Things here in the Edible Garden still seem very new and experimental, and certainly a challenge to my existing experience in growing food - its been easy to fall into limiting mindset of 'things should/could be so much better'" So, today I did a bit of a survey to look at what IS doing well in the garden.
* Salad leaves, peppers, peas, aubergines, chard, kale and almonds and radish are all currently being harvested.
* Broadbean plants are flowering, potato plants are starting to emerge through the soil, Leeks (above) have just been planed out, nasturtium and borage are growing slowly and well.
* The beds in one area are now nearly ready to add organic matter and then use
* The newly planted orange trees are thriving well!
* Holly planted an avocado tree as part of the design to make the maximum use of all our gray water. She also planted out some beautiful strawberry plants
* Our lovely builder/farmer friends have pruned some trees and are returning next month to show us how to graft peach and plum trees to healthy almond root stock.
* We've made a big difference to how things look and feel spiritually, by tidying up pathways and and cutting back some vegetation
* We've created a lovely sitting area in the main garden, in order to spend time other than work time in it, and appreciate it more.
* Last week we had a mini designing session and we now have some bigger (and exciting) plans for the main garden area to be explored further in the next few months.
Ive been cutting down our crop of cane, it borders onto our neighbour's drive and will be blown down by gales at some time, so best to cut it down in a controlled way in good weather. Its an amazing plant, after been cut down to the ground, it will grow about 7-8 feet in the next year. The lovely long straight sticks are hopefully going to be made into shading/privacy areas along our fencing, and then of course as plant supports too ....
A few weeks ago, I started drinking a glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice in it first thing in the morning. I also drink hot water with lemon slices, plus fresh ginger in it throughout the day too. There have been lots of articles written about the positive outcomes of drinking lemon water over the past year or so. One of my favourite articles, with quite a few evidenced based links, including protecting your teeth from any harmful effects from drinking lemon juice, is here .
Here in our new edible garden we have planted a beautiful lemon tree, though its too young to fruit yet. Our neighbours however have a great tree, producing a huge abundance of wonderfully smelling lemons, and the fruits have just started to fall from the tree, indicating they are ripe enough to eat. A post I read recently suggested freezing freshly squeezed juice in ice-cube trays, making it super easy to create lemon water on busy mornings, but it also sounds like a good way here for preserving the harvest too.
I reckon its too early to know whether or not drinking lemon water each day improving my health and well being, but I'm certainly drinking less caffeine and more water because of it, and in the last few mornings have woken up really looking forward to its sour, floral, citrusy taste...will keep you posted
Today the moon is full, and with its fullness comes change, abundance and completion. I'm spending some time focusing on connecting with its energy to do some visioning and reflecting this afternoon. There's little chance of seeing the moon here, as the cloud is all around us in the hills today, but in any rain breaks i'll be planting some ground cover seeds and seedlings. (salad leaves, nasturtium, calendula) amongst the winter veggies.
Beautiful artwork by Hannah Willow
Over the last week I've started creating some growing areas as part of the design for our new Edible Garden . Using small and slow solutions, the first part of the implementation of the design is to create a series of small beds in one area of the garden which flows with some of the beautiful curved lines of the land and the existing paths already in place. This draws on the designing from patterns to details principle. Ive been using some roof tiles, left in a heap on the land when we bought the house, and stone, also already in the garden, to create the edges Once the beds are finished we'll be adding layers of horse manure/straw, growing green manures and adding some further top soil (taken from else where in the garden as part of plans to create new paths and capture water - the subject of a different post!). We hope to then start using the beds in the early spring
Today I've been planting out some polyculture beds in our 'plant amongst whats already there' temporary edible garden while we create the new beds of our more permanent Edible Garden design .....the beautiful aubergine plants, thought to have been long gone in the dry heat of August, have literally sprung back to life in the rain of the last couple of weeks...they are now accompanied by globe artichokes, 2 varieties of organic peas, chard, garlic and kale......hoping the support system of cane (grown elsewhere in the garden) and trimmings from my neighbours almond tree pruning will be enough against the winter winds here
How amazing to have some of our own almond trees in our new Andalucian garden...I harvested a few about a month ago, as a lot of the expert Spanish farmers were harvesting their trees with vigour, but many of the nut husks were still closed. Commercially that wouldn't be a problem, as the nuts are removed mechanically, but for us trying to get each one out by hand would have been near on impossible. A few weeks later though, many more have split husks, so over the last few days I've had my first major attempt at a proper 'harvest'. And many lessons learnt! The nets are slippy! The trees high (the tree pole not quite long enough!), and almonds, though small, hurt when they rain down on your head! They are delicious though, and I'm so excited that we can grow our own plant protein. So lots of almonds to shell now (while listening to a good book!), then recipes to create...but thats another post.
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I love sprouting a diverse mix of seeds, pulses, nuts...its the easiest edible windowsill garden ever...here, i've got puy lentils plus radish, alfalfa and red clover seeds...super healthy, ready in 4-5 days, and really delicious in salads or adding at the last minute to stir fries.
You can find out more information about sprouting here at sproutpeople.org
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Creating an abundant edible garden has been one of Holly and my main visions for our new life in Spain. We planted a few annual veggies in and amongst existing ornamental plant beds, when we arrived in April, but now our garden designing starts with a determined motivation. We've no idea what will grow here over the winter, so its all a bit of an experiment and we are pretty excited to see what happens!
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regular updates and reflections about the permaculture designs in my life