Winter Garden

Here in south-west Poland, we hear our neighbours ask: “What is it that you’re still growing in your garden now – in Winter?”. It’s something which we hadn’t given too much thought, in all honesty: it’s just another positive effect and outcome of last year’s No-Dig Gardening Project 2019 and crop rotation. We couldn’t be happier: picking vegetables from the garden in Winter – as we have been doing since last Summer – is such a satisfying and rewarding experience 😄

This Winter has been a particularly mild one, though, which has made it easier for us to keep the plants outdoors; fleece-protection being sufficient for those requiring it on the rare occasions when the temperature has dropped below zero. We don’t, as yet, have a greenhouse, polytunnel, or any cold frames, all of which make it much easier to grow vegetables during cold seasons – so everything that has survived and continues to thrive has done so out in the open air 💪 😀

November 2019
November 2019

The vegetables we’ve been growing this Winter are: cavolo nero (Lacinato kale), kale (brassica oleracea), beetroot, spinach, rucola, celeriac, carrots, parsley, parsnips, and garlic (though this is just sitting and waiting for Spring). When a frosty night is forecast, we cover with a fleece: the celeriac, parsnip, spinach, and rucola. The dormant garlic was permanently covered till mid-February.

Cavolo nero, kale, beetroots, and carrots, being quite hardy, have remained uncovered throughout and are loving their time with the elements 😄 In fact, the carrots taste even sweeter now than in November. We’ve been making sure that their roots – and those of the celeriac and beets, too – don’t stick out above the ground and have covered them with more soil, creating mini-mounds. The kales, particularly, seem to quite like the cold and are still very much producing.

February 2020
February 2020

We haven’t had to buy any: carrots, parsnips, celeriac, beetroots, parsley, kale, spinach, rucola, potatoes, cayenne peppers, dill, tomatoes (jarred following their final harvest of the season), or jam since last Summer – and we very much like it this way 😁

E0E10884-7F45-4663-A5C7-B9FCFEDB84F6

A079966A-6218-4909-B863-5F708546A575

E2884653-B413-43EC-B1AA-2940C397A9D5

We’re planning to give our next Winter garden a proper think through this year, and grow more vegetables like kale or leafy greens, which end up in almost everything we eat or cook. So yes, all being well, more fresh vegetables next Winter and even more Summer fruits preserved 🤞👩‍🌾💚👨‍🌾

~~~~~~~~~~
<<previous post

 

Compost, Mulching, and Preparing the Garden for Spring #3

Organic Matter

As January has come to an end, so has our composting and mulching of the garden beds. We’ve managed to empty the compost pit of most its solid organic matter, and used it in combination with cardboard to cover them. These beds can now absorb all the goodies from both the brown and the green matter, simultaneously being protected from exposure, severe temperatures, and too dry or too wet periods. On top of this, any unwanted perennials or weeds will have to make a lot more effort to grow in Spring or Summer, which is another thing we want: win-win 🤞

2A772F9F-BD11-4A28-BF37-B0DA3776A084

  1. We’ve developed a routine collecting cardboard from supermarkets whenever we get access to a car. This happens on average four times a month, and allows us to collect a significant amount of brown matter.
  2. Here – 25 January 2020 – we harvested celeriac planted 02 May 2019 which we happily shared with our neighbours 😊 We immediately covered the soil with cardboard.
  3. We then extracted whatever was left of the solid organic matter from the pit.
  4. And, in the final stage, distributed it evenly.

~~~~~~~~~~

As mentioned in a previous post, in March the cardboard should be nicely decomposing and the layer of organic matter on top quite dry, making it possible for us to break up the bigger pieces, remove any debris, and remove and return anything that still needs breaking down to a compost heap. By April, it will resemble the soil it will become: a new layer of soft soil ready for sowing and planting. Today we had a sneak-peek under a mulch layer and, much to our surprise, we saw busy earthworms already ‘having a good time’ 😁

Avoiding digging or ploughing, and keeping the earth undisturbed, well-fed, protected, and mulched, makes for a much healthier ecosystem for both the plants and the organisms and microbes within. Healthy undisturbed soil provides enough food for all those small creatures, which, in exchange, break down the organic matter, making more healthy and healthier soil for the plants that we want to grow. It is a cyclical process – and one of the most basic, beautiful, and essential cooperations on our planet. 

