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Milja from Finland - total newbie...  RSS feed

 
Milja Hahto
Posts: 25
Location: Finland, northern Satakunta
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Hi folks,

I have already posted something (no impatience here, not at all....), but haven't really introduced myself yet, so let's correct that.

Indeed a newbie in permaculture - and even in gardening in general. Years with a small balcony didn't give much experience! Always been thinking environmentally, trying to implement what I can, and now having house & garden (wait, no, so far it's barely a yard, not a garden yet), permaculture appears the only rational, sustainable way to go. Probably the house will stay more conventional (it's not just about me), but the garden will be my creation, as it is now mostly empty space. We'd have enough space for semi-self-sufficiency (around 4200m2, i.e. a bit more than 1 acre), but not enough energy or skills, so we'll try to keep it easy. I'd LIKE to be self-sufficient, off-the-grid and whatnot, but with day jobs for both and health issues affecting daily life, I have to be realistic. (Snif!) Also this isn't the easiest plot or house...

And where is this? In western Finland, on the northern edge of Satakunta, on the countryside. In the middle of a windy field, in a small village, in a small county, far away from bigger cities. Some 100km away from the Baltic Sea, meaning something between continental and coastal climate. Zone IV according to the Finnish system, and zone 3-4 according to the hardiness zones used in USA (which sadly don't work that well here).

This appears to be far way from the nearest active permaculture societies / courses / anything, so the Scandinavian forum here may be critically important for me. I'm really looking forward into reading about others experiences and will probably be asking a lot. Hopefully some day I'll be able to help others as well.

Whoa, that was a long introduction. Bear with me, I may be talkative at times!
 
Joshua Finch
Posts: 64
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Hey Milja,

Glad to see another poster from Finland here. I live in Espoo, but our apartment faces north-north east so it receives very little sun. Most of "my" gardening takes place in Purho, Miehikkälä, which is also Finnish zone 4. My family's summer cottage is there. We have two apple trees and a large number of currant and gooseberry bushes, along with some raspberry canes. Since I come from a very different climate, I've just been spending the last 2 years observing and tinkering around the edges: mostly trying to reform some less than best practices (such as never rotating crops...). I'm also involved in urban farming projects in Helsinki (such as the roof garden at Kaapelitehdas, interning with Dodo at their Kääntöpöytä (turntable) project, the Mustikkamaa edible park, and soon Stadin Puutarhuri (a marketgarden/farm in Helsinki).

I've been involved in someway or another with permaculture for the past 6 years and was certified in Sweden last year by Richard Perkins (Ridgedale Permaculture, formerly Integral Permanence). I'm putting some finishing touches on a potential permaculture diploma from the UK and may be doing some permaculture design as part of a small business in the near future. While I'm far from an expert (I reserve that for folks like sepp holzer, Martin Crawford, and others who have been doing this for decades), I'm always willing to share what I do know. If you are interested in seeing photos and a little bit of info about what I'm up to in Finland, you can visit my blog:

http://60npermaculture.tumblr.com/

Feel free to send a purple moosage here too if you want.

Tervetuloa! (Minä puhun vähän suomea!)


 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6786
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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In extreme climates, it is sometimes necessary to cheat a little. Your main limiting factors are heat and length of season. A greenhouse combined with the creation of warm micro climates throughout the garden, will increase the quantity and variety of what can be grown.

You have a couple advantages as well. In the summer, days are very long. If wind breaks and strategically placed berms and rocks can maintain good night temperature, your plants will be able to start the day the moment the sun rises. Brassica, chard, peas, potatoes etc. can give great results in a short season, when soil temperature is favorable.

Bugs- Many common garden pests don't live in the far north. Your more exotic crops will be free of pests that plague them further south.
 
Milja Hahto
Posts: 25
Location: Finland, northern Satakunta
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Joshua - pictures of your summer cottage make me envious. Even though you say its shady, it looks wonderful... Apart from the house, I'm starting from scratch - the amount of work is daunting and the learning curve feels too steep. A lawn with no shield so far, an abandoned field filled with perennial weeds. I'd love to live by the forest, but this is in the middle of a field. Flat and windy, no privacy from the road, very little anything to take as starting points. House at one end, field at the other end. Driveways and lawn in the middle. My primary focus is in making it a garden (of any sort!) that my soul can rest in, getting something to eat comes after. Luckily I know these too can be combined, if I can just make it satisfying in this specific place...

And Joshua - I am definitely interested in getting some designing help. I'm ready to pay for it too, I know it will save me lots of money later (not to mention about my personal energy, which has even tighter budget than the money). (But what's the purple moosage )


Dale - I was born in Finland, so I don't experience this as extreme. This is not even close to Lappland, after all Of course this is quite different from middle Europe, even southern parts of Sweden, but I have no experience on that. I grew up some 150km north of here, in Vaasa, which is on the cost so that it is warmer, zone 3 (Finnish system, which is more fine-tuned than the US system) + easier microclimate, and I'm mostly comparing with that. I'm not that much concerned about the overall climate here, but the current micro climate is difficult, as well as the layout. At the moment there is very little area out there that is not on the mercy of the cold northern wind...

I'm writing another post about this plot/project, with a couple of photos. Some sketches once I get to make some (the ones I already have are not good for scanning). More details.
 
Milja Hahto
Posts: 25
Location: Finland, northern Satakunta
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More about the plot under projects:
1 acre and uncertainty, aka tired newbie with an empty plot
 
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