Thursday, September 20, 2012

The end is nigh

The plastic greenhouse and cold frame are packed away.
Most of the pots are on the new compost heap.
All my indoor plants have been hacked back for overwintering and rehomed by various generous souls.
Yesterday I pulled my carrots and ate them with friends for dinner and picked a few remaining strawberries.
The first frost came today.

I leave for 3 months in China in no less than 2 days. So all is prepared and put away ready to welcome winter. My kale, winter peas, and japanese spring onions are being left where they are and some hardy lettuces are being left for my tenants.

The hardy herb section have been heavily chopped down and dried just in case the plants done make it but I am leaving rosemary, sage and two types of thyme out to see whether they survive.

This summer in Iceland has been one of the hottest and driest in many years history. It has been brilliant for gardeners, except for the need to water, but we at least are not in a country which suffers from hosepipe bans.  I havent spent as much time on fine details om my garden as I thought I would this year but its still been very beneficial.

Next year if I am here all season (I might be abroad here and there) I will concentrate my efforts on more varieties of the most successful plants, and have less experiments.

I tried tried tried with babycorn, It was in the greenhouse and grew so tall - taller than me - and so strong, but never produced cobs. Its just not a plant for Iceland. I love making plants not for Iceland work here but this was just not going to happen.

You're not supposed to grow rasberries and blackberries and blueberries and gooseberries in pots either, but when I broke up with my child's father, I moved the plants too which had yet to be planted and simply put them in pots temporarily. They arent in big enough pots really but I have had quite a few raspberries off the plants. Next spring I will put them in bigger pots. I cannot put them in the ground as I rent the place I live in and share the garden and am waiting until I can have a fully fledged garden I can take really seriously.

I also grew more flowers this year, specifically ones which took little effort and I very much enjoyed them. Marigolds, sweet peas, sunflowers, nasturtiums, cornflowers and more. I cannot wait until I can plant full perennial plants in my own permanent garden. I will go fern crazy.

My windowsill gardening was spectacular this year. Tomatoes, paprikas, aubergines and chilis coming out of my ears. It shows even those of us with just a windowsill can do well here in Iceland.

Here are the photos from the last month. This month I have been eating:

  • Chilis - many types
  • Paprika - 2 types
  • Aubergines - 2 types
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Camomile
  • Spring Onions
  • Lettuces - many types
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • French beans
  • Runner beans
  • Peas
  • Mange Touts
  • Cucumber
  • Squash
  • Courgettes
  • Tomatoes - many types
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Beetroot - success at last!
  • Nasturtiums
  • Kale
I have alot to tell about what tricks worked, but in reality this will probably be the last post until I return from China, unless I decide to do some window sill work there, which knowing me, isn't unlikely. However, time to write will be sparse as I plan to be very busy. So if this is it, see you next spring.

Kitty x

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fruits of my labour

Well all my promises of keeping this blog up to date through the summer are obviously broken. But that's not to say I haven't been dulleg on my actual gardening.

I have been keeping very much on top of things and eating a phenomenal amount of delicious treats. Great excitement has been had with successes I am sure are only possible due to the twilight zone style foreign weather we have had. The ongoing good weather (until exactly today it seems) has definitely given all of my fruiting plants a much better chance than they have had in previous years.

All of what I was waiting to ripen on my last entry, I have now been eating. The strawberries have been absolutely huge, and I am now collecting baby plants from the runners so that I should have a whole army of strawberries next year.

I have been conducting little experiments with various plants, as well as trying multiple varieties of my favourites such as Chilis and Tomatoes. Without fail all of the chili varieties I tried (12 I think it is) have succeeded. They are fruiting like crazy and it is absolutely delightful to be able to decide which sort of chili to use for which particular dish I am cooking, my diet is nearly always spicy. I have luckily found several foster parents willing to look after the plants whilst I am in China as I eagerly want to overwinter all of them.

Some of the failures this year due to the weather have included certain types of spinach and all my pak choi - normally I grow surplus amounts of these but the hot weather has led to bolting in almost every batch I have sown as I mentioned before. Strangely enough though my beetroot as yet to bolt - something I usually struggle with. They are sat happily in their pots like golfballs at the moment and I shall soon uplift them for a good roast.

I am still impatiently waiting on my baby corn to fruit. The plants are huge and I know the chances of success are slim, but they are in my plastic greenhouse and I am determined to succeed. The first ever cucumber plants I have are producing baby cucumbers now and I am hoping for a couple of weeks more good weather to ensure they make it. I have never tried these before and would love to do well on the first ever attempt.

My daughter has spent a great deal of time with me in the garden and I can get her to try anything and more or less get her to eat her 5 fruit and veg per day straight from the ground. However the moment I put it on a plate indoors, she turns her nose up at it so its good to know how to get her eating her greens.

More detailed posts are in my head, but for now, here is a seriously lengthy image overload.

This month I have been eating:

  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Spring Onions
  • Spinach
  • Lollo Rosso
  • Cornsalad
  • Basil
  • Purple basil
  • Corriander
  • Cammomile
  • Nastursium
  • Baby carrots
  • Salad leaves
  • Cos lettuce
  • Courgettes
  • Sunburst squash
  • Balmoral squash
  • Aubergine
  • Chilis
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • French beans
  • Peas
  • Mange tout