Category Archives: color garden

Delusion of Control

delusion of control - sierra d'irta - reservoir of new ideas
delusion of control – sierra d’irta – reservoir of new ideas

Motivated by a group of very dedicated partizipants in a weekly video conference moderarted by Jubilee Creates Something Amazing by meandering through life it might be time to reflect about some upcoming questions around communities and especially the inicial process of community buildung.

You can see community building as a process of integration, if you imagine the members of the new entity are coming together without having any relation before, or as a process of decomposition, if they had a kind of relation before. We see more evidence in the second, because the first denied the former status of each member as part of entities like society, religion, world population or GAIA or however you like to name it.

In the video podcast we meander around the inicial phase of community buildung, but as in a deterministic view on the world there was every a before. So you could argue by saying that there is a gap between reality and the common reality simulation produced in the community which motivates somebody to change the common simulation in the first place, and if not possible to convince some other members to escape together by forming a new community based on a new narrative, expecting, that this new narrative might be more close to the real reality.

It is clear that this will encounter resistance in the old community, because regardless of the positive intention, any attempt to split off is always seen as a weakening of the existing group. The other aspect might be that this process of decomposition leads always to a weak new fraction of power, compared to the abandoned group.

Another source of new communities might be the exclusion of members to get rid of never ending provocations. Even academic communities are not aware about the force to exclude its members from any access to the elite by establishing a playground called the academic world. It is a big myth – to put it in nice words – that all this educational institutions where released in a process of ethnic liberation.

However, in the beginning of the beginning a single person or a minor group discover a gap between these both simulations of reality. And the ability to do so is comming from a personal flexibility and independence from the group – or from its failing to control its members in a more efficient way. Again, lets point it out: you can see social media as a last place of liberty or as a tool to identify desperate provocateurs.

In Jubilee’s circle there are some questions on the table and we like to walk through. We are able to view them from the perspective of a single member of a decentralized intentional living community, from the point of a basic ruleset to decribe the reality simulation of this community and from the point of a never stopping provocateur inside of this community looking for new ideas and better fitting narratives to adept to a better simulation of reality. None of this views are able to find any truth, but, following Karl Popper, they are useful to exclude some narraives and the greatness in this is simply, that a wrong assumption in one view doesn’t need a proof in another. So even this post is published to be evaluated as false, and nothing more than this could be helpfull to develop a better – false – narrative about how community buildung might start. Keep this in mind, even when you read the next part.

The open questions and the answers (bold and italic):
What should I expect from myself? Nothing! In what ways am I responsible to my community? In no way! What do I expect from others? Nothing! What should I realistically not expect from others? Maybe, that they would answer in the same way – if i would expect something, what i try to reduce as much as possible.

It looks like a big provocation, and it is. But it is a kind of provocation to enlighten the source of community building which might lead to a subset of an old one – driven by a surely positive intention – by implementing the same negative conditions. So lets get through it.

As an open minded thinker and member of such an open minded community already the word should is a kind of interlectual hijacking. To be able to use this word I need a simulation of a moral entity higher than me as a given source to blue print a self policing narrative which allows me to submit to it in a gesture of humility. I would not go so far that I deny exactly this, but if I am asked by a third party i might feel just a tension.

Assumptions are a clear survival advantage in the unknown savane – which we have never left because the future always has something savannah-like uncertainty – as long as they are questioned deeply in preparation and follow-up and they are used in action – in combat – without any hesitation. This is no guarantee of individual success, but it is an advantage for the community in the sense of swarm intelligence. Expectations are not. The difference between assumptions and expectations is the delussion of adding a kind of truth or inevitability to an assumption, to make it likely more relevant. And this is excactly what happened in the process of a lot of community building initiatives. There is somebody who see the gap between the outer and the inner narrative and announce in the community the need to reinvent a better narrative.

Faced with the resistance to give up an avoidable security, the provocateur experiences the role assignment of a potential leader who is supposed to substantiate his claims and assumptions about the unknown outside. A natural reaction might be to reinvent his assumptions as expectations, by claiming evidence for them.

This might lead to crazy constellations, like a researcher in front of a board, who is forced to certify the economic usability of his research results in order to raise the funds he needs to be able to do this research.

If somebody is using the word responsibility i am not sure about the intention behind. I by myself experienced this world again and again compagnioned by “and therefore you should…”. When responsibility came in my simulation i was a kid and my parents tried to invent a reason for a desired behavior, to eat the soup, to tie the shoes by myself or to deliver a homework on time. Sometimes parents try to charge the value of this responsability by “God is looking at you!” or “No cake | tv | smartphone | love … if not…”.

By adding these possible arguments, I do not want to discredit the actual – maybe positive – motivation of the parents, rather it is about showing how helpless adults are when they want to introduce something – responsibility here – without really being able to explain and prove it.

Many years later a kid might realise in a confrontation with other kids in the street or with teachers, that there was a kind of truth in the attempted upbringing of responsability as a narrative, but not in the sense that the parents tried to explain it. It is a big difference if you learn from this that you accept responsability as a moral compass introduced by somebody who might own or drone you, or, if you learn out if it, that people tend to use the idea of responsability to hack your brain.

