Green Thumb (ZR)

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zoe_robert_dlEarlier this summer I wrote about my plan to experiment with growing vegetables in Iceland.

I rented one of the 300 garden plots leased by Reykjavík City, and in early June, I headed to the local garden supplies store to pick up some seeds, plants, compost, a fabric cover (to protect the young plants from the cold) and a watering can.

Amazed at the choice of seeds and plants which one can presumably grow in Iceland, I went overboard and left with 15 or so varieties of vegetables and flowers, including beetroot, kale, rainbow chard, okra, cabbage, radish, onion, mint, thyme, strawberries, rhubarb, nasturtiums and sunflowers. 

Late one night in the midnight sun, I hurriedly planted and sowed the goods before heading out of town, fingers crossed that they’d see some good weather.

The rain—with intermittent bursts of sunshine—over recent weeks has been a blessing for the veggie garden. The sometimes violent wind has repeatedly lifted the fabric cover off in places, but thankfully without damage to the plants.

The photos below were taken about ten days ago but two days later, after a day of sun and then a downpour, the plants seemed to double in size.

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The cabbages have been taking off.

Clearly it’s the cabbages which have taking off but the beetroot, chard, radishes and kale have also been somewhat of a success.

It’s the weeds, though, which have taken me most by surprise. Naively, perhaps, I didn’t expect them to completely overrun the garden—at least, not so quickly and before I had the chance to differentiate weed from seedling. A green thumb in the making? Not yet.

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 ... and so have the weeds.

Apart from that, I’m quite content with my experiment so far.

As Vilhjálmur Lúðvíksson, Chairman of the Icelandic Horticultural Society, wrote “… it is clear to those of us that remember Iceland at the middle of the 20th century that we can now grow horticultural plants that we would never have dreamed could grow here 50 years ago!”

Words & Photos: Zoë Robert – zoe@icelandreview.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.