Sunday, 31 May 2009

Our complete list of vegetables growing: now 38!

Many vegetables:
  • Tomatoes (different varieties), 11 plants
  • Eggplant, 1 plant
  • Peppers, 3 plants
  • Cucumber, 3 plants
  • Pumpkin (muskat provence), 2 plants
  • Zucchini, 3 plants (now blooming)
  • Spinach, several plants
  • Lettuce (different varieties), several plants
  • Rucula, several plants
  • Swiss-chard (two varieties), several plants
  • Broccoli, several plants (very beautiful, still untouched by pests)
  • Kohlrabi (purple variety), several plants
  • Leek, several plants
  • Garlic, several plants
  • Carrots (including purple haze variety), several plants
  • Radish, several plants
  • Beets, several plants
  • Hamburg Parsley (roots), two plants
  • Celery, several plants
  • Celeriac, a few still small plants (crop was mainly eaten by slugs)
  • Chicory, a few still small plants (crop was mainly eaten by slugs)
  • Potatoes and black potatoes, several plants
  • Beans (different varieties), several plants
  • Peas, a few plants (crop has failed)
  • Chick peas, a few plants
  • Lentils, a few plants (crop is doing badly, maybe due to cool weather)
Alternative and perenial (rare) vegetables:
  • Good King Henry, 1 plant
  • Yacon, 1 plant
  • Tiger Nuts, several plants (delicious tubers!)
  • Chinese artichokes, several plants
  • Jerusalem artichokes (tupinamps), 4 plants
  • Skirret, 2 plants
  • Peanuts, 4 plants (they struggle against the cool climate)
  • Sweet potatoes, 1 plant (now sprouting indoors)
  • Strawberry spinach, 3 plants
  • Blueberry
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry (two varieties)
  • Elderberry
  • Strawberry mint (delicious smell!)
  • Savory
  • Wormwood
  • Thyme
  • Lavanda
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Catnip
  • Lemon verbena (delicious tea!)
  • Lemon grass
  • Lemon balm
  • Bergamot herb (still very small)
  • Coriander (still small, slugs have eaten a lot of them)
Citrus trees:
  • Lemon tree
  • Bergamot tree
  • (To be updated soon)
Things that we currently try to grow:
  • Quinoa (sprouts but then fails, since it requires hot weather)
  • Millet (we couldn't sprout it yet)
  • Rice (sprous but then fails to grow)
  • Mung beans (still very small since it requires hot weather)
  • Salsify (sadly, it has rotted, or eaten by slugs, last week)
  • Wheat, Oats
  • Amaranth
  • Cumin
  • Flaxseed
  • Soy beans (maybe they will fail to grow, due to the cool climate)
Overall, we have about 38 edible vegetables species growing!!
In our small city garden, that had only 3-4 hours of direct sunlight.

We experiment with a lot of biodynamic planting, and companion planting.
This week, we will apply a nettle liquid-composted fertilizer that is an extremely rich one!

Click on more photos to see!

Some vegetable rarities....

Strawberry spinach

Chinese artichokes

Current photos

Lovely flowers...

Lemon grass, lemon verbena, lemon bergamot, and a baby lemon tree!

Zucchini, growing in a container full of compost: how happy it is!!

From garden to dinner room!

Row of summer flowers... Yeah!

Tiger nuts sprouting: one of our major permaculture achivements!

Swiss chard: anyone can grow this, even in a shadow garden!

Beautifullll blue and rose flowers! We want butterflies and bees, remember?

Our baby fast-growing pumpkin plant: she grows 5 cm every day!!

Our Yacon: it is a tropical plant but can be grown in Europe, and it gives a huge ammount of edible tubers, and better, than potatoes, no pests, huge yields, and is perenial!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Our garden growing, growing...

Tiger nuts, delicious edible tubers, with flavour like almonds

These are real peanuts, or better, the plant that produces them!

Look at this organized food/flower garden! Carrots, petunas, swiss chard and lettuce.

