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European Gardening: Winter closing in

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Gunn_Marit
Jessheim
Norway

September 18, 2009
3:55 PM

Post #7077637

Here in my part of Norway I find that the winter is around the corner. It has been ice on my car in the morning the last week, all my outdoor cucumbers are dead and gone, same goes for a lot of other plants.

It is so disappointing. The summer has been a rather wet one, and cold. My courgettes did nicely, I was drowning in crop, but when inspecting them yesterday I found most of them dead. I still have some potatoes and other stuff to dig up, nice work for the weekend.

I will put in some heat in the sweet pepper and chili greenhouse, to try to get most out of the crop.

This is rather sad! The weather could easily behave for a few more weeks!

Complaining from
Gunn Marit
(Comfort most appreciated!)

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

September 18, 2009
4:11 PM

Post #7077682

What a shame to find winter moving in so early! What zone are you in, do you know? At least you have a greenhouse to help extend your season. We have one too but don't heat it. Did you get a chance to freeze any of your courgettes and other vegetables? That would give you a taste of summer when there was snow on the ground.
Gunn_Marit
Jessheim
Norway

September 18, 2009
4:22 PM

Post #7077724

I am really not sure what my zone would be after US zones. But there are danger of frost until the middle of may. You can get frost again from around this time, but often not before in October. But the summer is not that hot here. Never more than 30C, and often around 20-25C. In the winter, we can get down to minus 30 on a bad day.

I do conserve as much as I can from the garden. The freezer is filled up with broad beans, carrots, beans and "ratatouille" (i think you call it in french) made of courgettes and other wegs. Lovely to use it in the winter time.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

September 18, 2009
7:10 PM

Post #7078210

Sounds like you'd be similar to our zone 4 or 5. It's a different kind of gardening from what I do here. We have a freezer full of garden produce, too, but I'm trying to grow some fall beets, carrots, spinach and broccoli for the first time. I'm finding that I don't have a whole lot of enthusiasm for it, though, because it feels as though the garden should be going to bed now!
Gunn_Marit
Jessheim
Norway

September 18, 2009
8:20 PM

Post #7078437

When does the frost start at your place? Sounds wonderful to have that long season.
I still can harvest some herbs in the garden, like Levisticum officinale. Wonderful in soups together with potato, different vegetables and meat. (I used meat from moose yesterday, it's so tasty!)

I really know that the summer is long gone at this time of year, but I always hope that it would last just a bit longer. Newer prepared for the first frost. But soon it is winter one more time. I will start my sweet pepper and chili plants at new years day, and have a big table under light in the living room while I wait for the temperature to rise enough for me to start heat the greenhouse.

Regarding my zone, the magnolia 'Leonard Messel' is suppose to have the marginal zone where I live, if that makes you any wiser. I have one in the garden, and it did survive the first winter without to much damages. Japanese cherry are not supposed to live here, but I did not tell the two trees that I planted in the spring. I will cover them before winter and cross my fingers. I can grow pumpkins, but not melon. I have some east European grapes in the garden, and American blueberry.

I know the secret is to grow what you can and be positive, but sometimes you feel a bit bad when you read about what people other places can grow.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

September 18, 2009
8:34 PM

Post #7078481

Gunn, our first frost date is around October 15 - 30 and the last one is around April 1 to 15. A couple of years ago our fig trees didn't die back, but last year they did because it was a more severe winter. We have a pretty decent growing season but it's hard not to be jealous of people in the warmer zones who can be starting new tomato plants now!

Leslie
Gunn_Marit
Jessheim
Norway

September 18, 2009
8:50 PM

Post #7078522

Thanks for cheering me up, Leslie.
It really helps.

I guess one are never 100% satisfied. But at least, here in Norway we do not have hurricanes, grasshoppers, really poison snakes, prairie dogs and so one of interesting gardening problems. I will keep to my Arvicola terrestris who invades the vegetable field, and early frost.

Now it's bedtime in Norway.

Cheers,
Gunn

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

September 18, 2009
10:43 PM

Post #7078895

I'd say zone 6-7 on the usda scale, with cool summers.

Resin

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

September 19, 2009
12:51 AM

Post #7079411

Resin, I'm Zone 7 and my weather is nowhere near Gunn's for severity! We're downright balmy compared to her.

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

September 19, 2009
8:42 AM

Post #7080359

That's the difference between oceanic climates (as in southern Norway) and continental climates (as in NJ). Gunn's climate is about the same as zone 6/7 in southeast Alaska.

Just the same as zone 8 in Seattle is nothing like zone 8 in northern Florida. They happen to share the same average winter minima (which is what defines the zone rating), but little else.

Resin
Gunn_Marit
Jessheim
Norway

September 19, 2009
11:00 AM

Post #7080503

I never really understand how those zones are decided. But I am totally agree that the coastal areas are quite different from the interior. I live at least 40km from the Oslo Fjord, and 130km from more open sea.

At my place we easily get 50-100cm of snow in the winter time. (Great for skiing!) That will make a nice cover for many of the plants.

I love trying out new species of vegetables and flowers to find those that can handle this short season. Gives me something to reach for. A lot of the plants in my garden should not be able to live here, but luckily the plants don't read those zone maps...

