Building a Solar Dryer

Wouldn’t it be perfect, if we can harvest fruits and veggies in our own garden the whole year through? Well, in some countries this is possible; but not in every country. In general I would say, you have warm summers and colder winters, which makes it more difficult to grow plants during winter times.

Today I want to show you, what you can do to still have the benefits of your own fruits and veggies the whole year through. It is not a new method. It was already used in ancient times. Today we are building our own solar dryer or solar dehydrator. And the good thing is, instead of using hours of expensive electricity with an electronic version, we get our power source for free: the sun.

The method is quite simple. Cool air enters a solar collector where it is heated as it passes along a hot black metal. It then rises into the dryer where your fruits and veggies are placed on shelves. Also the building is not that difficult, if you have the right tools at hand. It is the planning that takes a lot of afford, if you want to avoid buying all the needed materials for lots of money in a hardware store. Besides the hinges for the door and the paint, I used the materials that can be found or grow already in our garden like the bamboo for the shelves; the rest I bought for little money on a junkyard.

1) Gathering materials

2) Making a plan

3) Start building

4) Start painting

5) Finished project

Crop Rotation for your Veggie Garden

Every garden needs a little bit of organisation. Before planing your own veggie garden, you need to be aware that there are basically two types of crops: the ones which are taking nutrition out of the soil, and the ones which are putting nutrition into the soil. So when you divide your veggie garden into several garden beds, you can rotate the plants across the beds over the years.

The two most important benefits for a crop rotation are: on the one hand it stops the soil from getting depleted and on the other hand it avoids the building up of pests as some plants are prone to diseases.

The groups that are taking more nutrition out of the soil are the following:
– Alliums (like Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Shallots) and Umbellifers (like Beetroot, Carrots, Fennel, Parsley, Parsnip). They both can share a bed.
– Brassicas (like Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radish)

The groups that are putting more nutrition into the soil and that you can harvest are the following:
– Legumes (like Broad Beans, French Beans, Peas, Runner Beans)
– Miscellaneous (like Cucumbers, Peppers, Pumpkins, Sweetcorn, Tomatoes, Zucchini)

There is actually another third group. The plants that are also putting more nutrition into the soil but that you can not harvest. They protect the soil from erosion and keep the beds free from weeds as well. After you have planted them, let them grow for a short time and then dig them back into the soil. Wait a month before you start planting your crops. They are called Green Manures:
– Legumes (like Alfalfa, Clover, Fenugreek, Lupins)
– Miscellaneous (like Buckwheat, Grazing Rye)

Besides the green manures you can of course put some mulch onto the soil to prevent the weeds from coming back and to prevent the soil from drying out.

Salads (like Chicory or Lettuce) you can plant everywhere where space is available.

Potatoes I would plant in a separate bed as they can be prone to blight.
And don’t forget to label what you have planted.

Go out and look for your next adventure

Our time in this life is limited.
So why wasting it with materialistic stuff that is of no value?
Electronics for instance that are just being used for entertainment;
for distracting you from what is really important in life.

Don’t listen to others.
Don’t see others as an example.
Don’t follow the majority.
Refuse such presents from other people. They are wrong.

Rather be strong and say to them:
‘I am going outside. Into the real world.
And the world out there is so beautiful.
I am going to be an explorer.
My next adventure awaits me.’

Love, your Papa.

What to plant in a spiral herb garden

After building our herb spiral, we surely want to plant our medicine.
Some plants like it more dry and sunny, and some plants like it more damp and shady. The herb spiral is the perfect place giving each herb its own little microclimate. The driest conditions are at the top of the spiral. As the herbs grow, the spiral will create its own shadier conditions.

Herbs that can be planted are:

1) Herbs that like it damp and shady. South-Facing (in the southern Hemisphere)/North-Facing (in the northern Hemisphere).
– Chervil
– Mint
– Chives
– Parsley
– Sorrel
– Tarragon

2) Herbs that like it dry and sunny. North-Facing (in the southern Hemisphere)/South-Facing (in the northern Hemisphere).
– Marjoram
– Thyme
– Chamomille
– Coriander
– Basil
– Sage
– Rosemary