A peaceful self-sufficient vegan garden in Belgium by Coline This is my blog about my garden (with many more photos): www.monjardinvegan.revolublog.com
Illustration above by Coline Photos by Coline and Nicolas Photo below – first year of crops in 2016.
There are perennials (raspberries, tree onions, wild spinach), and at the back a plum tree. The other flowers and vegetables are milk thistle, marigold, borage, nasturtium, red and yellow chards, Tuscan black palm kale, tomatoes and potatoes. I added pieces of wood – shelters and food for animals such as louses, earthworms, centipedes, newts, slugs, ants and various beetles.
End of winter, early spring. The strong cold wind is still blowing, adding to the rain, and that’s the Belgian weather in my garden! But … I began the seedlings and I keep an optimistic attitude. One week after this, the sun is back. Birds are singing, and spring is coming soon! Ants, bees and beetles are back in the garden. My garden is located in the Belgian countryside and is approximately 2500 sq metres (0.6 acres). I grow flowers, fruit and vegetables stockfree in an orchard with apple trees (old varieties), plum trees (old varieties), cherry trees (several varieties), walnut trees, and several kinds of berries too.
Permaculture inspired me, but every day I try to find my own way with stockfree gardening. Here are some of my practices: no-dig, mulches all year, composting directly on the soil, growing old and forgotten varieties where possible, non-GMO and no F1 hybrids, wild perennial vegetables, saving seeds, and no crop rotations.
Wildlife is an integral part of my garden, and plays an important role. We share this space in harmony, and have a non-violent attitude. It’s a peaceful place for fauna and flora, and there are no pests here. This idea, and this word, shouldn’t exist in vegan gardening! No animal should be considered a pest.
Mon amie la taupe I love my garden, and I don’t want to and can’t control everything. My garden always has the remarkable and wonderful power to surprise me! Interesting examples are the moles and voles. They help me to garden! The moles aerate my soil (which is clay) as do the voles, but the moles (les taupes) design my garden too. In a few days, a molehill can be built – fantastic!
Later, I use it to grow plants. The moles and voles not only aerate the soil, but their tunnels are shelters for other animals (frogs, toads, bumblebees, shrews …).
Here are some of my homegrown vegetables and aromatic herbs: wild perennials (onion, celery, garlic, rocket, etc), red orach, various tomatoes, various potatoes, watercress, chards, black chickpeas, peas, various beans, various squashes, various cabbages, corns, radishes and basils, rosemary, thymes, tarragon, mint, lemon balm, flowers … To be self-sufficient in food as much as possible is an essential element of my vegan gardening, and I’m trying to depend on a minimum of consumer society. For example, I use a manual chaff-cutter (an old mechanical device made in England at the end of the 19th century). It was used in animal exploitation, and now I use it in a vegan garden to make various mulches. It’s a new life for this tool! About tools, my main and best one is a … tablespoon! I use it to plant most of the vegetables and flowers. The start of spring is better than it was last year (my first year in this garden), so I’m very busy with seedlings – and I love that!
Coline with tomatoes … and the old manual chaff-cutter
One of the plum trees in bloom (April 2017)
Ahhhhhhh, my friend la taupe (the mole)! She decided that one of my patches of land was really interesting. I let her go ahead and … a one metre in diameter molehill was built, a ready to use mound with very good soil. A mole’s gift. I began to grow tree onions, and later in the season I’ll grow more crops there.