This will be a “boast post” with pictures and some bragging about the production so far. We have been harvesting quite big quantities of tomatoes and onions since December now. There are still some onions left given that I planted different varieties throughout June, July and August (a bit due to good planing but also to my tendinitis that slowed me down) and I have harvested all of the garlic. I will definitely repeat the onions because it went really well and we consume loads of it. It requires regular weeding since they otherwise cannot manage to out-compete weeds but I find that other than that it is quite an easy crop.
Same goes for garlic though for some reason many of the heads came out annoyingly tiny which makes them non-viable for sale and extremely annoying to use when cooking. BUT, it is sooooo nice to have my own and not having to buy garlic that comes all the way from China. Today I started harvesting the borlotto and kidney beans. Those too are coming along really well.
Tomatoes are the one thing that is going to be the hardest to go back to buying in the store. They just taste so different, its like a different fruit altogether. We have been eating them, making pasta sauce and even selling some. I am still trying out different varieties and not all work as well, the best is Green Zebra, no doubt about that.
In addition to the mentioned stuff we also have ok quantities of leeks, rucula, fava beans, swiss chard, zucchini, zapallito, yellow beans, kale, herbs and a bit of flowers. The kids find passion fruit the absolute best and they are simply devouring them as soon as they fall off the vine. Coming along are the bell peppers, peanuts, popcorn, melon, water melon, late planted cucumbers, guayabo (Acca sellowiana, a native plant similar to the Brasilian Guava) and probably something else I am forgetting.
Other than this I have been working on taking care of our fruit trees and planting more. I have also been doing a looooot of thinking regarding the food forest I want to plant between the native forest and our crop area. I have been planting some trees and also trying to plant alfalfa as a temporary ground cover to improve the soil and to suppress the “grass” (mainly Cynodon dactylon). It is going so-so because I was of course late planting out and it has been extremely dry, and the area is big and therefore hard to water properly. But the trees are doing great and I got palm trees and yuccas that are waiting to go in. The problem is to stop thinking about where to put them and just plant them. It can’t be such a big deal right? The new round of potatoes is also in the soil as well, and the next patch to plant is already covered with green manure (Moha) that will be ploughed in before planting fall crops.
So slowly, slowly things are starting to take and I am managing to plant more and in a more organized manner. One day we will have things like onions, carrots, beetroot, garlic and potatoes all year round.
Oh! I also recently decided to be more determined with my lack of knowledge and experience and imposed my help upon a very skilled veggie grower here in town who I realized could actually use the help. Man, that is the best school ever! We also have a lot of fun together, plus he is interested in things like permaculture and other alternative ways of working things out as well, and it is very good and healthy to remove yourself from your own scene once in a while. So more or less once a week I go to his place and help him with whatever he needs help with. I still have an extremely long way to go but give me time and a good dose of my own experiences and I am confident that I will keep learning at an exponential rate and have a good time on the way as well.
I recently found out about a thing called Jadam. It is supposed to be like a “local EM” where you reproduce your own soil microorganisms by making a concoction of water, boiled potato (food for the organisms), a handful of soil from the upper layer of the forest containing all the good decomposed stuff (and the creatures who decompose it), and salt. After some 60 hrs or so it should be at its most active and one is then supposed to water the soil with a dilution of this microorganism broth before, during and after a crop in order to replenish the soil of the local microfauna. I made some but I am afraid the nights have been too cold so the fermentation process stopped and I am not sure it is in shape to start again. I will try again and keep you posted because If it works it would be great given that it is cheap, fast and easy.
Other than farming we have been doing a bit of river beaching, ice cream eating and other summer holiday activities. We have had family visiting from Sweden, France and Argentina and soon taking some days off too so I will have to leave you to a few photos and go off to finish the last things.