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The winter garden (starting production at September-November
) according to geolocation, is one of the most difficult to produce and maintain. And not only because of the difficulty and time that it is necessary to invest, but because of the current economic system and the real estate system, it is very difficult to have a safe surface to self-manage our own food.
I really think that it is increasingly subversive to generate your own daily resources
, to have as less commercial dependencies as possible and of course, to learn about life itself. And if we add to this practices, for example, others related with the energetic (like using solar panels, water micro-turbines, ...) and economic (like using bitcoin, ...) sovereignty, I am pretty sure that we can free ourselves more from certain ties.
This is the main goal for this article; to share an experience of self-sustainability
In particular, for this kind of project, it is usually necessary, in addition to having the right tools to work efficiently, use another series of materials that help us protect it, at least, while the plants become robust. Therefore, it is a type of project that requires some more materials than usual. Also we gonna need to manage the amount of fauna that tries to feed itself: insects, birds, rodents, etc. A good way to do it is to know about its existence and trying to implement in a sustainable manner its free will, with the desired cultivation. Feeding them or tricking their sensitive systems (confusing them) is usually a better solution than trying to eradicate them. Beer, certain smells, lights and colors can help us with this task.
With some knowledge, it is possible to generate a sustainable environment free of harmful toxic products
(like pesticides, ...).
Below we will see an example (built in the northern hemisphere) of how to create a simple winter garden, which will allow us to obtain some plant energy resources (Vitamins, proteins, amino acids, mineral salts, carbohydrates, ...), useful to complement our daily diet, as well as obtain a small surplus to be able to give to our friends.
It does not take much space to generate good food production. In fact, it is advisable to be as efficient as possible in the smallest area, since this allows us to learn a lot. And it's always easy to do bigger things, if necessary. The surface we are going to use as an example has measures of: 2.20m (length) x 1.55m (width) x 0.50m (depth)
The soil used for the plants is taken from a nearby mountain. It is fresh, which contains worms and other animals that improve oxygenation. It also contains stones (to give it some compaction) and another type of organic waste (dog poop, vegetable compost...) useful to complement the needs of nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon demanded by the plants.
The pH level of the soil is 6.3 (neutral)
, being close to being slightly acidic, but bearing in mind that rain usually causes the soil to become slightly alkaline, in order to compensate for it.
Depending on the levels of rain, wind and night frosts, you also have to create a solid structure (for example using plastics to cover the cultivated plants, ...), trying to create a cozy environment that protects future foods from adverse weather.
It is also interesting, at least at the beginning, to separate each variety of plant in zones. In this way, we can give them individual treatment, although always taking into account that we are creating a collective system (in fact, selection of plants made for this example is related with that environment equilibrium).
- Carrot (Daucus carota)
- Distance between units (cms): 5 x 40
- Harvest (days): 150
- Calories (kcal/100grs): 41.0
- Proteins (grs/100grs: 1.19
- Rucola (Eruca sativa)
- Distance between units (cms): 5 x 10
- Harvest (days): 35-50
- Calories (kcal/100grs): 25.0
- Proteins (grs/100grs: 2.6
- Leek (Allium porrum)
- Distance between units (cms): 10 x 40
- Harvest (days): 120-150
- Calories (kcal/100grs): 54.0
- Proteins (grs/100grs: 1.34
- Chard (Beta vulgaris)
- Distance between units (cms): 15 x 40
- Harvest (days): 50-70
- Calories (kcal/100grs): 7
- Proteins (grs/100grs): 0.65
- Broccoli (Brassica oleracea)
- Distance between units (cms): 5 x 30
- Harvest (days): 20-30
- Calories (kcal/100grs): 31
- Proteins (grs/100grs): 2.57
- Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)
- Distance between units (cms): 20 x 20
- Harvest (days): 50-70
- Calories (kcal/100grs): 8
- Proteins (grs/100grs): 0.50
The nursery is a very important part when cultivating. In the proposed example, it is composed of fresh soil
extracted from a montain, mixed with coconut scratches
(a whole coconut) and perlite
and using two different containers.
The parsley is planted separately, in a ceramic container, with holes under it to let the water pass. The rest of cultivated plants will be on the mantle of fertile soil, in a plastic container without holes (so that it retains the water).
A trick to avoid having to water the plants is to cover seeds containers with transparent plastic paper (also known as kitchen film). Do not make holes, just leave it on until the plants want to go through it. At that time it will be necessary to remove it.. In this way you get a tremendously fertile system to feed the seeds.
The seeds should be in a warm and dry
place while they sprout (indoor if possible), but also when they aren't planted into the hotbed (as units).
It is also interesting to put them in the light (of course sunny light is the best), when the weather is not too hostile and return them to shelter in the shade, during the night.
Step by step, the seeds will turn into buds. It is necessary that the shoots grow enough (~2/3 weeks
) and become resistant, before bringing them to the final soil.