social media equals social distancing

#SOCIALMEDIA was seen as as a computer-based layer over network connections to be used as an information exchange opportunity for their users. In the wild west hype of Internet emerged a lot of so-called funcionality on screen to tickle the human neurons.

no social distancing - harvesting olives in the color garden
no social distancing – harvesting olives in the color garden

This story is about social media, social distancing, real community life, final goals, military tools and about selecting useful information out of spam and the link between all of them. You are 1 out of 7 out of 23.000 if you read this story down to the end.

When i gave my first lectures in IT-Networking on a glimp of the beginning of remote data transmission i was asked by a elderly student: “What will be a fundamental consequence of using this network on a daily basis?” My answer was simple as that: “The information will loose its value.” Now – looking back – i would likely clarify “the flat-screen-based information…”.

We – as humans – are evaluating the relative truth of information by calculating the distance between the sender (to us) and the source of this information itself. Embedded in never ending story telling we see self-experienced information – sender equals receiver – as likely true, if it is told us by somebody else maybe true and if the person giving us third party information we become more and more unsure.

Based on OSI we experience the information offered in our perception. But finally we are looking on a kind of a black box because we – as an application to receive this information – are not able to decode the underlaying protocols. So like in the last 200.000 years of human mankind we invented strategies to evaluate this black box by using assumptions, prejudices and validations.

Originally created as a military weapon additive the former ARPA-NET, all this ingreediences in this black box became more and more commerialized. In the beginning it was only the access to this black box which was invoiced. Later the bill expanded to include individual functions and access to content inside or behind the black box.

Whenever humans inventing tools they imagine an advantage. They calculate this advantage in comparing tools to achieve their goals. So my second prediction as a reply to the question of my student was: “And the sender will invent more and more sofisticated tools to present their information as true.”

At the same time the black box was growing a lot. As a point in the FIDO-NET fourty years ago i was reading maybe 10 posts in newsgroups and happy about one personal mail a day. The effort to wrap information in a way to send it, was high – like stepping into a little yellow or red iron cabine in the corner of a street to make a remote call – and therefore the average of daily received messages was low.

Based on my career and the capacity of internet functionality our community FamiliaFeliz used a website and social media to spread its information as well. By using this black box we where trapped in the same way as the others and even knowing the conditions from a professional point we experienced the same difficulties “to get our message to the receiver”.

Making research on the possibilities of these new tool social media we where focused on two issues: hidden features and emergent values, in naive speech: “Contemporary communities should have a look at contemporary tools to reach contemporary goals.”

Social media, as a product of private companies, is for sale. You might pay with money – which is another currency for quality life time – or you pay by giving attention, anyway, you pay. Refering to the evaluation of the tool we have to look on advantage and disadvantage of using this tool.

To messure this value we should think about the real goal. For many social media users we see a shift from infinite / final goals to milestones as goals. Lets give a sample: If your final goal is to buy a car you might have a look at some online shops and blogs and vlogs about cars you are interested in. You will compare the received information with your assumptions and prejudices and maybe you will validate it in a test drive at the nearest car dealer. But finally you might buy a car and you stop to make research about it. All research and surfing the internet could be seen as temporary goals to reach the final goal to buy the next car. In this case the information out of the black box is used to reach this defined goal by surfing from milestone to milestone.

But it is not as easy as this. You are not alone using the internet. Some machine learning algorythmns are following you and learning what you like and how you act in front of all this competitive information sources. By tracking your way online – and offline – the sender as an intermediate is learning how to show a given product in the best way to you. As a ROI probably he will try to sell this knowledge to the car dealer.

The message the car dealer is learning from this might be, that it makes a lot of sense to postpone the bio feedback – the test drive – to the latest possible moment in with you made up your mind already about which car you are likely to buy. Therefore you might see less and less opportunities for test drives in the future.

no social distancing - creating mosaics in the house of the dragon
no social distancing – creating mosaics in the house of the dragon

As an international decentralized community FamiliaFeliz doesn’t want to sell a car or any other product. Many other communities – struggling with money to survive – are inventing products like workshops (spirituality, health, community buildung, permaculture, bio construction) for so-called living community tourists.

