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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.


This year’s harvest season started a little late, thanks to the mild spring extending into a cooler-than-normal summer. Along with the regular rainfall, this led to abundant flowers that resulted in what is looking like a bumper crop for many of our fruits. Above, my first strawberry ...

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.


Even though this year’s midsummer was mostly spent inside due to it raining all day, I had a chance to nip out in the morning and snap some pictures for my mid-season garden tour. This was the year that I was FINALLY able to get some major work done in my vegetable ...

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.


The in-laws took Blob for the afternoon and I was finally able to make some serious progress with my veggie patch this weekend. Behind the mound of soil, you can see two herb boxes which have been cleaned out and moved into their new positions for this year. The one on the left is filled with...

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.


Another recipe from Karen LeBillon’s “French Kids Eat Everything” book, which I had to try because I absolutely love leeks. Wasn’t as sold on adding fruit to it, but figured the baby would certainly enjoy it. He’s got a big thing for fruit and veggie combos, probably because of the s...

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle. Please leave any comments there.


Taking a break from reviewing storebought foods today to share a fast and tasty pureed spinach soup I found last week! This was excerpted from Karen LeBillon’s “French Kids Eat Everything” book, which I have only scanned but do plan on reading thoroughly one of these days. You...

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A Bowl Full of Mush

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Because it’s July and suddenly I can’t keep up with all the stuff there is to do out there! With prime berry picking season just around the corner, it’s about to get really crazy here at Casa Kerfuffle.

07022012 chickweed
07022012 spinach
07032012 chickweed

07032012 lettuce and spinach
07032012 strawberries
07032012 wild strawberries

07042012 chickweed
07042012 cilantro
07062012 strawberries

07072012 mixed greens
07082012 strawberries

The actual numbers:

07/02
210g chickweed Stellaria media (frozen)
160g spinach Spinacia oleracea “Campania F1″(frozen)

07/03
400g chickweed (frozen)
150g lettuce Lactuca sativa “Salad Bowl” and “American Brown” & spinach (frozen)
1400g garden strawberries (eaten)
10g wild strawberries Fragaria vesca(frozen)

07/04
540g chickweed (frozen)
60g cilantro Coriandrum sativum(frozen)

07/06
2080g garden strawberries (half frozen, half eaten)
30g wild strawberries (eaten)

07/07
540g mixed greens (spinach, 2 lettuces, chickweed, purple deadnettle Lamium purpureum) (frozen)

07/08
2000g strawberries (half eaten, half frozen)

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

For the past several years, I’ve sighed wistfully upon seeing various gardening blogs put up their weekly harvest tallies. I’d sadly poke at the few pots next to the kitchen window and make mental lists of all the things I’d grow if I actually had a decent piece of land. Well, guess what? This is the first year I’ve actually had the space to do a proper garden and I’m going for it! The timing’s been a little off, since we just moved in a few weeks ago and I’ve barely had time to do anything but throw some salad seeds into the soil between unpacking boxes. Still, there’s a healthy population of already established perennials scattered around our property and my veg patch has taken off since the weather warmed up recently. So I’m looking forward to increasingly frequent weigh-ins as the season progresses.

Just two for this first week, though:

This was technically from last weekend, but I didn’t feel like posting with just one picture. I cleaned up our rhubarb patch, which was threatening to engulf my greenhouse wall. I took probably half of the stalks, chopped them into bite-sized pieces, bagged them into recipe-sized portions and popped them into the freezer. The final haul was 15 1-liter bags of chopped rhubarb. Didn’t weigh it since the scale wasn’t unpacked yet at that point :-P

This afternoon, I did a much-needed plucking of the spinach row in my salad patch. Finnish summers are ideal for spinach, I suppose — moist, never too warm, and mildly sunny. It’s like a never-ending spring, from my Californian perspective. And with an average of 20 hours of daylight in the summer, you can bet the plants are in overdrive. According to the seed packet (thank goodness I dumped my pictures here even if I’ve been too busy to update Folia lately), the variety I’m growing is Campania, a particularly fast-growing and disease-resistant hybrid. I’m going to have to sow three rows of this stuff next spring, because I definitely go through a lot of spinach in a year and this is just so much more attractive looking than the frozen lumps we’ve been getting at the supermarket. Slightly cheaper, too, I’m willing to bet — we’ll know for sure when I do the end-of-season tallies.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Bought another aloe at Plantagen last weekend. Can’t have enough of these guys, I think.
I will definitely have to invest in more fall bulbs if they all do so well here.
Did I mention some tulips made a guest appearance? I suppose we do have the sort of weather they enjoy.
View of my cleaned-up greenhouse interior. Still looks pretty tame.

