Hi all of you out there (if there is anyone still following given the breach in updates…) We have been busy bees as usual and not just lazy, though I have to say I have been lazying around a bit more since the most urgent things got solved.
Summer is coming to an end and I have been enjoying it by spending quite a lot of time with the kids at the beach here in Carmelo, at friends homes and by the ocean. We have also been just chilling out at home on our hammocks under the shade of our much appreciated bamboo roof installed by several friends visiting from scandinavia who took turns at setting it up. All the things one does during the almost 3 months long summer break.
We had lots of visitors in november-december and that took some time too since there was quite a lot of shopping and cooking involved but I will leave that to Magnus since they were mainly helping with the building projects (as well as the already mentioned bamboo roof). All this means my food growing did not get that much attention and not much happened during this break. Despite this we have been eating relatively big
amounts of carrots,
onions, tomatoes, potatoes, rucula, garlic, zucchinis, pumpkin, basil and some leeks, So the veggies did great despite my neglecting them (partly thanks to our “intern” Laurien who took care of watering them). The fruit trees got attacked by the ants but only once each so it is likely they will make it through the winter and the sweet potatoes are thriving this year as well but I have not dug any up yet.
On the other hand, just before leaving for our 2 week long glorious treat by the ocean, I got my act together and cleared out almost 4000m2 of Acacia trees to open an area for serious food growing. I had big plans of burning weeds and destroying any lurking seeds by covering it all up with plastic but it turned out to be an expensive plan that would also mean having to deal with this plastic later on. So I dropped it, left on a much needed holiday and decided to hope for the best. And then it went green again, which was when I discovered that we are the happy owners of all top 5 worst perennial weeds one can wish for. So, while I waited to get hold of a tractor that could come and work the land a bit I manually pulled the worst of it and took any new Acacia sprouts found during the process. This felt extremely hopeless and fruitless given the size of the plot, but i am actually happy I did it.
Then a series of tractors with different machines went over the land and got rid of some of the weeds and dead twigs/grass and left me with four sets of 10×25 mts plots with 10 #canteros# each and another quite large area that I left for a more free-lance/experimental growing area. I must say that being a big fan of the no-dig (basically leaving the soil alone and just adding organic matter on top) and permaculture approaches to land management, It was far from pain free to see a digger tear out trees and several tractor devices move, cut, turn and fidget with the soil over and over again. And I really dislike the sight of the huge brown patch at my back yard. But I am now slowly coming to terms with it and hope to turn it into something beautiful by making more of a permaculture spot in the “experimental” area and also add flowers, herbs, native fruit trees and bushes on the “conventional” plots as well.
So now I am really all-in for farming organic veggies and it is all about that. A bit like having a full time job again. I have already planted 5 #canteros# with potatoes and I am slowly sowing all of the surrounding area with oats that will cover the ground and serve as green manure/mulch. I got hold of loads of hay so I am also slowly covering up all 4 plots with it and it is starting to look a little bit better. The soil is not really that good so I will have to work hard to improve it. But hey, who said organic farming was easy?! Good though is the fact that a lot of people here in Carmelo actually are very interested in buying organic so I see how this might turn out to be quite an OK business and I have even started selling some of the stuff grown in the old veggie patches already so I am very happy and positive about the whole thing despite the hardship of the physical work involved.
That’s it for now. I have officially become a farmer and enjoying every minute of it. Who would have thought, seriously.