We do not want to judge about the communities, neither about these clients. It seems to be normal to invent a fitting product for a potential customer. Many of these users are spending hours and hours of screen time to feed the dream of a community life and social media offer a lot of groups where these customers can exchange their dreams and visions about living in a community. No wonder that a lot of communities try to meet their potential clients inside these social media networks surfing for content to feed their dreams.

However, both sides seem to be trapped. The community which try to gather clients will run in a never ending competition about attention and a “LIKE” doesn’t solve any economical challenge for them. The surfer and social media user introduces himself as somebody who search for the final goal to join or invent a community project, but more likely he stick on his chair in front of the screen and return to exactly this surfing mode to feed his desires.

There are other communities – without any business plan for social media – like FamiliaFeliz. These projects are just posting time by time something about their real activities and daily life.

no social distancing - exploring the new land of hope
no social distancing – exploring the new land of hope

In a social media group called “Projecto de Ecoaldeas en España” we found 63.4% of the posts initiated by the sender as a share of external information not direct related to himself or to an existing project of an ecoaldea (research 2020-05-31 – 6pm). The sender was just sharing information about videos, howto’s and external articles about topics like useful tools, bio construction or spirituality. We can assume that each sender was a) aware about the topic of this group (eco village projects) and b) that each sender expected a value to share this posts in this group. We might assume also that the sender would like to see more of similar postings in this place from other group members. Non of these posts leed to a real eco village project or gives information about a real activity of any existing eco village project.

In the same research we identified 13.3% of the posts as direct advertising with deep links to products, like workshops or webinars. Only half of them where related to existing communities as the provider of such trainings. The other half was posted by individuals, who probably expect to be able to win customers among the visitors of this group.

Only 10% where shared posts from individual members of other groups about real activities of communities and 13.3% where direct posts from community members about activities of their own community. If you count the 10% and these last 13.3% as posts and content really related to the topic of the social media group, it should be noted that more than 75% of the information has nothing or very little to do with the real life of communities.

But nevertheless more than 23.000 members are enjoying this group. So whatever might be posted, this people get what they want.

On the other hand less than 15% of this information is delivered throughout this black box from a sender who might be a real member of a real community.

The word of the year 2020 could be #SOCIALDISTANCING and we don’t know yet how big the impact for future generations will be. But it looks like, that the effect of postings in social media support more the following AI and the companies running the networks and selling the user (behaviour) data than it leads to finite goals of users really willing to enter a community or communities looking for new members to join.

no social distancing - all about love - a performance in Tortosa
no social distancing – all about love – a performance in Tortosa

Many years ago i started to develop a social media group called work of art. This group was introduced as “to discover how we could transform virtual attention into real benefit and value for all members”. I wrote: ” Social networks are full of spam and redundant information and it will be a survival of the fittest and a soft skill to use such virtual environments in a human and useful way.”

35 years after using my FIDO-NET server as a host for the first online-based training in collaboration with the public highschool of Cologne i found myself in the year 2020 in Spain in a lock down with kids in the house, neglected by their schools and confronted with inexperienced teachers who desperately practice sending PDF files and video links of social media platforms to their scholar.

In the early years of the internet i was responsible for train-the-trainer seminars. As the elderly student asked me about the future impact in my first online based training in these teacher trainings it was important to me to bring new generations of pedagogues closer to the consequences for their own profession in times of internet. Social media flodding out of the black box was promoted as a social tool, but it kept the distance between sender and receiver and as a product its inherent feature was and is to hold the receiver as long as possible in the loop of surfing: screen time versus quality life time.

35 years ago in my first online based seminar i experienced how important real presence time was for my students. Even receiving information is a social act and useless if not compagnioned by other sense experience than listening and looking.

no social distancing - all about love - lecture in the MLU Halle in Germany - biology
no social distancing – participative strategies in education – lecture in the MLU Halle in Germany – biology

You have to put your hands in the clay to understand what bio-construction means. You have to wash all the plates for the group to understand what it means to live in a community. You have to donate your last money to another member without fear to understand what shared economy means.

The ongoing fragmentation of societies was initiated by media and politics and the myth of western individualism. We can denote internat and social media as milestones. AI – artificial intelligence – driven algorithms personalize what we see. The information is wrapped and selected like convenient food to hold us in our mental and physical comfort zone.

