Hi from Finland and my plans for 2023

Hi from southern Finland. I have been gardening for more than a decade, last 4 years more and more intensively. I did read about landrace gardening I think 3 years ago and I have (as well as plants) done some crossing towards starting a landrace, but this year is maybe first year I’m fully embracing it. Atleast in my own style. My main interest, besides growing my own food, is cold tolerance. I have always loved the exotic and that drives me in gardening too. I got started in c.moschata just because I read someone say in local facebook group that they need more heat and should be started early. So I take it as a challenge to make something that can be direct seeded and this year I have thousands of seeds from my own plants to trial. Summer here is similar (besides neigboring countries) to parts of Alaska, central Canada, parts of UK and possibly coastal central Europe. Season is basically june to august, although might not be as long and even if it’s longer temps in may/semptember are mostly well below +20C. Even the hardy plants like brassicas struggle to grow before mid may or after mid september. I only grow outdoors with plastic mulch and cloth when needed, which I loath to do, but you gotta start somewhere. Plan is to reduce use of plastics step by step. Most what I grow is considered impossible outdoors and usually grown in greenhouse so even growing them outdoors with little help is a win.

Tomatoes; one the easier “heat loving” plants I grow. Plan is to do something similar to Joseph and I do have some of his seeds to use as a base. This year I have dozens of varieties and some wilds that I plan to cross and next year re-cross to have 4 way crosses. Ultimate goal is to have something that could be direct seeded or atleast have as short transplant period as possible. Cropping period needs to be short so that there isn’t many green fruits to ripen indoors. At some point might divide to different groups based on fruit size and shelf life, but that comes later. This year I have some F2 crosses that plan to direct seed just to get feel how it works.

Peppers; I would like peppers to grow as well outdoor as tomatoes do at the moment. I have tested dozens of varieties over last few years and found some that have some potential. Have made some crosses, but main focus is this year. For this year I think I have around 80 varieties, about 20 baccatum and 60 annuum. Some wild too, including praetermissium that I include in the baccatum complex. Plan is to have landrace for both annuum and baccatum, although I’m not isolating them.

Melons and watermelons; I have grown them for 3 years now and have some mixing. So far I have used transplants except for a small direct seed trial last year that went well enough to do mainly direct seeding next year. Some new varieties I will start from transplant. They are still quite far from thriving here, but I can see path forward. Although cold summers are looming. Last year was quite hot by our stantards and direct seeded watermelon ripened barely in time. Melon took just little too long (but ripened after cold weather had setled).

Sweet potastoes; Have been growing them with some success for couple years, but they need quite a lot of help. Have had clear plastic tunnel to get them started, but last year I trialled 5 new varieties with just cloth. This year I should have around 15 varieties atleast and focus is in getting seeds, but also curious to see how well some varieties do that have quite a lot of hype for cooler climates.

Squash; as said, moschata is considered quite hard to grow here. Two years ago I tried direct seeding and although it was hot year only fruit had 7 viable seeds. This year I used those seeds and some previous years seeds, but instead used small transplants to reliably get seeds. Of those 7 seeds two were a lot more strong than others once they made fruits I could see that they were crosses with other squash I later realised was moschata also. There was also another type that was clearly from other type (green striped cushaw) I grew couple years before so it had crossed atleast couple times. This year I have quite a many new varieties to add to the mix. Maxima and pepo aren’t as hard to grow here, but there really aren’t varieties that are bred here. I would have enough squash to eat even with moschata, but can’t help myself now. 2021 I gave some pumpkin to my brother who grew from it’s seeds last year and it was an interesting cross between more normal round pumpkin and candy roaster. So ofcourse I have to grow those and got some 10 more varieties to add to the mix. Pepos I don’t like as much, but some to grow as summer squash. It could do better in our climate. many times they stop producing if it gets rainy and cool (which might be to do with pollinators).

Ground cherry; have some 4-5 species, some of which I have couple varieties/acceccions. There don’t seem to be that many domesticated varieties so mainly starting with wilds or half wilds. Goal would be to have little bigger fruit and more determined growth and cropping. At the moment what I have grown do make quite good harvests even outdoors, but they use too much energy to make flowers and fruits that never have change to ripen.

Corn; no big plans, I just like to grow it. Sweetcorn was one of the first heat loving plants I have been able to grow. I have grown sweet painted hills landrace from my own seeds so I’m landracing it to my climate, but I haven’t added to it so far. Flint/flour corn (not sure which) I have grown atomic orange which has been fastest in my climate. Might try to mix it with painted mountain, but timing is a bit problematic as I don’t have isolation distance to sweetcorn and I don’t want them crossing. So whatever I grow needs to do flowering 10-15 days before sweetcorn which means they need to be really fast. About 40 days for tassel to emerge even in cooler conditions.

Eggplants; I was surprised how well some of them grew last I year, although many had quite expected results. Even got some viable seeds which I was not sure about beforehand. So this year I have many more varieties and plan to make as many crosses as possible. I had never really grown or eaten eggplants before and I found that I like them more than I expected. I grew them just because they are supposed to be hard to grow outdoors.

