It's that time of the month again to give you a little bit of an update
on what we have been working on, it was a super busy month from our end...
Growing food... everywhere
At least it somehow feels like everywhere, all the mandala garden beds
are full with a mixture of seedlings that have been transplanted from
the greenhouses to upcoming sprouts planted earlier last month. Ongoing
weeding, the lack of rain but daily manual watering and the great
sunshine and warmth helped with keeping the weeds low and the plants
growing bigger every day. Some inevitably get eaten but are quickly
replaced but seedlings waiting to be transplanted.
After all the planting and replacing of eaten plants we still have a
couple of trays of cucumber and pumpkin seedlings, for this reason we
created a new garden bed near the trailer, cleared the weeds under
cherry tree and these spaces are now also planted. The potato plants are
huge and the tomatoes in the greenhouses and outside are flowering with
the first green tomato visible. Fingers crossed for a great harvest, in
the meantime we will keep up with constant but non labour intensive
weeding and watering. Incidentally we are now using liquid natural
fertilizer, this is made of diluted urine and nettle water, both have an
unpleasant smell upon application but this disappears very quickly and I
have seen some noticeable improvements from this and we will continue
with weekly applications. If you would like more info about this you can
find this here
and other places on the internet.
We dismantled the willow tree dome that was dead and replaced it with
the teepee for the summer, the red and white canvas looks really great
and it makes a nice children's area when we have events or just another
chillout place to look at the growing plants. We also moved the chickens
and ducks to the path around the garden and they are now a live slug
eating barrier between the wet area beyond the garden and the planted
beds. This was only made possible with loan from a member of around
â‚¬500. Chickpea is still occasionally managing to get out of the fenced
area but in general they are all well behaved.
The chicken coop door gave us some issues and Martin had to spend hours
trying to find out what the problem is and trying to fix it, until this
is completed we are back to opening and closing the door manually.
As we are lucky to have more plants than space we have started a small
stall outside with surplus seedlings in exchange for donations, this
seems to have aroused the curiosity of the locals, the seedlings aren't
flying off the shelf but we find a little money in the tin every now and
then. It certainly doesn't fund us but we can save up for the seeds next
year, if a couple of weeks we made about â‚¬15 and also had the
opportunity to talk to the people that stop to buy the plants. It proved
to be an opportunity to talk to the local community about what we are
The sign could be improved but the idea was to not spend too much time
on it in case this wouldn't work, so maybe if we are not too busy this
month we could do this.
EHF Labs: FÃ¼nfseen
I have by coincidence met a great guy called Aaron he is using an old
industrial greenhouse since February of this year and turning it into a
supply for seedlings and food to his local community. He was quite keen
to get working with us and so I thought it would be a great idea to try
and grow melons. I had brought the seeds with me from spain and didn't
quite think that we would ever get to plant any as they grow quite big
and require a greenhouse so I jumped at the opportunity. We combine this
interest to grow greenhouse bound crop with starting EHF labs, which are non live
in locations that can be managed by EHF projects or independently. This
one is managed by Kuckucksmühle but keeps separate accounts (to be
published on the wiki this month) so that we can establish whether this
would be a sensible set up to pursue for generating income for the project.
The use of the greenhouse is free and in return we help set up an
automated irrigation system for the greenhouse. Our seedlings are
nowhere near as impressive as Aaron's but hopefully they will make it,
his greenhouse keeps more heat in especially in the evenings perhaps
this is something we should look at improving at the mill. The
transplanting is finished and now we concentrate to arranging the floor
irrigation. Irrigation equipment was around â‚¬40 this was loaned to the
project by a member, this included 100m of irrigation pipe, a fitting
for the pipe and around 150 dripping points. Martin & Erin will be
working on the controller of the irrigation system and hopefully get
that working as the plants would do better with ground water then
watering from above.
This is quite an exciting and big development at least from my
perspective on two counts, firstly we can develop open source technology
that is tested on a large scale and secondly this could be economically
viable because we have potential to produce more then we can consume and
thus sell the surplus to fund the project and perhaps even be able to
accumulate something for the next EHF Labs project.
If anyone would like to visit this site we could arrange it at a time
when we anyway have to go there, we would like to keep the trips to a
minimum to save on petrol cost as a round trip with the car is about
1.5hours. The tech can be worked on from here and Aaron takes care of
Bonus: behind the greenhouse is a very beautiful lake, perfect for
cooling off after working in the greenhouse for a few hours :-)
If you can please support Aaron by liking and sharing his page or paying his business a
visit, we couldn't have done this without his generosity and enthusiasm.
This month I would like to research some organic alternatives to our
food that come in bulk, flour, pasta, butter, rice... if you know of any
regional / local suppliers or have seen bulk organic products somewhere
(maybe even online) let me know.
Unfortunately our regional supplier for organic vegetables has run out
of business and so we look also for a good alternative even though the
garden is already yielding some produce but not quite enough.
Social visits & Donations
A really nice project in Zempow we visited a few months back decided to
come for a visit and bring us some Pawpaw seeds, I haven't planted
them yet but I will do so probably this week. They make big trees and
delicious fruits and therefore the most obvious place for them is the
community garden fruit forest but first the will need to go into the
greenhouse in fairly largish pots. More updates on this next month.
We have also been donated a rabbit house and we would love to get the
help of some cute bunnies to keep the lawn short.
Sponsor a chicken or a rabbit!
We would like to increase our family of chickens from 3 to around 7 :-)
and start a family of cute bunnies of around 4 to 5!
You can sponsor a chicken or rabbit with Eur 10, for this you can pick a
nice name for it and receive a picture of the happy chicken in our
garden. Furthermore you can cuddle your chicken and hand feed it when
you come for a visit.
Our chickens and ducks (7 in total) are fed vegetable scraps and with GMO
free corn mix at an average cost of Eur 1.25 per day, so if you would like to sponsor some food to feed your sponsored chicken or rabbit you can add whatever amount you like to the sponsorship sum.
For a one-off donation / sponsor a chicken or rabbit addition: paypal
Visiting the mill
Thank you to all who gave me positive feedback on last months email, I
was happy to see that people read and understand my concerns :-) and of
course I would be happy to see you at the next events we have planned.
In an effort to improve the sleeping rooms we have I would like to start
an initiative to encourage visitors to leave the room better than they
found it, this could be a small improvement for example giving the room
a deep clean, making some art to hang on the walls or a big improvement
ie making curtains to hang on the window, setting up curtain rails,
renovating the furniture in the room etc.... depending on personal
skills and ideas of course
If you would like to visit this month our visiting policy is here on the
If you visit regularly during weekends and therefore fall under the 2
night limit, please please please consider supporting us with a regular
cover the costs of your visit and something extra to support our many
hours of unpaid labor to keep the place going.
12th & 26th June -Â 4pm till 6pm - no booking needed
Free Market Sundays:
17th June - 1pm till 4pm - no booking needed
Silent Meditation Retreat: 22nd to 24th June
10th & 24th July - 4pm till 6pm - no booking needed
Free Market Sundays:
15th July - 1pm till 4pm - no booking needed
Sisterhood of Sound (live music concert from Canadian folk band) - 26th
July in Blumenthal - for overnight stays book by email
Silent Meditation Retreat : 27th to 29th July