Flat screen – flat life, when surfing in social media becomes a loop and receiving information becomes the ultimate goal, you will not arrive in the color garden of FamiliaFeliz. Keep in mind: Social media equals social distancing.

Like freedom fighters communicating between each other by sticking short paper messages on tanks we send this message in a bottle throughout this black box of social media.

no social distancing - lectures on our UNIIE campus in Spain
no social distancing – lectures on our UNIIE campus in Spain

No workshop, no car, no hidden agenda, our message is simple: just leave the screen and go for your dream. Expand your quality lifetime, in nature, with other like-minded people.

You are 1 out of 7 out of 23.000 members of a social media network group. We calculate 20% active members in this group of 23000. We calculate 15% of them are posting information related to the topic and 1% of them are highly motivated to found or co-found a community (real entrepreneurs). So we wrote this article for nearly 7 people – by posting it into that group, and you are one of them. Maybe you will make it to the color garden.

A story of love and passion

This is a story of love and it is a story of a man, his advise, my sculpture, our tragedy, your world and the passion to donate a whole life to peace and freedom.

Corona-the story of love and passion - the world as a working space
Corona-the story of love and passion – the world as a working space

The man’s name is Eitan, he’s living in South France with his wife and a son. I met him years ago in an art space called Saint Henri in the Aude region. He was part of an artist group and he co-organized a big art festival every year. In these days of lock down and limited human rights i was thinking about Eitan, his journey through life, his passion and energy and his advice to me years ago when i was working on a new sculpture for the house of the dragon.

In the first five month of 2020 the common narrative is cruising around Corona and the political and the economical implications. Even in Spain we experienced a kind of worst case scenario.

My art is – if it is related to architecture and sculpturing – often driven by simple needs to solve a challenge. In case of this sculpture the heavy weather events with a lot of rain in spring 2020 in our region in Spain (Maestrazgo) reminded to an unsolved problem in our terrace.

Corona-the story of love and passion - food for future
Corona-the story of love and passion – food for future

In one corner we created a very tiny wall and with low budget we where not able to close the gap between wall and terrace floor properly. So heavy rains let water pass the construction and we have a wet wall inside of the lower room. The problem is know for 30 years but never was money and time (at the same moment !) available to solve it.

Corona-the story of love and passion - Dilan is cutting ceramics for the sculpture - new raised bed in the color garden
Corona-the story of love and passion – Dilan is cutting ceramics for the sculpture – new raised bed in the color garden

Now in times of Corona – as in many family homes the people check all these abandoned tasks – we started to finish this job. Inspired by another project in the last time – a terrace garden – we designed a structure like a very little raised bed. This bed is also a link to our big color garden project which we expanded a lot with the help of Dilan and Francesca from Manresa and other friends of Familiafeliz in the village of Cervera del Maestre.

We see ourselves as very privileged to stay in a little peaceful village in the first line of mountains in province of Castellon in these times of lock down. Nevertheless we are affected and we will be affected much more in the next years. This is a kind of civil war, the weapons are narratives, drugs, media and decrees. The target is global human mankind. The parties involved are highly motivated or as always as a majority silent and docile.

Corona-the story of love and passion - Dilan is cutting ceramics for the sculpture - informal learning at its best
Corona-the story of love and passion – Dilan is cutting ceramics for the sculpture – informal learning at its best

My art is social sculpturing and i am focused on the people i meet and their needs, dreams and wishes. A piece of art is an creative expression as a reaction of my surroundings and it cover a narrative as well. It becomes common sense – and therefore culture on a long term – if it is substanzial and clear like a lighthouse and if it is able to give orientation and vision to cover the challenge of life.

Corona-the story of love and passion - Dilan is cutting ceramics for the sculpture - message in the bottle
Corona-the story of love and passion – Dilan is cutting ceramics for the sculpture – message in the bottle

Eitan was born in Israel. As many young men he was part of military and served in various conflicts and in a big local war. Later in his life he moved to the United States and worked as a cook in the United States military. In this position he served in another war. He was part of a very little community in which he meet is wife Jessica. Later they both went to France and rebuild a very old stone house in a little village in the Pyrenees . Both are highly creative people and they are surrounded by a lot of other artists and friends. But – as always if somebody is powerful and driven by values and vision – the life is challenging them a lot.

