PRELUDE . . .
They’re growing early february overhere in western Europe, and most likely allover the Northern Hemisphere: Snowdrops! Some countries have already had their fair share of winter, while others, such as the Netherlands had no snow at all, as of yet, and we are still anticipating on it. Probably winter might not come at all, but one just never knows for sure, because well, these pretty little white flowers are usually the prelude to early spring, but they are known to grow in the last episode of winter where six weeks with severe frost might still follow!
The Other Half Hectare
Thus when we can’t do much on our plots of land, this is actually a good moment of the year to contemplate on the coming spring for one’s veggie plot, or to anticipate on one’s (future) Family Domain. Such contemplation could be the green plan which adheres to the guidelines by the Anastasia book series to plant a living green fence around the hectare, as well as a quart hectare of forest on every Family Domain.
No Time, No Funds?
Many pioneers in Russia found themselves empty handed after they were busy with building the house and the green living fence and their quart hectare of forest. For many there was simply no time nor funds left to handle the other half of the hectare. Thus it was overgrown with weeds which also appeared to be demanding to tackle, as some weeds can be really invasive, deeply rooted and overgrow everything. Not the snowdrops though!
Manual Labor & Help From Machines
First it might be good to know that it is kind of labor intensive to prepare half a hectare of ground manually by one person alone for growing crops. It might come in handy to have it plowed by a machine in spring, so this would save one a lot of time and strenuous physical labor. As many people might not have the resources to buy such a machine, one can be more successful if all of the hectares village’s citizens tip in some money to get one, for this might make labor lighter for the many years to come!
Especially in this transiton time, where the entire world is going through changes on so many levels, creating hectares villages might be demanding. Some have to be raised from scratch when there are no funds nor natural resources, while their future inhabitants have to put all their time and energy into survival. In these cases, collaboration is key, as well as some strategic planning in advance.
For instance, both in spring and autumn there’s a lot of work to do, because most plants and trees start growing at the same time, and usually in autumn, the ripening stages of several crops might also have a bit of a narrow time frame of three weeks for harvesting until temperatures drop and winter arrives.
With Plow And Horses
For spring, in the old days, farmers used to have a plow with a team of horses (or oxes), and prepare the ground this way!!! So, is there anyone out there in the hectares village who loves to keep horses? And someone a bit technical to construct the plow machine, or to make sure we collectivly buy one? Just asking for a friend!
Have Someone Else Do It
Then, there are also cheap methods to actually sow the land. If one would not have any funds nor time at all, in the Netherlands it is possible nowadays to have someone else do it 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, even if the habitant of the Family Domain himself, or herself, doesn’t have experience with growing these types of crops.
Do It Your Self
Another idea is to collect vegetable seeds or grain seeds in advance, so once the land is plowed and the temperatures are right, preferably in a warm episode and for sure after the 15th of May (in western Europe), when there’re no longer night frosts, one can sow them straight away. There are also crops that will do better when pre-grown, such as pumpkin seedlings. The latter should be done manually, and with love!
This is the fertilized flower from which a pumpkin grows
More About Pumpkins
Speaking of those, pumpkins for example can make life easy when it comes to strategic planning. All you have to do is eat a few meals with pumpkins in it, such as pumpkin soup, pumpkin Thanksgiving pie, pumpkin stew, etcetera. When preparing the pumpkin, just scoup the seeds out and put them in a bowl of water. This way it is easy to remove the inner flesh of the pumpkin from the seeds. Once most of this orange flesh is removed, one can put the seeds on a kitchen towel to dry, e.g. near a heating, or with warm weather outside in the sun.
Storage Of Seeds & Growing
After letting them dry for about 3 days, they can be stored in a container. Depicted below is a glas jar with the seeds of three pumpkins in it. Basically, half a hectare can be sown with a full jar like this, as every seed grows a pumpkin plant which will bear 10 to 12 pumpkins, probably also 15 or even up to 20 (in rare cases) depending on the soil, the weather and the type of pumpkin. Full grown pumpkin plants have large leaves so they can catch lots of sunshine, and the plants need lots of water too, both necessary to form this beautiful delicious versatile vegetable-fruit!
Preparing The Ground
In order to prepare the ground, one needs to do the plowing late autumn or early in spring. Weeds that grow back between the plowing and the sowing can be removed manually. It takes some efforts yeah!
Fertilizing The Soil
If there have been crops growing previous year, the soil needs to be fertilised after plowing. This could be done by the method of your preference. Here is a simple method that works. Let’s continue with the example of Pumpkins as a crop. These plants grow rapidly in spring, spread far and wide over the ground and take a lot of space. Also the pumpkins theirselves grow great in size. Therefore the plants need lots of nutrition. As the matter of fact, pumpkin plants love cow or horse manure. Don’t worry, it won’t enter the actual pumpkins, but its minerals are absorbed by the plants in the early stage of growth.
