The Art of Attending
Gardening is one of the most joyous pastimes I can imagine. It is odd to think that I only now discovered this wonderful, relaxing and yet productive activity. Although the reason is fairly self-explanatory, having been born and bred in Iceland where we don’t enjoy the warmest of summers, it is still something I think I should have started sooner. Since I moved to Norway I‘ve gotten accustomed to summers with up to 30 degrees that start as early as April and last long into autumn. In that time, you can grow all sorts of wonderful and very tasty plants and you can even master growing more than one set of some of them, especially if you‘re lucky enough to have large windows with decent window sills in your apartment.
I usually start planting around March and as the little green sprouts start peeking out from the dark soil I try to move them around in the apartment so they can enjoy as much sunlight as possible. Since I‘m living in an apartment with small windows I don‘t get enough sunlight inside so when it gets warmer outside there‘s a lot of running back and forth with the plants. I will put them out to “sunbathe” around noon and bring them inside when the last rays of sunlight pass my lawn.
Last year I did a lot of experimenting with seeds. I decided I’d go fully organic and picked seeds from inside fruits and vegetables from my fridge. I wasn’t sure whether it would work. Whether they had in some way been genetically modified so they wouldn’t be able to have a second generation of tomato plants or some such and therefore just squeezed all of the seeds from inside a cherry tomato and waited. I didn’t have to wait long until I had hundreds of little tomato plants growing in the soil and that’s where my problem stated since I, of course, wanted to save them all. 500 liters of soil later I had saved all that could be saved and was growing an incredible amount of plants in my garden. Adding to the aforementioned tomato plants I had peppers in all shapes and sizes as well.
The next problem, after figuring out how to transport an enormous amount of soil to my apartment without a car, was where to get flower pots for all these plants. Firstly, I used all the empty yoghurt boxes I could find and my family suffered through long weeks of eating nothing but yoghurt. All in the name of saving the plants, of course. After my they had outgrown all sizes of yoghurt from the convenience store and having searched high and low for cheap flower pots in Norway I ended up buying a bunch on Ebay that I was fairly content with. The search for large flower pots finally ended with me buying 7-liter garbage buckets from Ikea, which worked perfectly as flower pots after I had punctured their bottoms.
Now for the hard part. There are several kinds of tomato plants and I learned soon enough that my cherry tomatoes were not the bush kind but the kind that grows up, up and then up some more. When all the sticks I could find wouldn’t hold them longer I resorted to trying to find ways of hanging them up. Fortunately, I have the neighbors’ wooden stair porch over my front door and with a bit of screwing I could create long strings of laundry wire that were strong enough to hold the plants. My front door entrance therefore ended up being wrapped by up to four rows of tomato plants in Ikea garbage buckets, some that were almost 3 meters high. My guests loved it and so did I when those sweet tomatoes started turning from light orange to red. As I hadn’t started my gardening early enough last year I ended up with a load of green peppers since they apparently all start out green and not all of my tomatoes managed to mature to red either. So I collected all the green tomatoes and used them to make marmalade, which was delicious if I do say so myself. I also contemplated using the green peppers to create sweet peppers but they were eaten and used in Lasagna and other dishes before it came to that.
After the summer had past I was extremely happy with my work. I had spent endless hours replanting, watering and attending to my plants and received amazing products that my whole family could enjoy. Even the dogs liked snacking on a spinach leaf when they were trotting around the garden watching their owner at work. Gardening is soothing, it gives you a sense of purpose and it allows you to spend hours in the sun doing good work. I would recommend it to all.