Familiafeliz, as a social sculpture, is itself a piece of art and a reflection and reaction to this world. In the core team we think, that collaboration and cooperation leads to more peace, freedom and happiness. We share the idea of living individually embedded in a sustainable family clan based on values of humanity. This world, as we experience now, is passing a tipping point and – like nature ever – falling from one relative balance into another. Based in the second law of thermodynamics i use the word falling with intention.

If you are still reading this post and if you ask yourself what is the link between Eitan, a sculpture on top of a Spanish house in the mountains of el maestrazgo, the tragedy of corona and the downfall of our old world order you are just framed in the right way, to receive the advise, Eitan gave to me years ago in a little café in the region of Aude in France.

I moved years ago to France because i was looking for community life and tired about the same stories they told me in existing communities i visited. Most of them are starting full of illusion, initiated by powerful people and driven by those who want to escape from the system and organizing community life by inventing rules and more rules and more rules. I was not sure what i should do, because i experienced that all these community designs lead to the same, a tragic copy of the overall societies in western worlds. And with Corona we see now the implications of these design. I was sure, that there might be an alternative design available, which might be driven by “less is more”. And when Eitan asked me what i would like to do really, i answered him: “My intention is to create a space in which this new pattern of community life can occur, as a result of less is more. I see myself as a facilitator, not the creator, and finally i will be not part of it because i want to limit my influence.”

The snake in the terrace is protecting the plants in the raised bed. It is turning the head in the direction of Madrid as the source of political power in Spain and its eyes are connecting the people moving in the streets of the village and the sky above all of us. Its cock is pointing to another older sculpture of this artist residence and familiafeliz guest house, the dragon on top of the highest wall.

Corona-the story of love and passion - the dragon on the wall
Corona-the story of love and passion – the dragon on the wall

The key qualifications of the 21st century are: growing and defending food.

Juan Petry

Like the healing snake i see this animal in a positive way. Its ability to skin brings him the reputation of immortality. In times of Corona people get confused by loosing the contact to nature and full of fear the death becomes an unhuman enemy and intolerant exception.

We are part of the nature and we borrowed our body from its bio mass. By leaving the paradise we where able to experience the world and its beauty but we loosed the immortality. So my inherent message of this sculpture is as simple as this: grow your food and protect it from those who want to steal it and share it which those who decide to life with you in a space to develop a new pattern of living together in communty.

The snake is now part of the CASAdelDRAGON, the artist residence and think tank of new social ideas, the guest house for our community and the playground for gatherings, performance and projects. Less is more. Make it simple. The snake has no arms and legs. It doesn’t carry weapons. It use its body to perform. The body of the idea of Familiafeliz is our charter, a simple basic text about our principals (pdf, englisch version | other languages available here) . We are embedded into this world, we have no second one. We are moving in our bio mass for a couple of years inside of this world. We should be smart and bright in our temporal easy going. We should be motivated by creativity and the desire to discover, not by fear.

Eitans advise to me was simple as this: No backup! Go! Whatever you want to do in your life. Start now, do not wait and do not waste your time by maintaining a backup. Losing is not an option. Only when you route all the energy in achieving your goal, you will succeed.

The immortal snake construction was finished yesterday. Today we will place some plants in its raised bed. This plants are for your future and we will prepare them in the kitchen of the house of the dragon. This little sculpture will be linked to a wise man and his advise for us, not to limit our power in thinking in backups.

Eitan was born in 1943-05-27. He will celebrate his 77st birthday today. Happy birthday Eitan!

Corona-the story of love and passion - go for your mission without backup
Corona-the story of love and passion – go for your mission without backup

Jam for #POPAs

jam for #POPAs - experimental cooking
jam for #POPAs – experimental cooking

In spring 2020 Familiafeliz – like many other living community projects – was passing a very special time. We where happy to harvest the last oranges (naranjas) and medlar (nispero) in our home unit in Spain in the color garden.

jam for #POPAs - the freedom of expression
jam for #POPAs – the freedom of expression

The artist residence CASAdelDRAGON hosted between 50 and 200 visitors per year. We where not sure about the future but we decided to prepare some jam for the coming guests in later 2020.

