - as to the indoor gardening I'll fight critters and diseases. I'm very tired of seeing a beatiful plant rise from the seed, only to stoop back again a few days covered with a variety of spots. This means war. In addition I have a couple of large projects boiling that needs a lot of basic preparations; I need to teach myself how to use an asortment of softwares and do thorough research in several areas. The advantage of taking this time ("time", I hope will be about a year) is that when I return to full speed I'll be able to send Indoor Gardener through several channels to cyber space.

Thus, Indoor Gardener will be in an controlled blog fade, but it's a fade that leads to something good.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Midsummer!

Well... actually we overslept the Midsummer's Eve celebrations. When we finally arrived to the festive ground the Midsummer pole was errected and the dancing had begun. We didn't mope though, we grabbed hot dogs, strawberry cake and lemonade instead. The organizers at our place have class - the cakes they choose to put under the strawberries (the strawberries are the important thing - you can be pretty creative with the rest of the cake, this is not a tradition set in stone, just a prefered dish) were a delicious cheescake and a sticky choclatecake. But this felt a bit 'cut short', so I promised my son we'll celebrate a real Midsummer's Eve next year.

Happy Midsummer all of you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Murphy makes multiple attacks...

Ever since I wrote that the plants would do fine since it was overcast outside my windows the sun has shone brightly on a blue sky here in Uppsala. Hrmpf! That's what you get for being a too confident amateur meteorogist. And don't even think about this weather lasting to Midsummer's Eve (a major holiday in Sweden where people - at least in theory - gathers for a big feast outdoors and dance around maypoles as well as dons traditional costumes). In my experience every Midsummer's Eve has been rainy since Stoneage. I can't believe that noone has started manufacturing traditional clothes in oilcloth.

Yes, I'm grumpy. The IRS lost the forms I completed for my income tax return, and now they want to charge me money for "not sending them in". This means I'm standing (yes, standing - the leg is protesting) and make copies of sketches (was I sentient enough to make copies of the finished forms in May - Ooooooo no!) and complete new forms as if the house was burning. The plants will have to wait another day for water - I have a fine to fend off.

Oh, and do continue to vote in the poll if I should chose a house in the country or a flat in the city. Interesting differences are starting to show between my swedish and my english readers - I promise to analyse them when the poll is closed :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

And I threw away the shoes...

*cough* *hrm* I really need to look over how I live my life. For some weeks now I've walked around with shoes that gave me an inflammation in my leg, though I didn't care much about it - untill last night when I stepped down from a chair and it felt like something broke in a muscel. Ever since my style of walking has looked more like something worthy ministry of silly walks rather than me walking somewhere, so I called my local health center and asked if I could borrow a pair of crutches.
"Sure," they said "just pop in!"
I went over (the center lies within five minutes walk from my home) and found that the computer system had broken down. Doctors patrolled the corridors with weary eyes asking
"Who are you? Are you my patient?"
The nurse who handed me the crutches was on top of things though. She noticed me in the waiting room and adjusted them for my size before I limped into her office. I was impressed. She left a note at the reception desk to make it possible for me to officialy return the crutches and I then I skipped out of the building.

Believe me, if you've been limping for almost a day it feels like skipping when you get a pair of crutches.

I discovered that it's hard watering with a can while walking with crutches, and I suspect my gardens will have to stand a bit of maltreatment in the days to come. Fortunately it's cloudy and I watered the plants this saturday, and, even more furtunately, I can ask the indoor hubby for help when they get thirsty again.

I've put up a poll in the right margin - you know that we are looking for a new place to live. My problem is that I can't decide wether we should move to a small flat downtown or a bigger house in the country which is cheaper and makes it possbile for me to garden big (in that case I'd have to set up a second blog called "Indoor Gardener Outdoors" or something). Some more input on the subject would be very helpfull, thanks!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Reboot the Indoor Gardener...

This feels like restarting the life. I rest a lot, particularly by watching dvds to keep me off doing things the "needs to be done", and I feel better and better. The melons and the chilis has spent their first day on the balcony to get used to the outdoors. Today has been an unususally cloudy day, which is good since sunlight are as much of a threat as the different temperatures when indoor plants are about to be transitioned outdoors.

