The last month the weather has been amazing here #onthemountain. The valley is slowly turning green again. For us it was a surprise, but apparently it’s quite normal that a summer here takes up 8 months. Last year – our first year here – was apparently an exception. With all the good weather we have had, we also had a bit of a water shortage. Last year the garden was still very wet at this time of year, this year it was very dry already. So we decided to set up a water barrel so that we could save some of the rain water that would fall on the roof.

Eduard installed the barrel last week. You can see it below on the left side of the house. Hooray for Eduard! I’m really happy with it. We also bought a second one that will be installed in the veggie garden. That one will catch the water of the greenhouse rooftop. It will be easier to dispatch the water in the veggie patch from that barrel. This barrel will be also used for plants that grow in pots on our terrace, which is just around the corner on the right.

We hope that we will have a bit of rain – or a lot of rain – once every two weeks. With that we will be able to fill one barrel and probably with some good water management we won’t have to use a lot of tap water to water the garden.

We’ll see. I wanted to give you a little update on the things that are now growing in our garden, or actually mostly things that are growing in our nursery. Below you first find one of the experimental beds that I have covered with cardboard. It’s apparently a good mulching method for parts of the garden that have a lot of weeds. The sides of our garden have a lot of weeds that come from above. So therefore I decided to try this out a week ago. I placed our old compost pile underneath the cardboard (since it wasn’t fully composted) and then I placed the cardboards on top and again some soil on top of this. Apparently this is a bio-degradable method which is advised on a lot of ecological gardening sites.

It was all dry when I made this, so I had to wait for the rain to come to be able to finish it. The cardboard has now settled onto the soil due to the rain and now I can place some more soil on top so that you can’t see the cardboard. I already am a fan of this method. I don’t know what I’ll say in a few months, but I think it will be a good growing field. As you can see I’ve placed strawberries at the foot of the bed. The other parts will give place for the three sisters. So I’ll grow corn, pumpkins & beans here. Last year the pumpkins loved climbing up the gate, I wanted to facilitate this for them this year to get an even better crop.

Now the nursery. So what I am doing this year is that I place seeds in trays and put them outside in one of the smaller cabinet greenhouses and then whey they are big enough I plant them out in bigger pots and place them in the bigger greenhouse in our veggie garden.

So they start out here, like these fellows:

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And then they move on to here and get a bigger place to grow in. I do have a lot of troubles finding pots to let them grow in as I need hundreds of them. I’m now also using old milk- and detergent bottles. If you have better ideas, please share them with me.

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tomato (growing strong)

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Some of the greens are already growing outdoors. So not in a green house. Below you can see the horseradish grow. Below that you find the potatoes. They are unstoppable, I keep on soiling them up, but the greens keep on coming up. I also have mint that came back from last year and some new coriander that I sowed.

Then our fruittrees. They are our biggest concern right now as the weather might turn (I don’t think so, but it might) and they are now all in blossom. Below you can see our plum tree that didn’t blossom at all last year and on the picture below that you can see our cherry trees (and apple tree). If the weather turns the blossom might frost and then they won’t fruit. So we’re keeping fingers crossed now.

About the plum tree. If you have a plum tree and it doesn’t give any fruit in a specific year. You shouldn’t give it up. Apparently these guys are bi-annual and have a lot of fruits one year and none (or very few) the other one. As far as we can see it now, it’s probably true.

And then my last gem. I made myself a little salad picking box like Alys Fowler had. I will be able to pick an evening salad without going up to the garden. So nice and it looks cute too. I just used an old  strawberry crate and lined it up with an old supermarket plastic bag and added some soil and then transplanted the seedlings when they were a bit smaller. Now it has been growing in this box for a two or three I think. It’s doing well.

That’s it for this months garden updates. I’ll update again in April, when at least half of the veggies will be already in place in the garden. How is your garden doing?