Because of lock down and many restrictions in Spain some shelfs in the super markets are empty and we could not buy aga-aga or pectine. So we decided to look for alternative ways to cook the jam by using not so many sugar.

jam for #POPAs - new label - new order
jam for #POPAs – new label – new order

We combined strawberry with orange, medlar with grapes and we added pieces of eggplants to the raw mix of fruits and sugar (250g eggplants per 1000g fruits and 500g sugar). It worked very well and gave the mix a good volume and absorbed a lot of liquid.

After Generation Y / Millennials we are now thinking of the next era of youth, we call them #POPAs = POst PAndemics, Most of the jars we donated to our local friends with kids and some we stored for new visitors. Actually we are planning for the CFF (Community Founder Festival) in late August (21.08. – 31.08.) and we get nearly every day a mail or call from a couple or single with kids looking for a new life and an alternative livings space and some kind of community life.

We are not sure how life will be in the future but it might be different from what we had before.

Some people did something before CORONA, they are doing it still in the lock down and they might continuing in doing it after. Others had done something, they are not doing anything in the lock down and they might need to find something different to do after CORONA.

Juan Petry, Artist
jam for #POPAs - new label - international jam session
jam for #POPAs – new label – international jam session

At the same time we prepared the first jam in our home unit in Germany. Happy to imagine the taste of all this different fruits from different countries. We hope to exchange a lot in this summer.

Urban gardening in times of reconstruction

urban gardening
urban gardening in times of reconstruction

In early 2020 our community – like many other in the world – experienced a serious time of reconstruction. Limited in access and free movement we focused on solutions to survive and to initiate peace and hope around us. We collected plants and seeds and started to prepare a urban garden on the terrace. We published news around this theme to guide some friends far away asking for urban gardening solutions and we documented the progress.

urban gardening - new beans
urban gardening – new beans

We shared and donated plants in the village and we prepared some seeds for having more plants in the future.

urban gardening - extensive use of limited space
urban gardening – extensive use of limited space

We created some frames out of pallet wood. We tried plants in different locations of the terrace, in different pots, compagnioned by different other plants.

So far after 4 weeks we experienced this:

  • Potatos – even out-cutted piezes with buds – are growing well.
  • Salad is growing fast in some pots, very slowly in others.
  • Bigger frame constructions containing more soil are working better than little once.
  • Replanted onions are buildung flowers. Leek doesn´t look good.
  • Tomatos in bigger plastic bottles (including a bigger deposite of water) are growing better.
  • Watercress is growing fast and better in protected areas with some shadow over the day.
  • The mix of garden soil, compost and starter soil makes a big difference.

We decided to continue the project and to expand the production of new plants with donated seeds from friends. We will replant some in our big garden.

CFF – community founder festival 2020 in Spain

willing workers on organic farms - the circle of alimentation
CFF 2020 | community founder festival 2020-08-21 – 2020-08-31 | Spain

Many people are on their journey to find the right community. At the same time many communities are looking for candidates and new members. There are some gatherings on national level, sometimes limited to one language or with an approach somewhat remote. We feel it’s time to think about an international gathering.

If you are a (co-)founder of an existing or soon in 2020 upcoming community and you like to invite others to join your project, you are very welcome. In a first step we have published this message, we have defined the location and date and we have opened an application form to gather a core group for design and administration of such a gathering.

Something starts when one person says NOW, not when everybody is ready.

Juan Petry

In times of Covid-19 we are not able to predict if a physical gathering will be possible in Europe at this time (in late August) but we want to open this dialogue with you NOW to prepare it and to focus on that time line.

Familiafeliz as a host for this gathering is willing to share its resources, especially the art camp and the color garden, but it will need your active participation to create and perform a successful event.

Therefore this post and its content is an invitation to come together and to identify you as somebody looking for an alternative way of life and willing to donate your energy for such an outcome.

Join the core team now. | Read more about this event (regulary updated PDF).

new hot spot in the terrace garden

new hotspot in the terrace garden
new hotspot in the terrace garden

In these times (March / April 2020) we used our terrace garden as a home office and added a new segment including a dry cabinet.

