It's here! The time to harvest!

 These red delis, cherries, were rescued before birds ate them all. Had three jars of jam out of them. Yummy (hopefully)!

Gooseberry bush has loads of big berries this summer. I have one bush of these red ones and picked 5 liters today - think there is like 5 times more still left. Want to make some juice out of them this weekend.

But first some gooseberry jam for the winter. My favorite with vanilla ice cream or crepes.

- Mika -


Sweden in the garden

These lovelies were found blooming today. Colors just like our neighbor Sweden. Well, we are in Porvoo so this is no surprise.

- Mika -

Lilies of Villa Hattarala

Daylily, Crimson Pirate


Lily 'Solitaire' (my own definition)

Tigerlily 'Lilium lancifolium'

- Mika -

Compost bin

One of the last things I thought before moving to Villa Hattarala was a compost bin. And I don't mean the one you can use for your household waste. I mean the one for garden waste. When buying a house you think about electricity, water, taxes, renovation needs etc. But compost bin... don't even dream about it.

If you have never had your own garden before, it is really quite impossible to imagine or estimate how much organic garden waste your green paradise will produce. The very first time you start cleaning your trees, bushes and flower beds, you think you can easily take the waste to landfill and that's it. Soon you will notice this organic waste just doesn't end up appearing. It doesn't, although you hope it would. One more week and couple of more spots to be cleaned and let's drive to landfill again. Maybe once or twice you find these landfill trips worth while, but then you start feeling bored with the whole thing and want it all to change.

Separating twigs, leaves and soil add some more 'dislike' to this circus. Yes, they need to be separated because at the landfill each type of waste have its own unloading point. At the same time you are in continous need for some new soil here and there at your garden. You can buy soil packed in plastic bags everywhere, but in the end it is expensive and the quality of packed soil isn't always perfect. Solution for the situation is compost bin! Just start collecting all organic bits and pieces from your garden to a compost and produce your own soil (you can pack it to a plastic bag and name it, our's will be 'VH super soil').

Ok, now we had this great idea but still no compost bin. How did we solve the problem. First we bought metal net frames for this use, but they were soon too small and not strong enough to hold everything. Then finally this summer I decided to make compost bins myself. It is easy to find different ideas and instructions from internet. I used some triangle bars and straight boards which were originally used for packing and covering some heavy objects for transportation (got them from a friend). The quality of the wood is not first class but suits perfectly for compost bin with right kind of treatment. We used traditional tar-paint which should be perfect even for heavy weather conditions (and the scent of tar is fantastic). You can also paint or oil your compost as long as you choose nontoxic stuff. These treatments make your compost resistant to decay.

Above a picture of our compost bin just before painting. The front panel can be lifted up to make loading  and unloading more easy.

Here some ideas how to take care of your garden waste compost bin:
- only organic things from the garden
- do not use for food or other household waste, we don't like rats!
- don't put branches unless you can first cut them into small pieces
- let your compost breath
- don't let it dry
- good place for a compost is in the shadow and under some trees or bushes
- you can also cover your compost with a lid
- loosen the contents every now and then
- be patient and one day you will be rewarded with strong black soil

- Mika -