Juha’s challenge

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Juha is a new gardener who lives in Finland. A couple weeks ago we helped him by recommending gardening books for a beginner.

Not being so familiar with gardening books myself, I gave him this advice,

… messing it up is a way of learning, as long as you don’t get disappointed. And there are many ways to grow every food crop. You may find a new one that works best for you by just getting into the dirt and trying.

Most important is soil preparation, water and sunlight. Make sure your location has full sunlight. Mark it off. (If there is a chance it has toxins in the soil, like lead from flaking house paint, do a soil test.) Bring in a load of rich compost, enough so you can spread it 2 inches thick over the garden space. Turn it under, rake it smooth, then plant. What and when you plant depends on where you are located. Check the back of the seed package or buy seedlings. Ask when you buy if the seedlings can be planted yet. Check the seed package or online to see how much space you need to leave for the plant (I always put them closer than is recommended because my space is small).

If you have deer around, put up a 5 ft fence; rabbits or woodchucks, a 3 foot chicken wire fence. No fence will keep squirrels out of your garden. They run all over my garden and don’t usually do too much damage, except to eat ripe tomatoes if the weather is dry.

Anyway, I wanted to post an update, since Juha sent me an email today about his progress.

Hey Kathy!

My gardening project is going well. Today I got all of my seeds planted. Just in time, since the weather is starting to warm up here in Finland! I devised a little challenge for myself. My goal is to prepare a meal for my family using produce from my garden and the wilderness 🙂 To add some pressure I made it public on my blog http://www.juhakardo.com/food-sovereignty-challenge/ -Juha

I always love to hear about garden projects. This one sounds fun. I would also like to try the challenge of making a meal completely from items I have grown, foraged or caught myself too. I’m looking forward to doing some fishing this summer, and of course, lots of gardening. Maybe I should try some fermenting too if I’m doing an entire meal….

My reason for doing this would be that it reduces my ecological footprint, the food tastes better, and mostly – it is personally satisfying.

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