White dicentra, which will go where there pink one goes.
Pink dicentra I got on sale last week. Don’t know where it’s going yet.
Repotted peony. Still don’t know where it’s going yet.
My 2 year old calamondin has once again been repotted and is enjoying its new greenhouse home.

The clivia T’s granny gave us has been repotted and is now also in the greenhouse.


The droopy lavender I seeded last spring is now looking much happier in the greenhouse.
I put in 9 rows of “cold weather crops” the first weekend of May. We’ll see when they sprout.

Parsley, purple carrots and cilantro.
Leaf lettuce, spring onion and salad dandelion.
Leaf lettuce, mixed carrots and spinach.
I also plan to plant my cucumbers directly into these bags once the weather warms a bit more.

My first (and probably temporary) raised garden bed. Made from… bed frames :-)
There’s a few different types now, but I totally will continue adding varieties starting this fall.
I love narcissi. Can’t get enough of them. Always wanted a giant bed of them in my garden and now I have some!

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

The evenings are still just a couple degrees above 0C, but daytime temps are now between 10-20C and very sunny, so it’s definitely spring. Everything is budding, flowers are starting to appear and butterflies are everywhere. I’ve started cleaning up the garden and grounds best as I can, though I’m sure it will take at least a few years before everything is under control. So far, I’ve cleaned up the dead matter from the perennial beds around the house, pruned two raspberry hedges and a grapevine. Definitely have the beginnings of a huge new compost heap in the corner of our lot as a result. Most of the seedlings I started (as well as a good portion of my houseplants) have been moved to the greenhouse and we broke ground today on a new raised bed.

Small narcissi (pretty sure they’re Tête à têtes) alongside our driveway.
Larger narcissi alongside our driveway. There are also white ones.
Another view of the daffodil bank.
Not sure what variety these big ones are other than some sort of trumpet. We’ll see next week.

Siberian squill circling one of our fruit trees.
Snowdrops ringing another small tree trunk.
My greenhouse! It will need a bit of patching up and repainting in the next few years, but it is made of window glass, so it’s pretty sturdy.
Rhubarb, starting to grow leaves. Last week, they looked like bright red dinosaur eggs.

Two days later and you can see how much they’ve grown. Soon, they will be in a pie!
The buds on the grapevine in the greenhouse are about ready to break any day now.
Some of my cucurbit seedlings.
More seedlings. I always plant double since they are prone to dying when transplanted.

First leaf on my baby pumpkin :-)
Pumpkins moved to the greenhouse.
More baby squash in the greenhouse. They look so happy!
Baby squash at my kitchen window prior to the move.

Tommi’s grandmother gave me this clivia our first year here. Finally, it has a chance of flowering again.
I seeded this lavender last spring and it hung on to dear life all winter. Now it’s starting to perk up.
I bought a new pink peony but still haven’t decided where to plant it.



There is a little pond with a bank of iris and daylily along the sides. Need to clean it up still.
Currant and gooseberry bushes all in a row, starting to break bud.
More currant bush buds. We’re going to have a LOT of fruit.
Our covered strawberry patch, in need of a bit of TLC. Plants are starting to leaf out so need to fix soon.

The left side of the raspberry thicket. Pruned down to the just the one year canes after a day’s work.
Right side of the raspberry thicket. LOVE raspberries, so am happy there are so many.
Raspberry buds.
A horsetail shoot — these have been popping up amongst the right raspberries.

Pepe, the neighbor’s cat. He hasn’t quite grasped that his family moved next door.
…so he still keeps coming to our door instead and following us around.
He’s a sweet little guy, though, and will hopefully be taking care of any rodents for us.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

I’m going to start confining my gardening picturespam to once a week, since I know it can easily get out of hand otherwise. I am keeping more detailed almost-daily notes on Folia, for those who are interested.

