Monthly Archives: January 2014

Growing ginger, waiting for rain

Heyheyhey!

Today I’ve finally done some work in the garden! Inspired, and a bit stressed, by the prospect of rain. The clouds are heavy and very present, the air heavy with humidity. And we haven’t finished mulching! This is no disaster but better for us if we mulch while the grass is dead, to keep it that way. So today we went around the village of Puerto Engabo and asked for cardboard and got mostly old egg cardboard. Then we rushed on home thinking it would rain any second and mulch as much as we could with the small amount of cardboard we had gathered. And then I remembered I had bought ginger (that already had sprouted a bit) at the market in Playas and that now was the perfect time to do it as the rainy season will start any second now.

About growing ginger: it doesn’t like direct sunlight, but filtered so I put it in the one shady and sheltered spot furthest away in the garden since we wont be harvesting in a long time and not often. It needs a lot of mulch since it likes humidity, the soil must never dry out! We sheet mulch so the soil will probably, hopefully, be rich and moist and happy. I chopped up some extra cow manure that Rachid had brought to make sowing soil and sprinkled it over the dry grass we had gathered in a panic.  Then I put the cardboard on top, cut holes in them and inserted the ginger about ten centimeters into the mulch. Then I breastfed Soleiman that could bear it no longer that mommy was doing something else than giving him my full attention, as Rachid did the final touches and added the seedless straw on top. Now it better rain like crazy!

Ginger is a beautiful plant, looks like a sort of grass and it makes bulbs that you then harvest (after a looong wait). It is not the root, you can read a better text about growing ginger here. I have only grown ginger once before in not-at-all-tropical Sweden, indoors and that went great although I kinda neglected the plant. I highly and strongly recommend growing ginger wherever you are, as it is delicious, healthy, beautiful and so easy to grow. Yesterday I also took bits of a lemongrass plant and put them on the banana circle, so soon, Nadija my friend and the owner of this garden, will be making all sorts of amazing thaifood. Mmm….

Enjoy photos!

Ginger

Ginger

Cardboard puzzle, you have to overlap them so that no grass can come through!

Cardboard puzzle, you have to overlap them so that no grass can come through!

Ginger anyone?

Ginger anyone?

Sprouted side up!

Sprouted side up!

One bed mulched!

One bed mulched!

Will the lemongrass survive?

Will the lemongrass survive?

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Design

Ok, so yesterday it rained! YEY! But also the power went away on a small vacation, and when it came back I was ready to post my design all happy and proud and my computer wasn’t plugged in properly and since the battery is dead it died down. I tried again and the same thing happened. Now it is dead forever. Typically when I’m starting the blog up again but then again everyone has a laptop laying around here even in the so called third world. And I get to buy a new unethical laptop when I get back to the first world! And I get to live instead of losing myself in the screen.

The design is done, it is even drawn out on the earth outside. My friend went away during the design process so I couldn’t ask her about essential information about where do the chickens go, do we move them or are they staying put or is the other side of the banana circle open for business. When she was back we just finished marking the path out so now I wont change it. We will start small with this one side of the yard and maybe we will have time to build a geodome chicken tractor out of bambu that we can integrate into the design. So the chickens can easily be moved and work the soil for us. We haven’t bought seeds yet so no plants are marked out on the design. But there will be alot of green leafy plants and then seeds we save from whatever we have eaten. I won’t be here for the harvest so it’s really not up to me anyway.

The banana circle will be filled out with more plants, my friends favorite yuca, commonly known as cassava, lemongrass, sweet potato, beans and tomatoes and maybe some papayas in between the bananas. The bananas are actually green banana. And I want them to put a shower in the middle as the bananas need alot of water. The paths will be lined with lettuce, mangold, arugula and other path greens. Later will follow amaranth, kale, peppers and whatever else we decide to get. In the middle of the waves there will be cowpeas, cabbage, ginger, aubergine, things that you don’t harvest that often. I will get back to you with a more complete design. First we need to mulch the spot before the rains hit and turns the plot into a jungle. We will use carton, donkey poop and grass that is used on top of ceilings on traditional houses here. Luckily there is some laying around and it is completely seed free! Then we will get sawdust for the paths so you can see the design and give your feet a nice welcome into the garden.