I have time for dreams and ponderings on what I want to do. I lack focus in my life today and instead I have a lot of competing big plans that don't always mix. One of the dreams is to open a big indoor farm, and I think I can get some good ideas from Japan (I'm not entirely alone with these dreams). But I don't think my farm will ever be as sterile as this.

Monday, June 08, 2009

More planting plans

After the success with my new years resolutions I've decided to put up some goals for the close future:

  • Clean out old sowing failiures.
  • Order nematodes to fight fungus gnats
  • Adjust one melon and two chiliplants to life on the balcony
  • Plant a melon in the bin that used to contain the oilseed pumpkin (no, I'll never give up)

There are a lot more things here that needs to be done, but I settle for these four, else the list will get a length that scares me off doing my chores. Hm, according to good old project management traditions I should put a deadline to this. Oh well, let's say Monday next week.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

So, did I follow the plans I would stick to?

January the first this year I posted my new years resolution to this blog, and that was

to stick to the plan

After that I forgot what the actual plans I set up was, but they have hoovered over me like dark clouds anyway. Today I looked up what I said I'd do and found a short list (*relieved sigh*). Let's work it through post by post.

  • To fully furnish two more 'cultivation windows'

I've done it! Well, I didn't put up grow lights as I planned to, but that's because I'm trying chard in low light positions (the plant is supposed to stand that) and one window is facing south so the plants won't need extra light for another two months or so.

  • Build nine raised beds on my allotment gardens

Check, but not because I built the beds but because I had to give the allotments up. I miss them, but the indoor gardens take all the time I have.

  • Clear and put up wallpapers in my study

We're on the way of doing this. Right now we are putting up wallpapers in the hallway and selling off stuff to actually get into the study. The room has served as a lumber room for far too long.

  • Put up a living wall in my study using aquaponics

Since we are about to move this will be in my new study.

I have to say I'm doing better than I thought I would. Two posts are checked and one is on its way.

But there is one plan I haven't followed. I haven't loosed any weight. But I will start on this project soon. I will. Soon. Absolutely. Soon...

(Why, oh why, do cinnamon rolls taste so good?)

Friday, June 05, 2009

La Linea 'harvest'

The worms have gotten their new homes, the gardens are thriving and I'm eating tomatoes like candy. I don't have much to say today. Soon I'll be working again since I've managed to get my wireless modem running. This may not sound that special, but it means that I can, when needed, work from the sofa - which have proved crucial to keep me healthy. Keep your fingers crossed that it works this time too, and we'll soon have new projects for this blog.

In the meantime you can take a peak at one of my childhood favourites. I actually found an episode where the line dude sows something - that wasn't easy, his adventures are... varied. If you think you recognise the voice or the 'language' it's because the same voice actor is doing Pingu.

Libera kandi friends!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The new home of the worms!

The worms have moved into their new home. I took a picture of the boxes before the transition to give you an idea of how I drilled the air and drainage holes. It may not be easy to see on this picture, but I use double boxes, the inner one has holes in the bottom to allow the worm fluid out (which means the outer one has an unperforated bottom). The long sides and one of the short sides has air holes drilled straight through both boxes - yep, I put them together and drilled, it's the only easy way to make the holes match.

These are standard boxes from IKEA (SAMLA 39*28*14cm / 15 1/4*11*5 1/2" to be exact, unfortunately the link seems to jump to anther size in the collection - use the drop down menu if you think the picture's wrong) and they have several advantages; they are relatively small, they are stackable and the worms thrive in them. This means I can easily put the vermicomposts away and they are stable when I need to stack them. And it's easy to make a bigger compost - I just make another vermicompost container and put it atop of the others. It's something like that I'm planning to do, when I've cleaned the old composts the best one will be reentering the system. Right now the oldies are drenched in pine soap water though - boy, they were mucky!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Something to watch while waiting for the Indoor Gardener

I'm currently working hard with the new homes for my wormsies. Unfortunately Aardman Commersials doesn't allow embedding, but follow the link and watch their commersial for a Knorr product. I thought it was appropriate after harvesting insane amounts of tomatoes.