I do my best to make the growing season longer by using the greenhouse, the light that I have mounted inn the living room, cower in the spring with those white plant covers, and any other trick I can think of. But, you know, when you live on 60,14 North, then even the help from the gulf stream won't make this a hot place to be gardening in.

Picture show my kitchen window in the beginning of May. I had to repair the greenhouse after a winter storm, and were filling all windows in the house.

Gunn

Thumbnail by Gunn_Marit
Click the image for an enlarged view.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

September 19, 2009
11:10 AM

Post #7080519

How lovely to see a photo of your sunny windowsill in Norway, Gunn! Your plants look really happy there!

Resin, I imagine those zones can be very misleading, as you say. They are still used as ranges for specific plants, though. I don't know how well that works. I bought some fig trees that are supposed to be good for zones 6 - 9, but I suspect we'll still have to cover them up to prevent frost kill to the branches.
JonnaSudenius

(Zone 6b)

September 21, 2009
7:08 PM

Post #7088341

Hello Gunn,
I see you live north of Oslo. Maybe we can trade. In Norway they have different plants as we have here in Belgium.
My climate zone is 6 (up to minus 22°C in winter) and summers are about the same here as they are at you.
Have a look at my have list to see if you can find some interesting things on it. It's not ready yet, because a lot of plants must still set seed. I assume it's the same at your place.
http://davesgarden.com/community/trading/list.php?list=have&member=JonnaSudenius

Jonna

Gunn_Marit
Jessheim
Norway

September 21, 2009
8:55 PM

Post #7088700

Hi Jonna,
That sounds like a good idea. I think I have a few of the items on your "want" list. I have note made on of that my self yet, but love cottage garden perennials and all kind of vegetables. No rush, we can swap in the winter when it's less to do in the garden.
Still, the climate in Belgium is kinder than my part of Norway, I think.
You can see some statistics here:
http://www.yr.no/place/Norway/Akershus/Skedsmo/Lillestrøm/statistics.html
I live 25km north and a bit higher up than Lillestrøm. Drive down to work every day, and it's milder than where I live.
Here's where I live:
http://www.yr.no/place/Norway/Akershus/Ullensaker/Jessheim/statistics.html

(Discovered it after the first one. But fun to compare.)

Even this little distance and level over sea makes a difference!

Gunn
JonnaSudenius

(Zone 6b)

September 27, 2009
7:42 AM

Post #7108602

Hi Gun,
You re right if you think the climate in most parts of Belgium are milder, but not where I live. I live in a small part of Belgium that is in climate zone 6. We have the same winters as you have. Last winter we had snow from the beginning of November until March 20, with just 2 weeks without snow. And in those 2 weeks we had -20°C, so I lost a lot of plants, because there was no snow cover. Summers are a bit warmer. Usually we have quite a lot of rain, but the last few months we hardly had any rain, so my plants are screaming for water.
I'll come back to you when winter arrives to trade seeds.
Jonna

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

September 27, 2009
10:16 AM

Post #7108688

Quoting:You can see some statistics here:

You're very lucky having all these statistics available like this!

In Britain, if you want this sort of information, you have to pay A LOT of money for it :-(((

Resin
Gunn_Marit
Jessheim
Norway

September 27, 2009
5:33 PM

Post #7109646

And I take this things for given!

But I notice that it don't have this fancy statistics when I look at the UK weather:
http://www.yr.no/place/United_Kingdom/England/Northumberland/

But really, you need some nice things to keep the good mode when you are gardening in my place.
This week the real frost will start, so fare we have just received some cold hugs. I got to get the last stuff inside. Wonder if I shall take the Dahlias and Gladiolus right away or wait for them to die down a bit. So far they have been rather hardy, and just continued with flowers. I am really more used to vegetables than flowers.
patgeorge
Nurmo
Finland
(Zone 4b)

September 28, 2009
5:48 PM

Post #7113089

Hi Gunn. I reckon your weather sounds very similar to ours in Central Finland. We've had quite a mild and very dry September; but this week the temperatures are dropping and it looks like autumn has really started. I've been covering my courgette plants, and they've survived up to now; but today I pulled them up, as I want to get my plot dug over before it gets soggy.

I moved here from the south West of England three years ago; and I've had a lot to learn (starting with the language!) It's not just temperatures of course. Length of day also makes a big difference to some plants. We're not far enough north for the actual midnight sun; but from late May to mid August it's daylight for twenty four hours.

Before I moved here a neighbour in England who had lived in Southern Sweden said to me "your biggest challenge will be runner beans". (American = pole beans) He was right. My first year I got just sixteen beans; last year none at all; but this year I actually got nearly four kilos from a four metre row. Modest by English standards, but very satisfying!

Pat

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

September 28, 2009
6:03 PM

Post #7113143

Quoting:"your biggest challenge will be runner beans" ... Modest by English standards

Last year we got I think just 11 beans . . . one bean less than the number sown in spring :-(

Didn't even attempt them this year.

Resin
JonnaSudenius

(Zone 6b)

September 28, 2009
8:46 PM

Post #7113762

Well, I must have the best runner beans you can imagine. I'm in zone 6 and last year we had a very cold summer and we harvested about 8 kilo's from a 3 meter row. The year before I had even more because the weather was better.
I didn't grow them this year, but will certainly do again next year.

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