Monday, 7 July 2014

gardening under the midnight sun - an update from the balcony

I've been wanting to update on the balcony garden for a while now, because May has been a long time ago and we've been just waiting for the good weather to start and for our little seedlings to respond with growth.

This summer's been quite cold so far with a couple of sudden hot days thrown in, when temperatures rose into more summery heights. This Sunday - that's just finished on me with a headache from the heat and high pressure in the skies - was one of those sudden hot days. 

About an hour ago (it's a bit past midnight now) I've been standing barefooted on the cool concrete of the balcony to get away from the day's heat stuck inside the apartment. I watered the plants while trying to cool down myself - and wondered how strange it feels still, after two years of living here, not to have a dark night until about sometime in mid-August. 

The summer sun just dips below the horizon and hovers there for a couple of hours, glow visible, then rises again. Do the plants know that it's nighttime? How do they know? I barely know it, with all this light around. While testing if it was enough light for my flashless cameraphone, I decided to accompany my garden update with nighttime pictures of what we've managed to grow so far under this rather Nordic summer climate.

In the May post I had an exciting bunch of heirloom tomatoes starting life in little peat pots, soaking up as much springtime sun on the kitchen bench as was possible. They did so well, right up until we moved them outside mid-May. In a matter of a few days they went from perky little seedlings to pale shadows of themselves, lying down, fallen over. I think some kind of a microscopic beast found them and consumed them faster than we could think of how to help. So sadly, no tomatoes this year...

We planted out the roots of shop-bought living salads and herbs that we got for our lunches and dinners, like we did last year. The lettuces and parsley as expected have a good come-back rate, and this year the coriander does too.

Radish was sown into a big black pot this time, learning from last year's see-through pot experience - but still no radish bulbs produced! Just the lush green forest of huge radish leaves. Does the soil has the wrong nutrition content? Was I late with the sowing? No idea. But it looks like I'm going to make some radish leaf pesto again...

After last year's good experience with french green beans and chards, we sowed them again. They are doing okay, although still small and stunted by weeks of barely there 15 degrees and the cold rains. There is still a chance that they'll catch up and will make some dinner-worthy produce for us. 

I also planted up a big pot with sunflower seeds. They look to be affected by the weather too, but they should get to bloom still. We'll see.

In a month or so - or as soon as some real growth and blossoming is happening - I'm hoping to be back with sunny daytime pictures, showing off plants that look like it is summer here too. Fingers (and toes) crossed...!

Linking up to a really nice garden-themed link party over at Manneskjur.

8 comments:

  1. Such a shame about your tomatoes! The weather here in the UK has been a bit odd this year, with a hotter start to the year everything seems to be peaking too soon and not quite right so far - fingers crossed my tomatoes grow - obviously I'll try squishing you one down the internet.
    Being pale and freckley I'm not good with hot temps and bright sun so I spend most of the day squinting here - I'd love to time swap and spend some time on your balcony at night.
    Thanks ever so much for joining in x

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    1. thanks for the virtual tomato! :) i hope they will handle the moodswings of the weather well - i think it's the same everywhere, the weather seems a bit confused and changing from hot to cold to warm so randomly... thank you for hosting the link-up, i really appreciate such a nice meeting hub. PS. liking the new look of blog too x

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  2. Hi Followed today with a link from the Linen Cloud. I have loved reading your story and like your making and growing style. Think you would like mine too! Jo x

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    1. Hi Jo, thanks for coming over and for your lovely comment. I've been reading through your blog a bit too - you are right about me liking it :) I'm following too x

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  3. With the radish it was really strange here too. I sowed different sorts. Only one sort built bulbs, and the others only leaves. For here I know the reason, it was far too hot during the main growing time! I don't think that they are very picky with different earth. Actually many plants react very strange this year, because of the huge and fast temperature changes. I am curious about next year!

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    1. thanks for that Claudia - i will certainly try to sew them much earlier next year. i know that they are not impossible to grow here. it's true about the weather, it seems quite radical in its changes. your greenhouse and garden are very enviable, you know! i hope i'll have something similar a set-up sometime in the near future too!

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  4. poor tomatoes...
    but your salads and herbs look great!
    this sky lasts all night?

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    1. the red/orange glow kind of fades towards 2am but then the sun comes up again :) but it doesn't get dark at all. but since the 21st of june the days are getting shorter by about 5 minutes every day - after a couple of weeks the difference at night it's quite noticable. very intense light conditions, i don't know when i might be able to get used to it - and then think of all the darkness that becomes of the days in winter. it's very crazy :)

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