God created rainy days to allow gardeners to do household chores
Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not a vegetarian, I love meat. I wouldn’t, however, say no to a side dish in the shape of juicy and lovely-smelling vegetables.
My mother-in-law supplied us with home-grown vegetables for a long time. At the time, I didn’t pay any attention to this nor did I understand the effort she put into enabling us to include seasonal produce in our menu. But I noticed the difference when it wasn’t available anymore and we had to resort to buying crops at the shop. The only thing that counted there was the colour of the products which were otherwise empty, artificial, tasteless. The first spring after my mother-in-law died, my wife Barbara and I started wondering who would work the field now. We weren’t able to find any other victim, so we rolled up our sleeves.
Apart from the garden where the greenhouse cheats nature and offers a suitable growing temperature for about one additional month, we also have a field. It lies on a nice, flat and sunny piece of land in the immediate vicinity of Šmarna Gora and with a view of the Kamnik Alps located only a stone’s throw away. That’s where one of the many hobbies that fulfil our already varied family life was born. The soil is fertile and enriched with horse manure from our Lakiša and Lady that do their best for a large harvest.
We had no experience in the beginning and we would have been doomed 100 years ago. We would probably have needed several years to put together at least enough vegetables for chow. So, we’re grateful for the internet and its forums with experienced farmers that provide all the necessary information, including diagnoses of numerous plant diseases and different ways of fighting pests and avoiding toxins, as we don’t use a single drop of pesticides on our field. Talking with experienced vegetable growers is awfully useful. Sometimes the amount of information reaches the levels of a serious Big Data project. All unstructured.
As I prefer the structured approach, I keep a log of activities for every type of plant, describing when we did something and what the result was. I also make notes about what would be worth trying in the following year to increase efficiency, either in terms of time or yield. We draw up a schedule of activities at the beginning of the week. I’ve put the experience of evaluating weather gained from my mountain adventures to good use for working in the field too. It helps me decide when to water the plants and determine the best time to weed and hoe, but also when to harvest the crops to extend their shelf life.
The activities start as early as March and finish in November when we ferment turnips. Although I consider agriculture my hobby, I approach it with a great sense of responsibility. This includes responsibility towards the cultivated field and care for the plants that graciously stock our pantry.
In the summer, our 10-minute way home through the village with a wheelbarrow often extends to an hour or two. The reason behind this is produce sharing with fellow villagers who gladly invite us for a refreshing drink. Sometimes an exchange of goods also takes place.
Spending an afternoon in the field strengthens family ties. We chat and come up with new plans. If there is a lot of work to be done, we make lunch on the spot. A charcoal grill and a pack of “čevapčiči” (minced meat shaped into little sausages), while the vegetable side dish is not far away. And then back to work in the field.
Sometimes, when the heat becomes unbearable, the thistles especially prickly and midges abnormally annoying, I start wondering and get ideas about how the work out in the field could be made easier with modern technology, Big Data analysis and robotisation. The work could carry on long into the night and we would see a record yield in autumn. Precise planting, selective elimination of weeds and drone harvest are drawing closer.
But in that case, I would be worse off, as we would no longer have a hobby strengthening our family ties.
I live an exciting quadrangle love-life with my family, my company and with the mountains. Top-quality gear and advanced technology follow me on my every step in life for decades. I seek answers on many questions in nature and it is here, where I find my true inner peace. The responsibility for my work fills me with a proud feeling of being useful to somebody. I love to follow and resolve questions on configuration advices, project performances, searching for causes of errors, etc. I gladly share all my experience with everybody that would like to hear them.