radicaal ecologisch

Op het vlierveld proberen we radicaal ecologisch te werken.

Dit houdt in:

  • Minimaal gebruik van fossiele brandstoffen
  • Optimale stimulatie van biodiversiteit

 

Fossiele brandstoffen:

Heel ons leven wordt voortgestuwd door fossiele brandstoffen.

Terug te vinden in materiaal, transport, huishoudelijk verbruik, voeding,… .

bijv.: een auto verbruikt niet enkel benzine tijdens het rijden maar bijv. ook tijdens de productie van die auto ( dit kan je doortrekken tot het verbruik van de benzine van de auto voor woon-werk-verkeer van de werknemer van de toeleverancier van de autofabriek) en bij het aanleggen van wegen, het bouwen van een carport,… .

Hoe proberen wij dit te minimaliseren:

zo weinig mogelijk transport, enkel auto of traktor gebruiken als het te groot, te zwaar of te ver is voor de fiets.

eigen opkweek van planten.

Recuperatie van materialen, er wordt gigantisch veel weggegooid dat nog perfect bruikbaar is, hierop inspelen zorgt ervoor dat we minder materiaal moeten aankopen en dat er dus ook minder geproduceerd moet worden.

Geen mechanische bewerking van het land, alles met de hand, spierkracht is hernieuwbaar maar spijtig genoeg niet onuitputbaar.

Biodiversiteit:

Het aantal insecten in europa is in 30 jaar tijd afgenomen met 75%. Onder andere door de landbouw. Wij proberen de natuur te integreren en stimuleren op het veld.

Aanplanten van inheemse hagen en bomen om insecten en vogels aan te trekken.

Zaden teelt, trekt veel insecten, planten doorlopen heel hun levenscyclus, staan langer op het land, bieden langer beschutting en zijn betere waardplanten.

Onzichtbaar maar onze bodem zit ook vol leven. Niet ploegen, bodem verbeteren door gebruik van compost met veel koolstof ( aanmaak humus).

gewasversterking maar geen gewasbescherming, we maken onze planten weerbaar door het creëren van een goede diverse bodem en het toevoegen van lavagruis voor extra mineralen, maar we beschermen onze planten niet (enkel tegen vorst), niet op een chemische manier (bijv. pyrethum), biologische (bijv. bacteriën die bepaalde insecten doden) of mechanische (bijv. afdekken met gaas).

enkele van de vele gevolgen:

Een prachtig veld ten eerste maar ook enkele minder “aangename” gevolgen.

Alles is gigantisch arbeidsintensief, er zit zoveel energie in fossiele brandstoffen dat elke liter die we niet verbruiken veel extra arbeid vraagt. bijv. eigen opkweek planten: maken van een warme bak ( 20m³ paardenmest de serre inschuppen en achteraf terug buiten schuppen) maken van eigen compost, potjes en bakken volschuppen, potjes en bakken verzetten, water geven, wieden (eigen compost heeft onkruidzaden), beschermen met een plastiekje tegen de vorst, uitplanten. aankoop van planten: bestellen, betalen, laten leveren, uitplanten, water geven. veel rapper en gemakkelijker maar wel een veel grotere ecologische impact (opgekweekt met turf in een verwarmde serre, vervoer) .

Een rommeltje, recuperatie van materiaal betekent ook opslag en gesjouw met materiaal en dus ook regelmatig rommel.

Groenten zijn soms aangevreten, ze worden niet beschermd want bescherming tegen 1 iets heeft ook effect op anderen. bijv. de minst invasieve bescherming zijn netten zodat bijv de wortelvlieg niet tot bij de wortels kan vliegen, daar geen eitjes kan leggen en de larven niet aan de wortel kunnen eten zodat wij minder werk hebben in de keuken om wortels te kuisen. productie van een plastiek net vraagt energie en als’t kapot is wordt het weggegooid. maar niet enkel de wortelvlieg geraakt niet meer op het bed met die wortels ook heel veel andere insecten worden tegengehouden. verbruik van fossiele energie, afval en minder biodiversiteit.

