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Zucchini

I don't know so much about gardening. And I'm learning mostly by method of trial-and-error. This year it seems that I have at least two errors and one success. For some reason most of my broad beans didn't sprout at all - maybe I did something wrong when collecting, drying, storing or planting the seeds... Also, a place which I thought to be good for zucchini seems not so. But luckily enough I also tried an another place, planting there two pumpkins and one zucchini. That place seems far more better, and the plants are growing abundantly. In a sunny spot they have a big bed made of straw and horse dung, with some soil on the top.

As I let my sheep roam free, they eat almost everything they get their noses to. So I had to put a fence around my tiny garden, to keep the sheep out. There is also a fence around my blackcurrant bushes - but apparently they taste so good that the sheep poke their heads through the holes in the fence, eating as much of the blackcurrant flowers and leaves they can. I need a better fence for the next summer...

Today I harvested the first zucchini and fried it on a fire.

Sheep, a fence and a tiny garden
Sheep, a fence and a tiny garden
The first zucchini harvested for this summer
The first zucchini harvested for this summer
Sheep, a fire and food being prepared
Sheep, a fire and food being prepared
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Beans need to be planted indoors then introduced slowly to outdoors, to acclimatise and only planted till after last frost.

Oh. Last summer I was all fine planting my own beans directly outdoors. They sprouted well and produced a lot of new beans - so I thought that it is the way to go.

If they were protected or it was mild, they would have a better chance. I grow them in a mass dirt tray then seperate them when they spout. I reintroduce to seperate tubs or pots. This is the time, where I start leaving them outside on sunny or warm days and bring them in at night. Then as soon as they are a foot big. I introduced them to the garden. I find I have an a big and good crop early and can plant the winter crop in August to early September. I grow cabbages in the same area. The beans add a lot of good things to the soil and the winter cabbages always go well as the butterfly population is dead or low when they began to grow properly. Two crops a year from one patch of land. The cycle means I use little fertiliser.

Do you buy new seeds each season, or do you plant beans dried from your last harvest? (I have a feeling I did something wrong in that - maybe harvesting my beans bit too early, when they were good to eat but not yet ripe enough to sprout effectively)

I plan dried beans from my previous harvest. I tend to use them as they survive better each year. I had to go through several generations of strawberries, making them sexually reproduce, before I got a strain good at surviving grey mold.

What species are you using? Some are better at surviving than others. Maybe next time, let the plant die on it's own? So the seeds are fully grown. I sometimes left pea plants just to rot in their pots to make the soil even better. I would imagine, you would thresh them to feed your sheep.

I do live in the UK so the weather is different. My father was a war child, and a gardener for a Lord's estate, particularily the kitchen gardens. He settled down with an acre of land and I was taught to get the most out of the soil. I even managed to grow a corn field in pots on the patio. Was a sight to behold in the middle of the town!

Can I ask about your fertilisers? Do you use your sheep manure? Do you use a rot box/ compost heap? Or do you use commerical ones?

Interesting background story- thanks for sharing!

I'm growing broad beans (vicia faba). I originally bought the seeds from an association devoted to conserving traditional varieties of plants and animals and rural landscapes. I think that in Finland it is common practice to plant beans directly to the soil as our local breed can survive even if the temperature falls slightly below freezing (as it usually does in Finland, especially at night, even in late spring and early summer).

For fertilisers I use mainly horse manure, after a year of two of composting. Sometimes I soak nettles in rainwater, then using that to water my tiny garden.

Thank you. Your blog is way more interesting.

There is a good way to get the nutrients, is to get a waterproof barrel or container, an old keg is perfect. Fill the base with the manure then fill it with water, leave it to sit then use the water to water the plants.

Have you ever considered chickens? They are good got feathers, meat and eggs. Hardy scrap eaters. Easy to raise. Produce an egg a day in their prime. Their waste is also good for the garden. Also they are great leaving among established crops because they feed on bugs that damage crops. They are also cheap and don't require much space.

At the moment I don't have space which would be suitable for chickens to live in the wintertime. Last summer I got three roosters growing up (in the late autumn when the temperature begins to fall below freezing I killed them for meat). And I saw my dog eating one of the roosters - which makes me bit unsure about keeping a flock of my own. Especially my cat is very eager to hunt squirrels and little birds, so I don't know how the chicken, the dog and the cat would fit in the same yard.

Anyhow, again for this summer I promised to take roosters from my neighbours. As they can't keep them in their flock, they just start fighting. But when there are boys only with no girls around, they do better.

You could create a wire pen for them, dog/cat proof. They really don't need much space. I seen set ups around 2 meters by 1 meter with a nesting area for eggs. I suspose you could simply kill them for meat every winter. And get a fresh stock in Spring. You would get your money back in eggs/meat.

I never dealt with roosters because in cities you can't own them in the UK due to the sheer amount of noise they made. I knew a gyspy family who kept chickens by clipping their wing feathers and leaving them to survive on an natural island in the middle of a pond and they simply rafted over to the island to collect eggs. No predators and lots of bugs, a very good system.

What other plants to you have? If you don't mind me asking?

As the beans failed (and the sheep ate some of my unprotected plants) I only have pumpkins and zucchini for this year. And blackcurrants and an appletree =) But the nearby forests are rich of berries and mushroom. Also, when I have time I like to go fishing.

But, yes, as the years go by I'd like to arrange my life so that I'd have more time and energy for gardening. I'd like to try at least garlic, onions and turnips.

Turnips would make great feed for your sheep in the winter too. With a little bit of threshing. I honestly wish I could be there just to set you up a garden.

I know it is an odd wish but I believe that everyone should have a garden to grow their own stuff. If you had the space a victorian styled kitchen would be perfect. Maybe a Scottish variety to cope with the temperature there.

Honestly I would set up several vegetable plots, a witches' garden, a few herb beds, a small orchard and maybe set up a small field of sugar beet or meadow grasses. But it is the amount of time to put into it. It would take me a year to set it up and up to 3 more years to see full results from it. But the sheer amount of food you can get from it, would be enough to feed you almost all year around, as well as feed your beasts in winter. I set one up before for an estate as part of a group. It was fun yet so hard. The worse bit was lining the beds with stones. We carried them by hand over an acre of land. then the trenching... best way to get manure into the ground but digging those lines took ages.

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