Last year was our first attempt at growing our own food in the South of France and I wasn't here for most of it due to my Summer film job in the UK.
This is an image from April when we were preparing the land together.
Sabrina did an amazing job without me. Here she is getting a little help from a friend.
There was some impressive looking produce when I came home in August for a week.
Building on what has been learned
This year I am committed to a goal of producing or sourcing locally over 50% of the food my family & I eat and the seeds you can see at the top of this post represent just the tip of the iceberg. My intention is to create an extensive seed bank, not just for us but for others too.
The world's agriculture is faltering as we enter deeper into the Grand Solar Minimum (a period of extreme weather) and with decreasing quality and increasing prices there is no better time to be storing seeds & learning how to grow your own food.
Nothing bad is ever happening
Two weeks ago we lost our allotment (as it was never really ours in the first place) and just for one moment this felt like a bummer. But then (within hours) we acquired a new one! Again for free. And the new one is even better than the last ;)
This is what it looks like currently. We gain access tomorrow.
Not only is it larger but it has more shaded areas for the children to play in, which is important here as the sun can get very hot. We have a paddling pool already but in addition I am going to buy a trampoline & little wooden house for them as I'm pretty sure we are going to be spending most of our Summer here.
Best of all we are now allotment neighbours with a very earthy spiritual German lady who speaks English and has promised to teach us every everything she knows about growing food! This is absolute gold for us.
Maximising productivity at home
We live in the middle of a small village in the Pyrenees Mountains and like a lot of people here we have a courtyard in place of a garden. The allotments are positioned around the outskirts of the village.
Our courtyard has a walkway over it which provides a unique opportunity to hang things. Last year I made a swing for the kids with my TRX strap, but this year we will be hanging food growing contraptions.
Our home has a south facing wall but until this moment I wasn't sure how to make the most of it.
In seeking an efficient use of space I came across this interlocking vertical potting system.
I have ordered two of these and will split them into four separate columns, giving me a total of 84 spaces for plants. They're not cheap but I feel like it's worth it.
Feeding the top level feeds the rest. Nice and simple. This particular design has a little reservoir in the bottom of each pot and the possibility to set up an automated watering system, should we choose to go on holiday.
In these we will plant a load of strawberries, herbs & salad stuff, experimenting with a few other things to see what works best in there.
Our lettuces barely produced at all last year because they were eaten by slugs, but here on our south facing wall I feel sure slugs will no longer be a problem.
Once it is covered in salad I will update you with another image!
What else can we squeeze into our courtyard?
I ordered one of these for cherry tomatoes. Currently Esteban won't eat them but I think if he is the one who grows them, he will eat them with pleasure :)
A vegetable patch table will permit Esteban & Luna to have their own experimental planting zone, while still giving us a bit of storage space underneath.
Finally I ordered four of these grow bags in which we intend to grow two varieties of carrots, potatoes & ginger.
I love the way you can open the back to see what's going on in there and harvest easily.
These heirloom carrots will be fun to watch developing!
All in all I am super pumped about the mission we have ahead of us this year. The feeling reminds me a little of my weed growing days in London during which I gained extensive experience with various hydroponic & aeroponic systems.
Perhaps now I can apply this knowledge to food ;)
While I may have some extreme beliefs about what the future holds for humanity I have no fear and my attention is firmly focused upon that which I love most.
And I feel both excited & comforted by it.
Good times ahead!
Who is @samstonehill?