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Summer sowing and birthday celebrations

I recently turned 40 and celebrated by doing a summer sowing! Now, I can look forward to fresh vegetables later this year too. This is how I do it.

Ett trädgårdsland täckt av fiberduk och mörka moln täcker himlen ovanför. Summer sowing, my covered beds.

I protect my new summer sowing with row cover, and I'm hoping that it will start to rain soon.


I recently celebrated my 40th birthday! I actually love birthdays and really enjoy having a day that's completely my own every year. A lot of people seem to think that birthdays just aren't that big of a deal. I couldn't agree less! I made sure to celebrate and had a wonderful time. My husband and I went for facials and a nice lunch, then we took the whole family out to see a movie and I even managed to do some gardening projects with friends too.

And on top of that, I got some extra time in the garden! My husband Philip had taken a day off and told me we could do whatever I wanted. All in all, I got two whole days outside in the kitchen garden, doing whatever my heart desired. It was great!


Bild på Sara med bostadshuset i bakgrunden. Sara har en svart hatt på sig. Summer sowing, Sara is wearing a black hat, house in the background.

A very happy 40-year-old gardener in a hat.


Bild på köksträdgården med odlingsbäddar i förgrunden och en barnvagn i bakgrunden. Summer sowing, beds in the foreground.

Three of my large beds outside, I grow potatoes in the two beds in the back.


Harvesting potatoes

I decided to spontaneously harvest some potatoes in my garden, in a spot where I want to do a summer sowing.

There are three large beds in the quarter by the stone wall, and I have potatoes growing in two of them. The last one is filled with leek and some other vegetables. One of the beds with potatoes is empty now though, I grew one of my favorite potato varieties Amandine here.

I decided to go for something new in the other bed this year, the potato variety Anya. The potatoes are very good and my children even call this variety a delicacy. The whole family loves potatoes and Anya got extra high remarks. I harvested all of the remaining potatoes in the bed. 1.5 rows produced two large buckets of top quality potatoes. I put the potatoes in paper bags in a cool space and now I'm just waiting for a chance to dig in.


Sara sitter i landet och håller avlång potatis i händerna.Summer sowing, Sara with potatoes

Lots of delicious potatoes! Anya is an oblong and mealy variety. It might break apart when you boil it, but it's one of the best potato varieties I've ever had.


Bild på landen med stora högar av brunsvarta växtdelar på. Summer sowing, large piles of mulch

I've been adding plenty of mulch to my beds since I planted the potatoes in April. I use weeds, old strawberry plants and sunflowers, and grass clippings as mulch for my summer sowing.


Dug-down mulch

I used plenty of mulch (mostly weeds and larger plant parts) in these beds. Now that I'm going to sow new seeds though, I decided to dig three large trenches and put the mulch there. This will provide the soil with some well-needed nutrients!

After that, I raked and arranged four narrow raised beds, instead of two wider ones. The soil here is so lovely after several years of mulching. It's a bit too dry though, the drought this year has made the worms retreat deep into the soil. I hope that will change soon.


The varieties

I've sown three long rows of these vegetables in every bed:

  1. Spinach, the varieties Viking, Palco F1 and Medania
  2. Purple radish, the dill variety Tetra, and the radish variety 18 dagar
  3. Winter lettuce, Vit, the beet Bull's Blood, and the Little Gem lettuce
  4. The carrot variety Nantes 2, and the Guldboll turnip

I started by drawing up rows with the end of a rake. I watered them, sowed the seeds and pushed the soil back. I used a water hose to water on top of the beds before putting a row cover on top. The fabric will help keep the cats at bay and also prevent the soil from drying out. Read more about that here: Growing vegetables in dry conditions.

I made sure to check the weather forecast an extra time so I knew that there would be rain in the coming days. Timing your summer sowing like this is perfect when the soil is so dry.

The radishes started germinating a few days after I sowed them, and the other vegetables will soon follow.


Bild på landet sett ovanifrån; fyra odlingsbäddar täckta med fiberduk. Summer sowing, my four beds.

The small beds are quite easy to grow in since I can reach in from every side. I'm planning to put thatch around the whole area if I can. It will help keep the kids and animals from walking on the beds.

I'm not growing any cabbage in these beds, I instead decided to sow them in another part of the garden. I'll write more about this later. I decided to put a few radishes and turnips here though.

All I can do now is wait. I'm looking forward to harvesting my vegetables. Most of them will be ready in fall, but I'm counting on being able to move some of these vegetables to the polytunnel where I will overwinter them. These beet greens, the lettuces and the spinach will be ready for harvest in the spring. This is what a harvest from summer sowing in the polytunnel might look like:


Most of these vegetables will produce harvests quite late in the year, if everything goes according to plan. As you might know, I'm a big fan of growing food all year round. My third book about growing vegetables in winter just hit the stores here in Sweden. I'm hoping to translate them to English in the future too!

/Sara Bäckmo

23. September 2018