Petunia keep the pest away while the broccoli’s thriving
I have now planted all my little sprouts out in the garden. I’ve built two more lunawood boxes (read more about building the box here) and a small add-on box for the largest one (it now looks sort-of like a ship). I have planted carrots, leeks, broccolis, sweet-peas, petunias, dill, coriander (cilantro) and courgettes (zucchini). I can proudly say that everything is alive and growing. I have learned very much the past month or so, and I thought I’d list some. They’re good to remember next year!
Courgettes are growing, after a few mishaps
- courgette plants are very crisp and easily break. I broke the main stem of two of my three plants and I thought they were doomed. But I placed them in a glass of water and after only a few days the stem had already developed new roots. I replanted them inside and let them have some peace and quiet for a few weeks before planting them out. They’re thriving!
- do not underestimate the power of sunshine. I know very well that plants need sunshine and water to grow. I have few windowsills that are bathed in sunshine and thus my sprouts have only had a few hours of sunshine every day. They were growing well so I didn’t think much of it. Until I saw my neighbours plant, a courgette plant I gave here that I had planted at the same time as my plants, and although smaller than mine, her had five large flowers when mine has just started to develop the flower buds.
- petunias keep pests away from plants of the cabbage family. My six broccoli plants are still without larvas and other yucky creatures, despite the many white and yellow butterflies that have visited out garden (those butterflies lay eggs that devour the broccoli).
- carrots need space to grown. That is why I added the extra floor to my boat-box. That way they’re planted above the other vegetables and can stretch further down into the ground.
- tomato plants benefit from having marigolds and basil planted close. These are apparently good companion plants, and marigolds also help keep some pests away from the tomato plants. They all also require sheltered spots with much sunshine.
- start planting early. February is probably a good month. Then the plants are big and sturdy for when the warmed days arrive. And seeing the new life spring to life in the dark, heavy months of winter helps fight of depression.
Sweet-peas are climbing and needed support
I was born and raised in a family and a nation (or even part of the world) that is largely fed on high-carb diets. We’re amazing at underground veggies. Root vegetables can be and is used in so many different ways. Above the ground veggies on the other hand is something still a little exotic in this part of the world. And there are of course reasons for that. Living on the coast far north wind and rain is more common that not. Root vegetables are safe, they grow here, just like the sheep.
Above the ground vegetables are thus sort of a little intimidating. Honestly, ten years ago I had never tasted a courgette (zucchini), paprika is something I knew three uses for: diced in salads, sliced on top of cheese on a slice of bread, or on our (I call it ours, it’s as Norwegian as komle!) Grandiosa pizza. Google that last one, it’s not something we eat often and not something I’ll blog about. But I think youtube would have some treasures for you.
However, trying to incorporate as many vegetables in our diet as possible I have to turn to the above ground types, and find new ways to use them. One dish that blew my mind, thankfully not literally, was a dish I was served at Lou Pistou in Nice last year. It was typical for the area, very simple, and just soooo good. The recipe was no secret, so the wonderful, lovely lady explained it to me. I have now tried making it myself, and this is too good not to share.
You need vegetables that you can fill, and I believe anything goes. Try making a local version! I had onions (those are a must), courgettes (zucchinis), aubergines (eggplants) and peppers (paprika). You can serve this as a full meal (mine was served with a salad – and talk about getting your five a day!!) or you can something with it (fries, rice, or similar). Here’s what you need:
- 2 onions
- 1 courgette
- 1 aubergine
- 2 peppers
- 250 grams of ground beef
- four slices of bacon
- 2 cloves of garlic
- salt and pepper
- thyme, oragano or basil
- two good handfulls of parmiggiano (or similar cheese)
First boil the vegetables for about five minutes. Put the whole veggies in the pot. At the same time you fry the bacon in a pan. Afterwards cut in half and scrape out what’s inside (throw away the insides of the pepper). Use the now empty and halved veggies as serving bowls. Finely chop everything else and mix together. Fill the halved veggies then bake at 200 degrees celsius for about 35 minutes.
We celebrated my oldest niece’s confirmation last weekend. She is fifteen and as a Evangelical Lutheran tradition we then celebrate her becoming an adult. Her life doesn’t change much at fifteen, but traditionally this is the age from which you were considered an adult. 18 is the age where you’re legally considered and adult in Norway.
The tradition involves weekly church meeting throughout the school year, although this varies from place to place. There are also non-religious confirmations based on various secular organisations, where obviously the church is not involved. The confirmations has long traditions in Norway, and was introduced during the 16th century, during the 18th century if was made obligatory. The confirmations coincided then with the last year of school and the confirmation became a religious exam, as well as a requirement for getting an apprenticeship. Today it is a matter of getting to know your religion, becoming more reflected, growing up and also the family party.
My niece was two when I met my husband and when I met her for the first time. It has been amazing watching her grow into the young lady she has become today, and it has happened so quickly. She went from a young girl to a young lady in the blink of an eye. She is lucky to have an amazing mother who can take credit for the level of maturity in my niece. She has done a good job in emphasising my niece’s good qualities throughout her upbringing and focused on the positive in life. But my niece is much more than just the result of her upbringing, she is also very clever, she has a brilliant sense of humour, she is well-reflected and mature for her age. She is insanely beautiful and determined. I’m very proud of her and consider myself very lucky to be able to follow her further in life.
I wish to keep my family anonymous and thus leave you with pictures of some of the gorgeous bunads present on that special occasion.
My husband in his brand new Rogaland bunad
A beautiful representative of the nordlandsbunad
The Åmli bunad – the one worn here is actually 60 years old, inherited from her grandmother
The Åmli bunad for men
A blue version of the Rogalandsbunad
Sweet peas shoot up quickly
I’m so pleased with my boxed herb garden that I have now taken it to a new level. I have built more boxes and I now have my own little kitchen garden. I still haven’t harvested anything, but the plants are growing and it’s all looking very promising. I’m so pleased I’m smiling like crazy whenever I’m in the garden, and I’m there very often now, because of the smiling, but more because of what’s making me smile.
Courgette plant is growing to take over the world
I know nothing, or, well, I knew nothing, about gardening. I’ve taken babysteps this year and I have learned much. Every day is a new surprise as I have so little knowledge and thus so few expectations about what will happen next, every time I see something new or if there has been unexpected progress I’m all excited.
Carrots look grassy, delicate and thin
I started planting inside in April, and I realise now that January/February is when I’ll start next year. We’ve had a very early summer this year and I should have had larger plants to plant outside already in May. I should still be able to harvest from them all during the summer and early autumn, but starting earlier would result in me being able to harvest in the early months of summer.
Lettuce started slowly and carefully – was then killed by the cat – and is now trying again
I started out with lettuce, courgettes (zucchini), carrots and sweet peas. They were all planted from seeds in proper soil in milk cartons covered with cling film or other types of see-through plastic. The plastic was removed when the sprouts had grown to reach it.