Attempt to Grow Beets at Home

I’m trying to grow beet shoots on the window sill. They would be a nice addition for salads.

ImageI just cut a slice on top of the beets, put them on a plate and water them every day. They’ve been growing a week now and most of them already have small leaves.

Gardening and Harvesting

We have rented a piece of land from the community garden nearby. We’re growing onions, radishes, spinach, chard, cucumber, pumpkin, dill, snow peas, fava beans and potatoes this year.

First some pictures from earlier this summer. The whole garden.

Onions and snow peas. We’ve harvested over 6 kg snow peas so far. Maybe over 7 kg, I haven’t weighted them all.

We planted a lot of potato, because there’s no water supply in the garden and we’re quite dependent on raining and potato survives well through dry periods.

Baby chard.

Chad has grown better than ever. Here I am making chard rolls. Similar to these, but bulgur and mushrooms as filling.

And some pictures from today. Spinach is growing much faster than I expected. I thought we could eat fresh spinach couple of times during the summer, but we have also frozen some, because it’s growing faster than we can eat it.

Our biggest pumpkin is now about size of a football:

Today’s dinner was made mostly of the things we’ve grown ourselves.

For the lasagne I made a tomato sauce with onion, snow peas and chard. I also threw in a half bell pepper that we had in fridge, and some white beans for extra protein. I used garlic, lovage, oregano, thyme, salt and black pepper to give flavour. Then I made a bechamel sauce with spinach. Last I made layers of both sauces, whole wheat lasagna sheets and fresh basil to dish and baked it in the oven.

As side dish we had salad that was made of lettuce, radish leaves, radishes, cucumber, tomato and olives. Only radishes and cucumbers were from our garden, we didn’t have big enough lettuce leaves and tomatoes are very difficult to grow without a green house.

More Plants Indoors

Yesterday I posted about the plants on our balcony. Well, we have more plants on our windowsills.

Different chili varieties. They were planted last year and some of them are already producing pods.

Basil in the kitchen.

Rosemary and wild garlic. Our rosemary has survived two winters on the windowsill, even if it’s supposed to be impossible here in Finland.

Growing Food at Home

In the summer time it’s easy to grow something to eat at home. You don’t even need a garden, few pots on balcony or windowsill is enough. We have a piece of land in community garden this year too, but we also have edible plants in our home.

We were busy in the spring, so we planted the seeds rather late, but the fist plants are ready to eat. Like the mizuna and rucola in the green box. Behind them in the white box is cilantro, but it has to grow bigger before eating.

Bloody sorrel in the hanging pots is still very tiny. Last year I tried to grow them in a pot on the balcony table, but it didn’t grow well. I think it was too hot for it, so this year I’m trying to grow it in less sunny spot.

Herb pots. From left to right: dill, dill, cress, curry plant, parsley, chocolate mint. I’m not very familiar with curry plant. Anyone have suggestions how to use it?

Lettuce on the lower part of the table. Last year our lettuces suffered from too much direct sunlight, so I planted them in shadowy spot. I hope it’s not too shadowy.

Caigua in front and mint in the huge pot behind them. Caigua pots will be moved soon so they can climb in the net that you can see in the first photo.

Something for the cats too: catnip and grass (barley).

The Last Basils From The Balcony

We didn’t grow any herbs in the community garden, but we did grow them at home. Finnish summer is usually too chilly for basil, so we grow it indoors. I planted quite a few seeds in the spring and few weeks later we had so many small basils that they didn’t fit on our windowsills. I decided to plant the rest on hanging flower pots in a shady corner of the balcony and see if they grow there. All the good sunny parts were already taken by dill, parsley, mint, lettuce, rocket, catnip and other plants.

Here’s some herbs on May 31st. Basil in the small pots in front and Parsley and marjoram in the big pot.

This summer was much hotter than normal and the basils didn’t even mind the lack of sunlight. Here they are on August 10th.

Now it’s autumn and nights are getting cold. Indoors basils are still growing well, but it was time to harvest the ones from the balcony. I baked some bread whirls, but I used too much garlic. I didn’t know such thing as “too much garlic” even existed, but here the taste of the garlic was so strong that you barely tasted the basil. I reduced the amount in the recipe, and next time I’ll use only 2 cloves myself too.

Garlic And Basil Whirls

Dough:
2,5 dl lukewarm water
25g yeast
0,5 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 dl rye flour
1 dl graham flour
5 dl wheat flour
2 tbsp oil

Filling:
4 tbsp margarine
2 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated
2 dl chopped fresh basil
pinch of salt and pepper
3-4 tbsp sunflower seeds

Combine water, yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir until dissolved. Add rye and graham flour and most of the wheat flour and start kneading. Add the oil and more wheat flour and knead more. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled. Punch down and make a 30cm x 40 cm rectangle.

