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At the beginning of this year i thought of giving a try at gardening and especially at growing some of my own food. I never did that myself but i grew up in the countryside and was helping my grandparents with the garned and animals every summer. So, basically speaking i do have experience in basic agriculture. Since there is some land where i live and some places that were abandoned because my husband’s grandparents are too old to take care of them, i tried to revive some and make some use of the land. First, just as an experiment to see its quality and my agricultural abilities.

First, i started to take care of the strawberry lands which were abandoned few years ago due to wild grass plague. Basically wild grass grew so much over them that one couldn’t do almost anything. I started getting rid of the withered grass that has gathered over the winter, pluck the new one as well as turning the earth on the margins. Also, i had to pluck some of the strawberry bushes because they were so thick. It took lots of time and during the summer, i had to pluck the grass constantly because it was growing all the time. I never used any pesticides not intended to. This was the final result, covered with a net because of predators, mostly birds.

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Besides the stawberries, i also had a patch where i planted radishes, salad, dill, spinach, zucchini, parsley and two potatoes. The salad and dill grew very well, i did the mistake to plant the salad too close so in the end the salad bushes were quite crowded. Spinach grew very well, some was used for food and pancakes and some is in the freezer. The zucchini grew exceptionally well and big as well as the radishes. The parsley was still small and i doubt it will grow, also because it was too crowded into the salad and did not receive enough sun.

Another problem i had here were slugs which were eating almost anything, the radishes seemed to be their favorite though and i noticed they started to chew on zucchinis, too. I tried to put coffee remains on them but with not too much success.

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All in all i think it went quite well and i think next summer i will give it another try and plant new stuff. For example, i will try to grow corn and replant some of the seeds i gathered from dill and spinach. Let’s see how that goes.

I do have to admit though that it was lots of work, it took lots of hours to revive the strawberry fields and lots of care for the vegetables. For example, i used chicken feces as well as minerals dissolved in water to facilitate the growth and nutrients in the food as well as watering them on a daily basis if it was not raining. Who said growing your own food was easy?

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Today is Earth Day and i’ve been thinking for a while what do i do to be green, to minimize my impact on the environment, to not do so much damage. Generally, i’m very aware that the environment nowdays it’s not in its happiest state and sometimes i feel bad that i don’t do even more than i already do now. I like though to believe that i’m still helping. Although i think it’s just a drop in the ocean. Most of the self awareness it’s also coming from my education and the culture i grew up in. I was born in a poor family and although we were never hungry or homeless, we managed to live with basics and make lots of sacrifices.

I particularly remember a conversation i had two years ago with one good Japanese friend of mine. She also grew up in a modest family and she told me that sometimes she feels she’s become too greedy since living in a developed country and affording a better lifestyle than she used to have. I told her i have exactly the same feelings. And sometimes i am ashamed of myself by having so much. Well…if I am to compare this “too much” that i have with the normal lifestyle people have here – i would say i’m poor. Although i’m trying to minimize my consumerist footprint and not to buy stuff i don’t need.

I would like to start a post series where i can track my good deeds for the environment.

Second hand shops. I love them and they are the first place i go to when i need clothing items. I always find something there. And even if i don’t have in my mind a certain item, i sometimes go to check out what stuff they have. Almost all my clothing items are bought from thrift shops. I rarely buy something from clothes shops nowadays because they are either too expensive or i don’t like them. And yes, even sales are too expensive sometimes and besides i don’t like crowds of people roaming around and clothes thrown on the floor. Not that thrift shops are empty though. And that’s a good thing because this means recycling. You don’t need clothes or other items – off to the thrift shop with them.

I never sent anything or sold anything at the thrift shops because i usually wear my stuff until it breaks and then i use them as dusting cloth. Sometimes when it happened that pants or shoes don’t fit me anymore i put them on sale online. Same with books i don’t need. There are some good sites i use for that. If nobody buys them then i send them to charity thrift stores or ask friends if they need something.

I do look though for quality even if i buy from thrift stores. That means not too used items (broken, holes, serious stains etc.). For example, today i visited a local thrift store situated near the university and i found a very nice pair of summer pants. They were about 4€ but very used at the end of the legs (ripped basically). In this case, i had to put them back.

Other items i usually look for in thrift stores are kitchen items, books, dvds, cds, games, furniture, sports gear, candles and everything that i might need for personal use. Although i always have to remind myself not to overdo it. It’s very easy to spend a lot on things that you don’t actually need even in thrift stores.

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life is a journey, not a destination