Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Bountiful gardens in north Austria!

It has been a very thunderstormy summer, with heat mixed with plenty of rain and at times large hail and windgusts. 

We continue our harvest of salads, spinach, kales, turnip greens, radish, and peas, that started in May. Since the beginning of July, we harvest some carrots, swiss chard, and plenty of zucchini and cucumbers. Recently, we began harvesting the first tomatoes, broad beans and bush beans, and ocasionally raspberries. We also harvested our first potatoes and barley. 

In soon we will be harvesting our first pumpkins! In the garden we also have green peppers, runner beans, corn, millets and amaranths, leeks, beets, a few broccoli, sunchokes, chinese artichokes, ocas, mashua, chufas, groundnuts, sweet potatoes and peanuts.

So what has grown fantastically this year and what were the failures? This summer has been prolific for all cucurbits due to the combination of frequent rain and warmth. Other plants grow fast but are also frequently eaten by slugs. Potatoes suffered due to excessive moisture and the Colorado beetle. We had our crop failure with onions, also due to excessive rainfall and the scarlet lily beetle. 

Every week we harvest peas, carrots, plenty of zucchini, cucumbers, and flower for salads. All organic and for free.

We will have a giant pumpkin soup festival in the autumn! Fingers crossed! 
Here is a preview of the largest garden. Watch the height of those jerusalem artichokes on the left edge!

Br growing such massive fast-growing plants locally, we produce our own compost and organic matter. Therefore not depending in external inputs of fertility. Think sustainable!

This week harvest. We can make several meals from this!

And this is one of our two gardens (the small one), which was severely damaged by a large hailstorm last weekend!

The hail stones were insane, as large as eggs! Damage here was large (not just gardens but cars, trees and houses), but thankfully our largest gardens, a few kms away, were left untouched.

Diversity is key.

Lemon cucumber. Looks like a lemon, Tastes like a cucumber!

If you are interested in seeds of any of things we grow, please feel free to buy them from me at

And here the gardener is harvesting some barley. Yes, we also grow our own cereal.

This is local economy. Our own locally grown resources, out of thin air, bedrock and soil, sunshine and water. 

Fully Sustainable as there are no external inputs other than my own work, my own seeds, rain and sunshine.

And the surrounding countryside and moutains...

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

What can you grow in your climate? How much heat does each vegetable requires?

Many of our crops grow accordingly to temperature, some requiring night temperature above a certain limit, in order not to stall in their growth, orders requiring the heat of the day to thrive quicker.

Consider global warming, and experiment with growing crops that grow more south than you live.

If you live in such kind of landscape, with cool summers, stick to most leaf and root vegetables (kales, turnips, potatoes, peas and broad beans, salads), barley and perhaps try siberian tomatoes, quinoa and zucchini

  • COOL SUMMERS These crops grow happily with temperatures between 5-15°C - the spring in most temperate climates and arctic summers: peas, broad beans, potatoes, kales, mustard, rocket, pak choi, radish, oats and barley, swedes, turnips, cabbages and broccoli sprout. As the temperature is above 10°C, then try lettuce and spinach, and with a longer growing season: rye, leeks, fennel, parsley, celery, parsley, carrots, onions, kohlrabi, parsnips and beets. 
  • COOL TEMPERATE CLIMATES Crops that do not need very warm summers and tolerate cool evenings (10 to 20°C) - this includes most of the UK, Scandinavia, perhaps a warm summer in Iceland: wheat, quinoa, zucchini and siberian tomatoes! If the summer temperatures reaches >20°C, then try corn and rocoto peppers. This climate also allows to grow apple and cherry trees. See my past posts in Icelandic gardening.
If you live in a temperate climate, like most of Europe and North America, then you can grow pumpkins, beans, corn, wheat, millets, amaranth and even try peppers and sweet potatoes. You can also try figs and almond trees.
  • TEMPERATE CLIMATES Crops that need warm summers (28-30°C) but they tolerate cool evenings around 10°C - this is the climate of most continental Europe and North America, and the warmer regions of UK: pumpkins, most types of beans, runner beans, amaranth, foxtail and japanese millet, rocoto pepper, and corn. Many more fruit trees grow with this climate, chestnuts and pears.
  • WARM TEMPERATE CLIMATES These crops also grow in a temperate climate with warm summer days (28-30°C), but need milder nights (15°C) - such as France, north Spain, southeast Europe, perhaps the warmer regions of UK and central Europe: peppers, lima beans and sweet potatoes.  Figs (zone 6), Almond (zone 6-7), Pomegranates (zone 6-7), Guava trees (zone 7-8)
In a Mediterranean climate, you can easily grow peppers, eggplant, cucumber, and watermelon (perhaps peanuts and rice). Experiment also with tropical fruits if you have no frosts
  • MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATES Tolerating not-warm evenings (15°C) but require reliable hot summer days (30-35°C) - southeast Europe, Italy, Spain and Portugal: watermelon, pearl and proso millet, cucamelon, sorghum and winged beans. Peanuts, requiring a longer growing season. Olive trees (zone 7-8), Avocado trees (zone 8-9). Carob trees (zone 8-9). Bananas (zone 9)
  • WARM MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATES These crops require warm nights (20°C), even if summers are not too hot (30°C) - coastal and southern regions in Italy, Portugal and Spain, Azores: cucumber, eggplant, rice and okra. Jackfruit, Mango, Papaya trees (in frost free locations). 
In tropical and subtropical climates, you can grow almost everything, and some crops like moringa, coconuts and cacao, can only be grown in such climate
  • SUBTROPICAL CLIMATES Crops that need hot climates, requiring both warm nights (20°C) and hot days (35°C) - such as tropical or subtropical climates (south Spain, south Italy, Canary Islands, Florida, south California): moringa tree, pigeon pea, bitter gourd. Rambutan tree. 
  • TROPICAL CLIMATES Crops that do not tolerate any cool temperatures, prefering year round tropical weather: coconuts, cacao, black pepper, vanilla.