As you’ll see below, all my seeds have sprouted with unprecedented speed, so I guess they are as eager for spring to begin as I am! Some of the cucurbits are quickly outgrowing their little yogurt cup starter homes, so I’ve started transplanting them into their own seedling pots. The first batch to get potted up were the Kaempe Melon pumpkins. If they are still looking perky tomorrow morning, I’ll repeat the process for the rest of the bigger seedlings. And yes, I am indeed enough of a geek to have slapped QR codes on the sides of all my seedling pots. They link back to the individual plant history pages I’ve set up for them on Folia. I’ll thank myself once these babies are all mixed up in the greenhouse and garden, and I’m pretty sure the people I swap with will be just as amused.






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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

I did the last batch today, so now all my cucurbits/melons/squashes and tomatoes/eggplants/etc. are cozy in their little plastic incubators. I already can see a few germinated pumpkin seeds from the ones I planted Monday! I’ll wait until they actually sprout before proclaiming it a milestone, though :-) But still, pumpkins in Finland! I’m so excited.







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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

My miniature phalaenopsis is having babies! Here, it sprouted both a baby and another flower from the same node.
Another shot of the bonus flower. I’ve never had this happen with my orchids before, so hopefully it means I’m doing something right!
Another baby growing on the other flower stalk. This one has much bigger leaves, probably because it doesn’t have a flower as well.

And the beginnings of a third one :-) I’ll let them all grow until they have about 2 inches of root before separating them.
My rapidly growing seed germination tray.
I had a wildly successful run with these last year, so am planting them again. I’m faithful to those who treat me well :-) These produced bountiful, tasty cukes and were very happy doing it within the confines of the bag of potting soil allotted to them. 4 planted.

I admit to being attracted to weird cultivars. Plus, it would look so cool to have slices of various colored cucumbers on a salad, don’t you think? We’ll see what happens with these. 5 planted.
I hear melons can be tricky. Both the boy and I adore them, though, so I’m going to give it a try this year. They can get expensive at the store and we could probably eat one apiece if it weren’t so spendy. These might actually end up going in the greenhouse, since I’m not entirely sure they’ll crop fast enough otherwise. 4 planted.
I know I already planted the golden version of these, but you know how I get about have rainbow colors. And cucurbits really are some of my favorite plants. They make you feel really accomplished, with such large fruits. Anyway. 9 planted.

Classic summer veggie that I know I should be eating more of. I do like these roasted, so no hurt in planting some. This type in particular looks like it doesn’t even need to live in the greenhouse, which is a plus. 5 planted.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Tumbling Tom cherry tomatoes. An autumn batch that had to ripen inside.
Another of my balcony flower bouquets. I was never lacking in flowers from those nasturtiums.
In fact, it’s the middle of November and the nasturtiums I planted in May are STILL blooming outside.
Whirlybird Cream nasturtiums and purple Sugar n’ Spice sweet peas make a cute spring bouquet from the balcony garden.

A wider view of my background garden at the height of summer.
A batch of Fanfare hybrid cucumbers from the backyard garden.
Another cucumber batch.
Corn pollen.

Baby corn forming! This was my first time ever growing corn. Another keeper for next year.
Baby bell peppers. These got eaten by the snails really fast.
The cherry tomato plants. They did moderately well but probably should have started earlier.
The cucumber patch. There were only three plants or four plants, I think? Steady supply all summer. Definitely will plant again.

Bush beans getting overrun by cucumber leaves. They also got eaten up pretty bad by the snails.
Three basil varieties, red, lemon and Thai. The pests got to them a bit.
An earlier view of my corn. Will grow more and earlier next year, definitely.
A full garden shot of later in the season.

Batch of vine-ripened cherry tomatoes.
Cutaway view of one of the cucumbers. We were picking them pretty young because they were better for sandwich slices that way.
Northern Extra Sweet corn. Was awesome. Want tons more.


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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

Did some much needed work on the plants in the apartment this past week. The two backyard gardens thrive on benign neglect, since they have access to plenty of sun and rain, but the ones here need a bit more attention to be at their best.

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Originally published at Velvet Kerfuffle Kitchen and Garden. Please leave any comments there.

I did quite a bit of gardening last year, but didn’t get much of a crop by the end of the season because I’d started my seeds too late. Here’s a pictorial retrospective of last year’s various horticultural endeavors to hopefully encourage me to get some seeds started earlier this year.

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