Archives for category: Gardening

One compost pile that has been fermenting for 2 years is already out on the crop circle that I’m starting to plant in.

Leaving a good place to start a new one.

First a layer of coarse material like these sunflower stalks. After that probably a layer of manure, then layer upon layer of kitchen scraps, dirt, garden scraps, manure, dirt etc until it gets about a meter high. Then I let it sit for a couple of years. (With a little pitch forking from time to time.)

Or rather exploded. It’s been warm off and on since february, but last week was wintery – grey, cold and windy. Today it’s like a summer day, as was yesterday and probably 10 days on. And inspiring early garden activity. Like opening up the rest huts.

Planting trees and bushes like this grape plant.

And start more cabbages, lettuce and herbs.

I also tilled the crop circle where the students had spread compost, made a couple beds where I set onions, and carrots.

And set a row of Timo potatoes as the sun was getting low.

It’s quite early for here and I may have to cover for later frost, but it’s worth a try.

I met a miso and koji enthusiast at the Fermentation Day recently. He came by yesterday to see how I do it. I scheduled the day so we could make miso and start a batch of barley koji while he was here.

First we made an herb miso with french soybeans (precooked the night before), barley koji, seasalt, basil, thyme, oregano and garlic.

We used the standard recipe with a deciliter each of the herbs. There was a small jar for him to take home.

We also made a batch of barley koji – steam cooked the barley, let it cool, then mixed in koji starter.

Then he returned home without seeing the mold grow for 2 days, but he did see the result of the previous batch, which we spread out to dry.

Another chickpea miso.

I had a bag of 900 grams rice koji and 400 grams of chickpeas, so all I needed was to get 500 grams more chickpeas and weigh up 414 grams salt, and I would have a 90% miso – 90% of the standard recipe.

Chickpea miso has sailed up as a good seller. It’s gluten free, soy free, and it has a very good flavor.

It grew fine is ready to dry.

Everytime I start a new koji season it takes a couple of batches to remember all the details, ticks, ideosyncrcies and tricks I use. This first batch of barley koji turned out fine tho, but it could have been slightly better.

Students from Uppsala University were here for a field trip yesterday, from the CEMUS program for sustainable development.

The weather was very cold this year, so they had to work hard to keep warm, spreading compost on one of the crop circles.

They were 20 this time, and it was hard work for me to keep them busy. We had a very good time tho.

I made my last rice koji a few days ago for this season. I have enough now for a couple more miso batches, sales and the fall season miso making. About 20 kilos in all.

Now I have to make barley and rye koji.

‘I should have made more 2 years ago.’ I’ve said that so many times. Now I’ve sold so much miso that it looks like I won’t have enough for this summers markets. And we are already planning for a new Fermentation Day in october. I am making more koji and miso now, but it won’t be ready in time, so I’ll have to make a couple more batches of 6 month miso to supplement the supply.

I’ll also make a 6 month miso with barley koji in june for the december markets.

Another winter/spring job is to repair old plant protection cages,

and make new ones,

to protect plants like lettuce and cabbage from deer and rabbits.

It sure seems like spring has come, so besides the indoors jobs of koji and miso making, I’m getting more and more into preparations of the garden for spring. As the ground unfreezes I can work on the compost piles.

I’m airing, straightening everything out, making it look nice and chasing rodents.

This is the latest pile with winter refuse.

I’ve got 10 piles now, with 5 ready to go out on the crop circles, and 5 to continue fermenting until next spring.