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Autumn in Iceland

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Post  Icemaiden on 10/21/2012, 12:24 pm

I confess that I tend to be a last-minute person! So yesterday found me digging up the last of the carrots, along with a few mixed potatoes which I dug a few weeks ago but had no time to eat before going away so instead of bringing them indoors I just buried them back in one square - seemed to work out well and I swear they grew even though they weren't connecetd to a plant any more!

I discovered that the mix already has a good 3cm frozen layer now so I thought I had better schedule my garlic planting! I did that today.

My garlic seems to take two seasons to grow so if you look at the picture below the small round bulb is what I got from a clove of garlic planted last autumn. The bulb on the right is what I got by replanting one of the little round ones! Is that confusing? I put cloves of garlic in the ground in the autumn, up came plants with a little green growth which died back mid-summer. I dug up the little round bulbs and kept them until the autumn, planted again and up came garlic, scapes and all, and made nice sized bulbs.

Well, that is the story so far at least. The initial garlic was some Chinese stuff from the supermarket. I read somewhere that garlic adjusts to local conditions if you keep some back to replant each time so perhaps my nice fat cloves will behave differently and give me a bulb after only one season?

I also managed to buy some organic garlic grown fairly locally and I've planted a square of that too to see how it compares.

[img]Autumn in Iceland Garlic10[/img]

Not much else I can do for the autumn. The parsnips are still in the ground but I will lift them as we want them. Oh, and I have some kale plants which are strong as ever.
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Post  quiltbea on 10/21/2012, 2:05 pm

It will be interesting to see if you can get full-grown garlic in only one full season in future. Keep us posted.
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 10/21/2012, 5:38 pm

Hmmmm, wondering if the Chinese garlic you planted first had been in storage before being shipped to your local store, which may have thrown off its biological clock. Now that the head of garlic which grew from the first-generation round clove has had an opportunity to adjust to your daylight season, I'd bet you get ordinary heads from now on. Please keep us apprised, this is very interesting. Nonna, who's a real garlic head herself.
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Post  gregrenee88 on 10/21/2012, 7:04 pm

Iceland...Wow! How long is your growing season?
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Post  Icemaiden on 10/21/2012, 8:12 pm

@gregrenee88 wrote:Iceland...Wow! How long is your growing season?
Renee

Hi! Mid-May to mid-August for most hardy things but summer bedding plants you aim to put out by mid-June, before that it is too cold. We get long days but not very warm usually although that has changed of recent years.
Carrots just about make it to maturity but parsnips never quite get to fill out properly. On the plus side we have very few bugs to bother us Very Happy
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Post  quiltbea on 10/21/2012, 8:24 pm

IceMaiden.....The parsnips may need some help. You can stick a crowbar down into the soil as far as you can get it and move it in a circle a bit to open a growing hole, then fill it with soil just before you sow the seeds. You will have softened the bed for them in this manner. They are better able to grow in width and length with this bit of help.
They like it cool anyway and a few frosts make them taste even better in the fall.
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Post  Icemaiden on 10/22/2012, 4:22 am

Thanks for the hints Quiltbea. Do you think the crowbar idea would make any difference in Mel's Mix? Isn't it soft enough already?
I have the parsnips in a 12" box and they grow plenty long enough - down to the weed barrier and then horizontal. But usually the upper part is about the size of a carrot, and then the lower bit is thinner than a pencil. Maybe I need to do some research and find the fastest maturing sort?
You are right about the frost making them sweet Smile though it is a fine line between nicely frosted and trying to melt a square-cube of ice!
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Post  plantoid on 10/22/2012, 8:57 am

Did you manage to grow any potatoes in sacks or tubes ??

One thought about root crops .
Have your ever tried making newspaper tube pots ,about a foot tall and using MM in them. Sstation sowing one or two seeds in each tall pot . Starting them growing inside under LED grow light bulbs say a month or so before you normally would for outside planting , then harden off and plant in a deep hole in an extended depth square packing more MM around several tubes in each raised square.

Harvested spuds will happily stay in moist cool soil for months & slowly carry on making size though a deep frost will kill them ....
Do you have perma frost in the soil or does it only go down a couple of feet each winter ?
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Post  Icemaiden on 10/22/2012, 9:43 am

I just put the potatoes in the bed as usual, not tried bags or anything yet.
I start bean plants indoors, in toilet-rolls full of potting compost. I haven't tried root crops indoors yet but the newspaper trick sounds interesting. If I can get myself organized enough!
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Post  quiltbea on 10/22/2012, 11:23 am

Icemaiden.....I think you are probably impeding those parsnips with your weed barrier. Their taproot likes to grow straight and deep. I use my crowbar so it can grow down at least 18-24 inches.
Or it just may be a missing element in your soil. Root crops benefit from phosphorus which you can get from limestone, bonemeal and rock phosphate. Maybe an amendment would help.

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Post  Icemaiden on 10/22/2012, 12:06 pm

I don't think it is the weed barrier. I have grown parsnips for many years directly in the soil. The problem is the number of days to maturity. They just need a month longer than I can give them. Info varies but here http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/hortcrop/h912.pdf it says 60-85 days for carrots and 100-130 days for parsnips - and that is for "optimum" conditions. And I have only mid-June to beginning August which you could call optimum-ish. It just isn't enough.
I've sown carrots for "carrot week" twice now and the first time I got an early crop and then this year we had a cold spell and carrot seedlings took so long to recover that they were actually slower than the ones I sowed at the normal time. So starting-off indoors may not be the answer either but I may give it a whirl for one square next year.
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Post  quiltbea on 10/22/2012, 12:42 pm

Icemaiden.....It looks like you know how to handle parsnips in your area of the world. I agree they do take a longgggg time to mature.
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Post  Goosegirl on 10/23/2012, 8:30 am

Icemaiden - have you tried leaving your parsnips inground all winter to see if they will finish up in the spring? A friend of mine here in South Dakota left hers inground all winter and harvested in spring and they were the best parsnips she had ever grown. Hers were done, just left inground, but for the experiment yours would need extra spring growing time. Our season is long enough for them, she just left them to get some frost in the fall for sweetness, and kind of forgot about them! Her area gets to -40F, so cold and frozen ground were not a detriment to them.

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Post  Icemaiden on 10/23/2012, 9:08 am

I've certainly forgotten some a few times! I've left small ones and they seem to flower rather than bulk-up. Perhaps I should look into covering them with a cold frame in autumn and try to get a but more growth that way?
Or just wait for global warming?
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Post  Goosegirl on 10/23/2012, 10:40 am

@Icemaiden wrote:I've certainly forgotten some a few times! I've left small ones and they seem to flower rather than bulk-up. Perhaps I should look into covering them with a cold frame in autumn and try to get a but more growth that way?

I suppose if they are like carrots and are biennial, they would flower and go to seed. It was a thought.....

@Icemaiden wrote:Or just wait for global warming?

rofl

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