The lower part again contains a box for plants and gives the structure weight and strength. With two bars in the middle we used the given space for plants in little pots. The dry cabinet contains two refurbished windows. The whole structure is made with wood from two palets.

new hotspot in the terrace garden - experiments
new hotspot in the terrace garden – experiments

In one corner we planted the lower part of leeks. According to some online tips they should grow and create some new little eatable plants. We will document the progress later here.

new hotspot in the terrace garden - the new segment in place
new hotspot in the terrace garden – the new segment in place

The dry cabinet is painted black to reflect less energy. Inside we used milk carton pieces. The temperature reached nearly 34 degree at 4pm with cloudy sunshine.

With this segment we added space for nearly 40 new plants on less than 1 square meter. In the next days we will optimize the energy management to reach higher temperatures inside the cabinet. And we will start to collect – and later publish – some recipies for drying snacks, fruits and vegetables.

terrace gardening – cradle 2 cradle

cradle2cradle - upcycling
cradle2cradle – upcycling

In a more holistic way of thinking and doing we like to upcycle whatever is possible. We get sometimes donations of wood pallets and we store them in our color garden. As part of the terrace gardening project – which is growing as well – we used two pallets to create a new structure for tomato and some other plants.

cradle2cradle - recycling
cradle2cradle – recycling

The truth of upcycling is that – like every other action – it creates other types of waste. We collected the left overs form wood for heating. The ash will be re-used for our chicken stable (mixed with sand it reduce flies and tricks) and become later with the animal shit and add-on for our compost. The nails – separated in the heating process – we will use for natural ink production.

cradle2cradle - vertical garden segment
cradle2cradle – vertical garden segment

The vertical terrace garden segments contains three layer. At the bottom we created a box for planting to give stable weight to the segment. In the middle we are able to use the structure as a intermediate place for plants. The upper layer is designed for bottles to hold the soil for the tomato plants.

cradle2cradle - water storage
cradle2cradle – water storage

We filled the bottom of the box with wood pieces. These pieces are waste of orange box production and – because of its use to transport unwrapped fruits – not contaminated with poison. They will store water and manage humidity in the soil on top of them. Over the year they will be composted as well and therefore we create new organic material at the same time in the same place.

cradle2cradle - plants and hay
cradle2cradle – plants and hay

Like in our bigger raised beds in the color garden of CASAdelDRAGON we use hay to cover the soil between the plants.

cradle2cradle - preparing for a new challenge
cradle2cradle – preparing for a new challenge

To be able to route the tomato plant through the tiny spout of the plastic bottle we cut lower bigger leafs of the plant and prepare a soft fabric to hold the soil.

cradle2cradle - inventing tools
cradle2cradle – inventing tools

In the creative process of solving problems on the way we invented a little tool to help us to pass the spouts.

cradle2cradle - mounting preparating
cradle2cradle – mounting preparating

Every bottle is prepared with 5 wholes. Two of them are for later mounting in the structure. The other are used as a drainage of excess rainwater.

cradle 2 cradle - the first tomato plants bottled
cradle 2 cradle – the first tomato plants bottled

The first four bottles are in place. Now we are looking in the neighborhood for more plastic bottles.

These post, like others before about our terrace gardening project, like to inspire you for your own solutions (we will enjoy feedback and your ideas about other nice solutions to use the terrace as a vegetable garden).

We saw some videos about tomato plants inside of bottles. We like to discover this design and its pros and cons. We will keep you updated about the progress.

In working out these little vertical gardening segment we already get some more inspirations of new designs.

You can ever develop a bit more….

cradle 2 cradle - space for more - onions on top
cradle 2 cradle – space for more – onions on top

Hunting seeds – treasure in our daily food

hunting seeds - treasure in our daily food
hunting seeds – treasure in our daily food

In March 2020 we are limited in free movement and for some of us shopping become a rare social activity. To feed our terrace garden we can use little plants if we have access to professional sources. Maybe in a city it will be not easy to find a source for these plants. So i publish this to stimulate you to discover what you could use even out of you shopping bag.

