Oslo Garden

A blog about gardening in Oslo, Norway


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September School garden update

I found a few surprises when I returned to the school garden this week to see how things were doing.

In Bed A, it looked a shambles! It was hard to see any resemblance to the planting plan I once devised. Still, it has produced (and continues to produce) some tasty edible food and that’s the main thing! 

After a nice harvest earlier in the summer (and a few ripened pea pods I found in the mess), I consigned the pea plants to the compost heap.

The school had been glad to get the peas I’d picked, bagged and froze back in July.

I’m pleased to see the carrots also doing so well. The purple ones do an especially fine impression of beetroots!

It’s still too soon to harvest though, as the school found out recently to its disappointment. The carrots they pulled up were full of flavour but were small. So now the school is looking forward to harvesting the remaining ones that have been left to mature for a bit longer in the ground.

In Bed B the Kale and Chard were still going strong…though I observed a couple of the Kale plants had suffered a major trauma…

While I stood pondering this over zealous harvesting, the mystery was solved. A little boy walked up to the bed, enthusiastically snapped off the top of a kale plant and duly stuffed it into his mouth, devouring it wholeheartedly! I had to admire his enthusiasm but I couldn’t help feel sorry for the plant!

I had been ready to give up on my beans and squash in Bed C but was amazed to see the squash plants, albeit stunted, still flowering and one even had a teeny tiny squash forming!

Not only that but there had been a spurt of verdant new growth among the bean plants with new flowers and beans forming.

They are a bit late developing, so I don’t expect there to be too many beans in the end but it’s great to see some progress nonetheless.

About 2 weeks ago the kids sowed radish (sorry, no photos!) and little seedlings have now appeared. It makes good use of the bare patch of earth where the squash should have been. Radishes love the cool weather and are fast developers, so we hope that they will mature and be harvested in time before the frosts arrive.

The calendula also have been disappointingly small this year but a few have flowered.

In each bed, the lettuces were in need of some attention. Some were beginning to flower and some had suffered water damage, with tale-tale soggy brown leaves at the base of the plants. I tidied up some plants by removing the affected leaves but disposed of some entirely. Where I’d removed plants in all three beds, I scattered some Grass Rye seeds, as a green manure. I hope there’s still enough time for it to grow substantially before the soil freezes so I can turn it over to add some valuable nutrients back into the soil before the winter.

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Easy Peasy!

Fresh, crunchy peas picked straight from the plant are absolutely delicious and growing pea plants is a great idea where space is a premium. I’m planting some Ambrosia peas today, a sugar pea variety that grows to about 70cm high and doesn’t sprawl. If you harvest the pods while they’re still young, you can eat them as a mangetout pea, pod and all.

P1010794I’m using Root trainers, but another great cheap alternative is to use old toilet rolls! They’re long and slim which is ideal for peas. Just fill with soil and, using your finger, make a hole about one inch in depth. Place two pods in each pot and cover with soil. Water them then put them on a sunny window sill covered with a plastic bag. This maintains a constantly warm environment, like a mini greenhouse, until the pods germinate.

P1010795Keep the soil from drying out by moistening it with a mister (convert an old spray bottle is the easiest way)  Once the little shoots appear, remove the plastic cover.  When the seedlings have grown to be a few inches high with around four or five sets of leaves pinch out the top of the stem and this will encourage more growth from the sides and make for nice bushy plants with lots of flowers and therefore yummy peas.