They’re growing in february overhere in western Europe, and allover the Northern Hemisphere: Snowdrops! These pretty little white flowers are usually the prelude to early spring. They are also known to stand firm in the last snow of winter as well. Their little snowwhite bells hanging like drops, hence their name. Some countries have already had their fair share of winter. While others, such as the Netherlands, had no snow at all, or very little. Do you think winter will still come? We just never know for sure, because well, snowdrops!

The Green Plan

Thus when it’s this time of year when we still can’t do much on our plots of land, wouldn’t it be a good moment to contemplate on the coming spring? That is wat many vegetable gardeners do when spring is near. Or, one might even want to contemplate on one’s (future) Family Domain! This is what this article is about, to be more precise, a contemplation regarding the green plan. BTW, if you’re in the southern hemisphere, this might be for you too. Just contemplate for your green plan on your next season!

The idea behind the green plan is outlined on this website, and also refers to the Anastasia book series. In those are guidelines, and one thereof is to plant a green living fence around every family domain. This domain has the size of a hectare, your two and a half acres. Also there should be a quart hectare forest on every Family Domain, which is half of an acre forest.

The Other Half Hectare

Now the question is what to do with the remaining part of the ground? It is up to every family. Let’s say that a quart hectare or half an acre is destined for the homestead with vegetable garden, and probably some stables for lifestock. Then there’s still the other half of the hectare, to be precise, the one and half acres to ponder on what to do with it. The destination of this other half terrain is also part of your green plan. What would you do with it?

Taking Control Of The Land

On the internet one can read that some pioneers who were establishing their family domains in Russia or other countries, encountered some difficulty after the initial phase of establishing. They had to build their house or their temporary accomodation (prior to buiding their house), they had planted a green living fence around the terrain as well as a quart hectare or half an acre of forest. All in all that was a lot of work to do.

For some families there was simply no time nor funds left, to handle the other three-quarters of the terrain. So most of the site was overgrown with weeds. Those were demanding to deal with, as some weeds can be really invasive. They will overgrow everything and some are deeply rooted as well. Even snowdrops multiply, although they are often seen near trees. But nevertheless, those are a lovely sight to behold!

Plan in Advance

Pondering on this, we might want to conclude that more planning is needed besides building the house, the living green fence and the half an acre of forest. We also might want to take into consideration the remaining terrain. What to do with the other half of the hectare, those 1.5 acres? First of course a decision is to be made what one aims for. Will it be cultivated as meadow for cattle to graze on, or would you want to grow a certain crop on it? When your choice is for the latter, than your next questions might be, what crops? Once you have contemplated what you would love to grow, than more questions will pop up, such as:

How To Grow Crops?

It is important to know that most of the work goes into ‘constructing’ good fertile soil. Constructing here means that you have to make sure that the conditions of the soil are right for the crops to grow in. Especially when year after year crops are grown on the same land, the soil gets depleted of nutrients. Thus one has to study the quality of the soil, and then one needs to learn how to nourish the soil and crops as well.

The plants do not only need nutrition, but enough water supply as well. Have you considered water management, such as storage of rain water needed when there’s prolongued draught? But there must be also good drainage in periods of heavy rainfall. Do you have an irrigation system installed, or something you can work with manually if you have to? To water two acres manually with a watering can every other day is kind of labour-intensive.

Next, what crops are suitable for the climate you’re in? And where to get good quality seeds, e.g. seeds which grow plants that’ll produce the same quality seeds for the next year? Those are some questions that ideally are answered in advance. Thus shall we start with the seeds, where any growth of a plant begins?

Quality Seeds

Nowadays there are four types of seeds:

– Open-Pollinated seeds
– Heirloom seeds
– Hybrid seeds
– Genetically modified seeds

The first two are your best options! The latter two you might not want to use if you want the green bio-sphere on your plot of land to be able to reproduce itself, so you can harvest good quality seeds from part of your own produce, to be stored and used for the next growing season. Here’s a little explanation:

– Open-Pollinated seeds
Open pollinated seeds have resulted from the natural pollination of the parent plant or tree, thus by self-pollination usually through the wind, or by birds and bees and some other insects. Ideally in nature, the plant produced from the collected seeds will be very similar to the parent plant and display the same characteristics. By the way, this is the way nature is intended to function.

