Vera Greutink

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since Oct 09, 2019
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forest garden foraging writing
Permaculture gardener, designer and writer, author of Edible Paradise
Hengelo, The Netherlands
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Recent posts by Vera Greutink

Conratulations to everyone! I hope my book will bring you lots of inspiration!

Nicole Alderman wrote:We have some winners!


Congratulations to:

Kc Simmons
Flora Eerschay
Kena Landry
Inge Leonora-den Ouden


I'll be sending you each a PM ("Purple Moosage"). Please reply by Sunday to claim your prize!

Thank you so much to Vera Greutink for joining us this week. And, of course, if you didn't happen to win and want to give yourself a bit of a Christmas present, you can buy her book here!

7 months ago
Hi Hari,

Thanks - I'm so glad to hear you enjoy my videos and I hope you'll love my book too! It sounds like you have a very productive garden yourself!

Hari Jensen wrote:Hi, Vera.

I eagerly await your videos and look forward to reading your book.  I have a tiny house on very small sloping urban lot with 17 fruit and nut trees, grape vines, a no dig veg garden, and 4 old lady hens in the back yard, with a 15 x 6 ft wildflower meadow in the front.

7 months ago
Hi Rachel,

It's great that you want to implement permaculture in your yard! I believe that edible planting designed according to permaculture principles can be beautiful too and that this is a good way to make permaculture easy to digest for more traditional gardeners.
Here's a video of the small edible forest in our backyard, maybe you can find some inspiration there:


And this is a slice of our 'big' garden which I designed as a sort of cottage garden with lots of edible plants (fruits, veggies and edible flowers e.g. cherry, gooseberries, blueberries, lovage, calendula, chamomille, alpine strawberries...) mixed with plants that attract beneficial insects or have other functions such as fixing nitrogen. I especially love multifunctional plants, for example, the sweet william flowers in front (a traditional cottage garden plant)  are both edible and a great cut flower, lovage in the back is a culinary herb and attracts beneficial insects:



I hope this helps, good luck with your project!
Vera

7 months ago
I think  both might be right :)  The info in my book regarding fruit trees in containers comes from a German nursery specialised in edible plants. They even have a range of compact fruit varieties for container growing. When the sugar turns to alcohol, you can actually smell it.

 

F Agricola wrote:'Vera Greutink wrote:
If the pot heats up on a sunny day, the tree thinks it’s spring and starts to produce sugar. But because the plant is not actively growing at that moment, the sugar is not used and turns into alcohol, which can kill the plant.'


I don’t know if that assumption is correct – it may be more likely the warmer soil promotes early budding when the surrounding air temperature is too cold, causing frost burn. The biggest fear is most metal containers are cheap galvanised ones, where the zinc and other chemicals adversely affect plants.

I find containers that retain heat – terracotta/metal give seedlings a very big head-start in late Winter early Spring, much like a cold frame.

Plastic pots are almost a necessary evil and far too convenient. I like them for cultivating from seed – better control, and to harden-up seedlings before planting out into the garden. But mostly, they are very polluting simply because of the number produced and their throw-away nature.

Toilet rolls and shaped newspaper tubes are excellent alternatives for quick turnover – assist with input of carbon into the soil as well.

In regards to water retention: unglazed terracotta/clay are  good for arid loving plants. Even the glazed ones dry out too quickly in our Temperate and Subtropical climates, though they are good for indoor plants because it’s easy to gauge critical moisture levels.

Hollowed tree trunks and sandstone rocks are REALLY good for ferns and orchids – the wood and rock mimics their natural growing environments.

7 months ago
Hi Bianca, your container garden looks lovely!
I'm also a big fan of mulching, both in the garden and in containers! A layer of myulch slows down evaporation so that you don't need to water as much. In my large tub, I also put down a layer of landscaping fabric at the bottom over a layer of gravel. It prevents the soil from draining away and also from mixing with the gravel which makes reusing the potting mix easier. To reuse it, I  add some of our homemade worm compost in spring.
,

Bianca Humphrey wrote:I’ve grown all my plants in containers because of renting. I got cheap black plastic storage containers that have the rope handles. I found that they did well for my fruit trees but anything smaller they lost the soil too quickly - you would water them and it would run straight out. Since moving to our new house, the pots have cracked at the base. But mulching and adding chicken poop to the top has really done wonders for the water draining issue. So as long as the soil is good it shouldn’t really matter what you plant in. Containers are great for the hot weather because you can move them out of the sun. Which in Australia we are having a massive heat wave.

7 months ago
Hi Joseph,

It looks like your garden gets a lot of indirect light so it seems there's a fair amount of what you can grow! You're already growing lots of suitable herbs like chives and lemon balm. Different varieites of mint would also do well, and some larger herbs such as sweet cicely and lovage. Or perennial leafy veggies such as sorrel and Good king Henry. The most shade tolerant fruits are currants, gooseberries, loganberry, tayberry and sour cherry - does your climate allow you to grow these? As far as annual veggies are concerned, the best ones for shade are leafy veggies such as mustard greens, pakchoy, chard or lettuce (you're also already growing some of these too).

Greetings from the Netherlands,
Vera
7 months ago
Ha, good question, Gail!
I'm afraid there's nothing specific on nomadic gardening but lots of inspiration for growing in containers which might be aplicable to your situation too. I like your idea of a portable garden!

Gail Jardin wrote:Good Morning Vera. Any space eh? How about in a small trailer? Maybe a portable garden that can be moved in and out of a trailer when stationary vs traveling. Does the book cover nomadic gardening?

7 months ago
Thanks so much, Justyn! I hope you'll find my book useful! It covers different ways to maximize yield in small spaces and my favourite part are probably the different polycultuers which I describe down to the varieites I use. I think those might be of particular interest to you too; there are several 'one bed polycultures', such as a very colourful one with Mexican veggies and herbs (see the photo below). There's even a miniature cut flower garden :) If you get the book, please let me know what you think!

Justyn Mavis wrote:Hello Vera, You books looks very interesting.   It right up my alley, and something that will be added to my library here at my Farm Lab. We run a non profit in Southern WV, where we teach folks farming, gardening, and other homesteading skills. I get request to teach more about gardening in small spaces. Again, thanks for joining the forum, and welcome, loads of great people here. I do have a question. What is your favorite chapter or part of the books?
Cheers  
-Justyn

7 months ago
Thanks so much, Inge! It always makes me happy to hear people find my videos interesting

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Hi Vera! I am subscribed to your videos. They are always interesting and nice to watch. I live a little more to the north of the Netherlands, but it's the same climate (and probably the same soil).

7 months ago
Hi Elizabeth,
I think that lots of the advice and examples are applicable in different climates as well. Lots of my followers on YouTube and Instagram are from different climates than my own (California, Arizona, Australia) and I get great feedback from them. Sometimes, things need to be changed slightly, for example, I got a message from someone living in a hot climate who grew one of my polycultures (which I sow in April) during their cool season. If you have more questions, let me know!

Elizabeth Kelly wrote:I'm hoping I can apply your suggestions to my residential garden in the southwest US where we don't receive much precip. Congrats on your book!

7 months ago