It has now been 7 years since we started our first vegetable garden. At least, our first significant veg garden. I have always had a love for the garden and my early idyllic dreams certainly included a vegetable garden. The reality, however, was more harsh. Everything that had to do with green, that I touched, seemed to die. No... it didn't seem like it ... it really did.
I also have had a love for plants in the house .. but at one point I found myself back in the plantstore after a very short time since my last purchase.. My plant had turned black (black!! how is that even possible??) and I desperately asked, 'what am I doing wrong? I did exactly what it said on the card!!' Whereupon the employee took the plant out of the pot and did not even have to squeeze, the water flooded out. Drowned.
My dear husband has said about me several times in our early years together 'you really come out of an egg right?' and then he would look at me unbelievably. As if he saw an alien. Haha. And he was right. I had no idea. I really had to learn from the bottom up how things like this work. If it said 'water twice a week', I did it properly. I didn't pay attention to my intuition.. and didn't look at the signs the plant gave me.
How I had to go through many frustrations... and how much I have learned in the meantime. I've learned that trial and error is the best way to learn. That there is no such thing as perfect advice... and that you will have to learn to look... to feel... to observe... and adjust your plan again and again.
We have been living here in Groningen since 2018 and my heart jumped from the idea that I could keep a large vegetable garden at home. I started the first year enthusiastically and again almost nothing wanted to succeed. This time I didn't get desperate, but I looked around to see what the problem could be and soon I knew, it's way too dark here.
That winter a lot of trees were cleared at the back of the garden, because at all the sunny sides of the garden we only had a lot of trees. What I actually really loved, I really love trees... but it didn't work out together with a large vegetable garden.
Last year I finally had a large vegetable garden with a large yield. We are still eating it at the moment. Potatoes, kale, carrots and some vegetables in the freezer. The last scraps, though. Last year the dream of a greenhouse in the garden was suddenly also realized. And even many times bigger than I could have dreamed of myself. Hendrik's father was a grower, he removed his greenhouses a few years ago, but had enough material left over for this.
Truly an amazing gift... I now have a greenhouse of 9 by 6 meters in the garden!! Hendrik built it up together with his father in the first lockdown time. That season I growed a lot of received plants in it, especially a lot of tomato plants ... and I had to go through a lesson again. I now know that tomatoes need good aeration... and I just thought 'nice and steamy in that greenhouse'... but that steamy environment opened the way for a fungus and I had to throw away almost all the plants without harvest. Haha.. I can laugh about it.. because these are such important lessons! You don't want something like that to happen again, so next time I'll learn more about how something like that works and what it needs, before I even start.
Well... this year the greenhouse is already here at the start of the season.. and I started to study what I would like to grow in it. I buy most of my seeds on Bolster.nl, they sell organic seeds. On their website you can also find lots of information about how to grow everything and when.. and so I came across all kinds of delicious things for the greenhouse... bell pepper... tomato... watermelon!!..
My seeds have already been chosen and bought.. and I already did what I am used to do. I made a sowing plan, so that I can always see what I can do in the garden at that moment of time. Below you can see a piece of the planning for this year (in Dutch):
And when I was recently observing this planning with the oldest two boys, I found out that I can do a double crop in the greenhouse this year! So we're going to put carrots, beets and spinach in it first... and by the time this can be harvested, the real summer stuff, like the bell pepper and melon, can go in. And when the carrots and beets are harvested from the greenhouse... we can then continue to eat from the carrots from the vegetable garden outside the greenhouse... ooo I can get so excited about that!!
We have also decided that the vegetable garden will also be even bigger then last year... and ofcourse we now have the greenhouse... who knows, we will be able to eat from our own garden next year all year round. Inconceivable to some people... but to me it really feels like gold in my own garden. So delicious and such a freedom!!
If you are interested in my seed planning file, so that you can use it for yourself (adjusted to your own situation of course), you could send a message via the contact form. It will be in Dutch, but you could change it to your own language.
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