Three months have passed since we started this summer seasons garden, and we are starting to taste the delicious fruits of our work.
Still, not everything is growing as well as we expected.
It is interesting how last year in Austria we had a huge problem with too much humidity and an invasion of snails, and this year we are trying our best to keep the moist in the garden.
That is because Portugal is hotter and dryer as never before, and the soil on the land, we chose to cultivate is pretty sandy. No land is perfect, they all confront us with some kind of challenge I guess. It is just about getting adapted…
More and more we experience, that gardening is not just about planting a seed and wait for the harvest.
We have to learn how to give to the earth, rather than just focus on what we want her to give us.
A successful garden starts with our offerings, our gifts in form of manure, compost and organic matter.
Is this not the same for everything?
The more we give is the more we get.
Once again, the garden has revealed its wisdom.
In the end it is all the microorganisms, (our ancestors saw them as subtle beings like dwarves and elves) who make the plants grow healthy and strong. All we have to do is to welcome them and provide a space for them to live and multiply.
When we arrived here in April, we just got some bags of manure, mixed it into the soil and planted as many seeds as possible.
Next year we would do it differently, but for now we are nomadic gardeners who are just trying to find out how to grow our own food.
For sure, there are many things we could do better, but we are fully aware that we are just beginners, and this is why we allow ourselves to make all the mistakes, welcoming our failure as the teachings we need to develop our skills.
“The healing of the land and the purification of the human spirit are the same process.”Masanobu Fukuoka
Many plants have died already, especially those whose seeds came from Austria and are used to a very different climate.
This experience shows us how important it is, to choose local seeds from your area, as they adapt to the temperature.
We can see this very clearly at our three sister’s beds, where we plant corn, beans and pumpkins together.
The corn we brought from Austria started flowering when he was just knee high and doesn´t really develop well, while the corn from Portugal is proudly reaching two meters.
Also this year we are trying for the first time melon instead of pumpkin, and it seems to be way more successful. Melons have smaller leaves and require a lot of heat, while pumpkins with their huge juicy green leaves are happy in shady and cooler places.
As you see, there is so much to learn, to explore.
Somehow it feels like we are growing together with the plants.
It is a school and the plants are our teachers.
We can do as many permaculture design courses as we want, the real knowhow starts this moment we put our hands in the soil and watch a plant grow through the cycle of the year.
We can´t really tell you, how much joy the garden is bringing into our lives. It gives us a purpose to stand up motivated in the morning, and helps us to connect to this huge living organism called planet earth.
Gardening helps us to return to a natural state of gratitude and is an incredibly nourishing and fruitful activity which does not only feed us, but provides us with nutritious medicine.
These plants they know us, they drink our sweat, our pee and even our blood.
We share the same living place and they receive our information, our care and love. They are a bit like a family, and we never feel that we are alone here.
Each day we open the door of our yurt and what we see is a miracle.
The first thing we do is to take a walk through the beds, maybe while brushing our teeth or stretching our bodies. It is wonderful to have so many different plants surrounding us and we are grateful for the opportunity of watching them grow and unfolding their beauty.
We see gardening as the only thing we can do against this extreme consumerism and mass industry going on. We don’t want to be part of that any more.
But it is not only political activism, but also a spiritual practice which brings us in real contact with life and death. Something that we missed out during the time we grew up surrounded by the walls of school buildings.
What we are living now is a little dream coming true and we embrace this feeling of being healthy, free and independent.
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