autumn


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Eggplant (Solanum melongena)

Again this year, I had to resort to the eggplant seeds from 2009. I wait for a hot summer, so I again can harvest mature seeds. This year we ate the whole harvest. I harvested on September 30, and the following week we had the luxury of our own tender eggplants.

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Rima F3 No.3

The seed envelope from 2009 where I wrote “Rima F3 No.3” is a treasure. It is with no doubt my best eggplant seed envelope. This year more than half of the plants fruited in the open ground (seedlings was sown indoor before transplant, as the other years) despite a cool summer. However, in this cold summer I can’t imagine they can set seeds. Instead we have eaten them all, except one, which revealed some seeds that might mature, as I cut it open in the kitchen.

In the greenhouse, I have grown their cousins, Rima F3 No.1. (motherplants were siblings). I did so to highly increase my chances to harvest ripe seeds. Since this is the third year in open ground without harvest of mature seeds from my eggplants, I’m testing a new strategy. Should I grow my seedlings in the greenhouse, save seeds from each fruit separately and numbered? Then I can make comparative cultivation out in the kitchen garden, and this way recognize the best seed envelope for next generation (to be grown in the greenhouse…). It will not be quite as dogmatic plant breeding, but maybe it will speed up the process? I will sow my Rima F4 No.1. seeds next year, to learn if this strategy works for me. I would of course prefer to harvest my seeds from plants in the kitchen garden. Hopefully I come to that in the future.

PS. My garden tiles measures 40x40cm.


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Oca, Oxalis tuberosa

Now I couldn’t wait any longer. I just had to dig into the ground under my oca plants.
This year, several of the tubers have a reasonable size.
Other years they have been too small. There are still many small tubers, so I dug up one plant and let the other two remain in the soil. Since frost and snow can come any day (or maybe only in a month), I chose to cover them with several layers of bubble wrap hold down by wood. The leaves have died from frost long ago, but many of the thick succulent stems are still fresh, and they can quietly nourish the tubers to grow significantly. I want to see how long I can wait to harvest the last two plants. Now that I have dug up enough to put oca again next year, I dare let the time go before I harvest the rest. There seems to be a chance to taste them this year.

Had to use a flash, as it is dark now after work. These dark-dark afternoons are typical of advent and Christmas.


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Red Russian kale (Brassica napus) in the lawn

These kale grew up in the grass from seeds I spilled last year. The only care they have received is that I spared them when I mowed the grass. I wrote a bit about them in July, but since then they have grown considerably larger. They deserve a new post.

It is apparently possible to grow this kale in a lawn without any attention, apart from not mowing them, when mowing the lawn, and then of course the harvest and cooking in the kitchen. Nobody should tell me any more, that they do not have the strength to cultivate a few vegetables 🙂

PS. The green netting in the background is covering the garlic bed, so neighbourhood cats will not dig up and play with the cloves. I will remove it no later than when I notice the first small garlic sprouts.


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The banana plant, Musa acuminata

One of the most particular nights in my garden is when the first frost arrive, usually in mid October. Although the air at head height did fall below 1C, the tops of Dahlia, yacon and oca was killed by freezing. Oca only partly, as I have placed a box on top of the plants. Only leaves out of the box is dead. First frost typically happens in my garden in mid-October, after a day of sunshine, in a windless night. The bone-dry air lets the earth’s heat radiate out into the universe. The cooling then hits all the most frost tender plants.

Does that sound bad? It is not. It is another step into our future. Both tops of Dahlia and of yacon is fine to get frozen, because it reminds me that it’s time to dig them up. It will probably be a long time yet, before the frost reaches the tubers down the ground. But if I wait to dig them up, I’m likely to forget about them.

Other plants tolerate no frost at all. F.ex. geranium, lemon grass and banana plants must be completely protected from frost. I potted them up last week-end. Now they just have to get the best out of the warm, low light winter quarter in too dry air.

The banana plant, which stood in the kitchen garden, I had planned to overwinter outdoors under a thick cover, but as far as I can understand the good advice on the internet, it has no real chance to get through. So this winter I’ll take it indoors. In the photo it is just placed in the pot, waiting for more recycled potting soil. But maybe I will leave it outdoor next year. Maybe it just need a huge compost pile and a tarpaulin on top of it?

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Lemon grass, Cymbopogon citratus

Lemon grass I have grown in the garden for several seasons, and taken it indoors every winter. It works fine, and some of the stems are nice thick. The thick ones we can eat, the rest can overwinter in a clump, be divided in spring and planted in the vegetable garden again.

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Some of the lemon grass stalks are nice and thick


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Today’s harvest

Today’s harvest included:

Eggplants/Aubergines. Solanum melongena I harvested some of the late fruits, certainly failing to produce seeds. They are grown in open ground, because I am trying to develop an open-air variety. This summer’s heavy rains made me pessimistic, but now many of the plants stands out there in the rough weather with one, two or more fruits. I wonder if water was a limiting factor in the other years I’ve grown eggplants out in the garden?
Apparently they have thrived with melons in the same bed. The melon plants was growing fine all summer, but the rain have prevented any pollination – no melons this year 😦

Groundcherries. Physalis sp. In the bowl is what I picked up from the ground today. I last cleared the ground two days ago. I find the taste very similar to cape gooseberries. The fruit is somewhat smaller. They are grown outdoors, and gives a good yield, in contrast to the low yield of cape gooseberries in my climate. The fruit should not be picked from the plant, but picked up when they fall to the ground. They are protected by the delicate husk, so they don’t get bruised or dirty.
This year I got a much better yield than last year. Primarily I think, because they have a more fertile soil. I grow two cultivars, one without a name, and one called ‘Goldie’. There is no big difference, they taste the same, but ‘Goldie’ is probably a bit bigger in growth and fruit.
Some fruits are ready to eat picked from the ground, others have to further mature for a few days. The berry turn yellow when the delicate aroma and sweetness emerges.

Sweet pepper. Capsicum annuum Purple bell peppers (No cultivar name) and red-orange-yellow ’Alma Paprika’ FS584 apple pepper, both from outdoors. ’Alma Paprika’ FS584 is known to be early, and it has lived up to my high expectations. The plant is densely packed with fruit, and even though I’ve picked these 4, it still seems overloaded with fruits 🙂 The purple bell pepper is the big surprise. I thought it was a greenhouse variety, but it has fared well in open ground, and set four purple bell peppers.

Tomatillo. Physalis ixocarpa We have been pleased with the tomatillos. They do not taste of much, or in any way significant, apart from slightly acid. But in sauce and casseroles gives a wonderful taste to the other ingredients. Could it be the umami taste? They go well with most ingredients in the kitchen, are easy to grow, and gives a good yield. It might be clever to tie them up a bit. But when the fruit comes with its own wrapper, you can safe time and just let it ramble along the ground. This is one of the vegetables you can eat daily.


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Garden with a view

I revisited Merete and Ejners garden. First visit was in spring, this second visit was after the first frost. The garden is situated in a village, with a view over field and wood.

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Sage (Salvia officinalis)

The huge sage with the wrinkled stems made me think of
the oldest oak in Denmark. Age is an important dimension in our garden plants. Never saw a more beautiful sage.

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Kirsten and Merete deeply engaged in garden talk

People fond of gardening always talk a lot, when we meet in a garden. It still surprises me, how different we people can grow our gardens. Even with same plants in same climate. We ate us through the different fruit trees; cooking apples, table apples, pears, prunes, filberts and grapes.

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Old grape wine growing in the apple trees

A very old grape wine has conquered the tops of some of the apple trees. In old days there was a greenhouse around it, but since it perished, the grape wine has continued to grow with no protection. Could it be the old variety Frankenthaler?

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Leaf chicory

There still is a lot of vegetables in the garden. The leaf chicory was served for lunch – mmm…. We also had leek and a mayonnaise spiced with ‘Susan Delafield’ garlic.
Thanks for a nice day.