Gardening is one of my favorite activities.
But it hasn’t always been like that. Growing-up in Florida, with it’s humid, average yearly high of 27 °C – the conditions were great for plant growth. We had a modest yard which highlighted a big oak tree in the front and figs, tangerines and broad “Elephant Ears” (Colocasia Esculenta for you Latin literates).
My grandmother – Nanny – had a much more ambitious garden: strawberries (which we harvested in Feb), collards, turnip greens, cabbage, potatoes and all the good stuff from her life growing-up in North Carolina. She would sometimes ask my brother and me to pull weeds from some place her chickens hadn’t scratched.
After a long hot day under the sun, we were typically rewarded with a brief, but pounding rain to “clean the air”.
Today, I live in Denmark and warm weather is a premium. We all run out as soon as we can to plant whatever we can before the dreary – but cozy/hyggeligt – winter months return in
Below are my tips and tricks for gardening here in Denmark – some of these are based on my experience from Florida:
Planter boxes to impress the missus
We have a nice little corner in the yard where I have built planter boxes. My wife uses them as she sees fit – planting flowers and “edibles”: strawberries, potatoes, peas, carrots.
The boxes last for 3-5 years and gives me the chance to impress my wife with my woodworking abilities… or so she says.
The advantage of using the boxes is that it keeps everything nice and tidy and allows you to have completely separate plants – each with there own soil, watering, nutrient needs close to each other. Plus, it keeps the weeds in check.
Plastic Ninja Owls Guards
You’ll notice there are some other berries – these are my responsibility. Blueberries (2 types), ribs and blackberries are what I have.
But we’re not the only ones who like them.
Birds are both a blessing and a plague depending on your situation. Last year we had a net over them, but we seemed to catch more birds then we kept away.
This year, we have our own bird in the garden, albeit a plastic one, called “Ursula”. They are typically used on boats, but if all goes as planned, they should work in our yard.
We had also thought of using one of those “bird kites”, but then we were nervous we would scare away all the birds we liked (the ones outside out breakfast table). I suggested that we just place a picture of my mother-in-law on a stick, but was afraid that would be too much and the fruit would fall off.
For the time being, Ursula is doing her. So let’s see.
Smart watering: Carpet tubes
Being from Florida, I have always been conscious of the watering. I always try to do the watering either early in the morning or early evening when the sun is at its lowest.
When you buy carpet, the rolls have a black plastic tube running the length. I have taken these, cut them into sections and pounded them down beside the berry plants.
The idea is to fill these with with water which directs it down to the root level and minimizes the evaporation you get from watering the surface.
You just need to be careful not to have these too close the plant itself as you want to encourage root growth. If you are too close then the roots will get lazy and your plants will not flourish.
A gutter drain pipe or (red flexible) cable tube can also work, but carpet dealerships tend to just throw these carpet tubes out so I’d suggest trying there first.
Smart watering: Drip hoses
I’ve already mentioned these in my article on lavenders. These are great – especially given the 6 weeks of sunshine we have had this year in Denmark. I think they have been more expensive previously, but I think you can get these relatively cheap now days.
Your best bet is to do this in the spring before the plant blossoms.
This final one is probably the most important. If you’re not into the plants, then break-out the power tools, cut some wood, screw some screws in and build something. Who knows, the planting/gardening bug might bite ya and the wife might appreciate it 🙂
From Tampa, Florida; Moved to Denmark in ’92. I’m a serial almost entrepreneur (I have a lot of ideas but tend not to act on them) and work freelance as an IT consultant. I take care of the backend but will write occasionally when Morten lets me. Go BUCS!