Saturday, July 28, 2018

July garden update

The months of June and July have been exceptionally sunny, hot and dry months here in Norway, with temperatures in the mid- to high-80s (F) and very little rain. This is aberrant summer weather for this country in terms of the prolonged periods with high temperatures, and while most Norwegians (and I) are happy because we can finally enjoy a real summer uninterrupted by chilly spells and long periods with rain, most of the farmers are not happy because the dryness has led to crop failure and little food for the cows. The wheat and grain fields are dry and have turned brown, and we noticed the same thing in England and Ireland when we traveled there in early July. Ireland was not a green country as is so often said about it, not this year. Northern and Western Europe are covered by a heat dome, as is the western part of the United States (think California and the devastating forest fires in Riverside). The intense heat and dryness have led to forest fires in northern Sweden and in the forests on the border of Norway and Sweden. There have also been devastating forest fires in Greece with considerable loss of life. The contrast of Norway and northern Europe with New York State is striking; when I arrived here on Thursday and took the train from Manhattan to Tarrytown, I was struck by how green and lush the landscape was, especially when I looked across the Hudson River to the Palisades. Elsewhere, the lawns, bushes and trees in Tarrytown are green without a hint of brown. There has clearly been a substantial amount of rainfall in New York State.

My garden has done very well despite the dryness and lack of rain. We are allowed to water it with a garden hose every other day; on the off days we use large watering cans to water. The tomato and mini-cucumber plants need a lot of water each day, otherwise the rest of the garden can actually survive two or three days without water, but I choose not to let it go that long. Most of the vegetables I've planted are at least three weeks ahead of schedule--pumpkins, corn, snap peas, and string beans. Passersby joke that Halloween will be coming early this year, in September, when they see the size of my pumpkins. We had a bumper crop of red currants, black currants, gooseberries and raspberries this year, but not strawberries, which prefer cooler and wetter conditions. We've frozen down most of the berries, but I did make red currant jelly and juice concentrate. This is also the first year that I've tried growing potatoes, and it worked, so next year, I will be planting more of them. This has been an amazing year for the garden; I doubt we'll have another one like it, but you can never say never, because climate change is here to stay.

Here are some July photos of the garden: 

gooseberries (stikkelsbær)

red currants (rips)

black currants (solbær)

potatoes (Folva type)


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