Is here very often and otherwise just around the corner. I will only complain once this time so I will now say that after getting through winter in a tin can with serious water issues, I have never been happier over a dry spring and some heat before. Yes, not even after 16 Scandinavian winters. I swear, it’s been quite awful. So, done. Now Enough of that and over to more pleasant issues, like let’s say… gardening.
I realized today that my broccolis are almost “edible size” after only 10 days of showing their first signs of appearance. It’s insane. Everybody says that this winter has been particularly long and cold and that most veggies have been rather lethargic in their growth. It sure was the case here with months of static green leaves that would not change a thing. But I think it is changing now because new shoots are coming everywhere, flowers start to pop up and I have even seen two butterflies.
I am also very happy to notice that there are a few more birds than last year. I have been planting some native berries for them so I hope it gets better and better.
Well, honestly, I find that the garden is looking quite awesome right now. I have been working so hard with it and it is so extremely satisfying to see things grow that I just can’t keep quiet about it.
This is probably the best feature so far. It just works so well that sometimes I feel like filling the place with more. Some parts of it have very clayey soil since the earth was chucked over the branches and other debris by a very large excavating machine which cannot really take care of what it is putting where. So my spinach and acelga (chard?) have a bit of a patchy growth pattern there, but it’s ok, I don’t really mind. I expect losses, especially when I get so much more than I ever dreamed of after less than a year! And this makes me very hopeful over future prospects, given that I plan to continue to improve the soil.
I am really experimenting here and trying all kinds of seeds and things but one thing is for sure, I don’t want bare soil exposed to radiation and so on. So whenever I have time I make new spots for “not so useful or super essential plants”. This is the case of linseed that I put along the edge and Trigonella foenum-graecum that is already germinating in between some alissum I bought at a store. Got some ruda from a neighbour and another plant which I don’t remember the name of. I continue to welcome most plants in, be it flowers or food or medicinal stuff (you never know)
THE VEGGIE PATCH
This one is clearly way too small and will suffer some mayor additions whenever possible. In the meantime it is also doing really well in spite of it flooding very easily due to the clayey soil and the lack of slope. Raised beds did the trick I guess. I am currently working on getting a flower/edible bed around this spot in order to make weed control a bit easier plus adding a bit of “arable” surface for flowers, herbs and other stuff. Weeding by the fence is a bit of a nuisance and it is hard to do it without destroying the useful plants so I am hoping I can stop grass and weeds way before they get INTO the veggie patch. I also want to use the fence for peas, melon, passiflora and other climbers that I would like to try. And since making bamboo trellis and helping peas to find and like it has proven very time consuming I figure I might give the fence a try, especially since it is already there. So I am removing the grass, which I recently learned is Scinodon dactylon and fixing the fence as I go along since it needs some serious tightening. Here is a bit of fun info. We have a say around Rio de la Plata. When something is loosely put together we go: “lo atamo con alambre, lo atamo” which means we just tie it with wire. Well, it is kind of an art let me tell you. I have now a huge respect for all those fences and the people who install them. Mamma Mia, tough job. But still fun, and needs to be done so no way around it.
Lots of babies in my styrofoam trays. Asparagus seeds are decedidely the most nerve wracking to wait for. I check on them more than once a day I think and still nada. It’s been a month since I sowed them. The bed is ready, but no plants… I hope they pop up sooner or later. Also the soap nuts have been challenging. I have tried different procedures involving boiling water, hammering, sand paper, leaving in hot water with or without the fruit on them, everything. Something is growing from my late winter attempt seeding but I went for a new attempt because I think what I have might be a weed that came in the soil because it does not look like the pics I see on Internet. Tomatoes on the other hand are germinating buitifully this year as you can see in the pic.
There is still loads to do. The last weeks have been super dry and sunny but I see the weeds coming and I know that they will go rampant after the first rain so I should really do something about them now (remember last yeaaaarr!!!) They are starting to creep up the hugelkultur (it did take them longer though). I have to start planting all the summer plants, finish my bed around the veggie patch, try to sow peanuts even though I have been told that it is done in October and so on, and so on (oh, done that already) And then there is: washing, cleaning (solar panels included), taking care of kids, shopping, and composting.
COMPOSTING?! DID ANYBODY SAY “COMPOSTING”?
What a joy. Another thing that makes me notice how impatient I can be. I have been getting a very good supply of food scraps from a friend in town and my piles grow fast, but it still takes a while for it to decompose. I am not sure I am doing it right, it’s hard to keep it hot for more than two or three days without adding new stuff so I am having trouble with it being hot and active once I stop adding stuff. But at some point I have to stop because the piles get too heavy and hard to handle. One thing is for sure, I am totally dependent on getting this compost because I really need to improve the soil. One thing I have been doing while it gets done is to use organic fertilizers, plant food. I made one out of nettles to which I added Paraiso fruits (Melia azedarach, toxic and supposedly deters ants) and fermented garlic (ant deter). The other one is made of cow dung and sugar and left to ferment (just plant food). I also tried getting nettle juice/extract by just filling a container crammed with nettles and letting the juice seep from a hole in the bottom of the container. I collected the juice and have been keeping it in the fridge. I guess this is easier to keep in time since it has no added water nor anything else because the nettle tea I mentioned before looses its powers after a month or two or something like that. Thing is nettles are a spring thing (the one growing here is and not Urica dioica which is perennial) so I really want to keep some of that good stuff for the coming seasons before there is nettle out there again.
ALL THE OTHER STUFF
On the other hand we are now starting to plan the build of the future non-container home. Drawings, thoughts, planning, un planning, back and forth. As soon as the roof of the present house is finished, Magnus can maybe finish the roof that will “run” along the storage container where we plan to clean and store all the lovely wood that we have sitting and waiting to become our house structure. That would be step 1 which needs to go preferably hand in hand with drawings, defining house area, clearing house area for trees and shrubs, moving soil to get everything nice and leveled and best of all…. DIGGING THE HOLE FOR OUR SWIMMING POOOOONNNDDDDD!!!! I think this, and the absence of moisture and mold in absolutely everything are the two things I am looking forward to the most.
I have also been helping Magnus with the roof digging holes, lifting heavy stuff and filling the holes I dug. I don’t get to help that much really, I guess it usually gets too complicated for him to tell me what to do when he does not know it himself. And it is all in his head so I cannot do much. But I like to help when the chance shows, otherwise I have always enough to do anyhow.
FLOWERS AND HAPPY STUFF