– Heirloom seeds
These are seeds from plants or trees that have been grown over many generations and have thus a long history, being passed down through multiple generations within a family or community, or which grow in certain regions where the plants and trees have resided in a natural habitat unaltered for ages, and thus have also regenerated themselves all this while.

Nowadays commercial heirloom seeds may be sold when the plants have been cultivated and saved for at least the past fifty years. These seeds can be saved by the gardener each season and planted during the next growing season. Many of those commercial heirloom seeds have been grown for generations within the same families, usually in countries where there are still many traditional farmers or unaltered natural habitats.

Technically, seeds from crafted heirloom trees are not heirloom seeds. This is because crafting trees over many generations alters the natural selection through the creational forces of ‘fatherhood’ and ‘motherhood’ combined. Basically, without the natural proces of multiplying through seeds, the seeds from the fruits of crafted trees such as apple trees, are clones with less genetic strength although the tree grown from a crafted branch will produce the same apples as the parent tree.

– Hybrid seeds
Hybrid seeds have been crossed in the breeding stage with a special selection of the species. This is to create certain results. Factors such as color, enlarged fruits or nuts, or the size of the plant can all play a role in the choices made by the grower to cross certain plants with each other. So this is not a natural selection where the wind or birds or bees determine the ‘plant partners’ for reproduction. Plants of hybrid seeds might be great plants with a good quality yield, however the seeds they produce will give a different and unpredictable quality plants next year, as the artificial cross pollination only goes so far. Nature’s selection is always best!

– Genetically modified seeds
By genetically altering the seeds, the plants growing from them might be strong and nice to look at, they might be ‘disease resistant’ and all of that, but they won’t produce the same quality seeds for the next season. They even might not germinate at all, and thus one has to buy new seeds every year.

Manual Labor & Help From Machines

Then, did you know there are different systems to actually grow and maintain the crops? Less than 100 years ago, farming families plowed the land using horse and cart, after which the land was sown with seeds or, for example, was planted with potatoes. But Nowadays? Farmers who manage many acres (sometimes up to fourty acres, or even hundreds of acres), use machines to take over much of the physical work. On the scale of one hectare however, thus two and a half acres, does one need such equipment? Not necessarily, one is actually able to do most of the work manually. But even 2 1/2 acres require good planning for preparation of the land, which also depends on the pre-existing situation of vegetation found on the plot, as well as the quality of the soil, water management, etcetera.

Organic Fertilizer

Next, one might also want to ponder in advance on what fertilizers to use on the crops once the ground is prepared. Did you know that nowadays there are systems for organic farming, where no artificial fertilizers are used? The organic fertilizer the organic farmers use is derived from plants.

– Organic Fertilizer Plants
Some of these farmers even grow their natural organic fertilizers on their land. So how do they do that? The farmers chose certain plants that are suitable for that purpose. Often times these ‘fertilizer plants’ root deeply in the soil and are able to pull more minerals from it. The deep roots also absorb oxygen and thus bring the oxygen deeper into the soil as a result of which making the soil looser with a lighter texture. This type of ground is more suitable to grow plants and crops.

Next, these deep rooting fertilizer-plants are cut down at their base, and before they grow seeds. But why is this? Most of the nutrition is still in the plant, its stem and leaves. Once the plant starts to develop seeds, part of its nutrition will collect in the seeds. And it is the nutrition that you want, to make your fertizer with, in this case. Also, if you use fertilizer plants with seeds then these seeds might sprout and grow plants where you do not want them.

The clipped fertilizer plants are deposited on the ground and draped around the base of tree trunks and plants. Those are the trees and crops that’ll be growing fruits, nuts or for instance proteïn rich beans, potatoes or pumpkins. Over time the deposited fertilizer-plants will decay and give of their nutrients to soil, the trees and crops. Some of these plants can also be used to feed chickens and lifestock.

