Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Mid June- things are very slow, it's the coldest spring in many decades

It feels like the Little Ice Age
And it has been raining, raining, and raining. It is the coldest June in many decades, after the coldest May for a long time. Guess that it is almost late June and the dandelions are only now starting to bloom, as well as the daffodils and tulips!

With an average daily temperature of 10ºC for the past weeks, I cannot hope for a bountiful harvest.

In fact, everything is growing slow, except perhaps the peas in the huegelkultur, the volunteer kale seedlings from last year self-seeding plants, and for oats and barley grown in the backyard of my house, in a place sheltered from the winds, but not that much sunny.

Potatoes are just sprouting, as are the sunchokes. I have no idea whether their harvest is going to be a fine one, with such a short season ahead.

Same for beets, carrots and salads. I had to buy larger transplants, because the ones I had were still tiny.

Last year the squash was already giving fruits by mid May. This year it hasn't even flowered in June!

Guess this is what people endure through the climate of the little ice age, when rivers froze in winter in Europe and fairs were held in such solid frozen rivers. In iceland, famines were frequent as oats, rye and even potatoes were complicate to grow. What can you eat in such conditions other than fish? Of course, animals do also grow, but only if there is an effort of providing them enough food and this summer food grown in such crazy climate must be stored for the 9 month winter ahead, when no food is available.

An explosion of color
The good news is the explosion of color in the many newly planted tulips and daffodils.

The cherry tree is blossoming, so perhaps I could have some cherries this autumn. That is a big unknown.

Cherry blossoms. The hope for the first cherries this far inland in Iceland (and still outdoors).

The siberian tomato is also flowering, and that is a major improvement over the experiments with conventional varieties last year, but the painted mountain corn still looks stalled in growth. The same goes for many small trees in containers outdoors, beans, the groundnuts outdoors, the asparagus, the maca, and the chinese yams.

Some of the nice experiments include tossing seedballs around, and tossing seeds in unprepared soil beds and seeing what happens there (especially under such chilly summer).

Basically the layout out there is still the same: 8 m2 of grain, 4m2 of potatoes, 3m2 of broad beans and peas, 1m2 of broccoli, spring onions and garlic, 1m2 of turnip and swedes, 1m2 of pak choy, leeks, carrots and walking onions. I haven't planted much of anything else except for a few perennials and some experiments.

The 6m2 of grain in the picture is growing nicely, despite being mostly shade. But the climate has been very cloudy, rainy and chilly. The question is: how strong will this harvest be?

More updates, in gardening in the 2013's year without summer, in soon

1 comment:

  1. send me an email to, I will send you a flyer for the workshop in iceland this summer :)