1. 18.09.2014 Stadin Puutarhuri, Helsinki

    Some quick snapshots of the farm where I’ll be interning for the remainder of the harvest season (once the paperwork is approved). Probably only be there a month before its all over, but it’ll be a good experience.


  2. 17.09.2014 Tuomarila, Espoo

    Enjoying the afternoon sun on “the cliff” behind our apartment. The large rocks and exposed granite make for a very comfortable microclimate. Robin has a few favorite spots to hide in the heather :)


  3. 15.09.2014 Kaapelitehdas Roof Garden, Helsinki

    Last blooms continued. Some of the tomatoes against the wall finally ripening. Next year, if the sauna isn’t under construction, will be planned a little differently with what to do where. Additionally, we should have plenty of vermicompost and perhaps a mineral soil component to add to the boxes for better soil life habitat and nutrient retention. 


  4. 15.09.2014 Kaapelitehdas Roof Garden, Helsinki

    Last blooms of summer! The garden will come down this weekend while I am away.


  5. 12.09.2014 Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki

    The composting worms in this bin are exceedingly sensitive to light, more so than I’ve seen before. But trust me, they are in there! On the menu: tomato clippings, lettuce, and rhubarb! 

    Wish I had room at home for a flow through system, however primitive :)


  6. 7.9.2014 Purho, Finland

    I turned mummo’s potato patch into a strawberry patch :) This spot will probably become home to a new apple tree either next year or the year after and I wanted to drive home crop rotation. No way that anyone will attempt to plant potatoes into strawberries!

    The other places I grew potatoes were sown with a clover/alfalfa mix and some more poppies, just in case they have a chance to overwinter. If we get to go one more time before the frosts, I can check if they sprouted and whether or not I should mulch the beds.


  7. 6.9.2014 Purho, Finland

    Time for the potato harvest. The first bucket (and photo) was from two shady patches of a variety called Tammiston Aikainen. It was bred near Helsinki and now is rather rare. I haven’t tasted it yet as I’m still working on my Siikli’s from Mustikkamaa. They fared pretty well with the tiny bit of fertilizer I had available (and no compost still…). I’m sure that the mycorrhizal inoculation was pretty important in these conditions.

    The very large plants are mummo’s. Her patch was able to get at least 3 more hours of direct sun than any other spot. I also gave her the most of the fertilizer I had. The solo photo of a potato with its tubers is one of hers: 19 potatoes from one plant! Her potatoes were simply year-old potatoes sold in the grocery store for eating :)

    The last two patches were very disappointing: they had the least amount of fertilizer and one of the patches was completely infested with wireworms.

    Apparently they love to live in grass and especially in “no till” situations, like ours. Harumph! This is where it would be just awesome to have a few pigs and chickens on site to prepare potato patches in the future. The chickens would probably have to be there at the same time as the pigs are tilling the plot so they can grab the beetle larvae before they burrow back into the earth. Then they could take a break and come back to spread the pig manure.

    Little buggers! Still managed to harvest a brimming 10L bucketful of small potatoes. They were of a short season variety, Solist. When I checked last month to see if they were ready, they had hardly grown. So they wound up being a long season crop.

    This harvest was nothing to really write home about, but still more than has been grown here in a very long time. I won’t grow potatoes again for a number of years, at least until we manage to cut down some of those pines for more sunlight and enough time has passed for a return of the potato.

    Oh, and the darned worms got into my carrots as well. Two of their favorite foods: potatoes and carrots.


  8. 6.9.2014 Purho, Finland

    Summer cottage garden towards the end of summer (and almost a month since we last visited!). After those rains the whole of Finland warmed back up to quite appreciable temperatures (about 17-19C [low 60s F]), which is allowing many of the plants to have another go at flowering :)

    You may notice how nice and shady it is. We have what could be called “Single Estate Shade Grown Ecological Potatoes.” Which really isn’t what you want when you grow potatoes this far north. Everything else struggles too.