Basil; it can grow quite well if it’s warm summer, but might struggle or die on cooler summers. Bought several varieties and species. One was F3 grex, one was interesting because it had quite big flowers for basil. Next year try to get as many seeds as possible, make seed increase next year and then possibly direct seeding to see which survive.

Okra; this is slightly crazier experiment. I have tried okra couple times with not good result, but I thought I could give it another go with kandahar pendi landrace.

I was not going to do others, but it’s a long winter here and you get all sorts of ideas when you have too much time to think. Many things I grow in any case so I thought I could get more varieties and save seeds (or root to plant next season for seeds). So now I have dozens of varieties in salads, spinach, radish, carrots, beetroots and parsnips plus some broccoli and fennel. Salads, spinach and radish are in a way tolerant to our climate, except they bolt easily. Especially now that there has been many hot and dry summers. We don’t really have spring season so I need to be able to grow them through summer if I wan’t to grow them. Atleast they should be easy to get seeds from. Fennel also bolts easily because of long days and I’m not sure if varieties that I have do well here. I have grown one variety several years because it doesn’t bolt as easily and now try saving seeds from it if others fail. Carrots should be easy to grow, but they have lot’s of damage from carrot root fly and hopefully can fix that. Parsnips and beetroots are fairly easy to grow. Season is maybe slighly too short for parsnips, but mainly growing just to have something that is bred here.

So far I haven’t started much, only some sweet potatoes that didn’t have sprouts yet. I generally try to use as little effort as possible and rather have plants take most of our short summer. I have some seeds to trade/give away, even more after this season.


Lots of challenges makes it all the more enjoyable when you get a win. I’ve enjoyed your posts. Keep it up.

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Ofcourse I forgot something.

Tomatillos; have only grown once which wasn’t very successfull as I had only couple plants of one variety. I have never had tomatillos, but since I’m running out of new species to trial I though I might give it a go. Bought all different varieties I could find with EU which was around. No expectations for first year. Hopefully get lots of seeds and can start to direct seed. Shouldn’t be too hard to grow here, but remember having trouble with edema last time I grew transplants which I usually don’t get with other relatives.

Potatoes; I grew some TPS last year and this year have some of those tubers plus lots of seeds, some bought, some I got that are from local or more common varieties. Potatoes are staple crop here, but I want some variety and it feels exciting to grow something that is unique.


@RayS Yes, definetely and it’s fun when people are amezed by something that they didn’t know can be grown here, even if just hardly. Climate has changed as well as varieties and their availability, but people still have mindset like it’s 70s or something. Failure is definetely option, but sometimes you need to work and learn to succeed.


Just did audit of my peppers (annuum and baccatum complex) and eggplants that I will sow soon. It seems I have slightly underestimated my hoard. I had just over 80 new varieties of annuum and 20 in baccatum complex plus I have little more than 10 each from what I have grown before. Eggplants I have 20 varieties and couple bags that were sold as 20 variety mix (some of which are sama as varieties I have bags for) plus couple varieties from last year. I think I will only grow one plant each atleast those that I have grown before. In testing I would like to have atleast 2 per variety so that it’s easier to see if results are consistent or if one plant just had bad luck with something. Plan is to make crosses between as many varieties little blindly, but I do expect big portion of varieties not to flower early enough to make crosses. Which is just fine, but I like to give them best change show they are worth including to my crosses since it’s unlikely I will grow them next year again. Depends on how rough the summer is. Possible that nothing makes it and that’s why I’m doing this; so that something would make it no matter how rough summer is.

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Have you tried radish seed pods? I tried them for the first time last year, and I liked them better than the roots and leaves (which are good, too). I liked them so much more that now I WANT radishes to bolt early, so that I can eat the seed pods as soon as possible.

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I have not, but I have read about them and would like to try. Unfortunately there isn’t really any real selection inside EU. I have found maybe one variety that did not seem to have that big pods. I would definetely try if I could find some long ones that would be more like bean pods. Still I would have both lines. I’m not sure if easy bolting would help them either as they would start to make pods when plant is smaller and thus yield would likely be smaller.

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The variety I tried last year was French Breakfast (also known as French Dressing) radish. The pods were very small, but prolific and crisp and juicy. This year, I’m planting loads of radish seeds from different varieties, and I particularly hope for good things from Rat’s Tail, which was bred for big long seed pods. I don’t know what’s available in the EU, but I bet if you cross a bunch of varieties you can get your hands on, you could select for the biggest and tastiest seed pods!

Radishes bolting early? As the permaculture principle says, “the problem is the solution.” :wink:

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Definetely as variety that would be good. Brassicas have had trouble last few summers when it’s been hot and dry early in the season. When I was trying to find seeds I did notice there are quite few varieties available in US. I think I have seen mention someone growing them here, but don’t think not many varieties and haven’t those very long ones. Have look again next year.

