Weekend Coffee Share – Gratitude & Gardening

Welcome to the Weekend coffee share! Can I get you a cup of coffee? Or tea? How are you? Would you like to sit down at my balcony and enjoy a hot beverage with me? I’m thinking that you probably want to choose something hot to drink, it’s currently in the 40’s. We’ve had some really beautiful days this week, but it is definitely moving towards fall.  

After a rather intense week at work I decided to start the weekend by meditating about all the things I’m grateful for; my children, good health, healthy food, clean air, clean water, friends, a home, a job, access to great education, and living in a peaceful country made it to the top ten on my list. No news really, but I needed to remind myself a little extra this week. Working in a socioeconomically disadvantaged area is both challenging and immensely rewarding. 

I have spent time finishing the hügelkultur bed I’ve been working on at my garden plot. It’s a traditional way of building a very healthy garden bed from rotten logs/branches and plant debris. You usually build it in the fall, to be able to plant in the spring. (Some beds are left to decompose for several years.)

At the top of the beds there’s compost and soil. I’ve build the beds with branches from berry bushes, plant debris, and all the garden compost I accumulated this year. I will bury all my bokashi material from the winter, in the beds as soon as they thaw in the spring. At the very top I will add some more organic soil before planting. This will be a huge bed with several different sections, for different types of vegetables like squash (perhaps three sisters,) broccoli, spinage, chard, cabbage, carrots, and beets. 

I will take these covers aways before the snow comes, it is mainly there to keep the deer and rabbits away. They are very active this time of the year.

In the first few years, the heat-producing composting process warms the soil in a hügelbed, making the growing season longer. Something that is hugely beneficial here in Sweden. The decaying branches are a source of long-term, slow-release nutrients and they also help to keep excess nutrients from filtering into the groundwater. The wood becomes like a sponge that stores water to be released when needed. Hügelbed soil is self-tilling over time. As woody material breaks down, tiny air pockets open up, allowing air to reach the plant roots. My plan is to continuously feed my bed, and keep it highly productive for years to come. I’m planning on adding at least one big hügelbed at my garden plot every year. 

This is not all the gardening going on in my neck of the woods. Perhaps you noticed from the photo at the top that my balcony still has some veggies growing? The cabbage and broccoli is an experiment, and I am not sure that they will have enough time to get fully developed. I am going to plant them earlier next year. 

The celery keeps coming, even though I’ve been cutting it down many times. I love celery! I have some mint and oregano as companion plants to the celery. They seem to thrive together.

Last week I read a book written by a famous Swedish gardener, about winter gardening. I liked the book a lot! I am going to try three winter crops that she recommended, then again perhaps I got started to late this year, but I am going to try anyways. The crops are; winter portulak (miner’s lettuce,) spinage, and lambs lettuce (Lewiston corn salad or mâche.) I started them from seeds this week. I have the glass windows at the balcony closed 22hours/day at the moment, only opening for ventilation during the warmest hours in the afternoon. As it gets colder I will have them closed longer, only to ventilate when absolutely needed, and I will protect the pots from frost with non-woven fabric. When it gets really cold I will wrap the pots in old blankets as well, to insulate them. Growing your own food is so exciting! I want to keep expanding my garden/gardens a little bit every year.

Winter portulak (miner’s lettuce,) spinage, and lambs lettuce that I started in pots at my balcony this week.

On a completely different subject, tomorrow it’s election day in Sweden. The election have been the main topic for a long time. Segregation has become an increasing issue in Sweden these past few years, then there’s the energy crisis, rising costs of living, how to deal with the climate crisis, different views of how to prioritise education and healthcare. Lots to consider. It’s actually three elections all taking place tomorrow; it’s the closest area around the town where I live (like a city council,) the region, and the whole country. The region has a big responsibility when it comes to healthcare (among other things,) so it’s very important to vote in that election. I do feel that I have educated myself enough, and I am ready to vote. Hopefully good things will come from this election.

Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share. How is your week? What are you up to this weekend?

Love,

Maria

Published by Maria

It’s all about experiences, and the healing power of nature. Life is about choosing happiness. My gypsy soul have taken me to many different countries, and definitely taught me to be more humble. I believe that you are what you eat; mind, body and soul. I enjoy growing my own food, and spending time outdoors. I now reside in the region where I was born Dalarna, Sweden. I am a mom, a teacher, a minimalist and a gardener. Love, Maria

32 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share – Gratitude & Gardening

  1. You do a fabulous job with gardening, Maria! Impressive. I remember my mother’s compost pile and how it would have steam coming out of it in winter. I am glad that things have been so good for you and your family, moving home to Sweden was a great decision.

    What if I may ask is being segregated? That word reminds me of the school desegregation here many years ago. Las Vegas is getting rain from the outer bands of tropical storm Kay today and it’s much cooler which is great. Be well, my friend! 🙏🏻❤️🇸🇪

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kindness John. Gardening is definitely a passion, that only gets more and more interesting by the year.

      Perhaps there is a better way to explain what I meant with segregation in Sweden. I meant that the society isn’t equal, some people have a lot, and others are fighting to survive. It used to be more equal here, but several factors have made it unequal in many ways lately. It’s getting closer to how it is in in US.

