Me and my garden
My garden and I have really built a deep relationship with each other in the last 2 1/2 years of living here. Or more, I’ve built one with my garden.
My garden means for me:
- Connection with the earth,
- Relaxation and rest when I need it most,
- Joy about the flora and fauna,
- a learning field related to gardening,
- feel my creative power by creating something with my own hands
- and satisfaction, even pride, when I finally hold the harvested vegetables and fruits in my hands.
Gardening with the moon
What kind of hocus-pocus are you thinking now? No, let me explain. The moon is known to be quite powerful, who doesn’t know the connection to the ebb and flow of the tide? And this connection exists in many more areas. The same applies to gardening. Maria Thun researched this with her husband for many years and found out that there are favorable and unfavorable days for different types of plants. Both in terms of the harvest and the health and robustness of the plants themselves. She divided the plant species into 4 groups.
And so there are favorable days for sowing the various groups of plants. I myself have been gardening with Maria Thun’s sowing calendar for 3 years now, and I believe that this has helped me to have a better harvest in various ways.
There are always favorable sowing days for approx. 2x 2 weeks per month. This helps me to structure myself, as I only have the opportunity to sow or plant twice a month. Sure, that also restricts and has certainly also led to the fact that I sowed things too late a few times. But at the same time it forces me to go into the garden during the days, and in the end it is usually good when I want it the least. The fact that I deal intensively with the plant groups twice a month also means that I otherwise spend relatively little time caring for them. Therefore, gardening according to the moon effectively saves me time and also determines my nerves.
You can find more information about gardening according to the moon, for example, in the (German) book: Thun, Maria (2017): Gärtnern nach dem Mond. Stuttgart: Cosmos. Maybe I’ll do a more detailed article about my experiences and findings. There is also Maria Thun’s annual sowing calendar, which I also use.
How I got into gardening
About 4 years ago, I started gardening with tomatoes in my grandparents’ garden. At that time I had wrongly sown 4 tomato plants in summer, because whenever I have an idea, it always has to be implemented immediately. Nevertheless, I was able to harvest a few tomatoes that year and was incredibly proud of my first harvest. In the second year I added some lettuce plants that I could use for us and the food of Koda, our dog. Also, potatoes: The harvest had me most blown away, as almost no work resulted in so many potatoes.
Our current garden
By moving to our current apartment, which has a very large garden that we can look after on our own, the possibilities have increased quite a bit. In the first year we immediately revived the beds that were very overgrown. Since then, I have had 3 beds in which I could grow what my heart desires.
We also built a herb bed for a snail that has gotten a bit too big. True to the motto, never too small, the herb bed is now 3 m wide in diameter. So here, too, there is plenty of space for a wide variety of herbs. My personal must-have herbs are rosemary, sage, lady’s mantle, chives, oregano, thyme, parsley and basil. We also had sorrel, strawberries and lavage. Since this year I have also sown chives, chamomile and marigolds.
The tomatoes have accompanied me since the beginning of my gardening passion, which is why we built a tomato house that was (once again) a little too big for the small mimosas. From the outside, you might think we had built a greenhouse, but it was originally only intended for the tomatoes. I think the size of the garden quickly makes you lose touch with the size of the things to be built. But back to the tomatoes. Every year there were a few more tomatoes and this year I’ve sown so many that I’m already thinking about whom I can give some away, as soon as they are big and strong enough.
Altogether, I can say that I have dealt more and more with different topics every year and that I always learn something new.
In addition to the tomato house and the herb snail, we have built a pallet raised bed. This is now in the 3rd year and urgently needs to be replenished. However, I missed the right time in spring, which is why I now unfortunately have to bend down a little more than would be necessary in the raised bed.
We also have a small raised bed and two compost beds.
Compost beds á la Wurzelwerk
Marie von Wurzelwerk came up with the idea of the compost beds. Really the easiest way to create beds. You can find more details about Marie and her German channel at: Wurzelwerk and on her Homepage: https://www.wurzelwerk.net/.
We only had to dig a lawn edge for the compost beds. This keeps the grass from growing back into the bed. Then you delimit the bed. We chose boards. Probably not the most sustainable and smartest idea, but the best option at the time given. Another option is, for example, tree trunks. We will simply have to replace the boards with new ones or something stronger and more stable in 1-2 years. As soon as the bed is delimited, cardboard is laid out on the floor. Compost is then placed on the box, fresh, beautiful, dark, crumbly compost. That was it. The cardboard should suppress most of the weeds, and the lawn edge should keep them outside the bed. Therefore, relatively little effort in maintenance. I couldn’t believe it, and I really had to try it out. As soon as I have successfully gardened this year, I will write an update here and report on my continued enthusiasm or disillusionment.
Mulch – the protection for the soil
I usually have a lot of mulch on all beds. Mulch prevents the earth from drying out, instead it stores the water and also heat. Bare earth is always not as good as overgrown earth, so nature will always try to make bare earth green again. This means that there are significantly fewer weeds on mulched beds. Most of the time I use grass clippings from mowing as mulch. However, normal bark mulch, leaves from the previous year or wood chips can also be used.
Last year we had a plague of snails, so we got sheep’s wool. This should help that the snails no longer like to crawl over the bed. Unfortunately, the whole thing didn’t really work. Nevertheless, sheep’s wool is a wonderful and natural fertilizer for the soil and a great but very dense mulch. But I think that I personally prefer grass clippings.
Currently, however, the beds are empty to give the young plants air and space to grow. As soon as they are big enough, I will mulch all the beds again with a mix of sheep wool and lawn clippings.
Review and this coming year, 2021
You grow from mistakes
Overall, last year was not my gardening year – in contrast to most of the people, as I realized. Either the plants that I raised carefully were eaten by the snails within one night or the plants have dried up. But I also think that my head was just on other topics, like, again, most of us. At the End, mistakes are also part of it, because only from them do you can grow.
This year it will be different, I can feel it. I also made a few mistakes, like sowing the tomatoes a little too late. But I am finally properly structured with a garden diary. There I document what should be planted where and when. I also write down my mistakes so that I can hopefully learn from them next year. My bedding plan has turned out very well – at least I still think so at the moment – and I’m looking forward to a first harvest soon.
Sometime this year, I plan to be at the point where we can provide for ourselves with carrots. We love carrots, and I also need carrots every day for Koda’s food. A vegetable that is really worth it for us. Since it is my dream one day to be able to supply us completely from the garden, I wanted to start with an easy vegetable, that can also be stored. If everything goes well, I will be able to harvest most of the year.
I’m incredibly motivated this year and have dared to try many new types of vegetables. I’m really looking forward to what’s coming and I will definitely share my experiences with you one time or the other.
Now I hope you have a nice day, enjoy nature today, it doesn’t matter which way.
All the best,