Friday, 14 June 2013

Early June - Summer moods, rushing towards growth

A quite cold summer weather
Finally summer has arrived after a freezing April and a very wet and cool May. We had continuously rain in the last few weeks and cool weather (always around 10ºC). But now the first days of sun and warm weather (up to 20ºC) are just starting!

Colorful Flower edges
I planted many flowers outside, lining the edge of the garden beds, to make it beautiful and attract wildlife and repel pests. Mostly pansies and tagetes! Besides that, we just have also an explosion of color from all the tulips and other spring bulbs planted last October!



Flower edges!

Experiments outdoors
I transplanted out (to the garden soil) the cold resistant varieties of painted mountain corn and siberian tomatoes. They are doing fine even with cool weather.

I also planted many perennials outside (the siberian pea, good king henry, indian ricegrass, crambe, and groundnut). I transplanted out the sunflowers (one dwarf variety is doing much better than the common one), and I am about to transplant out also the squash, melon and watermelon. I digged holes and put a lot of compost and seaweed on them. But these plants are sown quite late. Guess the most important thing about gardening in Iceland is growing the strongest possible transplants until early June, when it's time to plant out.

This is the sheltered spot, south oriented, where broad beans and rye grow stronger,  and where we planted siberian tomatoes and painted mountain corn.

Speaking about seaweed, it has been a party of fertility on the garden. Last summer I refrained of adding any ammendments because I wanted to see how far non-input I could go in my garden with poor soil. This year I am building heavily on the fertility side, with seaweed I picked from the coast some 50km away, and plenty of compost, green manure from the rampant lupins, and of course, the experiments with huegelkultur. Actually, many vegetables seem to thrive way better in huegelkultur than in normal garden beds.

The best thing outdoors has been really the discovery of our self-seeding kale and pak choi last summer. I let those plants flower last year and drop all their seed back into the garden beds. Now I have literally a thick forest of kale volunteer seedlings everywhere in the garden, even spreading across the nearby lawn! The pak choi is not pure variety, it seems rather a mix of turnip and pak choi. The intention now is to create an even further self-sustaining garden.

A forest of kale seedlings, growing wildly. This is Fukuoka's farming!

Finally, we have our newest flowering cherry tree, "Stella" self-fertile variety, growing outdoors still in a container. Hopefully, we will have cherries this year. At least that's one of our main goals.

Experiments indoors

Indoors I transplanted a lot of quinoa, into medium size containers, and it's doing great because I added there plenty of compost, branches and a mix of sand and rocks to provide good drainage. And I just move them outdoors because quinoa seems to need cool temperatures in order to flower and set seed.
Quinoa growing very happy, with cool weather and a fertile soil

But I am still failing with amaranth. I know now that the spider mites and mice are to blame. I also had to took the corn and millet outdoors to prevent the spider mites. It's also because I haven't been watering my indoor plants as much as I should, so the room atmosphere is rather dry. Best to have a moist environment to grow your plants indoors.

Other than the thriving tiger nuts, I have not so much to report from indoors. I am moving almost everything outdoors this summer.

Community garden

We planted a lot of vegetables there, mostly using companion planting and mulching. There were also a lot of colorful flowers there and a small emphasis in perennials (such as asparagus, chives, strawberries walking onions, raspberries, rhubarb). Today we chose a perfect spot, the most sheltered one, and we planted the painted mountain corn, squash and siberian tomatoes there, with plenty of compost and a wooden wall, to provide extra shelter.

Beautiful flowers!

Pansies and tagetes, lining the garden edges

Less known tulips

Beautiful color now in our garden!

General perspective of the garden

Daffodils, also coming into bloom

More to come in soon!

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