Oslo Garden

A blog about gardening in Oslo, Norway


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School growing plan 2016

When the school kitchen garden began it was very, very loosely based on a crop rotational system with also a nod to square foot gardening. Within each bed there were sub zones with lots of companion planting and flowers. As time has gone on, the system has transitioned into more of a traditional 3 year crop rotational system: Legumes- Brassicas- Roots. This is the most basic system and I’m all for keeping it simple.

Now in its third year, the garden’s three raised beds will correspond to the three vegetable groupings. However, in two of the beds, Bed A and B, I’m dividing the beds into two, so that the main rotational crop is grown alongside a ‘floating’ crop. I’m using chard and squash as ‘floating’ vegetables, as they can be grown anywhere within the rotation. This means they can be used to fill gaps or add variety to a bed. This is especially beneficial here given I wanted to cram in as many vegetables as possibles in the limited space available. So this year, for example, chard is being planted in Bed A, where last year I grew carrots and beetroots. Ordinarily in this space (if following the rotation) would be planted with legumes but I wanted to use Bed C solely for legumes this time around.

I’m also hoping to focus on getting the most out of the garden by experimenting with hexagonal (staggered) planting and generally planting closer together to maximise space. In any gaps or between the slower growing vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and cabbages, I want to plant faster cropping vegetables, notably lettuces and radishes. Also wherever possible I’ll plant some flowers to attract pollinators, as trap crops and to repel pests. A full list of vegetables can be found here and flowers here.  I’m sure there’ll be some changes along the way. Here is the plan for now.

Bed A: Brassicas

Swiss Chard, Savoy Cabbage, Red & Green Kale. I’ll try to squeeze some Dill in here.

Bed B: Roots

Carrots, Parsnips, Beetroots, Summer & Winter Squash. Chives will be planted between the carrots, They are said to improve the growth and flavour of carrots plus their flowers confuse the carrot fly.

Bed C: Legumes

Vicia Faba, Peas- Pisum sativum, Lettuce (and other quick-growing crops) & Lathyrus odorata.

Flowers, some edible, will be dotted about in all beds where possible.

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The F word

It feels like I’ve been on the starting blocks waiting for the full force of Spring to arrive for a couple of weeks now. Every time there are clear blue skies, temperatures rise a few notches, I get ready to shoot out of the blocks and go into gardening overdrive. But then the big F re-appears….Frost that is. Overnight. Once or twice. Just to remind you not to be too hasty….

While waiting, I can use the time to begin hardening off my seedlings, so that they will be ready to be planted out in their final location. This will, hopefully, coincide nicely with all risk of frost having passed.

Hardening off involves gradually preparing seedlings that have been nurtured under a protected environment, to be outside. They physically have to toughen up. So it begins with leaving them out for an hour or two on their first day, somewhere sheltered, out of the sun and preferably covered with a light fleece. Then they go back inside and return outside the following day, for a little more time. This is repeated each day, increasing it over successive days and in time exposing them to sunlight little by little until eventually you can leave them outside overnight covered with a light fleece. Finally a few days before they are planted out, you leave them out all day and night without any cover. This process should take a couple of weeks.

This year I have also carried forward the School Project I began last year and have been busy making plans for a planting scheme for the school garden’s raised beds.

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I have simplified the system this year, basing it on a three-year rotation (this now being the second) and growing fewer family groups of vegetables but more variety within each group. For instance within the Legume family, I’ve picked three varieties of Bean alongside one Pea.

Salads – Lollo Rosso, Iceberg, Maravilla de Verano- form the borders between the sections of crops in each bed. The lettuces will be continually harvested until late August/September, after which they will be replaced with a sowing of a green manure crop. This will add valuable nutrients back into the soil before the frosts return.

Flowers- some edible, some to attract pollinators and some to distract the pests from the juicy veg! Calendular, Nasturtiums and Sweet peas.

Bed A:

Wigwam with Climbing Beans- Runner Bean, Blauhilde, Cobra.

Ambrosia Peas

Carrots- Purple Haze, Cosmic Purple, Atomic Red, Milan- surrounded by Garlic Chives

Bed B:

Kales- Westlander Winter Kale, Redbor

Chard- Rhubarb, Rainbow

Radish interspersed with the lettuce

Bed C:

Wigwam with climbing beans (as in Bed A)

Summer Squash- Gold Rush (Yellow courgette), Sunbeam (Pattypan)