Lot’s to do!

 

Design on paper

Design on paper

Design on soil

Design on soil

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Designing Life vs Describing Life

Today I have struggled with the design. It was a cloudy, hot and slow day and my mind would just not wrap around the concept of designing. Drawing something that later would be made real, take a physical form, is not within my repetoir of thinking talking watching listening. Instead I read, took a walk to the beach to see the sun set beautifully on the pacific, casting purple pink shades on the clouds and the dark sand. And I though “oh I would like to go home and write that novel now, I don’t want to finish the design. I just want to write that novel.” And I looked down on my feet that hade three different shades of sand and thought how I would like to write that down.

This is really what this blog is about, trying to get me out of myself and my mind. Because it is necessary, it is if you want a just world and a full life, you have to work for it. I have to transform the world through my work not to be alienated and to be intuned, intouch and connected. Why then is it so hard? So hard to look at the paper and see the same tree on the paper that is right in front of me in the non-mental world? Why do I keep dividing? How can I see the transformation already happening, transcending in an inbetween? How do I change who I am? How did I become me? Will practical, physical work change me? Better me? Or does it really not matter? Should I leave it up to Rachid altogether and bake a cake instead? I mean that’s also phsycial, practical work. Should I accept that there are roles to play, a part for everyone? Maybe I’m not meant to garden, at least not in such a professional way. Maybe this is just me doubting myself, feeling like a fraud cause I didn’t read all of Bill Mollisons bible on permaculture. For not knowing about scale, about what plant goes where and so forth. But this is what I’m here to learn I guess. And if I just can’t get that practicality to compete with my soft fuzzy mind then so be it, I will write that novel instead, eat that cake and be content that my husband loves me for just exactly that.

Tomorrow I will post my surfgarden design, and it will be spectacularly impractical. But pretty.

Good Night!

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Omagad we’re back again…

Yes, it is a Backstreet Boys song and yes I am back and yes and yes and yes! Why on earth did I just stop blogging those of you who googled sloeberries and have no idea about my withdrawl from the blogworld, might wonder. Well I got pregnant that summer, and was nauseas most of the time and had no interest in growing anything but baby. Although the old plot was quite beautiful that last summer, my own plot however was just filled with dandelions and so Rachid won that war but I won the who can give birth without any painkillers war. Now the old plot is but a memory and evened with the ground. Sad yes. So why am I starting the blog up again those of you who get an email whenever I post might wonder. Well, I have a new exciting new plot challenge to fail at and of course I want you all to be a part of it!

I am in Ecuador! In Puerto Engabao on the coast were my good friend has opened up a hostel.  She wants an edible garden and who do you call when you want a garden? Me so I can tell Rachid. And so here we are, in som sort of dry tropics (contradictory I know) by the sea where you can grow practically anything that is delicous. Rachids dream come true! (This blog is sponsored by Rachid) So yes, and I’m here too, pretending I know and care but really just getting lost in litterature and hammock hanging. And childcare of course. But still, looking and thinking at an about the garden is filling me with joy, let’s see how the work feels. So it’s gonna be a permaculture garden, of course. It actually already has a banana circle and Rachid went and picked donkey poop and dried grass from our extremely ugly surroundings consisting of just that. But soon the rains will fall and appearantly everything will turn green in accordance with ones image of south american coast lines. So first thing to do, as always in permaculture is to design and mulch.

I have already started a design that’s inspired by the surfwaves that roll by on the beach since this hostel is basically a surf shelter (although anyone is welcome! This post is also brought to you by Hostel Puerto Engabao). Pictures of the plot before can be seen below and this time I swear to produce some kick ass after pictures! Or as kick ass as a tropical permaculture garden can get after three months.

Stay tuned!

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