Planting bonanza

Chrisje happy

God, it’s been glorious to be outside all weekend. I spent two afternoons over in Ransberg this weekend, after leisurely mornings pottering in my garden in Brussels. I must admit to being totally awestruck by the huge progress Ria and Chrisje have made in the Dorpsstraat garden. The weather has been glorious, and everything is starting to sprout, grow, bloom and thrive. (Including the nettles and horsetails – although I notice more variety in the fallow kitchen garden beds.

I spent most of my time below the wall, chipping wood from the various piles of tree debris to use as organic mulch in between the raised beds. A bit noisy, but useful without being too back-breaking.

The chickens are now more circumscribed in their movements – much to their annoyance. They much prefer being free to roam, but with so many seeds and fresh plantings, there’s no way we can let them roam free right now. It funny to see them with their heads down, scrabbling wildly as if they are digging for Australia. Houdini chickens…

All of a sudden, there’s so much life and colour here, from the sea of yellow dandelions in the neighbouring field, to the purple flowers that are sprouting everywhere – something from the nightshade family, Ria tells me? And the delicate pink and white of the apple blossom, and the snow of cherry petals showering down onto the green, green nettles. And the future food, popping up through the ground – chives, onions, garlic, lettuce, peas, carrots, broad beans, strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants, gooseberries…

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Ria and Chrisje have started making raised beds – down below the japonica bush we now have three beds with different kinds of potatoes, and yet another below the wall. The ditches between the beds are lined with cardboard, then filled with wood chips and topped off with straw. The woodchips come from our own processing of tree debris, and the straw has been hauled from different places by Ria in recent weeks. Now that the Sunday collection of organic waste has started up again where I live in Brussels, I’ve taken to filling my boot with the green bags put out for collection by the neighbours before setting out for Ransberg – every little bit of organic matter is laid on the hungry land.

Chrisje pumping water

We’re gradually digging out more and more of the lovely worm-digested compost from the compost heap – quite labour intensive because there’s so much else in there besides… plastic, glass, metal, bones… Ria’s made a new bed just below the wall, but the compost is so fine that it doesn’t retain moisture well and needs frequent watering. Right now, that’s done with watering cans, filled from the rain-water reservoir via the hand pump. We’re already starting to think about how we can arrange things more ergonomically in future…

It’s curious to see how things are moving in the garden, while nothing is happening in the house. We’re still hanging in there, waiting for things to manifest – needing to sort some things out with suppliers and get some quotes for working on the roof.


About iyeshe

Woman returning to the wild. Cunning linguist, mother of twins, witch, host, harvester, spaceholder for the dawning Aquarian age, evolutionary wooden-spoon wielder, self-mitigating carbon footprint, wannabe holon in the forthcoming collective buddha...
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