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Kay’s Garden Blog December 2014

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Harvesting onions.

As usual December was a crazy month however I’m happy to say the last week of December has been in the garden for me, I feel revived and so does the garden. No sooner were the cloches emptied of seedlings than we began harvesting the early garlic (late November) and now all of the shallots and garlic and lupin seed is in them so they are full up again. I’ll need to clean, grade and store the garlic and shallots ASAP because we are about to harvest the Essene flax seed which together with the Austrian Hulless pumpkin seed will be our biscuits and crackers over the next year.

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Part of the heavy feeding section pumpkins tomatoes and greens

All the work that went into growing strong seedlings early, has paid of this year, we have tomatoes to eat now, and peppers any day, and the pumpkins (Austrian hullesss) are already huge which means they will be harvested in January; we’ll probably get a second crop off those same vines. The seed originally came from, Joe Polaischer who brought it from Austria where they had a short growing season…. so in a long season here we get two crops of pumpkins.

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Carbon crop section of kay’s garden corn Bloody Butcher, magenta spreen and sunflowers, also all edible.

We have 3 main weeds in the garden right now and all of them are not only edible but highly nutritious, and delicious. Lamb’s Quarters – Magenta Spreen, Purslane, and red root, (a wild amaranth). Basically I’ve got to the point where we plan on those coming up and being our greens over summer. I’m continuing to refine the 200 sq m Biointensive garden we have, along with 50 sq m of perennial vege.

I know how much flour corn we need now, and I know how much we grow in a 10 sq m bed. 1 kg of dry corn per sq m actually. We eat this dry corn as tortillas, posole in soup, as flour for cakes and baking and in polenta. We always nixtamalize it to gain maximum nutrition as indigenous folks in Central America always did.

The rotation system of my garden: Heavy feeders followed by roots and legumes, followed by carbon followed by carbon. ½ our carbon area is flour corn and sunflowers, and the other ½ is 20m of Essene flax seed, 10m of hullesss barley, and 20 m of sweet corn.

Unbelievably it’s been really easy not buying any food since we decided to eat only what we grow here plus small amounts of bartered food from friends neighbours etc. With two exceptions right now, 1 is salt, the other olive oil. I had a years supply as I always do when we began but we’ll be harvesting olives this year in exchange for olives to press, I hope. It feels crazy going to the supermarket to buy matches (we cook on gas in the house truck), dish washing liquid and laundry liquid.

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The second carbon section in kay’s garden essene flax seed barley and sweet corn.

I went to a lot of trouble this spring to make sure I left my carbon crops in the ground as long as I could so they would be as high in carbon as possible to avoid a hot fast compost heap, and increase my chances of having a high carbon low nitrogen heap. All 3 of the compost heaps I made this spring kept below 55°C, which made me very happy. They are all very high in high quality carbon from a variety of crops. All 3 heaps are well made and have added minerals so I’m excited to be seeing how well that compost grows our winter crops this year. Compost making is a real art, and super exciting to be finally able to make compost that can actually grow my food after all these years!!! No need to add liquid comfrey or manure etc etc etc.

Mulching tomatoes with comfrey works very well, you can cut the comfrey borders and add to the mulch every month over summer.
Mulching tomatoes with comfrey works very well, you can cut the comfrey borders and add to the mulch every month over summer.

Shaked, a Kotare Village neighbor has been refining the Biochar maker, and we have a version now that is great for turning all those odd things that gardeners collect into char. It can be stoked with bones, corncobs, paper, especially rolled newspapers, odd sticks, shells etc. Its an easy size to use and was easy to make. Being able to add all of that to the compost feels pretty good.

We are eating like Kings and Queens!

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