Garden Update – Winter 2020

<- Previous (2019)

I am trying out a new format for the garden updates. Trying out a new format this year, to make it more interesting to write, and hopefully also more entertaining to read.

This is a strange winter. To anyone concerned about climate change (and anyone should be) it must look like confirmation that something is horribly wrong. And confirmation it may be, but I will leave it for meteorologists to make the conclusions. At least it looks like we are finally getting over the rain deficit from summer 2018. I am sorry for everyone who is suddenly threatened by flooding, but also personally happy that my house is on the top of a hill and has no basement (so while I have no extra storage space for stuff I don’t want to look at but might someday need, i not only do not have a lot of old crap lying around – I also avoid a flooded house).

In the garden I am behind with the key tasks of pruning the apple trees – mostly due to a sprained ankle which has troubled me since early January and bad weather. The ankle is better now though, so hopefully the weather will be OK in the coming weekends.

So far I have pulled my self together and ordered fresh seeds from Simpson’s Seeds and this year the experimental focus will be on cucumbers. I also intend to put squash in the elevated bed.

Key events in the garden (2020)

  • Feb 8: Started pruning the apples (a sprained ankle and bad weather is slowing me down)
  • Feb 11: Ordered new seeds for the greenhouse

Featured image

I asked for some extra top soil and for my sins they gave me, well, a small hill. Actually the local water works is servicing pipes in the area and digging up here and there. For a moment I hoped they would dig up the entire foot-walk which really needs renovation, but looks like its is just 3-4 meters. Oh, well.

Garden wrap-up 2019 (final)

Update Dec 23: Now that it is all over for this year and the cycle ready to repeat it self. Final notes are:

  • Nov 13: Final mowing of the lawn
  • Oct 16: Picked the last chilies and wrapped the garden up for winter

Update Sep 15: I emptied the greenhouse today, except for the Chocolate Habanero, which isn’t ripe yet and may as well get some extra time to see if it ripens.

After a good long working day in the garden I see in the green house that fall is approaching, with several plans being cut down already now, either because there is no fruit left to ripen or because of beginning gray mold infection. Such is the cycle of the year, and so it is time to start capturing what went well, what can be done better and what we might not do at all next year.


All in all chilies have worked well, herbs were more than great (next year do more chive and parsley, less basil). Tomatoes a bit disappointing. I know I didn’t care as well for the plants this year as I usually do, but also I didn’t have the best varieties this year. The plants I bought from Gartneri Toftegaard did well as always.

  • Toftegaards Sweet Crunch was a fine red cherry – too bad I accidentally broke the top and stopped growth.
  • Toftegaards Gule cherry – one of the best performers this year
  • Tomato Cavendish: Ripens too late (same as last year)
  • Green grape: Bad growth, low yield (same as last year)
  • Cucamelon: fun, but that’s it
  • Cucumber – One plant is enough, since I get all the fruits at one time which is too many, but after that there is none.
  • Rocoto chili: Probably placed badly, just one half-rotten fruit
  • Chili Lemon Drop: Fine yield
  • Chili Habanero: Fine yield too
  • Chili Cayenne Long Slim: Not a good year, probably the plant suffered from being squeezed between other, larger plants. Lesson noted.
  • Chili Jalapeno: Fine yield
  • Chili Lombardo: OK yield, but at the end of day we are terrible at using these mild chilies.
  • Chili Habanero Chocolate: Finally picked on Oct 16. OK ripe, but I didn’t get to use them before they went bad.

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Tilbageblik på haveåret 2017

Berry week 2 (2019)

As written previously, berry week 2019 fell at an inconvenient time this year, so at the time I focused on just picking and cleaning as much as possible and store it in the freezer until it could fit in my schedule and (more difficult) on our jam shelf. Thus with a freezer full to the brim I went back to eating up last year’s produce. Right up until last week, when the freezer was urgently needed for other purposes and I came home from work to find about 8 kilos of laboriously cleaned fruit melting in a box – clock ticking. Now, it always was my intention to make syrup out of at least some produce, so that instead of overproducing jam I would have new options for fruity drinks, so now was the time to re-google for a recipe and get going. Here is the one found (check it out for better pictures and opinions and to give credit where credit is due), but in essence it takes 1 kg berries, ½ L water, 400 g sugar and ½-1 lemon. The berries should boil in the water for 15 minutes, then be filtered for 1 hour (if possible apply extra pressure and squash the berries), reheat with sugar and lemon. Pour  into sterilized bottles and store in fridge. Taking the time to filter I got a bit more than 1 L per kg fruit (also, trying to filter more than about a kg means that its more difficult for the juice to run out and I got lower yield). The end result tastes fine, though perhaps a bit sweeter than generally I prefer. Moar lemon, eh? For a first attempt I am happy and satisfied, and have a base from where I can experiment and tweak to taste. It also mixes well with whiskey and rum.