      It’s wonderful that you are getting some well needed rain. No flooding I hope. Be well, and enjoy the rest of your weekend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nothing like having a garden project to keep us happy. 🙂 I’ll be interested in seeing how your winter garden comes along. I might be planting kale and beets soon. I’ve never tried fall sowing.
    We’re flying to see my CA son next week in Tahoe. Looking forward to visiting … it has been 3.5 years, way too long.
    Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly my thoughts! Best of luck with your kale and beets. I have both at the community garden plot. I checked on the beets and carrots earlier this week, they are still small, but they look promising.

      It sounds wonderful to visit your son in Tahoe, both seeing your family and enjoying one of the most beautiful places there is. Enjoy ❤ Have a fabulous week!

      Like

  3. Hi Maria,

    Sorry your week got so intense, but on a different note:
    I’ve noticed that wherever you go, green things tend to grow.
    And that, itself is a thing of beauty.

    Fires are again a big thing here.
    Did you hear that the town of Weed took a bad hit.
    Their “Mill” fire took out a whole neighborhood from right in town.
    So sad, Stay in touch with any of your friends back in N. Calif.

    Hope you have a quieter week ahead.
    Blessings

    Like

    1. Thank you for your kindness. Gardening is a great contributor to my happiness.

      I have a friend, a Swedish woman, living in Weed (CA.) She wrote about the fire a week ago, that it was really bad. After that I’ve been trying to find updates, but I haven’t seen any. She lives in the middle of town, I hope she’s alright. I should try to contact there again. Thanks for the reminder. The fires are so scary. I would probably visit NorCal often if it wasn’t for the fires. Stay safe. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

      Like

  4. Maria, Thank you for your weekend coffee share. Your garden is looking great. Practicing meditation and gratitude is an excellent way to manage stress and enjoy life. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Maria,
    Thank you for the wonderful coffee and the update of your gardening. You are so inspiring!! It is so fun to see what you are doing and the composting type thing you are doing is so cool. And thank you for explaining how it all works with the branches and stuff absorbing water and breaking down slowly giving off nutrients etc… FUN read!!! I enjoyed your smaller plants/veggies/herbs growing on your balcony too. Such a green thumb!

    Tomorrow (Sunday) my hubby and I are meeting my daughter at President Reagan’s Library. We’ve never been and they have a WWII exhibition that will leave soon. It’s been crazy weather here too. I’m behind on blogging, maybe tomorrow evening I can put something together. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe, thank you Diana. Your are most kind. The gardening projects brings me great happiness. I love that there is always more to learn. I am really interesting on learning more about permaculture and how to increase biodiversity.
      Enjoy the exhibition, library, and time with your daughter ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Maria, how interesting about the hügel bed, I didn’t know about this before but it sounds like you basically create a mini compost and then use it as a garden bed the year after? I like that idea. Winter gardening sounds very useful and could be interesting for me to look into as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that is the idea. Using very big logs that take a long time to break down is beneficial, as they last for years. I didn’t have access to big logs, but took the biggest branches I could find, and a lot of plant material. I’ve tried this many times before, in California it was super effective. I also had horses back then and added a lot of manure and straw to the bed. I am sure it could be most useful in your beautiful garden as well. Yesterday I added a lot of grass cuttings to the top of this bed. Next week I will add the last huge squash plant (turned into smaller pieces) to the pile. Best of luck with your garden 🙂

      Like

  7. All of the gardening work sounds great and I am sure in the long term rewarding. We have primaries on Tuesday – this is where we pick the candidates to run in November’s election.
    I hope you have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hope you share how your hügelbed turns out in the spring. I was considering building one at my last house, but then we moved to a city with a much smaller yard, so I’ve stuck with the traditional compost pile. I have done lasagna beds in a couple of different climates, and they worked really well. Similar principle as the hügelbed but without branches. Also self-tilling thanks to worm and other small critter activity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! Lasagna beds are wonderful as well, like you said, it’s a similar concept. I like the thought if reusing what you already have and improve the soil. Do you have a garden now?
      I hope you weekend was lovely! Have a wonderful new week!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a small garden now that mostly gets ignored in the summer because it’s too hot to do much more than water. OTOH I get to garden in January, so I shouldn’t complain.

        Hope you have a wonderful week too!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Maria – we don’t have the extremes of temperature here in Australia, but raised garden beds have become very popular since covid kept us all at home. My husband has just set a large one up in our backyard to start growing some vegetables as we head into Spring and Summer. He’s taken quite an interest in it all and I’m happy to leave it in his hands (I”m a terrible gardener!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so wonderful that your husband is setting up a garden! What are you planning to grow? I can only imagine the endless possibilities with your climate!

      Like

    1. Thank you! I promise to share the progress 🙂 I am excited about the project myself. I added more material to the bed this weekend, and will keep doing it.
      I hope your weekend was a great one! It’s Monday morning here and I am about to go to work. My turn to open the school today. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

    1. Thank you so much! Some climates require a little extra effort, that’s for sure. Honestly it’s easier to grow food here compared to Las Vegas, my last garden before moving to Sweden. The dry heat there made everything a great challenge, unless you wanted to grow cactus. California on the other hand with an almost perfect gardening climate was waaaay easier compared to Sweden. Everything I planted there grew fast and abundantly. There is a pleasure in working with what you have though. Best of luck with your gardening efforts. Have a great new week!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve seen a photo of a hugelkultur and I really like the of a really raised (lol) garden bed where one does not have to bend down to pick up vegetables. I also like how there can be more plants in a given area.

    Like

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