Mix margarine, garlic and basil in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spread on the dough rectangle and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Roll the dough from the wider side and cut in 2 cm slices. Put the slices in muffin cups or on a baking sheet and bake in 225 Celsius degrees about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

I recommend using the muffin cups, because if you bake the whirls on baking sheet, they will be loose like this.

Harvesting And Pickling

Yesterday I posted some photos from our garden. Here’s something that has grown there: a big zucchini, a small yellow summer squash, kohlrabi and snow peas. Kohlrabis are still a bit small, but we took them to make more room for others to grow. Some zucchini, kohlrabis and handful of snow peas were stir fried with some cauliflower, carrots, onions and beans.

We also found a lot of cucumbers. Since we were away for a week, some of them had grown too big.  Here they are on our kitchen table, sorted by variety and size. I don’t know English names for the cucumbers, but in front is Favör II WW, left pile is the good cucumbers and right taste-before-using. Behind them is Reinin Rypäle, sorted by size the same way. In the back are the oversized ones that can’t be eaten.

I used one inedible cucumber to make serving bowl for cucumber relish. Some of the good cucumbers were eaten fresh in salads, but most of them were pickled.

The recipe makes one 5l bucket of sliced pickles. I often slice my cucumbers before pickling, because then you can fit more of them in one jar. If you prefer pickling whole cucumbers, poke some holes on them first to make sure the liquid goes inside the cucumbers too and they won’t become soft and icky. You may also need to make more liquid, because there will be more empty space in your jar.

Pickled Cucumbers

cucumbers (4,5l when sliced)
10 thin horseradish slices
big bunch of dill (few long stalks with the flowers)
6 garlic cloves or some chili slices (optional)
black currant or oak leaves, if available

2 l water
4 dl sugar
6 dl distilled vinegar
2 tblsp salt
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp black pepper corns

Before slicing the cucumbers, soak them in cold water at least half an hour, few hours is good. Brush them to remove the little spikes. Slice.

Use a plastic bucket with a lid or few big glass jars. Put a thick layer of cucumbers into a bucket/jar and put a layer of leaves (if you have), some horseradish, dill and garlic/chili (if using). Continue making layers until all the cucumbers are used. Put currant leaves and dill on top.

Mix water, sugar, salt, mustard seeds and peppercorns in a pot and boil 5-10 minutes. Add vinegar, bring to boil again and pour on the cucumbers. The liquid should cover all the cucumbers, but if it doesn’t you have to make a little more. Close the lids, let cool and keep in cold place at least three weeks before serving.

Greetings From The Garden

We were on a week long vacation, and obviously we couldn’t take care of our garden during that time. Luckily it had rained and the weather hadn’t been so super hot while we were away. Nearly all our plants were doing well.

The snow peas look like they’re dying, but they’re still producing pods! Fava beans and radishes aren’t doing well either: some bugs have eaten them.

But the chard looks great and the biggest leaves would be ready to eat.

Here’s our first pumpkin. Isn’t it cute? There has been lots of flowers, but this is the first that has developed into a pumpkin.

Everything Is Growing Well

Here’s some newer (July 20th) pictures from our garden. The weather has been very hot for couple of weeks and it hasn’t been raining. The garden has required a lot of watering, but it has been worth it, since all our plants have grown so much. We have already harvested over 2 kg snow peas, most of them are in our freezer.

The first summer squash.

Our cucumbers have never grown this well. It looks like it has been raining heavily, but it was us and a hose. There are lots of flowers, I hope they will produce lots of cucumbers too.

Our Little Garden

We have rented a piece of land to grow vegetables. Community gardens are great for people like us, who don’t have a back yard. It takes only 10 minutes to walk to the community garden from our home, and by bike that’s even quicker. We also grow herbs and lettuce on the balcony and several chili varieties indoors.

Our garden looked like this a month ago (June 15). Everything was just starting to grow. Bugs love all kind of cabbages, so we have our savoy cabbage and kohlrabi in the “tent” in the background. In front of it the onions and peas have started growing and on the left there is some summer squash (green and yellow). Everything else is still under ground.

Five days later (June 20). We have covered the cucumbers with gauze and potatoes in the horizontal rows have sprouted.




July 2. Peas and potatoes are growing very well. We have pulled most of the weeds, but there are still some between the beds.

The weather has been very hot for the last week or so and everything has grown fast. I went to water the plants yesterday, but didn’t have the camera with me. We’ll be posting more pictures during the summer.