Minder productie en minder rappe productie. Groenten groeien trager maar sterker door de goede bodemstructuur, eigen opkweek kan nooit zo snel zijn als opkweek met turf en in een verwarmde serre, veel ruimte wordt gebruikt voor ecologische elementen: 1/7 voor haagkant, 1/7 voor zaadteelt, 1/7 voor vaste borders. dit komt neer op 3/7 van het veld dat niet gebruikt wordt voor directe productie (is wel indirect gelinkt aan de productie)

niet ecologische toegevingen:

halen van paardenmest bij buur met traktor

serres

vliesdoek

waterput en pomp

Wat kunnen bezoekers/plukkers toevoegen

kom met de fiets ( het grootste verbruik van transport zit in de laatste kilometers)

leer leven met rommel en aangevreten groenten, bedenk tijdens het kuisen ervan dat wij ook meer werk hadden aan het kweken.

seed saving

i hope i will go crazy with seedsaving the coming year.

so besides the seeds i normally harvest like cornsalad, silantro, mustard, rocket, salad, spinach, chervil, beans and peas. i’m going to try to harvest vroege mechelse bloemkool (a local very early cauliflower), leak (mix of different varieties that i seeded last year), springonion (ishikuro), carrot nantes, beetroot cylindra.

At the communal garden we planted 9 different varieties of kales for seeds. they will mix and we might get a crazy kale mix :-).

I also checked about pumpkins/zucchini’s and crossbreeding. i’ve always been harvesting my own pumpkin seeds but stories go that they will crossbreed with zucchinni’s.  so i checked it and it depends of the species. a cucurbitae pepo will normally not crossbreed with a cucurbitae maxima for example. although i suppose that this might rarely happen (if it happens i will treasure it, at least if the taste of the offspring is ok). these stories exist because some pumpkins are from the C. pepo species, which makes that they will crossbreed with the zucchini from the C. pepo species.

so, C. Pepo: zucchini ola escaladora , C. maxima pumpkin hokkaido green and orange mixed, C. Moschata butternut pumpkin, C. ficifolio vijgenbladpompoen, name i forgot cucuzzi (an edible gourd) won’t crossbreed with eachother, thus i can take seeds of all of them. it’s a pity i can’t plant spaghetti pumpkins because they are C. pepo. but hey, 5 different “pumpkins” and being able to take seeds of them, not bad!

But melons (not watermelons) and cucumers are both cucumis melo, so they can crossbreed, thus i won’t take seeds of them.

most vegetables are annuals or bisannuals which means that they will make flowers in their first year or second. So i have to plan already which seeds of the bisannuals i would like to harvest next year. here they are: leak, springonion, yellow beetroot, kohlrabi, parsnip, carrot amsterdamse bak and daikon.

potatoes, is a different thing. you normally don’t take seeds of them but keep a couple of potatoes, this makes that they are genetically identical to the mother potato. with seeds you will get a mix of the properties of the father and the mother. i keep some potatoes from last year and plant them again. this year i kept corne de gatte a very old and very tasty potatoe from wallonnie and sapro mira, a very strong communist potatoe. maybe i will buy some carolus potatoes because apparently they’re also very strong and tasty.

herbs, i harvest some seeds from thym, salvia and basil.

tomatoes, i’ve got a lot of different tomatoseeds, most of them without a name because i’m too lazy.

there is so much more to mention about seeds.

aha, selection: basically you have 2 types of selection: positive selection and negative selection. positive selection means that you go through your crops and say i choose you, you and you, because of this or that trait. negative selection means that you go through your crops and say i don’t choose you, you and you because of… .

it seems very similar but it isn’t. i think that with positive selection you will really narrow down the genetical pool based on your personal taste. while with the negative selection you will keep a broader genetical pool, thus more chances of survival in the long run, more diversity.

on what do i select? first of all i let nature select, a harsh winter going over the winterspinach will kill the weak ones. besides that i mostly only take those plants out that go to seed too fast. but i have to say that for example my purple beans aren’t so long, tender and narrow anymore as they were in the first generation, maybe i should have taken out the chubby ones. same with the beetroot cylindra, i didn’t take out the ones that were more round than cylindrical, i can see they start to become also more round, or at least have more round ones in their population.

WARNING: watch out that you don’t select without acknowledging this, for example harvesting your nicest looking salads and let the rest go to seed.

A last remark, i preseeded some kohlrabi’s 2 weeks ago and there were 40 seeds in a bag of 2,5 euro’s and offcourse seedsavers should also make a living but they shouldn’t exaggerate! this pushes me a bit to make a lot more seeds myself. offcourse we will see how much time i will have to manage their harvest this summer 🙂

 

GARDENPLAN

 

An excel about what to seed and where. sorry it’s in dutch.

zaaiplan2

there is still a little bit of blank space, this is for leafy green things like spinach, silantro,…

every column is a vegetable bed of 2meters wide and about 20 to 25 meters long Most of the time i seed or plant 8 lines of which 4 of one kind and 4 of another kind of vegetables. i think that D3B3 and D4B3 exceptions are, here i will make blocks of the same vegetables because it’s easier to harvest their seeds (to not mix the seeds).

and offcourse this is just an idea, things will change during the season, depending on the situation. like weather conditions, quality of the soil in a particular vegetable bed, weedpressure, time a crop takes to mature,… .

the space for flowers isn’t mentioned in this excel. but they are important for soil quality and biodiversity of insects.