The queens of the garden: aquilegias and penunias

Fuchsia and alium fistulosum (back and left)

Click to see (peas, squash, asters, jerusalem artichokes, geraniums, tomatoes)

The shadow site of our food/flower garden

The sunny side... (plenty of broccoli, grown in raised beds, edged by tagete flowers)

A detail... (always well-mulched compost-rich soil)

Petunias, aquilegia, rucula, carrots... the mix is perfect

More photos...

Our garden edges... always surrounded by flowers...

Carrots and leeks!

Kohlrabi, celery, a blueberry plant and a small cucumber plant

Good King's Henry (perenial vegetable similar to spinach)

Skirret, a vegetable with delicious edible roots, and a perenial

In soon, we will photograph our black potatoes, our jerusalem/chinese artichokes, our salsify and other veggies!

Friday, 1 May 2009

The planning of our garden


Vegetables that grow well in our garden with little sunlight
Our garden stays between the city building in a half-shadow, humid place. There is plenty of trees and birds. At most, a few places receive about 4 hours of sunlight per day. Plenty of our vegetables seem to be growing well, such as the celery, lettuce, kohlrabi, rucula, broccoli, swiss chard, carrots, beets, and plenty of herbs. The potatoes are growing fast although slighty leggy. The tomatoes, squash and pumpkins are growing slower, since the place is quite cool. Inside house, in a southern window, they grow really fast! The peas are fruiting but are doing quite poor. Interestingly, the spinach is also very slow, but I guess it was due to the unseasonable warm weather.

A brilliant idea: surround garden edges with colorful flowers!
We have put plenty of flowers surrounding its edges, such as tagete, aquilegia, phlox and petunias. It was a wonderful idea to make an edge of fire-colours in one side with tagetes, and with white, blue, rose and purple colors, in the other side, with petunai, phlox, aquilegia and fuchsia!

Starting from seed: better start indoors and then transplant
The herbs grow really well. We have a few beans sprouting indoors (the mung bean is very slow outside). We also have plenty of celery and basil that started from seed (germinate slowly but it is so nice to see the tiny plants). One word of advice, the celery and kohlrabi seem better when seeded first in trays. The chinese artichokes and tiger nuts also failed to sprout. We have tiger nuts but we bought the plant. The jerusalem artichokes grow surprisingly fast and easily. They seem to require little water. The plastic protection, mulching and hair were excellent deterrents to the slugs and to prevent drying. Yesterday, we planted then sweet and black potatoes. What also failed to sprout were the quinoa and millet, we will try again. And the lentils and all legumes sprout best first indoord and then transplanted to a rich compost-soil afterwards. The problem is really since the weather is so dry (an entire month with no rain!), in places without mulching or compost, the tiny seedlings do poorly. Finnaly, sowing by the moon is a wise idea, if you want to avoid poorly growing seedlings.

Raised beds
Weeds is not a problem anymore. It was just in April they were vigorous. Now, a brief weeding is enough, considering the fact that our raised beds never gain any signficant amount of weeds! However, in the raised beds, the soil is richer but seems to dry faster, since it is elevated. This is a problem. There is some difference for a few cultures, but it is early to say, how better the crops fare in raised beds comparing to normal soil cultures. Mulching definitely helps, if we only add it after the crops are already 5cm high, to avoid the slug problem.

100 Square meters: enough for partial food self-sufficiency
Each side in the figure is about 10 per 10 m. We have plenty of lettuce, celery, rucula, potatoes and carrots. I guess the exciting part would be to see how much harvest will the root crops give (considering the alternatives we have selected: potatoes, yacon, tiger nuts, sweet potatoes, skirret, jerusalem artichokes...). We also have a dozen of tomato, cucumber and pumpkin plants, but definitely these are growing slower outside, but already have a few flower tips. It seems that this size (10 x 10 m, 100 square meters) is already enough for providing a substancial ammount of food for daily supply (except cereals, fruits and rice). With dozens of plants for each food, more than enough will be harvested in a few months, even in our garden with little sunlight hours.

In summary, we are very happy with the idea of growing our own food!