The garden was one of our most talked about ideas when we were planning for cabin life. The idea was to grow a 50/50 mix of herbs and vegetables to get a feel for gardening. It would be our first real project together! We agreed on the following criteria – we would grow vegetables, herbs and flowers that would last one year. We obviously had a tonne of questions but the main ones were:
How do we keep away hungry creatures from eating everything?
How often do we need to water the garden?
What about fertilising?
What do we need to get started?
Supplies were relatively easy to procure. Planks used for the herb garden were leftovers from a build project, rocks were collected from the beach and plastic pots were found at a nearby trash station. We had to find soil and plants. Soil was 99% horse poop from Jenny’s grandmother (tack Kickan!) who has a fantastic garden herself and we added some kelp fertiliser from our beach to the mix. We also ended up purchasing a few sacks of garden soil and mixed that in with the horse manure and kelp. As for water, we reserved a barrel of rainwater for the garden which was perfect.
The build was relatively straightforward and hastily done. The important thing was that it would hold its contents! We had thought about covering the box with netting to deter the animals from eating the plants but ultimately decided to leave it as is.
Alot of research was done on what plants we wanted to try growing and we decided to focus on a deer and rabbit resistant selection of herbs as well as flowers. One of the gardeners at the greenhouse gave us a bag of untreated sheep’s wool to try out as a deer deterrent and funnily enough, it worked…until late autumn when the parsley bush mysteriously dwindled in size overnight! We presume the wool has a very powerful smell that deters other animals. Whatever it does, it works and we will be using it next year again for sure.
The final selection of herbs included thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, parsley and mint. The flowers were a mix of colours and shapes and we even managed to transplant some wild strawberry plants and orpines.
Funnily enough, the day we built the garden was the same day that we had our first proper encounter with our garden’s biggest threat: the deer! Perhaps it was curious about the garden (and future food possibilities) or perhaps it was passing through the neighbourhood…either way, we had never seen it this close before and it didn’t appear to be very nervous with our presence. Lets see how it goes…
Det blir ju alltid lite stearin kvar i botten av ljuset när ljuset har brunnit ut. Jag tänkte att det väl måste gå att göra nya ljus av det så jag testade och det funkade hur bra som helst! Det var lätt men pilligt.
Jag samlade stearin från utbrunna ljus i en glasburk. Tog bort smuts och vekar och annat fult och lade sen ner hela glasburken i ett bad med varmt vatten. Långsamt smälte stearinet till en genomskinlig massa.
Jag använde aluminiumformarna från gamla värmeljus och limmade fast en veke som jag köpt i en hobbybutik i botten. det var ganska lätt att rikta veken uppåt när stearinet stabiliserat sig lite. Nästa gång tänker jag använda stearinet som lim.
Fint brann sen ljuset. Det brann snabbare än köpta värmeljus, jag vet inte om det berodde på vekens tjocklek eller på stearinet. Ett kul pyssel som jag tänker göra igen. Nästa gång ska jag experimentera med olika färger tror jag och se hur det blir. Vi har både röda och vita ljusrester. Kanske också göra någon form som man sen kan ta ut ljuset ur när det har stelnat så att det blir som ett blockljus.
Self-sustainability is something we dream of achieving. Being able to produce enough food for ourselves would be an incredible accomplishment but before we start a farm, we need to learn how to grow a crop. Potatoes are an essential crop in Europe and especially Finland because of their ability to grow in cooler climates so we decided to grow some. They are also relatively easy to grow – we simply planted our spuds and let them do their thing! Perfect for beginners like us.
We had an old concrete ring on the beach that (if memory serves me well) was a leftover piece of well shaft. It was perfect for our potato garden. We started by emptying the ring of its contents and found a gas lighter as well as a smashed beer bottle mixed in with the soil. This was an unexpected find and we are lucky to have been wearing protective gloves because that glass was sharp and we found shards everywhere. The ring was then filled in with our mix that was sand and soil with a nice top layer of kelp. Next time we might try growing potatoes in straw!
Once that was done, we watered the soil properly and placed seed potatoes in shallow holes which were then covered up. I think we placed seven potatoes but in future grows we could definitely fit more.
As the summer progressed, so did the potatoes’ growth. We had neglected them quite a bit but I think thats mainly because they were placed in an area that we rarely visited and we were also quite confident that they would be fine on their own – we’ve seen potatoes grow in our compost bin without any help from us! As temperatures began to lower, we decided it was time to go see how the crop was. The leaves had drooped and wilted which was a sign that these potatoes needed to be harvested so Jenny started poking around the soil which was now covered in pine cones and needles from the nearby pine trees. One by one the taters started showing up and we managed to get quite a few! They weren’t very big but we harvested enough to last us 4-5 meals which was pretty good considering we planted seven potatoes. However, if we ever plan to achieve self-sustainability (even for just one year), we will need to improve our yields by expanding our potato garden quite considerably.
It was a fun experience to have and honestly not that difficult or demanding. Our biggest concern was the very dry summer when we had limited rain water but the potatoes were resilient and managed to survive. We also didn’t seem to have any hungry animals that were interested in eating the potatoes but that might have to do with how well hidden the grow was. Next spring we will try again but with a larger yield in mind!
Regnet öser ner ute och jag tänkte passa på att visa lite höstpyssel som jag har fixat. Det fanns massvis med rönnbär tidigare och av dem har det blivit en rönnbärskrans.
Förutom att jag tycker den är fin att titta på fungerar den också som matbord/matsal för fåglarna. Varje dag är där någon som snaskar i sig av bären. Vi får städa väggen i något skede… Tydligen gäller inte ”don’t shit where you eat” principen för fåglar.
När jag ändå var igång med höstpysslet så blev det lyktor av glasburkar också. Jag tycker löven ger så fint orange sken. Jag hittade inget lim så jag fäste löven med ståltråd. Annars är sådana burkar där limmet från etiketten inte riktigt lossnar utan lämnar kladd kvar perfekt, bara att sätta på några löv så är det klart.
Det är nu supermysigt på terrassen med ljus och lampor och det behövs för det börjar bli riktigt mörkt nu. Nu har vi stängt av vattnet här så det är nu utmaningarna börjar på riktigt. Hittills har det inte varit något problem alls faktiskt.