Disclaimer: Some of the seeds you will discover are inside hybrid plants and they will not grow. Some of your food was exposed to radioactive waves or otherwise “cleaned” before it arrived to the shop. Some of the seeds are given without permission to plant because of a patent.

All this will not work, but maybe you could get some food out of bio-shops or direct from a local farmer.

Words are also seeds, and when dropped into the invisible spiritual substance, they grow and bring forth after their kind.

Charles Fillmore, American mystic
hunting seeds - or using parts of your potato
hunting seeds – or using parts of your potato

Also you could look for some already spreading potato on stock. We use – as you see – only part of the potato and it works well. Some hints we collect here:

  • Tomato > Before you use the tomato take the seeds with a spoon and put them with water in a glass with screw cap. Shake this glas every day once for 7 days. After this open the glass and run the liquid with the seed over a paper towel that you have placed in a sieve. Let the paper towel dry and peel the seeds apart. Store them in a dry place (max. 5 years) or plant them.
  • Peppers > Cut the plant and peel of the seeds in a paper towel. Let them dry one day. Store them in a dry place (max. 4 years) or plant them.
  • Kiwi > Use the same method like above for tomato. Store them in a dry place (max. 3 years) or plant them.
  • Pumpkin > Use the same method like above for peppers. Let them dry one week. Store them in a dry place (max. 5 years) or plant them.
  • Garlic > Take a strong clove of a garlic plant and re-plant it. It might be a good companion for tomato in the same planting pot.
  • Potato > Cut a piece from the potato. It should be minimum 0.5 cm thick below an spreading eye. If you could select 2 or 3 eyes at once its also fine. Dry the piece for 2 days without to much sunlight. Plant the pieces (eyes upside) within the next 2 or 3 days. Water the area not much in the first weeks. We suggest to use hay to cover the potato piece and the soil around.

It is highly recommended to plant different types of tomato not nearby, as well as pumpkin and cucumber not close to each other. If you have only on terrace garden we suggest to plant only one variation of tomato and pumpkin or cucumber at the same time.

Feedback : if you have more ideas to add other plants to the list please send us a notice. We will update this post from time to time.

Couch Potato – Fridays for Future

Look at that moon. Potato weather for sure.

Thornton Wilder, Author
terrace gardening - potato bed box
terrace gardening – potato bed box

In March 2020 the Spanish government expanded the time of traffic limitation till April. Cloudy weather and some rain motivated us to expand the terrace garden project as well.

We found a abandoned wood box in the garden and drilled two wholes in one side, about 3 cm higher than the bottom.

terrace gardening - potato bed box with plastic
terrace gardening – potato bed box with plastic

We used also a old sheet of plastic to protect the wood against humidity. We prefer to re-use and upcycle material and the rotten plastic was big enough.

terrace gardening - potato bed box with water owerflow
terrace gardening – potato bed box with water owerflow

We placed two pipes into the wholes and fixed them with stripes. We glued the pipes against the blue plastic to protect the wood.

terrace gardening - potato bed box - wood to store the moisture
terrace gardening – potato bed box – wood to store the moisture

We charged the box with some wood pieces. Its a donation of a company which produce orange boxes and the pieces have a perfect size to be used like pellets for heating or in this case to store further rain water. The wood also will be populated by bacteria and insects and later transformed into useful compost.

terrace gardening - potato bed box - a layer of carton
terrace gardening – potato bed box – a layer of carton

To develop a bigger space for the water and reduce the speed of de-composting we placed a layer of carton on top of the wood.

terrace gardening - potato bed box - soil - compost - sand
terrace gardening – potato bed box – soil – compost – sand

In the next step we charged the box with a soil compost mix.

terrace gardening - potato bed box - the couch potatos
terrace gardening – potato bed box – the couch potatos

On top of the soil we placed some potatos. We used a mix of left overs we found in the garden beds and some new seed potatos as well.

terrace gardening - potato bed box - hay and grass covering
terrace gardening – potato bed box – hay and grass covering

Finally we covered the potato with a layer of hay and grass. Just in time it started to rain again.

