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Om at dyrke naturligt...

On growing naturally...

... a foggy day, when you just want to dig in the dirt 😊

We are going to have a 100 sqm polytunnel!!!

Yes, I'm bubbling with excitement to start growing in the off-seasons and at the thought of lots of tomatoes, physalis, chillies, peppers and lots of other good stuff... But I'm afraid I'll have to curb my enthusiasm for 2022, as we simply won't make it to the start of the greenhouse season this year 😞

As a consequence of the decision to postpone the polytunnel until next year, we decided to give the old greenhouse an overhaul. The greenhouse has been on the property for 30 years (I guess) and is now a big pile of makeshift repairs and missing a lot of glass.

First and foremost, my desire is to grow the tomatoes directly in the ground instead of capillary boxes (more on that below). So we've dug out and added a good mix of topsoil, loam, sand, horse manure and compost. Then the glasses have been taken out, the rubber strips have been replaced, everything has been cleaned with a pressure washer (Not recommended, as it's cold and wet work, but it works) and the cleaned glass has been put back in and spiked up with the glasses from a mini wall greenhouse, which was going to give way anyway to make room for a fig tree. It's a huge puzzle to get the greenhouse glass to fit - why are they all different sizes?

But why is growing in soil so important to me anyway?

Let me start by saying that how you grow is a personal choice and up to the individual. Personally, I still think it's a healthier option to grow your own vegetables with fertiliser than it is to buy conventional tomatoes from Spain in the supermarket, so by all means keep growing your own.

... Growing in capillary boxes

Many people who have greenhouses choose to grow their tomatoes in capillary boxes with soil bags and fertiliser. It's super convenient because the tomatoes look after themselves and require very little care and watering. For me, capillary boxes simply don't work because I don't use artificial fertiliser and find it difficult to dose my natural fertiliser so that the plants get what they need. This results in very few, but tasty, tomatoes. At the same time, it seems crazy to me to have to import peat soil when I have 5 hectares of land to take care of, so for the past several years I have been growing in my own composted soil. My final complaint is that the capillary boxes themselves seem to be made to last only a few seasons, after which they have to be replaced - why aren't capillary boxes made to last 10-20 years? - I would have paid more for those.

... Growing in water:

Some people are in favour of "the new breed" Hydroponics or aquaponics - growing vegetables directly in water indoors with no or very little soil. It's convenient because vegetables can be grown indoors and don't get dirty, and in some cases you use the nutrient-rich water from fish farms as fertilizer.

I admit that I know very little about these types of cultivation, as it is not relevant to my everyday life, but it is incomprehensible to me that one can imagine that vegetables grown indoors in water and with only artificial fertilizers contain the same healthy and diverse minerals, vitamins and nutrients as vegetables that have grown directly in the soil and have been exposed to wind, weather, microorganisms, pests and have had the opportunity to stretch their roots precisely where they find the nourishment they need?

For me personally, this is a very unnatural way of treating our food and my conviction is that the quality of the food is significantly degraded - correct me if I am wrong.

... Growing naturally

Personally, I have chosen the traditional but considerably more workintensive route. My vegetables are allowed to grow directly in the soil - they are hardened and strengthened by exposure to wind, weather, drought, sun, pests, natural nutrition etc. My vegetables get dirty, a few get worms, some get lice, some die and the rest grow big and beautiful and delicious and natural.

For me, it's not so important which way you choose to grow your vegetables, but that you do!

If you haven't grown anything before, give it a try - stick a garlic clove in the ground this autumn and see what happens. Put a supermarket potato that has started to sprout in the ground in May and see what happens. Buy a bag of carrot seeds and sow a metre of them in your flower bed. Start small and get some experience (and for goodness sake don't use poison on or near your food - if pests come, live with them and say "It's ok")

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