Plukrijp Newsletter – 2023 week 25


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Upside-down the good newsletter

2023 – week

Upside down = instead of announcing what we plan to do
(& most often find out we do not need to do), we relate what we really did

The updated list of vegetables & fruit that can be harvested this week is available on our website under the heading “Current Harvest” :

This week @ Plukrijp

We did:

We are thankful for the continued rainfall, filling the plants & soil with water as they become beautiful plants in this fast growing period.

We painted the kid’s garden house with paint to protect it from rainn help it last a bit longer & freshen up the colors. Thanks Dan & Anémie for the beautiful work!

We started the breakdown of the retired stove/oven in the workshop.

We continue the renovations in the veranda/kitchen/bathroom house.

We continue to prune back the vines & watch the grapes slowly take shape.

We pruned & trellised the cucumbers, melons, & tomatoes.

We moved the ducklings into the greenhouse to enjoy all the free food that is abundant there (salad going to seed, seeds in the hay laying in the paths, & weeds between the fast growing beans & cucumbers, oh and slugs!).

We then moved the chicken that is brooding (again!) to a place where her eggs & chicks will be safe. As we moved her, we realized she was sitting on no less than 24 eggs (we were wondering where they were…). We imagine other chickens laying eggs on the same place & the mother enjoying the numbers increase! So many chicks would unfortunately be inconvenient for us as the population is at a stable place in the coop & food forest so we took 6 of the warmest eggs & placed it with her in her new home. Good luck mama chicken!

We watered the closed tunnels (drip system for the melons because the onions & carrots on the sides don’t need so much, & flooding the tomato tunnel with aubergines & peppers on the sides, & flooding the cucumber tunnel as well for the peppers on the sides.

We continue to stabilize the population of Colorado beetles on the potatoes. Interesting to note that at the Hei where there are many more trees and birds, the population is much more reduced. Natural pesticides are sure handy.

We weeded between the parsnip lines at the Hei.

We weeded between the corn & pumpkins at the Hei, also. Noticing how fast they grow & cover the soil, the weeding is becoming less & less.

We worked on the irrigation system between the main house & veranda.

We seeded salad in some empty spots at the Hei to continue the possibility to harvest fresh greens later in the season.

We trellised up the gherkins & melons in the greenhouse.

We put up a structure of repurposed excess metal carts for the runner beans at the Hei. We had thought they were low beans, but t turns out they’d rather be high beans! We take note to take extra care to properly sort & label our seeds to avoid confusion.

We were visited by the refreshing initiative De Beek who come & harvest veggies here & cook with them for free donation in Antwerp. We harvested courgettes, early potatoes, carrots beetroot, salad, edible flowers, berries, rhubarb, Swiss chard, & much more fresh greens that can be found around the farm. Thank you De Beek for the breath of fresh air & fun harvest!

A few words from our friend Niels

You Reap What you Sow

This week we experienced the day with the longest sunshine hours of the year. From June 22nd onwards the days start getting shorter again.

For Farmers in the northern hemisphere this marks a turning point, the work turns from planting and planning towards harvesting and stocking up for winter. The light turns from predominantly blue in hue to reddish in hue, a slight change that plants know about and use to start ripening their fruits.

Students of permaculture note that this period between May and July, an enormous amount of radiation reaches the earth, which gives us an amazing opportunity to capture that sunlight as usable energy. Our berries ripen, our pumpkins grow and trees produce wood that will keep us warm in winter. There is grass growing to make hay and straw, there are lots of insects getting nectar from flowering weeds that become food for the chicken, and there many algae growing in the water to feed that ecosystem, most notably the duck that lays the golden eggs.

That is if the plants are there. In conventional farming where you start from a barren field, we reap what we sow. If we sow corn, we might harvest corn. If we sow wheat, we might harvest wheat. If we sow nothing, we get weeds. If we notice chaos and confusion in the fall, we might have sown uncertainty and doubt in the spring. Sometimes we don’t know what we sow, we find out those seeds were not red beets, just good old warmoes again.

In permaculture as in life, its not just about what we are sowing. Because we work with an ecosystem that we allow to show it’s own evolution, there are opportunities to harvest much more than we expected. Presence, understanding, knowledge and patience with a system can show us yields like honey or wild fruit we didn’t anticipate. Furthermore in permaculture we do not farm alone. The worms and soil life turn and aerate the soil better than we do. The chickens scratch and eat bugs for a living. Cows digest grass better than we ever will. The bees volunteer to pollinate plants and harvest nectar in small amounts that we don’t even notice. Everything gardens.

If rather than segregation, we sow integration of people plants and animals, through design, We Will Never Farm Alone. We will reap a rich and balanced life. And if we farm in good spirit, with nature rather than against it, using the opportunities that the cosmos presents, then who knows? Maybe we will find the duck that lays the golden eggs.

Happy harvest season everyone!

Inspiring Link

Laurie Santos: The Happiness Lab – You Are Not So Smart

A few words from our friend Bram

Surprised by loops of FEAR

By accepting the gifts of life I found myself being on a farm that didn’t corresponded with the romantic image i had been projecting of my future. It was and is a daily reality check. What i remember of the previous visits was that everything was guided and thereby easy to follow, but this time it is different, now it is up to the few who are here. By accepting this challenge with a detached attitude the real gift is revealed. It is a sensation of joy and trust, that comes from the understanding by experience that life itself is supporting us and offering us exactly what we need on that moment.

This pleasant trust disappeared during the week, my identification with what needed to be done took over again and I started to calculate very serious the amount of time we still have to complete certain jobs. I tried to have control over the agenda and started to be annoyed by the actions or no actions of others. I was again the center of the universe and the joyful feeling disappeared. Thanks to living with other people this behavior could be exposed by sharing and laughing with it, continuing for the next round.

A gift as well is the direct result of our actions. Living on a farm with an attitude of not running to the shop for everything we need makes that we have to do with what we have(more or less), thereby it is shown very fast what we seed is what we harvest. Some actions are working and others are not. It is mostly from the actions that didn’t work that we learn.

We need to look for answers and deal with the consequences and cleaning up of the attempt. This harvesting go’s for every aspect of life: in relationship, at work, the garden or construction, … It is here that I clearly can see if I have accepted the past gifts from live and if I have learnd the lessons that came with it. It is here where we all can check if we have grown more wise or if we repeat the same story.


Inspiring Movie

Inspiring Book


Here are some quotes from Gabor Maté: Enjoy!

Learn to read symptoms not only as problems to be overcome but as messages to be heeded.

Do I live my life according to my own deepest truths, or in order to fulfill someone else’s expectations? How much of what I have believed and done is actually my own and how much has been in service to a self-image I originally created in the belief it was necessary to please my parents?

What we want and demand from the world needs to conform to our present needs, not to unconscious, unsatisfied needs from childhood. If distinctions between past and present blur, we will perceive loss or the threat of loss where none exists.

Strong convictions do not necessarily signal a powerful sense of self: very often quite the opposite. Intensely held beliefs may be no more than a person’s unconscious effort to build a sense of self to fill what, underneath, is experienced as a vacuum.

Inspiring Music

To Yasemi – Zefiro Torna



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