Friday, April 22, 2016

April showers.....

... and wind.... and occasionally a little sunshine!

Damn, I wish spring would move up faster!
It's been rainy and cold this past week. Temperatures barely reaching 10C. Windy too, but we had a few sunny days as well. I keep forgetting that april here really is an early spring month and that spring usually doesn't really kick in until may. My seasonal clock is still tuned for Dutch seasons, even after 5 years.

But I really shouldn't complain, when I compare it to a late april morning (5 a.m.) in 2012....

However..... Like I said, we do have occasional bursts of sunshine and being busy in the greenhouse is kind of nice, when the rain patters on the roof overhead.
I am sowing and planting and reading and planning... full steam ahead!

The funny thing about these showers is that, before they reach you, they are preceded by a wave of cold air rushing toward you. A dark cloud at the horizon shows up and when a sudden and cold wind reaches you, you know the rain/sleet/snow/hail or mixed shower is heading your way. I guess the icy cold of that showers creates a downdraft before it, sucking in the warmer air from the top and pushing out cold air at the bottom. I also noticed that by the intensity of those gusts you can predict to a certain degree how heavy the coming shower will be. The more wind, the more heavenly water will be poured down on you.
And it creates the most interesting and beautiful skies,,,,,

As for the sowing..... I am kind of busy developing a schedule that allows for various species to be grown together, so as to avoid monocultures and boringness. And that requires some puzzling and researching; things I love to do. And with this weather....
Now you might wonder why the heck I didn't do that during winter. Well, I did. But as it happens quite a few more seeds and information ended up here and that made some changes necessary. Quite a few actually. At the very last we decided to have potatoes. So we needed to "design" a potato-patch. And we needed some accompanying plants for the potatoes. And potatoes do not mix well with others, so these had to be redesignated to other parts of the garden..... which had to be redesigned too. And so forth.

And I found this very cool thing on Mother Earth news, called "the three sisters", when googling for companion planting..... Apparently an old native American (or Indian) thing, meaning a combination of corn, pumpkins and beans. Now American beans are not the same as European or Dutch ones. For us beans usually mean those long, fresh, green ones. So again some redesigning was to be done...... And as icing on the cake there was that small package I received from California, from my dear internetfriend Renée (Tresjolie, who runs 2 blogs; grindstone ranch weekly and the view from grindstone ranch She intended them to become some form of dinner and I saw them as something to grow, before they become some form of dinner... The poquito beans!

I dare say they are quite unique for Sweden!!
There's a huge learningcurve ahead of us here. And speaking of learningcurves.... There are more. Some in the order of books (of course) and one in the form of a course. I am going on a 2-day blacksmithing course coming weekend.
The other curve deals with perennial edible plants and more in depth information on top bar hives. The first one is in Swedish and deals with plants that can be used here. And even by browsing it, it has proven its value. And I am quite pleased to be able to say we helped fund it though a crowdfunding. We squeezed out enough cash to get a signed copy....
The other books are Phil Chandler's books on top bar hives; Balanced beekeeping I&II. The first one is all about building them, the second one is about how to use and maintain them, so that the ladies inside thrive.
The online plans for building those hives are adequate to have a go at it, the book's just more elaborate. Managing the top bar hives is... well... about managing them. I'll get deeper into both of them later on....


  1. Let me know how your beans grow! I am tickled pink to think Santa Maria style beans are growing in Sweden! BTW That #5 photo looks like a great painting subject matter. I am full steam ahead on my self sufficiency garden. I spent the better part of an hour interviewing the really nice owner of Peter's Nursery in Madera about local soil and growing. He said I was on the correct track which is get my soil to the right place before starting to plant. However, The potatoes I got from the store that sprouted (so I planted them so they wouldn't go to waste) are growing nicely

  2. Potatoes are a great first crop on new land, I've been told. They require not that much nutrients and loosen up the soil well. Keep them covered!
    I am waiting for the soil to warm up a bit more, before I plant mine.

    1. I didn't know that. I just had potatoes sprouting that I didn't want to waste. Well, they could have go into the compost pile. I have them covered with old straw. The compost pile: I need to do some study into that. I have plenty and I mean plenty of fresh manure. I have never had an active compost pile. I have always had cold piles. I would like to get it to break down faster. What I know: moisture, carbon and nitrogen. Turn it for oxygen. I put kitchen scraps on there and what the horses don't eat of the alfalfa which includes stems and leaves. None of what I put on can I know what the nutrient value was.