And again, one might be asking around in the hectares village -for a friend presumably- if anybody knows a farmer in the neighborhood who has cattle or lifestock for fertilizer and who might be happy to get rid of it for free.
Good Quality Fertilizer
The manure can be spread on the soil in autumn. When spread in spring, the manure must be one year old, or prepared and stored in such a way that it is of a good quality. Fresh manure for instance, when kept in wrong and moist conditions may contain germs you do not want on your crops. It is also possible to buy dried manure in granules. This is more of an investment, certainly for half a hectare of pumpkins, but when the harvest is succesful, the costs will be amply removed again.
Here you can see the difference in size and color of several pumpkin species.
These are some serious babes!
Pumpkins Of The Same Kind
Make sure you sow the same kind of pumpkins, Otherwise there’ll be cross pollination going on, and the outcome might be a mixture of different types of pumpkins, which won’t give a homogenous batch. Plus the taste might also be different, it might be allright but usually they become more bland. And the seeds they produce will also be a mixture of an uncertain outcome, and will affect the quality of the pumpkins next year, either in taste, color, structure and size.
Another pumpkin species, the bottle gourd
Pumpkins are a great survival food. They can be stored in a cool room, preferably around 41F or 5C, but not with freezing conditions. When frozen, they will go bad quickly afterwards. Therefore it is important to pay attention to the temperature regulation. Pumpkins also grow easy with a little care, while potatoes nowadays in the Netherlands attract lots of insects (especially the colorado-beetle), which affect all the crop in no time. And since pumkins are also high in carbohydrates, they might be a nice replacement or addition to potato meals.
In the past, old Dutch farmhouses would have good ventilated underground cellars where they could store potatoes and the likes without electricity for refrigeration. Unheated hay barns in winter are also a perfect storage place, but when temperatures go below 32F, other solutions must be found for vegetables.
Contemplating this, pumpkins might be a great food to grow on a larger scale than they currently are, because they are relativly easy and cheap to grow in the Northern Hemisphere (where mediterranean crops don’t grow that well, unfortunately). When grown however in abundance in the hectares villages, there’ll be an overload for what the habitants of the hectares village may consume, thus citizens in larger cities can also be nourished by them. Food might become FREE in the future!
These are non edible ornamental gourds. They are nice for decoration in- and around the house in autumn!
Another option to use your half hectare of land for, is to let cattle or livestock graze on it. So it’ll be mowed animal friendly, and the habitants of Family Domain do not have to do anything, except keeping an eye on the animals. The animals might also not belong to the Family Domain itself, but could be from another Family Domain or hectare-unit in the hectares village. For instance there might be someone who has devoted himself to tending sheep, or keeping cows or horses, while there also might be Family Domains who hold no animals at all.
It Takes A Village
The expression that a village is needed to raise a child, therefore applies in a certain way also to other activities in a village, where communal labour, or some form of barter labour, is much more self-evident, and of course takes place always in good consultation, with good planning and recording of agreements.
Division of Labor and Land
Technically, when using half a hectare of every hectare for growing crops, a village of 150 hectares, minus 10 acres in the center, has 70 hectares (around 170 acres) available for growing pumpkins or any other crops that the residents choose. Thus instead of one farmer managing 100 hectares of land, now we have 100 families running the hectares, each one their own little paradise!
Collect The Seeds While You Can!
So yeah, with all the possible coming Earth Changes at hand, or Climate Change, or whatever you want to call it, collect as many seeds as you can! Also, seeds from trees. And even if you’re not planning on using the seeds yourselves, for instance people who plan on living in cities, one can still collect seeds, sow them in nature or donate these to hectares villages, or to certain organisations who send them to poor countries. By the way, pumpkin seeds are also a nice snack for some animals, such as goats. We should certainly reconsider the way we waste costly food that has been grown and flourished under the sun and contains lots of nutrition and energy. Also food scraps such as peels and cores can also be composted again, which is an important enrichment for the soil.
Seeds For Life
Belgian professor Willem van Cotthem founded Seeds For Life, an organisation and website (no longer online) to inform people which seeds can be succesfully collected and gathered for use, also for sending abroad to those who thankfully use them. There’s also Seeds for Food and Seed Freedom and some more iniatives.
Instructions on the Internet
There are literally thousands of you-tube videos with instuctions on how to collect seeds from edible plants, vegetables and trees. It might be handy to educate yourself a bit if you haven’t learned these skills at school or from your parents or otherwise. And then the motto will be: