Fertilized with organic chicken poop feed: all the berry bushes on Rosendal and Ovantrask side (blackcurrants).
I dug up some "Timo" (new potatoes) for dinner and they were absolutely wonderful and a good size. We had them with some West Chark sausages from their new store in Pojo.
We were so busy haymaking today that there wasn't much time to do anything else.
I did weed the carrot tunnel and the onions and I planted out the kohl rabi (which I had sown in seed trays in Espoo). The rain is keeping the garden wet but the cold weather is not helping the fruit and veg situation much. The french beans are not doing well at all and I have given up on the parsnips. i would quite like to start again but couldn't find any packs of seeds in the shops. On the other hand, the sprouts are doing OK, it was a good idea to give them a windreaker. In fact we are thinking of erecting a windbreaker around the whole of the vegetable garden.
Only four strawberries ripe to eat. It's a bit (very) frustrating to see so many GREEN strawberries on the bushes. At this rate most will rot before they get ripe.
We only have a small row of these, maybe 5 or 6 bushes but they are covered in flowers. Given the shape of the flowers I don't think honey bees would be able to pollinate them so not sure who does. These shrubs produce huge blueberries, much bigger than the bilberries which we pick in the forest. They are really flavoursome and are full of good vitamins and antioxidants. They also look lovely as a dessert.
Mum was asking about pricking out tomatoes. Usually this only needs to be done on greenhouse-grown vine tomatoes and most of the container-grown tomatoes are dwarf or bushy varieties so you don't need to worry about this. In this photo you can see how a small shoot is sprouting out at 45 degrees where a leaf branches off from the main stem (inside the red circles). That is what you need to prick out.
Glad midsommar! Hyvää Juhannusta!
Midsummer was a complete wash-out, partly due to the Arctic weather and partly due to me having a stinking cold which kept me in bed for over 48h. As ever other Finn seemed to be at home surfing, gaming or otherwise involved in digital pursuits, it was impossible to update this blog, we just couldn't get enough bandwidth or whatever. So, miserable as sin we decided to come back to Espoo primarily to get medicine.
We abandoned plans for a Juhannus bonfire after Peter found a blackbird's nest in the middle of the pile. Shame but there were other bonfires around the lake, as usual.
But while I was laid up in the cabin, Peter was busy doing stuff, clearing more trees from the back forest and generally being busy. He has a new toy, a hay raker that he found online and bought off a farmer in Perniö.
I did some weeding in the polytunnel and we rigged up a frame for the cucumbers. The butternut squash are doing well, most have flower buds and are starting to bloom. The overnight temperatures are really low, we had only 3.4C on Saturday morning presumably it was pretty cold inside the tunnel too, even if we keep the doors closed.
When I downloaded the weather station data we noticed that there had been some gusts on 18th June of almost 10 m/s which might account for one of the anchor posts having shifted.
They are even forecasting frost in parts of southern Finland and the Juhannus weekend is not looking any better at the moment.
At least with all this rain we will be able to have a traditional bonfire on the lake shore.
It was a chilly night. A north wind was blowing all day on Saturday and on Sunday morning the max/min thermometer in the polytunnel showed a night-time temperature of only 3 degrees. But thankfully, it warmed up on Sunday. In fact, when I decided to clear the willow out of the ditches near the cabin it was way too hot and sunny for hard work.
Not sure if we will have strawberries for Juhannus (Midsummer festivities are next weekend) but they are well on their way. I decided to hang CDs over the row to frighten off the birds and I also netted them. The CDs look pretty in the wind, but I have no idea if they really keep the birds away.
These are "smultron" wild strawberries that grow on the edge of the forest. We ate a few today, they have a very strong flavour, quite different to cultivated varieties.
Having weeded the carrots I can now confirm that we do actually have some carrots...
The beetroot are doing OK, but I did sow a fresh packet of seeds in the gaps.
Today I also planted another packet of french beans (hopefully they will be ready a couple of weeks later than the rest) and a row of parsley.
I planted some courgettes in pots as I only have three in a growbag, the ones I sowed direct outdoors didn't come through.
I picked a few more asparagus spears as well and weeded all the onions.
In the polytunnel the aubergines are doing really well. I also managed to buy two more tomato plants (at the market in Karis, having stopped at three nurseries on Saturday and not managed to find any!)
Some of the butternut squash already have flower buds but if I remember correctly the male flowers appear first and the female flowers don't appear for another week or two.
Up at Rosendal we decided to move a couple of the Saskatoons as they were in an awkward place. That was an easy job and now we need to get a fence around the whole area. The saskatoons are already starting to show above the sapling tubes and the deer will find them in no time. Found an old scarecrow in the barn so will put him up in the middle of the saskatoons. Worth a try.
We also planted the ash tree in a nice warm spot between the house and the barn, between an oak tree and a maple.
Peter and Tom have removed the fallen spruce from the Rosendal forest.
Didn't get here until midday as I stopped on the way to but a couple of tomato plants, Also got a chilli plant, but not sure how hot it is.
Anyway, it is warm, dry and slightly breezy so everything is drying out very quickly. I watered all the grow bags in the polytunnel and the plants which are still in pots: cucumbers, pumpkins. I also weeded the butternut squash. I planted the two tomato plants in the grow-bags and tied them up with string so they can climb.
After lunch I spent a few hours weeding the vegetable garden. The carrots are full of weeds as are all the onions. It's a slow job as I still haven't managed to buy a new weeding hook (the shop says they are on order) which is my favourite tool for weeding.
I tied up the asparagus and picked a few more. I also found the old CDs from last yesr so I hung them above the strawberries to keep the birds off - we have plenty of strawberries but it will be another 10 days before any are ready to eat. Peter said her will put nets over them when he comes down at the end of the week.
I watered everything, weeded the beetroot and filled the gaps. One bag of seed must've been past its best-before date.
This evening I planted one batch of leeks and will do the other roll tomorrow. Our neighbour starts them off for us. She has a really clever method (rolling up the seeds in a bin liner, see the photos), I've tried to do something similar but without success.
It was Open Day at the local plant nursery Tahvoset and it was packed.
I bought some more strawberries (Korona) to fill the gaps in the new row and also three raspberries. it seems a bit silly buying raspberries when we have a forest full of them but, the wild ones are so small, sometimes it is nice to have the bigger ones for making cakes and desserts. We also bought a Mahonia which I will plant in Espoo (the bees love Mahonia flowers) and I also bought another red gooseberry bush. They are so delicious and we never seem to have enough after the deer have taken their share.
We were very envious of Tahvoset's automatic watering system - they have some huge polytunnels and everything is automated. It is a massive nursery (the biggest in Finland by a long way) having grown from a tiny family business to being a major Nordic grower than exports to Russian and around the Baltics, but I guess they are also feeling the pinch at the moment due to the "dip" in the rouble.
So, with the dry, sunny weather we had to spend a few hours watering everything (not automatic...). P&T have already set up the pump and the hosing so we can water the fruit bushes and the pumpkins and squash without having to lug watering cans across the field. But up in Rosendal the water pressure out of the well is not great so it takes forever to water the saskatoons and the blackcurrants.
Nearly everything we planted is coming on nicely. The french beans are through, as are the carrots, beetroot and parsnips. The polytunnel veg are doing fine as well. The fruit bushes look really healthy this year. All in all, we must be at least a fortnight ahead of last year's planting schedule.
I still want to plant some rainbow mangold and Carita has some leeks ready for us to plant out. This week I will also plant out the brussels sprouts and, I still need to buy some more tomato plants. Was going to do that today but didn't have time. Did plant a few rows of lettuce in a raised bed in the polytunnel.
We (actually, the neighbouring farmer's son) are excavating the ditch on the back field. P reckons that if we improve the drainage out there we can either use it for grazing the sheep or for growing something. I think it is too cold and dark (and already occupied by too many deer).
Will take some more photos of everything soon.