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Iceland calling!

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Iceland calling!

Post  Icemaiden on 4/27/2010, 11:31 am

Hi everyone!
I am new to square foot gardening though I have gardened with varying results for many years.
I originate from the English Midlands but live in Reykjavik, so probably have a shorter growing season than most of you. The daffodils in my garden are just in bud so there is no huge rush to get the potatoes in! The summer day temperature is never very high: 13°C and sunshine will find people sunbathing. On the plus side we have the long nights so it is possible to grow lots of stuff, especially if you give it a head start indoors.
The council runs garden "schools" for kids and they don't even start until June but with heaps of manure they get cabbage the size of football and very good root veg too - better than I ever do!
The soil in my garden is very poor and acid so this year I am laying weedbarrier and trying the square foot method. I could not get vermiculite for love nor money - the professional gardeners and garden centre staff looked at me in a very bemused way! It seems that the growers here use pumice so I'm giving that a go - it should do all the things the vermiculite does, at least I hope so, and has the advantage of being locally produced.
You may have seen that we have an erupting volcano at the moment? No pumice from that one but a different one some years back threw the stuff out in volume and it is graded and washed before bagging for use. Fingers crossed it works (and please don't throw me off the forum for not using vermiculite! )
I plan to get most of the planting done later this week, and if anything comes up I will let you know.


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Re: Iceland calling!

Post  Retired Member 1 on 4/27/2010, 11:36 am

Welcome! I know you will enjoy the SFG method. It produces so much more in so little space. I also come from Midlands -- Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. I moved with my parents to the States when I was 13, but go back every few years to visit friends and relatives in the area.

With the increasing difficulty of obtaining vermiculite, several on this forum are using different things, so you'll fit right in. I've never heard of using pumice in the garden. Does it have water retention abilities like vermiculite? If so, it should be a great substitute.

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Re: Iceland calling!

Post  Icemaiden on 4/27/2010, 11:46 am

Hi belfrybat!
I'm from Ashby-de-la-Zouch originally, in Leicestershire.
Yes, pumice does hold water, or at least this one does (they vary a lot). Here is a link about it http://www.jei.is/growing.html I think it should work OK.


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Re: Iceland calling!

Post  boffer on 4/27/2010, 11:50 am

@Icemaiden wrote:please don't throw me off the forum for not using vermiculite!

glad you\'re here Hey, ya do what ya gotta do! Who knows, if pumice works out well, you could start a new trend in sfg!

Would love to see pictures of your garden at midnight, in the sunshine!

I had to look at the map-you're the first pointer from Iceland that I've seen!


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Re: Iceland calling!

Post  mckr3441 on 4/27/2010, 12:54 pm

WOW! Iceland!!! A very big welcome to you.

Looking forward to hearing more from you.



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Re: Iceland calling!

Post  LaFee on 4/27/2010, 1:22 pm

Hi, Icemaiden -- I'm LaFee, a transplanted American learning to SFG in France, and the regional host for Europe.

We do have a small but perfectly-formed ( ) forum for Europe...a few of us in France, a handful in Holland, and a scattering in England...

I just cut my faded daffodils yesterday, so that puts you about 3-4 weeks behind us here on the continent.

We didn't have a single speck of ash here..but I'm sure glad I wasn't traveling that week!


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Re: Iceland calling!

Post  timwardell on 4/27/2010, 2:33 pm

Welcome Iceland! Glad to have you.


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Re: Iceland calling!

Post  WardinWake on 4/27/2010, 8:15 pm


Welcome to our most northern member.

I remember running down the hallway in the U.S. Navy barracks in Iceland thinking that my friends had let me sleep the clock around only to find out it was midnight not noon!

If there is anything that we can do for you and your garden please ask and please post pictures when you can.

God Bless, and again welcome, Ward.

Iceland, where a tall, gorgeous blond waits behind every tree for young men to come along.


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Re: Iceland calling!

Post  junequilt on 4/27/2010, 9:23 pm

Pleased to meetcha! Our daffies in SC finished a couple of weeks ago and azaleas are just completing a spectacular spring bloom.

I spent a couple of months backpacking in Scandanavia many moons ago, mostly on the continent via Eurailpass. I got to see a lot of backyard gardens from the train, and nearly all of them had huge, beautiful cabbages. I bet your new square foot bed grows GIANTS!

Are you able to grow tomatoes or is the season too short?


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Re: Iceland calling!

Post  Icemaiden on 4/28/2010, 4:37 am

Thanks for all the warm welcomes!

I've never seen tomatoes outdoors here. It might be possible with the right sort. My grand scheme is to grow the safe stuff this year in two 4 x 4 boxes and then add two more boxes next year and be more adventurous.
Reykjavik is not so hot in the summer (and the American airbase was ever chillier I think) but I put agricultural fleece over to get things going a bit earlier. It might be possible to make a cage and then keep the fleece over for most of the summer - project for the future?

Hi Ward - old airbase is now used for student accommodation for the university (my husband's niece lives there with her family) and all sorts of companies are supposed to be starting up there. Odd to drive in past the old guard station!


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Re: Iceland calling!

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