Weekend Coffee Share – some green dreams

Welcome to the Weekend coffee share! Can I get you a cup of coffee? Tea? How are you you doing? 

I have a few fun things related to my goal of a more sustainable life to share with you this week. We received another box of 11 kg/24 lbs organic oranges from our adopted tree in the CrowdFarming project. So yummy! I have some stored at the kitchen counter, to encourage the kids to have av healthy snack, I refill them daily. The rest I store at the top shelves of the fridge.

I received an email earlier this week telling me ”We would like to welcome you on board the INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment (CSE) and thank you for registering.” (I wrote about the project here.) YES! This is going to be so much fun! I will get the bean seeds for the experiment in March, which is a perfect time to get started here.

On Thursday I received some valuable feedback of the research overview I’ve written for the upcoming research I wish to do about improving practices of teaching sustainability in kindergarten. I still have some details that needs adjusting before handing in my final contribution, but I am much closer to my goal, and excited to get started. 

This week I’ve also enjoyed some most inspiring gardening videos. I’m trying to learn more about food forests. I have a five year plan for my garden, adding some perennials, and some new garden beds every year. If you are familiar to gardening, my approach is a multi-layered garden. Sort of like a mini food forest, with the canopy layer already provided slightly outside my plot. A food forest mimics a natural forest where a variety of plants grow together in a diverse ecosystem. By modelling this concept in the garden, plants grouped together complement each other, and take advantage of microclimates in the garden, it increases biodiversity and ensure healthy soil and plants. This year I am going to plant a couple fruit trees as a part of an understory layer. I am thinking of 2-3 apples trees, as they thrive in my area. When they mature they will help to serve as a windbreak for my garden beds. I already have a wonderful shrub layer (mostly a large variety of different berry bushes,) part of it was established before my time, and I’ve pruned the existing vegetation and added more variety to it. In the spring I’m adding some gorgeous Oriental Poppy Plants to my herbaceous layer, to attract bees and butterflies. One of my gardening neighbours gave me some seed from her flowers by the end of last season. In the rhizosphere layer you’ll find vegetables like carrots, parsnip, and beets. For my ground cover I am going to plant a lot of strawberries this summer. The vertical layer this year will be different varieties of beans.

These are the common layers of a food forest:

1. Canopy layer – big trees (nut/fruit)

2. Understory layer – smaller fruit trees.

3. Shrub layer – berry bushes

4. Herbacous layer – culinary and medicinal plants

5. Rhizosphere layer – root crops

6. Ground cover layer – edible plants/living mulch

7. Vertical layer – climbing vines

You don’t have to have all layers to qualify as a food forest, but usually a food forest have at least three of these layers (often one or two fruit trees, a ground cover, and a herbaceous layer.) I am by no means an expert on this subject, it’s more like reading/watching videos and then going outside and practice ”learning by doing”. My garden plot is a great place for experimenting, and perfect for now. Eventually I do want to create a larger food forest, and become more self-sufficient. 

How is your week so far? Have a wonderful rest of your weekend! Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share.

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 minimalist and a gardener. I'm also a kindergarten teacher with a dream of improving practices of teaching sustainability in kindergarten. To be able to engage in educational research I am working on my Degree of Master of Science, Main Field of Study: Educational Work. Love, Maria

19 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share – some green dreams

  1. Permaculture makes a lot of sense going forward. What beans did you order? I’ve raised Jacob’s Cattle beans, which are a lovely reddish-brown and white, similar to kidney beans. It was fun to do, but I realized I would need an acre to grow enough for a family!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Indeed it does. I do not know what type of beans I will grow yet. I don’t know if get to select them myself, or if they select. I’ll get more information in March. All I know is that the beans I do get are sent from Italy 🙂
      I’ve never tried growing Jacob’s Cattle beans, but I’ve seen the seeds sold as a “heritage crop” here in Sweden. Heritage crops are especially encourage crops that are very suitable for our climate and/or have been grown here for a long period of time (often many hundreds of years). I’ve broad beans/fava bean here with good results. I am going to grow some this year as well, even if they are not part of the study. I like that they require very little maintenance to thrive!
      I hope all is well in your world my friend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maria, Congrats on getting invited to be part of the INCREASE CSE! Your 5-year plan for your garden looks great and it will be fun to experiment and grow your garden. Thank you for your weekend coffee share.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Red is my favorite color. I like your red coffee cup. I would take my coffee with cream & sugar this morning please. The bean growing project sounds interesting. We like different kinds of beans but have only ever grown green beans in the garden. I hope you share your experience with the bean growing along the way with us. The food forest way of gardening is also interesting, growing things in layers. I would be concerned that the bottom layers wouldn’t get enough sun. I tried growing tomatoes to rise up & flowers on the bottom in a container garden. It seemed the tomato plant took all the water & sun. The flowers didn’t do good & the tomato produced lots of cherry tomatoes. We call them tommy-toes. Kevin likes oranges & I like apples. Kevin likes to make applesauce when we have opportunity to get quite a few apples at one time. He will make a large pot of applesauce then we freeze it. We have also made apple butter in the crockpot. We have one apple tree where we currently live that produces by annual. The tree seems very old & parts of it has died. Kevin has trimmed it but seems every spring more of the tree is dead as the leaf buds & blooms start appearing. It’s difficult to get new trees started here because the deer will eat them up. #Weekendcoffeeshare

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I love the occasional vivid colour splash of red. My living room couch is the same red colour.

      When you grow things vertically in layer it’s essential to choose produce/plants that wants less sun as the bottom layer. The most successful companions to tomatoes that I’ve tried is: garlic, lettuce/leafy greens and herbs like basil and thyme. I really enjoy experimenting with those kind of things. Tomatoes is a risky thing to grow outdoors without a greenhouse here, the summers are short. Sometimes it works, if you start them indoors, sometimes it’s still not enough sun. I’m planning on only doing a couple containers at the balcony this year, no tomatoes at the garden plot.

      I love making applesauce! It’s something my mom and my grandma always did. I do every chance I get my hand on some apples.

      Have aw wonderful week, and thank you for your lovely company 🙂

      Like

    1. Thank you! So happy you enjoyed it! I might make some marmalade. I made orange sorbet for dessert after our Sunday dinner this weekend. The whole family also eats a lot of fresh fruit. I highly encourage the kids to eat several fruits a day, we go through a lot of fruit every week. Those oranges will be eaten, one way or another 🙂 Thank you for the visit. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Maria,
    Yep – I’m late again, but I wanted to stop by and see what I missed this last weekend.
    I’m so glad you got into the bean project. I predict some good articles will come from it.
    I’m also intrigued by the thought of a food-forest.
    Here, my mulch pile for this past season has once again turned into an accidental garden.
    I have both onions and potatoes sprouting. I think they like all the coffee grounds and tea leaves that I throw in most days.
    What does your studies say about coffee and tea for a garden. For us, it represents a lot of plant material and it makes no sense to me to put it into the garbage.
    Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Coffee and tea in the compost, and in the garden is wonderful with all the added minerals (nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and chromium.)

      Like

  5. Congratulations on getting into the program! 5-year plan?! I have a yard and I am hoping to get something viable in my yard. Right now I have a tree and couple of shrubs that are thriving but as always, I want more lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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