 

organic vs non organic

My thoughts about this blogpost:

https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/11/15/organics-v-conventional-v-gmos-debate-grows-farm-yields-sustainability/

It’s an interesting article and goes a it beyond the organic is good, no conventional is good, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no discussion.

It’s not at all in favor of organic and i do agree partly.

I like the idea of non organic agriculture with a full toolbox and organic with a limited toolbox. If you’re a non organic farmer you can choose your practices as you personaly think is the best in your situation at your place, as an organic farmer you’re already restricted from the beginning. So theoretically a non organic farmer can be as environmantally bad or good as he wishes. practically there is a lot of lobbying and economic pressure, so most farmers(non organic and organic) choose money above ecology.

a nice example to think about: It’s spring and you have a field with a nice cover crop, deeprooting plants together with leguminous plants, making an awesome soil with a good structure. perfect to start your vegetable season. there is just one little problem. the plants are still alive.

you have a limited amount of options

  • spray it with round up, push it down, direct seed through the cover, keep the awesome soil structure, keep a layer of dead plants to cover the soil and protect it from rain, sun,…, but you used an herbicide.
  • plow it, nice new field, a lot of potential food for your plants but fucked soil structure, no cover against rain, sun, wind but no herbicide.
  • cover it with plastic, plant through the plastic (only possible on small scale, cover of the soil against weather, no weeds in between plants, good soil structure, but micro plastics in soil?, leakage of other chemicals used in the plastics?

Which is the best option? honestly no idea, BUT an organic farmer can’t choose the first option. so he is limited to decide himself which would be the best solution.

next:

the yield gap, this is the biggest argument pro non organic agriculture. there is a difference in yield between organic and non organic, which is somewhere between 10 and 50 percent depending on the study and the crop.

to be clear this is about the harvest per hectare, or in small famrs per m², not the harvest per energy spend or per time spend. which gives different results but that’s another topic.

i can’t deny this, organic does produce less food.

permaculturists claim to produce up to 75 times more than conventional farmers, i would like to see a field/forest/whatever that can do that. people who claim this are stupid or lying.

so the argument goes like this: if all the land was organic then we would need 20 to 50 percent more land to feed everybody, which means that we have to cut down large pieces of nature. oh no, don’t cut down the nature, just spray the rest of the land dead.

Maybe, it’s just an idea, we can make sure to not throw away half of the food in western countries and, very important, eat less meat. At the same time we can augment the yields in developping countries with good agroecology practices.

So more life in the fields, hedges that connect the nature, good soil life, carbon sequestration in the soil, happy, healthy people and not starving to death, i think it’s possible.

By the way organic is allowed to use a lot of chemicals as long as they’re “natural”. so an organic unconcious money driven farmer can do as much harm to his fields and surroundings as a conventional unconcious… farmer.

 

vegetable boxes

i’m doing vegetable boxes besides the harvest it yourself system.

it’s interesting because it pushes me to try to get the maximum out of it in terms of diversity.

the first box is next monday. the first of may.

getting diversity in autumn isn’t so difficult, but getting diversity in spring, specially something with a bite is quite difficult.

so to get some nice vegetables in may:

  • sugar snap peas: grown in the greenhouse, seeded somewhere in january. i took a low growing kind that i seeded quite dense in a soil full of vegetable seeds of last year, so they’re wrapping themselves around the plants that are there, no need to put a fence or something like that.
  • rhubarb: nothing to do, it’s perennial.
  • leek: from last year
  • warmoes: from last year and new ones nin the greenhouse, self seeded.
  • radish: seeded outside half of march (i got some in the greenhouse in the beginning of april, seeded 17 february)
  • turnip: preseeded i forgot when, planted in the greenhouse and they will start to be ready the first of may.
  • carrots: seeded 17 february in greenhouse, they will probably be ready end of may.
  • springonion: seeded 17 february, i can probably start harvesting half of may.
  • fresh garlic: planted outside in october, ready to harvest end of april.
  • koolrabi: preseeded somewhere in february, planted in greenhouse beginning of april, ready to harvest hopefully end of may, beginning of june.
  • rucola, salad, spinach, mustardleaf, silantro,…  leafy greens: seeded in august/september /october for harvest in the winter early spring, seeded in february/march/april/may for harvest in spring/beginning of summer. regulalry seed them to regularly harvest them, better 10 times a little bit than twice a lot.
  • cauliflower: planting in august of walcheren winterbloemkool to harvest in may.