We see, like the narrative around money, that the idea of responsability is able to gather people to form big sized communities and you could count them as successful. But if so, do not try to leave them.

delusion of control - staying in the flow with nature and enjoy
delusion of control – staying in the flow with nature and enjoy

The idea of responsability often is implemented by using “because you are” followed by a role. You are kid, partner, mother, grandmother, driver, employee, tourist and citizen. And on every role the inner narrative of the society is binding a set of rules, and the self-fulfilling self policing happened … mostly. If not, by accident or purpose, somebody might be punished or excluded from community activities.

The obvious link between the first and third question leads to a similar answer. Instead of just repeating the argument it make sense to add some other aspects. If I would expect something from another person and if I would communicate this – maybe by using the word responsability – i want to make it happen more likely, what i expect. In fact, this ties the other to a certain outcome and it has to be seen as an act of capturing. If so, the deny of expectation and (!) the clear communication about this frees the other and can be seen as an act of liberation.

The answer to the last question may make one or the other smile. Even this answer is carrying a big ingredient to community building, which is called humor. The ability to use humor in communication deliver a strong message to the other, that binding doesn’t lead to prison automatically.

delusion of control - what we can learn from nature
delusion of control – what we can learn from nature

At the end of this post you might return to the introduction of the three different views on the subject, as a member of a community, as a reader of our basic rules – our constitution, our principles – and as a never stopping provocateur inside of this community. You are right to see this three views as constructed viewpoints to highlight roles, and you could imagine different answers to this fundamental questions, given by this three different positions of observation.

First of all, it is my personal assumption so far to publish this set of answers. If I look at our basic ruleset I find evidence that we created these rules based on assumptions and that we tried to affect the individual simulation of the reality in the least possible way for every member. As a never stopping provocateur I feel very comfortable in this living community FamiliaFeliz, because its aim is to enable me to experience alternative narratives all the time, maybe even because this community itself doesn’t create the narrative, i could find sense and meaning inside of it.

Our solar system is formed – beside other factors – by the immense gravitation of the sol. If the same mass would be compressed in a few cubic centimeters it would be a black hole and eat up the whole system over time. But the big sized sol distributed a beautiful environment for the blossoming of life as we know it, and not because it eats up everything around. There is a relative time-limited equilibrium between the sustaining and stabilizing forces of gravitation and the centrifugal forces as a power of innovation.

So you can try to explain the spawning of a new community from an old larger one by saying that you want to do it better, or by trying it less badly, knowing and underlining that there may be more of this less. The second one might not solve any problem, but doesn’t hurt its members so much.

I could identify my community as such a community, because I can answer these questions in the same way, as a member, as a reader of our charter and as a never-ending provocateur with curious look at the outside.

Social StreetWork – Via Augusta – from Rome to Cadiz

Nearly 2030 years ago a mix of military and economic considerations had led to planning and realization of the Via Herculanea, later re-named to Via Augusta, an ancient public street of the Roman Empire to connect Cadiz, Sevilla, Alicante, Valencia, Tarragona, Barcelona and Girona with the extisting network of main streets, all connected to the eternal city of Rome.

Here I will explore a narrative about a spanish youth playing in the streets of Italica, a Roman consul founding a city for war veterans, a Gypsy woman walking barefood on the Via Augusta in Rome and the project of rebuilding a ramp in the color garden of our community FamiliaFeliz in Cervera del Maestre, which will be part of the upcomming community founder festival in 2020. Also i will shed a bit of light upon myth and reality of community founders on the way to work for an idea and enlighten the link between all of this.

social streetwork - Dilan is moving recycled construction material
social streetwork – Dilan is moving recycled construction material

As many politics truely believe a street is a tool to explore a region, to develop a new industrial area and to organize people on their way from A to B. And as we are all dealing most of the times with narratives of belief systems (like religion, science, common sense, the law of nature…) most of these times we are failing.

social streetwork - the broken ramp
social streetwork – the broken ramp

But there is a reason for a street as a tool for transportation, and human mankind mobalize much energy to set up a public street, if there are needs for a logistic solution.

On my journey to discover Spain in the 1980th i was living a month in Granada and joined a trip to an ancient Roman city named Italica, not far from Sevilla. On a very sunny day in May (we enjoyed +47 degrees later at 7pm in the evening in Sevilla) i was walking in the streets of this amazing ancient Roman city. During the Second Punic War in 206 BC Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus had moved a Turdetan settlement, after the battle of Ilipa, into a camp for wounded Roman soldiers and expanded it later into a military post. When i was so far away from the forum romanum in Rome i felt the power of this ancient empire, to be able to connect these places with a network of public highways. I imagined, what the boy Aeluis might have thought about the Roman Empire and his own career later on.

social streetwork - new concrete mixed with gravel - a ancient roman recipe
social streetwork – new concrete mixed with gravel – a ancient roman recipe

Nearly 15 years before i was sitting on a big marble block and drawing a Gypsy woman moving over a ancient street. I was not knowing at that time, to which destination this road – Via Augusta – could lead me. And – maybe as well as Aeluis – i was not aware that we both would take this street in our life, but in the opposite direction.

social streetwork - new concrete mixed with gravel - filled with natural stones at the border
social streetwork – new concrete mixed with gravel – filled with natural stones at the border

When the craftsmen began excavating the base of today’s Cologne Cathedral, the builders at that time thought that a building would only stand securely if the weight of the foundations corresponded to that of the building above it. It took them 40 years to excavate all soil and ground and to fill it with stones mixed with roman concrete, an ancient well-known buildung material. And as the Romans 1000 years before, they also used and recycled material from the old church at the same place.

