Oslo Garden

A blog about gardening in Oslo, Norway

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Frost arrives

Since I’d visited the school garden four weeks ago Autumn had arrived. Today came the first frost.

Things are definitely slowing down now and I wanted to get a sense of how things are doing. And to tidy up.

I finally removed the bean plants and sweet peas that had been clinging to their frames and dissasembled the bamboo ready to be packed away until next year. I collected some plant debris such as from the old lettuce and shrivelled up squash plants and added it to the compost heap. The calendulas, that had never really shone this year, were still desperately trying to flower, with a few buds waiting in vain to come out. I didn’t have the heart to uproot them and decided to do it another day in the hope that the flower heads that had begun to turn into seed heads would also mature enough for me to save.

The radishes that had been planted back in September had not really grown big enough yet to harvest. The chives that had taken so long to mature now looked nice and chunky. I’d like to transplant them soon so that I can overwinter them in order to replant them into next year’s garden.

Chard and kale were still growing well and still had lots of life in them. Most of the carrots had already been harvested by the school but there was still the odd plant growing.

Quite unexpectedly I also found a couple of carrot plants growing in another bed alongside the squashes. Somehow they’d found their way there, perhaps blown by the wind or inadvertently transported by me when sowing! A happy accident nonetheless!

Disappointingly I didn’t find much of the grazing rye that I had scattered in September. Rather than a blanket of rye grass I only found a measly handful of blades.20151014_092831Perhaps it had been too late to sow them? I’ll keep my eyes peeled for any more sprouting up and, in time, I’ll dig in whatever has germinated which, along with the leaves, will add more nutrients into the soil.

I’ll be back again in a few weeks to continue with the clear up.


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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.


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)


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Expect the unexpected

Wait, what happened??! One minute it’s spring,  the next minute it’s….


This morning’s forecast of rain that has turn out to be (surprise!) snow is somewhat head wrecking but it won’t significantly affect my plants. However at this time of year it’s still important to be prepared for unexpected dips in night-time temperatures and frost.  When it’s bright and sunny outside, it’s easy to get complacent. This coming week, there are swings of temperatures of between 0 to 11 degrees C, and in the outskirts or higher areas of the city the temperatures drop to -4 degrees C at night. So it’s worth just being vigilant. Protect your most vulnerable plants.

I’ve only just managed to save my Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) so I’ll be watching the temperatures keenly and throw a light fleece over it again if necessary over the next week….