    I think I’ve said it before, but I won’t be growing any vegetables next year. If I do, then they will be transplants that I’ll have started at home or somewhere so that I can get a jump on the season. Which may not turn out well since they’ll go from constant care to hit and miss. Er… yeah. 

    I’ll be focusing on gap dynamics (read: cutting down trees) and diversity, both perennial species composition and structural. I’ve got my schedule for stratifying seeds over the winter all laid out and the few plants I do have here at home should find their way to the cottage early in the spring. Perhaps even half of my chestnuts…


  9. 3.9.2014 from towards Mustalampa and Haukkalampi and then the bustop back to Espoo, Nuuksio National Park, Espoo Finland

    In case there is any wondering, Nuuksio is well trafficked. As you can see by the “hammock” of roots on this junction of yellow and orange trails… While some places in the park have very basic boardwalks, others are pretty well deteriorated.  If you look halfway through the photo you will see where a short boardwalk begins, unfortunately too late for these trees.

    Then some photos of our haul. We divided them between the two of us and had some coffee before setting out for the short hike to the bus stop (2km, just over a mile).

    When I got home I started reading a bit about the Boletus mushrooms and one source says that you shouldn’t use a knife to harvest them as it will damage the rest of the fungi… I will have have this corroborated because I would hate to know that we opened up the fungi to infection. 


  10. 3.9.2014 towards Mustalampi, Nuuksio National Park,  Espoo Finland

    Amanita muscaria lining the pathway through the forest. Apparently not as toxic as it is made out to be and actually edible after boiling. Still, with so many perfectly fine Boletus, no need to harvest those. The species is also ectomycorrhizal with many types of pines, oftentimes sharing the same space as Boletus.


  11. 3.9.2014 Holma-Saarijärvi, Nuuksio National Park, Espoo Finland

    We stopped for a short break on a little island after hiking for a few hours. The forest was full of Boletus type mushrooms and by the time we stopped for a rest, we had almost filled two bags. :)

    Many of the mushrooms we choose to pick for good eating are the fruiting bodies of ectomycorrhizal fungi, meaning they are the ones shuttling nutrients and signals amongst forest trees. Unlike their endomycorrhizal cousins, they actually produce something above ground that we can see and utilize directly. Different species of pines are typical hosts for Boletus, hence their ubiquitous presence in the Finnish forests.


  12. 3.9.2014 forest east of Siikajärvi near Nuuksio National Park, Espoo Finland

    Foraging for mushrooms with a friend. I’m new to foraging so I took his word for ones he has eaten before. I don’t remember all the names, but many that we wanted to collect have a “spongy” looking bottom rather than the common gills.


  13. Apparently RT is not always full of it. Paul Stamets participates in a wonderful- and current- interview with Thom Hartmann.

    The interview is far ranging and Paul is, as always, absolutely clear while conveying important information. He is one of the few people I can listen to talk about the same subject over and over again and not get tired of.


  14. 28.08.2014 Tuomarila Espoo, Finland

    Back on “our” side of the border. The cliff behind our apartment has many places where water naturally accumulates and flows through the shallow soil and rock. It would be quite nice to actually build up the terraces there (from the old house), but then if a stream was actually born… well, I’m not so sure that the people who manage these houses would like that very much!


  15. 28.08.2014 Kasavuori Kauniainen, Finland

    Stop 6 (shots 1-3), 5 (shots 4-6 [mushrooms]), 4 (shot 7), and 1 (shots 8 & 9)

    Walk back home. 

    1-3 show some of the scenery near the “source.”

    4-6 show some of the other mushroom activity. In the one with the log, you can see that inside the hole is water. I think this is actually the water table and not necessarily just a puddle. I didn’t stick around to test if the water was moving because I was hungry :)

    7 is evidence of the squirrels that are eating everything that even resembles food in the forest right now. All the hazelnuts have been stripped from the trees and the pine cones look like corn cobs without kernels.

    8 & 9 are back to where we started, about 3 hours earlier :)