My set-up for growing transplants. Foil at the back to give little more light as at this moment they only get about 5h max of direct sunlight. Cloth and heater if weather should turn really cold. At the moment it’s been warmer than usual and sunny with temps as high as +18C (little over 60F) outdoors and in my classed balcony getting to +30C (86F). At the moment I take them indoors instead of heating were they get around +15C (59F). If it gets colder during day I will heat them to around 15-18C (around 60F) to keep their conditions closer to what they would experience outdoors during summer. I’m most interested in ground temperatures as they define growth more than air temperature lows. Our nights during summer are so short during summer that even if it were to get closer to 0C (32F) it only lasts a moment and shoots up early morning. Ground temperatures on the other hand are more constant and besides surface layer will stay often between 15-18C (around 60F), sometimes even lower, for atleast first weeks of june, but might be most of june. That is just little too low for peppers, eggplants and many more to grow fast and usually they really get going once there is some warmer period that heats the ground. Tomatoes on the other hand need little less and usually growth for them explodes in early to mid june right after they are established (planting late may to early june). I want other crops to be like that too.

In the pictures there are peppers and eggplants I started little over two weeks ago. My own crosses got some kind of mold in the boxes and I put them in small pots, same as some others. After that they germinated well and I have been culling some of the slowest. My oldest F1 (annuum) started with only one seed germinating after 3 weeks. F2 had some medium fast, but quite erratic germination. These F3 were just after the first varieties to germinate. Not uniform germination and not all lines had very good rates, but plenty enough. One line had strangly small cotyledons, something I have only seen in chinense. I will grow them just out of curiosity. Pot with dark leafed peppers is from random cross last year that I noticed when I was growing transplants because of it’s dark cotyledons. I was growing only one dark variety and cross wasn’t as dark. Mother was sweet pepper and father was purple leafed fresno. Fruit was big jalapeno sized hot pepper that was purple when raw and ripened to red. Now in F2 there are some very dark, some completely green and some in between. Interesting to see how they turn out. In these pots my crosses have grown just slightly faster than in modules. I would like to think it’s because of the crosses, but I think those modules (they are 2,5cm/inch) have some drawbacks. Might be because some chunks in potting mix make airpockets. I wanted to use these because then I don’t have to separate roots when I move them to bigger module. Now this can be a test to see if they still are faster after separation. I’m already thinking that I might have to go with this method once I can do mass grow out with crosses that I do this year.

Out of some 130 varieties of peppers I had for this year, 120 germinated in around week and the rest have been very slow to come up after that. Only few are showing signs of live. I would like to trial every variety I got, but I’m not too upset if those don’t come up. I got some from all wilds, mountain roaster and aji de colorado alpino that were in the top of my list. Only my own F1 would be a loss if they don’t germinate. Only 2/5 have germinated and come up so far. One more germinated, but seed wouldn’t come off and it broke the plant when I tried to remove it. Eggplants all varieties germinated. Tomatoes, tomatillos, ground cherries and tps I started just 4-5 days ago, but first are already up. Tomatoes and tomatillos all varieties (around 70 tomatoes and 12 tomatillos) and crosses have germinated.



Yesterday I planted rest of peppers and eggplants to bigger modules. It seems those I plugged earlier have kept their advantage, although those grown in small modules aren’t that much behind. What’s interesting is that the fastest is one that has been growing in 6cm (little over 2inch) pot from germination even though that was sown several days later than others. It does confirm what I have noticed that disrupting roots slows down growth atleast a bit. Unfortunately I don’t have the space to grow them like that, but it does make me more confident in trying direct seeding outdoors.


My tps. On the left is mixed finish varieties or varieties that are grown here. Not exactly sure what there is, but I did have lots of seeds. So I planted lots and cull lots of the slowest. Others are some that bought and one gts pack that I received.


Tomatoes and tomatillos I started 2 weeks ago. Around 70 varieties, some F1s I made last year and couple wild species. F2s I will direct sow outdoors. Tomatillos there are 12 varieties, about all varieties I could find inside EU.


All species and varieties off ground cherries have now germinated. They are barely visible in pictures with peppers. Little anxious to wait for p.viscosa to germinate as it’s probably the most wild of what I have. It didn’t take that long, but others were just that much faster. I think I now have 5 species, with some having several varieties/accesions. Should be interesting.

That’s a big effort! Good luck with those projects.

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Hello winter my old friend. Plants are under cloth with heater to keep temperatures more tolerable. One more day like this and after that warming up to more seasonable weather with highs of 15C (59F) and little over. Although todays weather is nothing unusual, it happens most years around this time. Planting out still about month away.


Your seedling shelter on your balcony is really versatile! :wind_face::shield::seedling:

Yes, gotta be prepared. Once it warms up in couple days I can take of backside foil and cloth and use more of my balcony. Tomatoes and tomatillos need bigger pots and at that point shelter would get quite crowded. I could use it, but can get better light for more plants if I move them towards class. Usually balcony has kept above +10C around mid may or little before that. I think it has snowed every year (4) that I have been here on first week of may just that I can’t fully use it without heating.


Finally it stays warm enough without heating so I could remove seedling shelter and re-pot tomatoes, tomatillos and some peppers. Still some organizing to do to maximize my space. It’s going to be a packed before I get to planting these. Unless we are really fortunate with the weather it’s still going to be atleast 3 weeks.