Friday, June 24, 2011

Come hell or high water - I WILL grow my vegetables

It's been tough weeks since my last post about the allotments. I've worked too much, moved too much and cultivated vegetables a lot. Everything in my life has been standing back to everything, and there's always more to do than my time allows. So if you think I sound tired you're right. Today I spent two hours in pouri rain weeding pale persicaria (Persicaria lapathifolia) from Angelina. Since my son have been ill I've been absent from the allotment in an entire week. And I'll pay for it... The persicaria is ruling the place right now. But I splashed my way around the beds removing it from four of them (there's a total of twenty beds). Then I lost my strength and decided I needed to return next day. Didn't feel happy about working on Midsummer's Eve (a big holiday in Sweden), but what can I do? This is an excersise in wearing down the adversary, and I need to see to that right fighter goes down.

We'll meet again, evil persicaria!

Since I've been moving and working I've only had time for Angelina. I don't dare thinking of how Precious and Victoria looks. Anyhow, some time before the winter we'll plant remounting strawberries on Precious. Mmmmmmm strawberries! asked the kind workers at Funbo Plantskola (local nursery, link in swedish) if they tastes good, since I'm a bit suspicious of fruit cultivated to aquire qualities that have nothing to do with the taste. They were positive; one of the 'parents' of the berry is a domestic wild strawberry and wild strawberries usually are tasty. Hm, let's see if it's true once we can harvest our own. A big advantage is that we can plant the strawberry field any time we like during the season, which gives us some respite.

The plastic cover we put over Victoria last time was suspiciously 'mountaingy' last time I saw it. I think the weed regard it as a nifty cover and thrive under it since we haven't put enough weights on it. Thanks to us moving places we have a lot of cartons I plan to put on the allotment instead, and I've found a place were they need to get rid of a mountain of instant wooden pallets. I got a heap of the pallets a year ago, hoping to build something out of them. Heh. That was the most useless wood I've ever come across. Dry as tinder, splintered to bits as soon as I tried to do anything with it, yet it was surprisingly heavy. In the end I made firewood of it all and gave it to friends with a big house filled with tile stoves. Now it strikes me I can use the pallets as weights weighing down the cardboard I'll put on Victoria. I just need to ask my source if I can bring my tiger saw and cut the pallets at their place.

Part of the pallet wood will become stepping planks for Angelina. It's not fun to work on her in pouring rain. The clay turns into slime that covers the trovels and turns the wellies into gigantic leaden clown shoes. And it's inpossible to keep the paths between the beds in good shape. Instead the muddy boots tear up deep holes and squishis the clay around to form instant mud feet baths. I should've known we'd put out those planks weeks ago, but weeks ago we had a heat wave and I was gardening without woollen* sweater and wet my head and hat to keep my cool. For some reason I thought this weather would stay for the entire summer. Should've known better.

The good news is I've been able to sow on almost all the beds on Angelina. (I had my doubts for a while.) The onions are growing, the potatoes needs ridging, the tomatoes are fruiting and the chard is coming along fine. Even the beds I sowed last week is sprouting seedlings, some of them really muscular. The giant sunflowers I sowed looks something like the land kelp Seymore I and II I grew indoors a while ago. This allotment have a chance to turn out fine.

*Last time I tended an allotment I wound up with pneumonia that kept me on my knees for more than a year. I'm scared to death this will happen again, so I keep my wollen sweater on unless the heat is tropical.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Some like it hot...

We've a heatwave in Sweden, and of course I need to do a lot of heavy work now. I just spent three hours at one of our allotments (Angelina), a quick dash home to do some laundry and avoid the hottest hours of the day and will go out this evening to work some two to three hours more. In case I'd feel bored I can always unpack some boxes or plan the next round of transporting stuff between the old and the new home.

I should give you the next part of my planned book, but my notes have disappeared. Hopefully it was not in the move, and thus they will appear again soon. Bummer anyway. I was about to start at the interesting stuff, like how you choose soil and where to put your 'gardens'. If the notes haven't turned up next week I'll reconstruct them to let you read the part anyway.

For weeding reasons I spend most of my time at the allotment. You see the biggest culprit in the picture above. I have no idea what the name is, but it spreads sending long root wines, hidden deep in the soil, all over the patch. Every time I pay a visit I spend most of the time tearing the plants away, and if I'm lucky I'm able to sow some things too. This day I had enough and decided to work like crazy untill I've been able to put all the planned seeds in the soil (thus my decision to work this evening).

When will I put up my indoor gardens? I'm not sure. July I think. It's not really doable before we've unpacked. So I spend my days eyeing the three windows I can use doing some easy plotting. Perhaps I should plant the dwarf pomegrante tree and the eucalypt! I have the seeds and it'd be nice to have some truly exotic plants.

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Indoor Gardener should be packing...

I seem to have forgotten to update this blog last week. Dumb mistake on my part! I'm spoiled with my other blogs were I can prewrite my posts and have the host publish them at the right date. When Indoor Gardener moves these hickups won't happen again. Kind of doubble, though - the posts won't always be the latest news, but they will be posted in due time, and most often be better than the scribblings I cobble together becauser thursday has arrived and I'm in a hurry.

There's a lot of cobbling in my life. We are spring farming the three allotments and moving to a new place at the same time. The allotments have gotten most of our attention, and now I'm sitting here wondering how on EARTH we are to be able to move the entire household on Saturday. This Saturday. Bit of a luck that we don't have any indoor gardens to move. I try to plan what I'm going to grow in the windows in the new flat, but I find it hard to concentrate on the subject.

Thanks to an impuls purchase I know what to do with the balcony, though. We bought roses for Precious at Funbo Plantskola (link in swedish), and they hade placed grapes close to their roses. I've always wanted to grow grapes. While I was standing in front of the plants I didn't at all remember why I haven't bought one earlier, and picked a hardy labrusca plant. In the car my memory returned when I read the cultivating advice. Labrusca shuns lime. Not what you want when the water is so calciferous it's almost crunchy (or was - nowadays it's soften by the city, but is still rather limy). Luckily enough I've kept some of my big plastic grow crates, and peat moss is cheap.

The Indoor Gardening hubby have been eyeing the domestic arctic brambles every now and then. He's from the nothernmost parts of sweden, and grew up with arctic brambles like southerners do with strawberries. He'd love to have a few plants. Unfortunately they too shun lime, and don't work here at all. My father tried to grow arctic brambles for years in a similar soil. After a long struggle he got one (1) flower on one plant, and no berry. But if I would plant a grape in a big crate on the balcony, why not add some domestic arctic brambles too? They get beautiful, pink flowers that'll match my only fuchsia perfectly. (Only one fuchsia this year - there has to be something wrong with me...) With that my plan for the balcony was more or less finished. For a while I pondered adding american blueberries to the collection. They taste good and want acidic soil too. Then I remembered how BIG the bushes become... A pink balcony filled with grapes, domestic arctic brambles and one fuchsia will do fine.