soil

How to make three new garden beds in an afternoon.

How to make three new garden beds in an afternoon.

May 30, 2020
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Take:
1 part Mr D (offering to buy pallet rims on his way over, to help me work the garden for a few hours)
3 home-delivered pallet rims (courtesy of already-mentioned Mr D)
1 weed whacker (borrowed from the neighbors)
1 shovel (to even the soil so the beds are somewhat level)
1 big cardboard box and a handful of newspapers (to line the bottom of the new beds)
1 watering can (a) 2-3 cans per bed to wet the cardboard/newspapers; b) 1-2 cans/bed with everything in place)
3 bags of cow dung (one/bed)
1 big barrel of Bokashi-compost (ripening for the past 2 years; equal parts/bed)
3 bags of soil (one/bed)
1 Helena (while Mr D built a compost corner!)

Voilá!
Tomorrow they just might be put to use!

(And yeah. One of these days, the fence to the –other– neighbors needs to be replaced. Tell me something else I don’t know…)

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Garden TLC

May 14, 2020
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Monday. No gardening. None. 

Tuesday. No gardening. Not even a chance at it, except if I’d done it before leaving home at seven am, or after coming home at 10 pm. And not even I am that bonkers…

Wednesday. Cold as h*ll, especially so after a weekend of Swedish summer temperatures, which immediately had me acclimatized. Donned cap, gloves and winter coat before headed out to water my garden beds. So yes. 30 minutes – check.

Thursday. Warmer, though no summer heat exactly. Donned garden garb plus cap, and went out at 7 pm, with a Zoom call scheduled for 8 pm. Put more soil onto of the potato shoots peeping up. Planted three squash-plants and four kale plants. Potted the remaining seven squash-plants (where on earth should I put these? They are up for grabs if anyone is interested!) as well as three of the nine tomatoes I bought from a neighbor the other week. The thirty-minute mark came and went, and I stayed at it for another fifteen minutes, before reluctantly putting the tools away in my garden shed, and brought my potted kale, tomatoes and squash plants back indoors with me, to continue their softening process tomorrow morning. This way, in case the kale, squash and tomatoes I planted outside today will not make it, I have some spare plants left.

Oh…
How I enjoy looking at my garden, witnessing its response to my lavishing it with tender love and care (and a dab of water or two).
And even more, the joy at realizing how important and nurturing it is to be in it. With it.
Plants, soil, water. The green color. The brown, the black, the budding flowers. 

What a grand source of wellbeing and connection to all that is.
And how happy I am to simply enjoy it. No Musts. Just Wants.
Once in a while, however much I want to, it just won’t be. And that’s as it is. Nothing more. Nothing less. Acceptance.

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A peek

April 9, 2020
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Badly planned day.
Here I am, ten pm, and I’ve yet to write my blog post for the day.

And I am tired. I want to go to bed.
So instead of trying to churn something out, I will simply give you a peek at what my afternoon brought me:

Mr D (yeah, the Buddha) came over (yeah, actually came over. Sweden does this Corona-business slightly different than most countries, for better or for worse) to help me work the garden. We bought 18 sacks of soil, 6 of cow-dung and 2 bags of potatoes to plant.

We managed to get 15 of my planting frames prepped (with water, cardboard and a bag of new soil, which will be accompanied by sawdust, cow-dung and bloodmeal on top within the next few days)  – the difference it makes to not do this work alone (I wouldn’t have –done it I mean– so you can imagine the difference!).

And then. This little geezer came on over, curiously checking out the newly spread out soil. There’s something special with bumblebees. Just love ’em.

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Advent Calendar – December 20, 2019

December 20, 2019
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This is me.
My hands.
Planting a (ceremonial) tree at the Nyongoro plantation, with the help of one of the workers, an older gentleman in overalls.