– Chop and Drop
Have you heard of permaculture techniques? One technique is to prune or clip plants or to chop off branches from shrubs or trees when these are outgrown, and then simply let the plant material drop to the ground. But is it allowed to remain there? Yes, this organic material of branches and plant debris breaks down over time and supplies the soil with nutrients. So it is a true cycle of nature to feed itself by its own growth factor through photosynthesis by sunshine, rain, all the organic life ecosystems in the earth (worms, insects, mycelium) and geomagnetism.

– Structure Top Layer
Now what do these plant and tree clippings do to the ground? What is the benefit of the decayed fertilizer plants? Their stems piled in a thick layer gives a nice hay-like brown woody structure to the ground. The top layer shows the dried out and semi-decayed plant trunks, making it a soft en slightly resilient bed. Beneath the top layer the soil is more moist, the rotting of the plant stems and leaves continues. Over time it turns into black soil with the help of worms, who decompose it further by eating the material and pooping it out, which the plants love.

– Plant Fertilizer Extract
How about a plantbased fertilizer extract? Another method to enrich the soil and nourish the crops is to soak a bunch of fertilizer-plants in buckets with water for around two weeks (depending on temperature). A little bit of molasses or a sugar solution can be stirred in to help good bacteria. These enhance the speed of breaking down the fertilizer-plants into a thick sludge of plant-nutritious water. This solution sifted can be given to the plants. Be careful however, when the plant fertilizer extract is very concentrated, it can ‘burn’ the plants. How does that look like? Some of its leaves dry out and turn brown, and the fruits or vegetables stop growing temporarily. So one has to dilute the plant extract further with two or three parts of water. This diluted plantbased fertilizer extract can be watered to the plants and also be sprayed on leaves.

– The Berkeley Method
Then there’s another method of making compost, the Berkeley Method. So how does this work? One builds a compost-heap in alternating layers of three ingredients: Brown plant material, Green plant material, and Manure from lifestock. The compost-heap can be as tall as yourself, or even higher. Now what do the Brown and Green plant material stand for? These are respectively carbon and nitrogen. The brown carbon material is where the heat in the pile comes from, which makes the ingredients decompose within two weeks. Usually, the same volume of green plant material per the same volume of dried brown plant material will give you the correct ratio (officially the ratio of carbon to nitrogen should be around 30:1). Now one can build the compost heap by stacking the three ingredient-groups in alternating layers, which consist of:

– BROWN (carbon) material such as autumn leaves and hay, coffee grounds and sawdust. Woodchips aren’t suitable as these are taller particles of stronger material which don’t decompose as fast as the other ingrediënts and will prevent the pile from decomposting correctly.
– GREEN (nitrogen) fertilizer plants as well as kitchen scraps such as vegetable waste (not cooked). Also green grass clippings and weeds can be used (not weeds that are already seed bearing). Rinsed and crushed eggshells can be mixed in the pile or put manually around certain plants or trees that need more calcium.
– MANURE from lifestock such as cow, horse, goat, chicken.

It is possible to construct a compost pile without the manure, it’ll still decompose. After you finished stacking the layers, the pile needs to be watered slightly and turned every two or three days. This is to create an airflow in the pile. Without air the beneficial bacteria that break down the compost can’t do their work. A pitchfork is indispensable for this. Cover the heap with a large plastic cloth, tarp or for example overlapping garbage bags. In this circumstance the compost-heap heats up. Ideally it reaches a temperature of 125F or 52C, but it shouldn’t heat up more than that. Otherwise the nutrients in the pile get burned too high and lose their nutritional value.

The temperature inside the pile can be measured with a special thermometer available in garden centers. If the temperature remains too low, than add more brown material (carbon). If it’s getting too hot, cool it down with more green material (nitrogen), or spray some extra water. In this condition the pile will decompost in a good quality compost within two weeks (14-18 days depending on the outside temperature).

– Wood chips
Wood chips are another great source to enrich the ground, yet shouldn’t be mixed with compost. A thick layer of wood chips on soil prevents weeds taking over, as well as keeps the soil moist, which is especially great in dry seasons. It shouldn’t cover mulch though as wood chips decompose much slower in which case the nutritious layer of ferlilizer plants beneath can’t decompose properly. However, wood chips can be used to build paths. Over a few years the woodchips break down into a black fertile compound which is the base of a good quality soil.