i think next year i can get earlier carrots/springonion by seeding them in january. and very early springonions by seeding them in august/september.

maybe preseeding koolrabi on a heated raised bed (see another post) in january might give them beginning/half of may.

for next year i’m also going to try to get pointy cabbage in the greenhouse over the winter to get them very early in spring. seeding them somewhere end of september.

same with romanesco and why not trying it with koolrabi.

I have to pay attention that i don’t get a hole in my production in june, because of trying to be very early and forgetting to be normal.

 

balance between chaos and order

i’m going towards more order in the field, because it’s easier to maintain. so i don’t put 20 different plants on 1 raised bed anymore. besides that i try to get more diversity in the hedge, with berry plants and herbs/flowers, so the chaos is somewhat restricted to the edge of the field but not thrown out.

2 maximum 3 different plants on a raised bed.

i’m wondering what the effect will be in terms of health, do i have to pay more attention to rotation? or will the health of the soil in combination with a lot of flowers and a wild hedge be enough to rebalance the pests. i will probably get the answer in a couple of years.

although i already pay more attention to rotation than last year, not too strict, but i have a scheme, but let’s say that a vegetable bed where i planned to seed carrots isn’t ready in time and another where i planned beans is perfect at the moment i want to seed carrots, i change and fuck up the rotation 🙂

full on in spring

it’s a while ago i posted something. so a small update.

the field is bigger, my way of managing it changed also, a bit less intensive, less mixed, less work per square meter.

more on nice and straight lines, gertrude franck system but a bit different.

pictures will follow one of the next days.

just 2 to brag, the harvest of 2 april for the connect conference at the steinerschool.

and the most awesome transportation vehicule.

Land use

some numbers and some google maps pictures.

the left picture is before something happened, when everything was quietly and grassy, the right picture is the field in the spring of 2015. so we can see the greenhouse, the beginning of vegetable field next to it, the dark green is the rye and the blue black white thing is plastic to put pumpkins on. now it looks already different, this year the place where the rye was, are also vegetables and where the plastic was, there was rye (harvested in june)and potatoes and now it’s also raised beds.

i keep on expanding slowly.

general design of the place:

veld-lente-2015design

the greenhouse is 35m by 7,5m and the cultivated field is 95m by 28 m

the fruittrees and bushes divide the big field in 6 smaller ones of about 15m by 24m
which makes 31 raised beds of 2m wide and 24m long (with 50 cm paths) of which 25 vegetable beds and 6 fruit, berry a,d herbs beds (i forgot one next to the bottem hedge on the image). between the green house and the first fruittrees there are 3 beds with nylon of 1m20.

 

numbers of this year, beginning of summer:

  • total area 2700m² + 1000m² of pumpkin field.
  • 260 m²(10%) of greenhouse.of which 220m² vegetables and 40 m² kitchen and others.
  • 750m² (27%)of vegetables
  • 360m² (13%)of potatoes
  • 800m² (29%)of rye
  • 250m² (9%)(of fruittrees, berrybushes, herbs and flowers)
  • 1000m² of pumpkins on plastic on the field below the bottom road and a total disaster
  •  585m² (21%)of roads (225m² big path, 360m² paths in between beds) part of this came after the rye harvest.

 

possibilities for next year:

next year the whole field will be divided in 31 raised beds, so i will distribute the imaginative vegetation over the beds instead of in m². this is a very rough division and the main crops for the summer/autumn. other crops will be squeezed in between, because i almost never put 1 crop per bed.

  • total 31
  • 6 fruit, berrys and herbs
  • 3 winterwheat
  • 3 quinoa
  • 3 summer biomass production
  • 2 potatoes
  • 4 cabbages
  • 2 onion and carrot
  • 2 beetroot and carrot
  • 3 beans
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 sweet corn
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 celeriac

so that’s already 32 beds and i only have 31, aiaiaiaiai.

i restrict the wheat, quinoa and potatoes to 8 beds because they are mostly for home consumption, the wheat and quinoa provide also biomass(mostly carbon), so together with the 3 biomass beds (probably sunflower and hemp) and the hedge it makes that almost 30% of the field is for biomass, to fuel the compost pile and in this way the fertility of the soil.