Spring garden tour

The garden is coming to life!

Spring must be the most exciting time of the year. After a winter of dormancy all of a sudden nature starts to wake up, each day there’s a new bird singing, a new flower blooming and a new bud unfolding.

This year is especially exciting for me. During autumn and even winter, I’ve been redesigning and preparing the garden. Just now I’m starting to see the fruits of my labour. I’m still a little nervous as this garden and climate are completely new to me and success is never guaranteed. But, I’m putting in a lot of love, I observe closely and am open to the feedback I receive from my garden so I can adjust where and when needed.

I made you a little video to walk you through the garden. Look:

  • The rainwater tank is in place & the compost bin is set up
  • There are two extra veggie beds & a little herb patch
  • The garlic & celery grew nicely throughout the winter
  • The young peas & onions are looking promising
  • The peach tree & blueberry bush are flowering
  • The daphne & camelias are smelling amazing
  • The calendula & lavender are full of life

New no-dig garden beds

Cardboard waiting to become veggie beds

Big pieces of cardboard started to appear in my life, perfectly shaped in the form of garden beds. I could not deny this ‘sign’ and had to make a couple of extra beds. The pieces of cardboard in the back used to hold our shower screen and the one in front used to be part of our ‘real’ bed. No-dig gardens, as the term suggests, is all about not digging. So if you want to start out a new garden on grass or a weedy patch all you have to do is to deprive the weeds of light. This way you can leave the ground undisturbed, the weeds die and the roots will slowly decompose in the ground providing nutrients and creating airy tunnels. You can use several pieces of cardboard, or plastic if you want. The principle remains the same, no light for the weeds.

Nice fluffy humus from the woods

Next, you’ll want to add a layer of compost or humus. As my own compost isn’t ready yet I went to the woods and got a couple of wheelbarrows full of nice fluffy humus. Truth be told, I also bought extra bags of compost to fill the beds and ended up using about 50/50 store-bought and locally sourced from the woods. The compost is being held in place by some wooden planks. Again, about 50/50 store-bought and locally sourced from the dump site.

The ‘woodchip’ pathway is approved

I also wanted a fancy woodchip pathway next to my garden beds. They provide extra moisture, create a fungi network, are easier to maintain than grass, are nice to walk on and just look nice. The cat agrees.

The same principle applies here, first a layer of cardboard to block out the light and then a layer of woodchips, or any other woody stuff. I used a load of dry sticks as that’s what I could easily find next to the local vineyard.

Such a small, yet big moment

Finally, the day came to start planting. Even though I had already sown and planted some winter vegetables, planting these little peas felt like a new beginning of this garden. I am overexcited and really celebrated this little moment. There’s truly no such rewarding and rebellious thing as gardening!

Almost enough for some chard pesto

Bye-bye plastics, bye-bye chemicals, bye-bye marketing & hello healthy and happy plants and meals!

The propagation of plants is yet another thing that fascinates me

Another small-big moment was planting my elderberry. I used to forage the flowers and berries, but there aren’t many elderberries nearby so I propagated some young sprouts and planted them in the garden. I’m looking forward to smelling the blossom and making, not only homemade, but also homegrown, elderberry juice. Super healthy stuff!

I always stock up a couple of bottles elderberry juice for the winter months

The citrus garden

The citruses we planted last autumn survived the winter, but aren’t looking too happy. They are planted close to our home, nicely protected, but the soil isn’t very healthy at the moment. It had been covered with root cloth for years with gravel on top and there was very little life in the ground. I wasn’t sure how to tackle this garden so I decided to wait and observe.

Came spring, came the ‘weeds’. When I got rid of the root cloth last autumn, the soil underneath was rock hard so I was surprised to see most weeds had fibrous roots instead of tap roots, indicating the soil is rather loose, not compact.

Adding plants equals adding life

After observing this piece of land for three seasons I figured it needed more plants and a ‘Mediterranean rock garden‘ would be best suited. So off I went to the woods again, my favourite shop in town, and back I came with sturdy grasses and succulents. I also added some horse manure and sown a thousand seeds.

With the abundant rainfall of last season, the liberation of the root cloth and the extra love I can’t wait to see the full glory of this garden.

Home improvements

Besides the garden, we’ve been quite busy with the house itself. Since we envisioned a debt-free life we bought a home without a mortgage. We knew we had to do some hard work in the first years, but it’s worth it. We’ve repainted the facade, made sun screens, installed rain gutters and are currently working on the big water deposits.

Our house is heated only with a wood stove and we only use wood from fallen trees and never cut a live one. So, a lot of time is also going into sourcing, chopping and curing wood for the stove. Sourcing wood is one thing, storing is yet another thing so we’re also working on a woodshed.

Let me know if you’d like to see more about the home and the little-big improvements we’re making. Or, do you prefer another recipe? Can’t promise when the next post will be written, but I definitely look forward to sharing more.

‘Till then lovelies!

8 thoughts on “Spring garden tour

  1. It all looks wonderful, you’ve worked so hard! It must be exciting to see your new garden taking shape with the promise of all that good food to come. I couldn’t agree more about the rebellious nature of growing your own food, it’s satisfyingly subversive to pick dinner from the garden without the need to rely on anyone or anything else, especially done in a way that treads lightly on the earth. I’m happy to be that rebel! Keep sharing, Marita ~ I’m always inspired and uplifted by what you do. 😊


    1. What a great way to start my day reading your lovely comment. Thanks a lot.

      Yes we’ve been busy, hence it’s been so silent from my side. I think everything is more or less set up and in place now, so there will be time to write & to read soon ☺️


  2. I added a comment to this post but nothing appeared so sorry if I’m about to repeat myself . . . It’s all looking wonderful, you’ve worked so hard! It must be exciting to see your new garden taking shape with the promise of all that good food to come. I couldn’t agree more with the idea of growing food as being rebellious, there is something satisfyingly subversive about picking dinner from the garden without the need to rely on anyone or anything else, especially when done in a way that treads lightly on the earth. I’m happy to be that rebel! Please keep sharing, Marita ~ I’m always inspired and uplifted by what you do. 😊


  3. Hi Marita, somehow I wonder why gardening, or better, growing your own food, is rebellious? In a way it might be because one is rebelling against common practices (buying at the supermarket), funny: I had to search for the translation ‘zich afzetten tegen’ and indeed, the word rebellion comes up. And gosh, it is such a fascinating and BIG feeling to be able to grow your own food (not all, but a lot still!)

    I can not get over the joy of cooking each day a meal that is like haute cuisine (Ottolenghi for me, that is) and comes from my own patch. I agree with you, growing your own food is liberating! Is rebellious!

    Enjoyed reading your post : )


    1. Yes, we’re rebels, refusing to work and buy more. Instead, we grow and cook more! 😉

      Your okra and buckwheat have been germinated wonderfully and since I have given permission to use the plot next to our house I’ve sown your pumpkin seeds and some extra okras as well. Thank you so much for the exchange!


      1. Nicely said. Refusing to work is a luxury (a daring move) and the fact that I still work very hard but on my own terms makes me eat more and better than ever before, plus, I feel I am threading much more lightly on earth.

        Great that the okra already show life. Here it is still cold and nothing much happens yet with these seeds. For pumpkins and buckwheat it is way too early here. I am smiling that you did ask permission to extend your growing.

        I loved our exchange too.

        p.s. the nigella seeds shows tiny sprouting in the greenhouse.


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