If we look after the soil, it will look after us. 👍🌍

~~~~~~~~~~

This year, we’re aiming to improve our soil-making by building a two-compartment compost container out of pallets. From this, we hope to be able to cover most, if not all, of the garden beds with fresh home-made soil before next Winter. In the meantime, we’ve been making sure that the container we’re presently using is busy receiving green matter, brown matter, and pig manure.

C54E291D-CB60-408C-B731-03390B06664A

  1. Green matter (plant-based waste) and brown matter (paper, egg-boxes, and egg shells).
  2. Pig manure and straw.
  3. More brown matter (mainly cardboard and paper). It eliminates smells and helps absorb excess liquid from any soggy organic waste that comes next. 
  4. Pallets donated by our neighbours, waiting to be converted into the new composter. As part of an offer made to all local residents, the black plastic container was provided at no cost by our local council to promote a more eco-friendly use of household organic waste in the region. It has certainly found a good home here 😊

~~~~~~~~~~

Before closing today’s post, we’d like to share with you the joy and pleasure of harvesting vegetables in Winter. We sowed these carrots 25 April 2019. Today, 02 February 2020, they are still crispy, sweet – and very tasty. We haven’t had to buy any carrots since late Summer last year. So yes, a winter garden is something we’re going to be looking into even more this year 👍👩‍🌾💚👨‍🌾

D0DC65B8-D68E-404D-83F0-F280D70CD41A

~~~~~~~~~~

next post>>

<<previous post

Is Greta Thunberg right, and if so, what do we do about it? — Lowimpact.org

I identify with Greta Thunberg. I’m also aspergic, and I understand why she’s so motivated. I talked with several people over the Christmas period who don’t like her, for various reasons – her voice; her team fly even though she doesn’t; her parents are manipulating her; she’s too angry; she once used a plastic bottle,…

via Is Greta Thunberg right, and if so, what do we do about it? — Lowimpact.org

Two Approaches

Mailberg to Vienna: Thursday 13 July 2017

11:45am. Kleinweikersdorf.

Breakfast is ordered. Eggs and mushrooms, and a glass of orange juice. Won’t be the from-the-garden fare of Lisa and Joey, who are admirably living self-sufficiently, according to permaculture principles, with a chilled, open outlook to life and people.

Lovely friendly welcome from all, including their Workaway volunteer, Natalia, and their wonderful dogs – Laika and Nino.

The wine we took as a thank-you gift was soon open and Joey began waxing lyrically about permaculture, forest-gardening, and the like. A topic and approach similarly close to our own hearts, and something we wish to learn more about on the way, and put into practice when we darken Poland’s doorstep once more.

And dinner was served: a lovely personally grown and sourced meal of millet, apricots, cranberries, nuts, honey (they also keep bees) and other yummy stuff my unskilled palate enjoyed but was unable to identify, with side-dishes of melon, watermelon and apple. Accompanied and followed by more wine, and a chill evening of relaxed chatter and banter until shortly after the midnight hour, when my day’s ride – geographically and emotionally – told me it was time to sleep.

Finally, as I lay down, with a tired body and weary mind, my thoughts refused to let me go: thoughts of home and family, and the remains of my mum clinging to her present form…

…till sleep finally claimed me and took me to where I know not.

~~~~~~~~~~

Waking to the sounds of a family starting to go about their day, and the dogs, Laika and Nino, wishing to give and receive a little love. A beautiful way to ease into the morning 😄

Then a smoothy made with ingredients all plucked fresh from the garden, then coffee, and honey straight from the hive. Fantastic!

Then we pack and are unfortunately unable to say a proper ‘thank you’ and ‘farewell’ to our fantastic hosts. Sorry for that, but good luck to you guys, and keep the faith.

Peace and love.

~~~~~~~~~~

A non-remarkable Northern European breakfast of mushroom omelette, juice and coffee. A functional eatery, where you eat. Some are here getting busy on the beer and wine, and chatting. Doesn’t feel like that kind of place to me: more like a motorway services, with a more personal service, but each to their own; and we’re functionally serviced and ready to roll.

806AB1D4-8C1D-45D5-AF3D-0F2FBF9433E6

Paused for a hopeful ice-cream in Uglynomagicplace, aka Großmugl (ahem), but find it’s half-day here.

DA4623A2-9FA8-433F-9FE8-C3AC62565B9D

We climbed out of Kleinweikersdorf pretty much non-stop, but not too steeply for about 150 metres, which rewarded us with a stunning vista and view of the Alps, seemingly nurturing all beneath their benevolent gaze. Yes, stunning, breathtaking and other apparently trite and clichéd adjectives apply here – this is just what they were designed for, and I almost regret using them in other situations that now cheapen their meaning (if I have). Then a good, solid, exhilarating descent to return to the plateau upon which we began. Lovely place and riding.

5607C234-5457-42A9-AA9A-74076851400D

Lovely.

Now, where is A?

D7D44BE4-1506-4D90-807C-B2800595E306

~~~~~~~~~~

next entry>>

<<previous page