Garden Tools & Equipment and Machinery

Then, what can be the next step? Another thing you might want to ponder on, is the purchase of certain garden tools and equipment and machinery. In order to save costs as well, joint purchase might be an option. This is very well possible in the setting of a hectares-village.
Machines such as lawnmowers, plow equipment or excavators might be welcome for many. For instance, the latter might be used to dig a small pond and waterways such as swales and ditches.

There are systems of gardening and farming where one doesn’t plow an entire field, but only dig the soil where the actual crops are planted. The remaining ground is leveled by covering it thickly with a layer of compost and mulch, where weeds can’t come through. In these cases one can probably work without plow machines. Here most of the physical work might be the collecting of all mulch material, which can probably only partly be done by machines. Now why are the machines mentioned, it seems kind of logic those might come in handy? Yes, but often people don’t think about the priority of investments they need to make. Another thing that comes to mind is the equipment that is needed to move goods and raw materials around the hectare or the village. These are items such as compost, hay bales, and finally the harvest! How are you going to transport cartloads of apples or walnuts or grains?

Truck or Horse?

The hectares-villagers might want to have their own truck, or make use of a horse with a loading cart. Of course wheelbarrows are indispensable as well. When the loads are large a wheelbarrow takes more time and physical labor. But one has to work with what one has available. However, a little bit of extra equipment and convenience might make labor lighter for the many years to come! So, just in case prices for gas and oil will be increasing, is there anyone out there in the hectares village who loves to keep horses? And some craftsman to build the carts? Now do you think these questions are a bit odd?

Here’s why. When more physical work is done manually or in a primitive way by using horse and cart for example, time slows down. However, one becomes more connected to the energy of life, the sun, the fresh oxygen in nature, the trees, the birds, your bare hand touching the soil and the plants, being charged by the Earth’s grounding energy, and therefore time is experienced more intensely, it is life itself. Away with the hectic pace of our current society, instead healthy labor!

Transition Time

Speaking of time, we kinda live in special times as well. Have you heard of expressions such as ‘Earth Changes’, or that we as humanity and our planet are in a transiton time? Indeed it seems the entire world is going through changes on so many levels? We’re having storms, floods and earthquakes and some predict an economic collapse. Creating kin-domains and hectares-villages might be a great way to turn back to nature and nature’s laws, and organise our society differently. Co-Creating hectares-villages from scratch might be a bit of a challenge. But it might be worth considering nevertheless and turn out in a great adventure.

Horrible Disaster

At the beginning of Februari this year 2023, a horrible disaster has occurred in Turkey and part of Syria. A tremendous earthquake in which hundreds of buildings have collapsed, and an estimated fifty thousands of people have died. The entire world watching in shock. The severely traumatized survivors have to build a new life as their habitat is completely destroyed. They have lost part of their family and community. These people need counseling and help in survival. It might take a long time before they can establish a new life. They need help on all levels, psychologically, financially, new ground to live on, a new community, and new homes.

Through an organised attempt, those people might be able to start recovering faster (if possible). But for those who are willing and able to, with help from government or other organisations, fellow- and international citizens, new villages can be build. However, when there are no funds nor natural resources available, the villages might have to be raised entirely from scratch. Thus knowing what to aim for is crucial, collaboration is key, as well as strategic planning. But lets leave it here for now, because this seems too big to handle. All we can pray for is the best possible outcome, that all victims get the help and support they need.

The Most Labour Intensive Seasons

Back to the plot, both in spring and autumn there’s a lot of work to do, because most plants and trees start growing and blossoming in spring, as well as at the end of summer most fruits ripen at the same time.
In autumn, the ripening stages of several crops might have a bit of a narrow time frame for harvesting, until temperatures drop and winter arrives. This means one needs to get organised to do most of the labour on the hectare plot all at once two times a year. Therefore contemplating about these challenges in advance can give you a head start, so that they can be tackled properly. Think about a water irrigation system in the dry and hot summer time. Or where to store the harvest in autumn? And how to store it so the quality of the harvest will stay intact for the next season or even an entire year? These are all challenges to solve.