Gooseberry syrup being filtered from mash.

The rest of the gooseberries went to jam according to the usual recipe, except I added a fresh habanero chili for about 5 minutes and had to substitute the vanilla stick(?) with vanilla sugar. Fine result with the chili adding a little extra edge. Not berries, but noteworthy is that after I emptied the greenhouse last weekend I also had to deal with this year’s chili harvest. Knowing that we have never run out of dried chilies, I decided not to spend time cleaning fruit that won’t be used. Instead I brought a bunch to work to share with colleagues, then cleaned the rest and put them in the windowsill to dry (that is a key downside of my new aquarium – the LED lighting does give off enough heat to dry anything and the lid must be opened when feeding frozen food), so putting stuff on top for any duration is just not an option).

Featured image

This featured image shows gooseberry heating up to make syrup.

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Berry week 1 – 2019

Bæruge 2018

Bæruge 2017

Berry Week, 2019 Edition

This year the berry week, where all berry bushes in the garden are ready for harvest, fell inconveniently between two vacation trips, so between unpacking, washing and repacking I went picking in the garden and spent a night cleaning berries. A portion of gooseberry was gifted away, everything else frozen (we still have gooseberry jam left from last year).

  • Redcurrant: 1287 g
  • Whitecurrant: 1200 g
  • Blackcurrant 634 g
  • Gooseberry: 9130 g

The currants will make for nice jellies and some marmalade, as will some of the gooseberry. I will also try out gooseberry juice and see how it works as drinks mixer.

Featured image

This featured image for this post shows some of the cleaned berries, ready to be frozen.

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Bæruge 2018


Kvæder og Chili, årets sidste syltning

2018 har været et flot frugtår. Temmelig overraskende, i hvert fald for mig, givet hvor tørt og varmt det har været. Men nu er det ved at være endegyldigt slut. Det er snart november og alt hvad der skal plukkes er plukket og det der skal tørres og syltes er tørret og syltet.


Der bliver forsyninger til det kommende års madlavning og mere til. Jeg har allerede tørret alle Jamaican Hot (og “alle” er mange flere end jeg kan forestille mig at bruge, men så igen, I år mangler jeg Lemon Drop). Tilbage er nu Habanero og Cayenne Long Slim. De er renset og skåret op, og skal nu bare ligger til tørre oven på akvariet i et par uger.


Der er mange flotte frugter på træet i år og de udvalgte blev til marmelade.
Med udgangspunkt I 14 frugter på hver ca. 300g er ingredienserne som følger:

  • 1800g kvæder skrællet og kernehuset fjerne, skåret i tern på ca. 2 cm
  • 30 g revet ingefær
  • Revet citronskal fra to citroner
  • Saft af en citron
  • 1 kg syltesukker (og så bruger jeg ikke kernehusene til at give stivelse)
  • 1 habanero kogt med i 5 minutter

Kvæderne skåret i tern tilsat lidt vand, så kogt i en time sammen med ingefær, citronskal og citronsaft. Derefter rørte jeg gryden igennem med et piskeris for helt at findele kvædeternene. Sukkeret blev tilsat og massen kogt op. Habaneroen fik lov at koge med ca. 5 minutter (næste gang lader jeg den koge med i længere tid). Herefter blev det hele hældt på glad. Det blev ca. 2¼ L


Goathorn er en sort jeg ikke har prøvet i lang tid og den var ikke så stærk som jeg huskede den. Til madlavning holder jeg mig mere til Cayenne, så her er en plantefuld og flotte frugter der mangler et formål. Hvorfor så ikke sylte? (især når jeg ikke har Jalapeño).
Til opskriften hentede jeg inspiration hos og her er mængderne:

  • Lage: 1 L eddike, 200g sukker kogt op
  • Chili: 600 g skåret i skiver og top fjernet

Klargjorte chili lægges i glas med et par laurbærblade, kogende lage hældes over og låget lukkes. Mængden ovenfor blev til 1½ L.

Goathorn chili klar til syltning. Sammen medlage hylder mængden her 1½ L.

Goathorn chili klar til syltning. Sammen medlage hylder mængden her 1½ L.

Jeg vil følge rådet fra og nu lade de syltede chili trække I et par uger før jeg smager dem.

Måneden i haven

Tidligere på måneden fik vi plantet en ekstra syren og forsythia ud mod sidevejen vi bor ved. Ellers er det nu mest oprydning. Græsset skal nok slås en sidste gang og havegangen renses når havemøblerne stilles ind.

Indenfor kæmper jeg med diatomer i akvariet – det er frustrerende at se et smukt nyindrettet akvarium bliver til brunt snask, men så kan jeg vel nyde udfordringen med at få tanken på fode igen. Fiskene lader ikke til at være generet af det – for eksempel er der stabilt nye Severum æg ca. hver 3-4 uge