I bought a big bag of potatoes and it’s growing eyes like crazy. Other foods rot. Potatoes want to see

Bill Callahan, Author

All material was re-used and compost and soil where borrowed form the color garden of CASAdelDRAGON. Most of the seed potato are the 3rd generation of potato we developed in the garden area. For time investment we have to calculate 1 hour. The installation cover a space of less than 0.5 square meter. Like the upcycling of water bottles we post this content for our friends in Belgium and for everybody looking for some gardening activities which are easy to realize in these times of limited mobility.

social art – advantage to survive in times of reconstruction

When i was a child i was collecting plants from outside and brought them into my greenhouse, constructed by some well-known plastic bricks. Inspired by movies like Silent running i invented my own story of enjoying the nature and its beauty.

Many years later – now (2020-03-21) – in times of limited access to nature and locked to private spaces – i was asked by some friends about a useful advise to set up a urban / terrace garden in small size.

I promised to share all my limited knowledge to help them to develop a garden in their city flat in Belgium.

fabric stripes for water management
fabric stripes for water management

One solution is to use old plastic water bottles. They are maid out of PET. First you should cut some fabric in stripes of 40 x 5 cm.

PET bottles - preparation to store and move water
PET bottles – preparation to store and move water

Than you should cut a star into the screw cap. It is useful to make this step before you cut the bottle into two pieces.

PET bottle - best practice to reach a stable structure
PET bottle – best practice to reach a stable structure

The fabric is – turned to a double strip of 20cm – placed into the cut of the screw cab – 15 cm outside. The bootle is cutted with a scissor – 60% for the bottom and 40% for the top part.

PET bottle - water overflow solution
PET bottle – water overflow solution

In the bottom part you should burn or drill 8 wholes – each ca. 1 cm wide – 3 cm below the open side. In the top part you might burn or drill 4 wholes – each ca. 1cm wide – 4 cm below the screw cap.

I used a old soldering iron to burn the wholes. It reaches temperatures higher than 265° – which is the melting point for PET. Even if you are planning to prepare a lot of bottles the burning Methode is quick and easy. But work only outside or in a well ventilated working environment.

PET bottle - reassambling and adjusting
PET bottle – reassambling and adjusting

Before you place the top reverse into the bottom part prepare 4 to 6 short cuts into the edge of the lower part – each 1 cm length.

boxing for better handling
boxing for better handling

I used old plastic fruit boxed for handling. It make sense if you find a solution to place the bottles in a safe way – wind – and to allow the free flow of excess water. You should fill up each bottle with rainwater till you see the water inside the cap before you insert soil.

preparation and planting
preparation and planting

Your plant soil you can mix out of forest soil, sand, mother soil, humus, compost soil. In these times – March 2020 in Europe – you might not be able to create the best soil, but these circumstances should teach you to focus the best possible solution. Maybe your salad will be not so big or your onion not so tasty, it doesn’t mapper.

first boxes full of salads and herbs
stable ground and first boxesfirst boxes full of salads and herbs

If you set up your garden on your terrace, be aware of the final payload. A normal floor inside a flat supports between 1,5 kN/m² (150 kg/m²) and 2,5 kN/m² (250 kg/m²). In Europe 3 kN/m² (300 kg/m²) is mostly supported for a terrace or balcony. You should check this before you set up a large garden on your place. In my case – like you see in the Foto above – i have to calculate 1,8 kN/m² (180 kg/m²) in case of a heavy rain event!

And where is the social art here? In times like this – i name it times of reconstruction – i feel very happy and i am full of humility that i can work as an artist. I was looking for logistical and technical solutions when i was a young child to protect my plants in my little green house. I used this PET bottle solution in some workshops with youth in Europe in the last years and i am happy to deliver some ideas to my friends in Belgium now. The design is based on a solution from Cecile Thevenot (Permacultura Penyflor) and modified a bit.

These times will be seen as times in which the society will need creative and realistic solutions. I am happy to contribute to this. I use this little web blog as a tool to paint. My art work is a message. And the message is: we will survive. And we will learn a lot about ourselves, our needs and re-adjust our priority lists. I will continue this posts in the next days…

Thanks to Eline and Ruben, for giving me a reason to publish this. They where helping a lot in our color garden some years ago and its a pleasure to give back something. I will return in this garden tomorrow and i will work with an new generation for the food for tomorrow, to deliver the most important message now: There is a – tasty – tomorrow.