Have Someone Else Do It

What can be done if one would not have enough time or hands to do all the work at once? Especially the first years on the family-domain might be very demanding because it takes extra time to get established. If one would start entirely from scratch and earn a living from it, at least a self sustainable living, it might take up to an estimated 30 years before the family-domain is fully flourishing. So one has to be realistic, especially in those countries that have a very commercial driven capitalist society (at the expense of the poor who can’t keep up with that pace). Therefore the tides need to turn, and they might need a helping hand in this transition world.

In the Netherlands it is possible nowadays to have someone else sow the land for you for free, in exchange of a share of the harvest. For instance, the crops could be ment for proteïn rich food for cattle. Thus this company will make sure that the harvest will succeed, and might have the equipment to perform the extra seasonal work. At the same time, the habitant of the family domain himself, or herself, will get experience with growing these types of crops. The family then can learn from the experience and probably grow the crops themselves next year. Presumably for most people this would only come in handy for the initial phase of learning how to grow crops, or if one can’t do the physical labor himself.

The Time To Sow

Once you have collected the seeds, the ground is prepared, and the temperatures are right, one can sow the land. Indoors in livingrooms or greenhouses, some crops can be pre grown 4 to 6 weeks prior to planting outside. One of such crop is pumpkins and squashes. Just to give an example, here you can read: how to grow pumpkins.

Direct Seeding
When direct seeding your crops, for most species one has to wait till there are no more nightfrosts statistically. One can read online what is the average last frost date for spring in your area or region. For the Netherlands and western Europe this is usually the 15th of May. There are also online seed starting charts which help you determine when and where to start your seeds. You might even want to sow seeds one or two weeks prior to full moon, which is an age old practise.

Direct seeding has the advantage that it requires less labor. You do not have to grow them first in seperate containers and then have to replant them outdoors a few weeks later. But the disadvantage is that insects, snails and birds love young seedlings as these are still very fresh, sweet, crunchy and proteïn rich. Thus the seedlings need to be protected with nets or othwerwise.

For direct seeding also more seeds are required, depending on the crop, e.g. what types of grains or vegetables, 40 to 50 kilograms seeds per half of a hectare, or one and a half acres. When seeds are pregrown the amount of seeds one needs are much less with transplanting: around 20 to 35 kilograms per 1 1/2 acres or half of a hectare.

How To Grow Trees From Seeds

While this article focused on sowing the land for crops and other plants (such as organic fertilizer plants), it might also be interesting to know how to sow the land for the growing of trees. Growing trees is entirely different from growing vegetables, plants, crops and flowers from seeds.

To start with: tree seeds can usually only be collected in autumn. They have a long incubation time during the winter. The seeds might need cold stratification and will only sprout in spring under the right conditions. What many people also do not know is that fruit trees nowadays are crafted because the seeds from fruit trees that are genetically manipulated won’t grow the same trees from their seeds.

If one has good quality tree seeds, then direct seeding for trees is an option. But the seeds and seedlings need to be protected from wildlife grazing the seeds and young plants. On the page TREES on this website one can read more about trees, and what choices you might want to make for growing them. (How to grow them might be added later on, time permitting. The page will encourage you to start the exploration yourself though).

One Has To Actually DO It

One last thing. Besides the planning, one has to actually DO it, thus act on it simultanously. Otherwise all your planning won’t work. One has to apply all useful knowledge gained. If you do not use your knowledge, than it is useless. And ‘DO’ in capital letters here means working with what you have! For instance, if you don’t have 2 1/2 acres of land to manage, but you have a small lawn in front of your house, sow there! Collect seeds from trees in your neighbourhood in autumn. Sow them in pots in your garden or on the balcony. You will still contribute to the world at large. Make it a better place to live. Buy heirloom seeds online. Get into a community vegetable garden, work on a few square meters or square yards to get a feeling of planting, and taking care of the plants. Learn from each other. First do everything in small what you would like to do big. Go with the flow, live in the now with all the principles you long for. Determine what you want to do if you finally could manage this hectare of land, your family domain of two and a half acres. Even if you can’t make it there yourself, build the future for the children.

To sum it all up:



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