• Sofias Country Gardens

Garden gone wild


By now my kitchen garden has gone quite mad and wild. I love to grow Marigolds in my garden for the bees and other beneficial insects, but they can be a bit like guests who come for a few weeks and enjoy the stay so much that they end up moving in... give them a tidy row at the end of each vegetable bed and suddenly they have spread out all over the place! They are beautiful and I have plans of drying the flowers for food decoration and tea, but honestly this year the marigolds have spread out and self seeded more or less everywhere, and as I'm a bit of a wuss I find it hard to evict them.

My sprouting broccoli went quite mad as well, and although I've pick florets all the time they ended up growing tall and lanky and flowering before I had time to properly harvest the lot. Never mind, I tell myself, the insects adore them and all the white cabbage butterflies that had crept through my failure of a netting are now giving me endless amounts of joy as they flutter about like white fairies in the sunshine. Although it was a momentary disappointment to share the crop with them, I do admit to marvelling at their beauty now they have turned from larvae to butterflies. The joy of an organic garden and a philosophical mindset is that most things that seem like a disastrous failure actually turn out well in the end. The tips of the broccolini end up in the frying pan together with other garden greens, and my family is kept well fed and none the wiser of the fact that it kind of didn't go according to plan.

By now there are gaps appearing in the beds where produce has been harvested. This week I harvested the onions and hung them up to dry on an old ladder in a sheltered corner of the terrace. I always leave them until the stalks are laying flat against the ground, but I do know some people who pick them earlier. This year I grew only red onions, as I find the flavour softer than that of white onions, and with the limited space I have I decided to give them as much room as possible instead of growing other kinds of onions too.

The beans have grown abundantly and every few day I pick a handfull for supper. I like them small if cooked for salads, but for stir fries I use the bigger ones cut into 1 cm pieces. Blauhilde has dainty deep purple flowers and dark purple beans, but once cooked they turn green. It is a medium late bean that takes about two months from sowing until harvest, and great because it is quite tolerant of cold or generally bad weather and produces a good crop even in my cold climate garden.

Now I am harvesting the last of the Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker peas, and my what a great harvest I've gotten this year!! My youngsters love these peas and we tend to eat most of the harvest before they have a chance of ending up in the freezer, but I do save some for Christmas dinner as is our tradition. They make great cooking peas in all sorts of savoury dishes, from pea risotto to stir fries, because they keep the firm texture and are less sweet than many modern varieties.

For my birthday my darling daughter gave me a bean plant from an unnamed climbing bean, which I planted at Humlegård in the herb garden, and it has flowered for weeks on end with the most gorgeous deep red flowers. Now it is producing masses of beens as well, and each time I pick them I send love and affection to my daughter who is back in Europe after a long corona lock down with me on the farm. I miss her of course, so it is nice to have such a long lasting gift in my garden.