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Screw travel, let’s garden!


Seriously, who is thinking about travelling during coronavirus lockdown? All these lists of road movies, best travel books, inspiration and bla bla bla who is interested in it now? Should I watch other countries’ attractions to make me cry and upset about being stuck at home? Or should I do something that makes a change, something with a higher purpose? Last few months were under  a motivational slogan: ‘YES Woman’, who is an action woman, saying ‘yes’ to opportunities life is giving her. What is it now in these challenging times? What good can I withdraw from that? Watch the news hoping for the promises of the end of pandemic? No, I GARDEN!

Peach, apricot and pears are just some of fruits growing on our organic farm.

Coronavirus lockdown gardening

It began with the first days of coronavirus lockdown. I went to a supermarket in the nearest town, and was struck by the view of empty shelves. The fear of hunger my grandparents used to tell me about from the wartime, became real. Nobody could be sure how the situation would evolve, and people started panic buying resulting in not enough supplies in the shops. I came back home with a bag of 5 kg rice, at least I will not starve. The headlines in a newspaper assured that it’s only temporary and soon everyone will be able to buy what they need. What if not? I needed some fresh air, went outside, looked around and realised I’m on a two hectare land. Food is not growing in a shop, food is from the land! I know it wasn’t a discovery worth the Nobel Prize, but that’s how it is when we are not aware of reality being stacked in an automatic (means brainwashed) customer model. It’s convenient, but dangerous.

Vegetables plants in a greenhouse

Grow your own food

My inner ‘Yes Woman’ told me to take a challenge and grow your own food. Sounds simple, I already had some experience in my small household allotment, but this project was about ten times bigger. If I don’t know what to start with, I make the organisation stage. Which include research, planning, collecting information. Sounds boring? No, for me it’s always the most fascinating stage, I get the thrill with every new idea, digging deeper into the Internet and books, not the land yet. It was still cold in March, so I had time, no pressure. 

pepper plants on the seeding tray in a greenhouse
Peppers in a greenhouse

Action stage

Every journey starts with a single step. I love this saying. There is patience in it, and what is gardening, if not patience? The first step was to the greenhouse. We stocked up with the seeds and started to sow. Radishes germinated first, that was the reason to celebrate. Every single plant coming through the layer of soil made me smile. As simple as that. I was no longer focused on waiting for freedom from the virus, I was focused on achieving. Every morning I came inside the greenhouse saying with the nicest voice I could: ‘Hello Babies’. I believed they were listening. I read the plants grow better with music, unfortunately I can’t sing, but I can talk, and as the social meetings are banned, it was a great opportunity to practice conversation, or rather a monologue.

The test time

Nothing comes easily. When you have all the enthusiasm to make your ideas real, and put your heart in it, why is the universe testing you? It’s a moment to stop and rethink: do you really want it? Yes, yes, everything was screaming inside me yes. I looked at the young courgettes with yellowing leaves, at tomatoes covered in aphids and the fat slugs leaving happily on the meadow which is meant to be ploughed for a garden. Ok universe, isn’t it too much of the test?

We watched this beautiful documentary “The farm”, where a couple diverted almost a desert into an abundant oasis. With many obstacles, as if nature was playing against them rather than supporting that important plan. They managed to cooperate with it and found the solution by observing how it works in the wild environment. So the ducks ate the slugs, the dog scared of the coyotes, owls caught the mice, etc. Took them 7 years to establish the farm, I don’t have that much time unless the pandemia will last for several years 😉 

Lupin flowering on the meadow
Wild meadow will attract bees to our garden

Let’s get to the point

As the moody April went to an end, it was time for the main action which was ploughing the field and planting on it. We went to the village to arrange some sheep manure. All my teenage life I spent with horses, and a hoe is like my third hand, but I didn’t expect to see the branches of brum instead of the straw…It’s obvious that they use local, free resources like brum, while no one in the mountains grow grains. But it was so hard to lift the long branches that the farmer only laughed at me and did it himself. It was extremely stinky, which means it must be good stuff.

Get your hands dirty

As the wild meadow became a field with a fertile soil, we could finally put my hand into the brown treasure. Millions of micro creatures are living there, making the soil better and better for the plants to come. And here there are 10 kg potatoes, 20 courgettes, 20 pumpkins and 15 cucumbers made their final way to the ground. The rain was on our side, saving us some job with watering. But we need to expect drought in the summer, so we dug some channels from the water tank and renewed the ancient way of the irrigation system. Just put the dam up and the water flows happily filling the channels around the plots. 

Self sufficiency during the crisis

Are you wondering what we will manage to achieve in a couple of months? Will we produce enough veggies and fruits to be closer to self sufficiency during coronavirus lockdown? Check that out by the end of the summer, I will share a report of our successes and failures. So far, I have noticed that the vision of the crisis doesn’t appear to be so scary when I look at that abundant garden, water from the spring, power from photovoltaic panels and hydro. The feeling of safety contributed to my inner peace. So keep calm and garden.

Waterfall on the land
The stream powers the mini hydro system

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