This year again, as always in fact, I'm filling almost half of the garden with peas, beans and potatoes. I love peas and beans, and it brings me great joy to fill the freezer with these staple goods for the long winter when all there is to do is eat and sleep. Potatoes are a different matter. For many years I viewed them as a necessary evil in the garden; something I was expected to grow but didn't really enjoy. But then I found purple potatoes, and discovered the humble art
This year I have a feeling that everything in the kitchen garden has been late. This may or may not be an objective truth, as I do recall complaining about the same thing in previous years. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be that last year the vegetables came on early due to the supernaturally warm weather, and this year things have returned to normal. Throughout June this year, temperatures have ranged between 10°C to 20°C with a lot of rain and wind. Luckily for me
Most years I try to grow something new in my vegetable garden, and this year it was the pea Blauwschokker. When I say new, I mean new to me but not necessarily a new variety horticulturally speaking. In fact Blauwschokker (Pisum sativum var.arvense) is a very old heritage variety believed to come from Holland, and still sold by most seed companies due to its continuing popularity. It can be sown outdoors from when the soil has warmed up (in the beginning of May in my cold cli
It is always nice to look back to the beginning and think about all the things that have happened along the way, and so I thought I would write a bit about my gardening journey. It all began when my children were little, and I started thinking about what we eat and how it is produced. As new mothers we are bombarded by so many well-meaning advice that it can be quite overwhelming, and for me it really changed how I think about food and the environment. It seemed that each day
Being an organic gardener, I often get asked how I control slugs and snails in my gardens. It is a fair question considering I am completely pesticide free in my gardening practice, and one which I have a most annoying answer for: I don't. I simply do not have a snail problem! I do have a small population of snails and slugs in my gardens, but they are not really a problem. I believe the reason I am this lucky is that I do however have a very healthy frog and toad population.
Ever since I first started gardening while in my twenties, I have always gone down the organic route. As I had the choice, I decided to follow a life sustaining approach and do my best to create a healthier environment rather than deplete it. While gardening in England I was of course much more affected by what happened around my two acre garden, and there was no way I could control pollution or pesticides seeping in from the surrounding area. But on my own farm that lies on
As autumn descends on us I always think of the title of a Louis Bromfield novel: "The rains came". In Finland in autumn the weather usually turns on a sixpence, going from beautiful clear and high blue skies to a total downpour and a dark greyness round the clock. It is as if someone turned off the lights and turned on the tap. The vegetable garden has been slowly disintegrating since the first nights with frost, and by November it is a mess of dead and dying plant material.
We have had an unusually sunny and warm September this year, and the kitchen garden has continued to deliver enormous amounts of vegetables. A first for me this year was growing my own leeks. I love leeks and use them a lot in my cooking! They were surprisingly easy to grow, but I had misjudged the space close to the tomatoes so the row closest to them only produced thin little ones. The tomatoes have given me endless joy this year! A plentiful cropper with sweet yellow fruit
The Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwshokker peas were glorious this year; round and sweet and beautiful to look at. Although I should have planted twice as much, there were enough so that all through July we ate of them to our hearts content. Every few days I would pick a bowl and eat them freshly boiled with a knob of butter or cold in a salad. Then suddenly, in the beginning of August, they were past their due by date. It is fascinating how quickly it goes from prime time to panic har
The best part of growing my own food is the simplicity and variety it offers with different vegetables for dinner each night. If we are in a hurry I might pick some Little Gem squash and simply chop them up for a raw salad with basil. If we have a lot of time I may make a white beetroot salad that needs to be marinated for a few hours. The fact that the kitchen garden is adjacent to the house is probably the key to success, as it becomes so simple to just nip down and see wha
The first rain this summer came on midsummer eve, and I for one was dancing with joy. Before the rain my garden was looking dusty and sad, as my valiant efforts to water it were no match to a good old rain. Then, during the next two weeks it rained properly at least every other day giving the plants a good old root soak. In just three weeks the transformation in the vegetable patch is unbelievable! Suddenly everything has gone "woosh" and yesterday we got to enjoy the first s
The new raised beds in my kitchen garden are now finished and planted up with this years vegetables, surrounded with a sturdy net fence to keep deer and rabbits out. Sadly it seems that this gloriously sunny weather we have had for the last six weeks means that my vegetables are struggling in the drought, and although I spend two hours each evening watering them it hardly seems to matter. Later on, when we have time, the paths between the raised beds will be covered in wood c
Summer to me is all about the kitchen garden. I have to admit I am a bit obsessed with my small vegetable paradise, and each year I spend a great deal of time preparing the soil, planning my planting scheme and selecting seeds. The picture above is from last year, and below from this year at the same time of month. As you can see I have rotated the vegetables from one place to another according to my plant rotation chart. I spend quite some time weeding in order to give my pl