It’s one of my favorite photos from the journey, one I have as the locked-screen-wallpaper on my iPhone, ever since I got back at the beginning of July. Whenever I grab a hold of my phone – which, truth be told, and likely to no surprise, is something I do quite often – I am reminded of how impactful my visit to Kenya was, and still is, for me. New perspectives, the reality of other people, bearing witness to everyday struggles that I have never encountered living in Sweden, and not least, a chance to meet the people behind the company whose vision I wholeheartedly support: To eradicate poverty and corruption in Africa.

One way to help eradicate poverty is to help farmers keep their soil viable. At 21 degrees Celcius, the soil is 100% viable. At 40 degrees C, only 15% of the soil functionality remains. At 60 degrees… it’s 100% dead. There is no life in the soil then, all microbes have died off. Unfortunately, 40-60 degrees of soil temperatures are far from uncommon in Africa.

Planting trees, not only helps protect the soil from erosion thanks to the root systems of the trees, but the canopy of them literally works like sun umbrellas, protecting the soil from heating to those lethal temperatures from the unrelenting sun. This is one reason why it’s such an improvement of farmers’ situations when they contract with Better Globe Forestry to become partner farmers and plant trees on the very same land that they already – and continuously – plant cash crops on. The lowered temperatures mean that soil of partial viability within a few years bounce back and thrive, giving higher returns on their cash crops. Smart huh?

Through the donation packages I purchase monthly, I ensure that partner farmers not only get to tend my trees which, as you understand from the reasoning above, is of benefit for them, they actually receive a tree for themselves for each tree of mine. If you want to start your own monthly contribution to this fantastic and life-changing work, start a monthly subscription. And if you need help, reach out!


Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

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Advent Calendar – December 12, 2019

December 12, 2019
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At the Nyongoro-plantation the operation is mechanized compared to the way things are done in Kiambere. One reason is the fact that the area is sparsely populated, which means Better Globe Forestry has a hard time to find enough workers.

Still, it would be hard to mechanize operations such as land clearing, pitting (that is, drilling holes for the seedlings), weed control and watering if the lands were rocky and/or very muddy.  Luckily, it isn’t. The soil conditions are just right for mechanization!

This bulldozer is part of the fleet of heavy equipment at Nyongoro, consisting of three bulldozers and eight tractors. There is still a need for manual labor though, especially for planting, pruning, seedling production, and security. The trees at the plantation are planted with just the right distance so the bulldozer can manage weed control in an efficient way, and the tractors can supply the seedlings with water (only necessary for the first year, after that the young trees can manage on their own).

There is a story about this bulldozer, one I would love to share with you, but it’s better suited for verbal than written storytelling. If you wanna hear it, reach out and I’ll set up a Zoom-call with you, ok? Curious?



Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

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Advent Calendar – December 9, 2019

December 9, 2019
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Meet Joseph Kimanzi, a farmer my two travel companions Jan and Jonatan met when they were capturing the problems of soil erosion. Joseph came upon them, asked what they were doing, and when he heard what they were up to, he scoffed, shrugged his shoulders and said: Come with me, I’ll show you erosion! 

So they tagged along to his farm, which 4-5 years ago was effectively cut in half by the monsoon, using a drone to take pictures from above, clearly showing what Joseph was talking about. I showed those pictures to a friend, and she replied: Can’t he just fill in the ditch? So I showed her this picture which had us both sighing.

This five-meter deep ravine cutting his farm in half is definitely not something one easily “fixes”.

Erosion.
A serious problem.
In Kenya as well as in many places around the earth.
It’s even a problem in Sweden, especially along the coastlines of Skåne where I live, even though that cannot compare with what I saw in Kenya.

So once again, I am filled with gratitude at living in a country where monsoon rainfalls and soil erosion isn’t a part of life, in the way it is for Joseph and his countrymen and -women. But also for having the opportunity to at least using my savings to try to mitigate and minimize something as serious and detrimental as this. Planting trees is one of the most effective ways to combat soil erosion, which is one reason why I do just that, on a monthly basis. I would love it if you would do the same!


Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

Read More