By Dag from Ringerike
Smart survival tips from Norway
By Dag from Ringerike
This spring has been against normal, as usual as we say, in the south of Norway. Warm days (plus 20 C) in March, a very cold April and May, the greening of the trees about one week late. Then a week ago 4 days with temperatures between 25 and 30 C. What we see now is that the Greenland High has moved east and pumping cold air through northern Europe. This oscillation is quite a challenge for a hobby gardener.
Well, after reading Robert’s books some years ago, I realized that I had to make use of all the tools that I learned from my father, who was a gardener beyond the Arctic Circle in the Lofoton Islands.
In the greenhouses seeding was done in late winter, early spring, and during May the plants were moved into beds with 20 cm high wood walls and covered with glass frames. To protect the plants against frosty nights the glass frames were covered with straw mats. In late June, early July, the cauliflowers could be put into open beds, and pray for the summer….
I bought a greenhouse 4 years ago for the purpose of growing tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. I learned from the Canadians in Alberta to put up a concrete wall on the north side of the greenhouse and lay concrete plates on the floor. This accumulated the heat during the day and raised the temperature during the night. Last year I made a similar bed as my father used with 20 cm high wood walls and covered it with polycarbonate frames. Growing salads and pourree (leeks) in pots in the bed was a success.
This year year I have laid concrete plates (20 x 40 cm, or 40 x 40 cm and 5 cm thick) on the bed floor to avoid the evaporation cooling with a soil floor. The salads, the pourrees will be growing there. And also, this year, looking at my strawberry fields struggling, I dug up the plants, put them into 10 liter buckets, and placed them in the greenhouse and in the bed. It is amazing, the plants have really been thriving and the flowers have come very fast forward, the fruits have started forming.
Farmers here in the south use tunnels of plastic cover to grow salad or lettuce, but the purpose is to get two or three harvests during a season. So this technique is well known, but my point was that I had to use this technique to secure my one year harvest because the weather or climate oscillate so much during the growing season the last three years.
My learning of the experiences with this freak weather, with periods of northern Norway climate during spring and summer in the south of Norway, I am going make more walled beds with polycarbonate glass frames to avoid the cool periods and the drowning rain events. It is something to think about that a technique designed for beyond Arctic Circle growing has to be applied in the south of Norway to secure the harvest of my vegetables.
I would be interested to see the responds from other “hobby gardeners” – more learning.