June has been extraordinary dry. No rain for six weeks and 25-30 degrees most of the days. Neighbour farmers even ir!rigate the grassy hayfields, which I hear is new in this area. In the past, only vegetables and sometimes grains were irrigated. Since May I have been trying to get drip irrigation hoses to the farm, and last night I finally got three rolls of 100m each to roll out and connect to our pump with well water. Right away I connected the first loop around the hazelnut bushes on the highest and driest part of the field.
We have also got to know a wonderful retired organic farmer, Gun, who has a wonderful place some 30 km north of us. Her great grandfather built a huge stone barn and a mansion more than 100 years ago and it is still magnificent, but more inspiring is the shift (back) to organic that Gun did with her father during the last thirty years. It is now a place that is buzzing with life. She shared some of the most valuable harvest from the farm - ripened cow manure from organic cows. In our area, this is very, very rare. A form of black gold. Gun expertly handled the front loader and gave us a trailer full of the most wonderful life-giving dung compost.
Linden leaf production pruning
I got the question on how to best prune linden trees for leaf harvest, and here are two photos that show my favourite pruning style. It is a five year old tree at my parent's place. In the first photo you see the tree without, and then with leaves. I like to cut/shorten small branches throughout the growing season, since every cut stimulates the growth of new shoots. (This is the only kind of "green growth" that I believe in...)
June is also the time of Robinia flowers - a delicious "vegetable-flower" that is tasty and chewy. I love the wonderful smell of the Robinia flowers, and I like their taste - peas with a dash of sweet nectar. Just put the whole flower in your mouth and pull out the stringy stem, using your teeth to capture the separate mini-flowers.
Local established chestnut trees
In the city park of Laholm, I have now spotted three sweet chestnut trees that all look happy. One is growing together with a red-leaf beech tree, the other one just in front there. In the past, nobody grew chestnuts for food in Sweden, just as ornamental trees in parks and arboreta. However, now is a good time to start growing large-nut varieties with superior flavour and easy-to-peel cultivars. I am collecting photos of known trees in public spaces in Sweden, and the most northern one so far was spotted by my wife in a park in Västerås. (Of course our friends in Stjärnsund also grow some, but not in public places.) If you know of any other sweet chestnut trees in Scandinavia, please let me know, and if possible share a photo.
Summer care of the walnut trees
June is also a time for us nut tree nurserymen to give a little love to all our young trees, to prune off shoots from the rootstock and to adjust the growth of new branches. In the photos below you see what rootstock shoots look like on a walnut tree. (The rootstock is the part of the tree below the grafting point, and we want to have only new growth above the graft. If we leave the shoots to grow out to branches, they will take over and eventually kill the graft.)