Imagine what you would think, if you start your career as a freemason in your 20th to be part of a team to build a cathedral. And 40 years later you get retired and the last piece of stone you move is still part of the foundation. In the same way we see FamiliaFeliz as a long term project, much longer than our working lifetime and – for sure – longer than our life at all.

Only three years ago we accomplished our mission to expand the land for our community project by adding the last of first three plots to the collection. We named this area art camp and later it became a host for the first visit of german high school alumnos.

To reach this location everybody has to pass a old concrete ramp, created by the previous owner of the plot. This ramp was already broken and heavy weather events in the last years damaged this building more and more.

social streetwork - new concrete mixed with gravel - 2000 kg in 4 days moved without electricity
social streetwork – new concrete mixed with gravel – 2000 kg in 4 days moved without electricity

After 100 (!) days of lock down in Spain we hope to welcome people from near and far to our Community Founder Festival CFF in August 2020. So we thought it was a good idea to renovate and repair the ramp before all these guests will use this main entrance to the art camp, which will be the host for tends and trailors and vans and cars.

social streetwork - Dilan is preparing the left border
social streetwork – Dilan is preparing the left border

Two times in my life i was the guest in the villa of Aeluis near Rome. He made the way from Italica to the eternal city and became emperor and leader under this name Caesar Trajanus Hadrianus Augustus. His house – Villa Adriano – was more likely a municipal district than an ordanary house. On the way from his parents home to the villa on the hills of Rome he changed the carob seeds for diamonds.

On my visit in his house i realized the power of civil rights. Aeluis, as a spanish boy, was a defeated Iberian in the Punic Wars, who, with his defeat under the Roman empire, at the same time obtained all civil rights, including active and passive voting rights.

What a difference, if you compare this with manifestations in streets of contemporary empires, in which ordinary citizens complain that their civil rights have not been granted yet, after more than 250 years of beeing citizen of these empires!

Aeluis for sure traveled on the ancient Roman public street Via Augusta, he passed the little village of Benlloch in Castellon as well as Roman metropoles like Tarragona, Barcelona and Girona on his way to Rome.

Aeluis also passed on the Via Augusta a city founded and organized by Decimus Iunius Brutus Callaicus. This Roman conqueror had developed an little island in the Turia river, 4 km far from the coast. This city was designed as a retreatment area for soldiers. Later under the Caliphate of Córdoba it became a well developed commercial and administrative city named Valencia.

The Gypsy woman walking on the hot stones of the Via Augusta in Rome was a symbol of commerce for me and highlighted the meaningfulness of this network of public streets all over Europe.

social streetwork - amplify the ramp border
social streetwork – amplify the ramp border

Aeluis had not experienced any border control nor passed any check points on his way to Italy. It was one country at that time. And till the lock down began, i was a European citizen with the right of free movement and could followed him in the same way. Many years after his travel, with the spanish flue, countries in Europe invented border controlls for ordanary citizens, and, what coincidence, in these times again the free movement in Europe is falling apart.

Streets are used by military, by commercial dealers as well as by humans looking for new challenges in their lives in discovering new territories and remote places. Streets are links between centers of power. Streets are following ideas. Streets are places for the manifestation of human dreams and values. Sometimes, like the Roman empire, part of the idea disappers. But if we meet a street, we can meet the history, which leads to the ideas.

The ramp in the color garden of FamiliaFeliz in Cervera del Maestre, Castellon, located in Pais Valenciano, not far from the Via Augusta, might be used in the future also by travelers discovering their new lifes. As a main entrance to the art camp it is a kind of private street but also an invitation to peace, a link to the tribe of humans without fear.

social streetwork - Francesca working on the ramp foundation
social streetwork – Francesca working on the ramp foundation

Like the young freemanson digging the foundation of the Chatedral of Cologne, who in his imagination may hear the praises of the parish around the shrine of the three wise men, Dilan, Francisca, and Jens and many other are working on the ramp in the color garden, to invite guests, they might never see with their own eyes.

The myth of community building is sitting in a circle and singing, the reality is digging the foundation to set up a place to make that gathering happen. I took the Via Augusta to the south east of Spain. Aeluis went to Italy. He changed the peace of Italica for the violence in Rome, as part of the elite. I left the violence of neliberal capitalism in the north and I changed the diamonds for carob seeds. You might see the trees, if you walk the ramp.

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.

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.

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.

solidarity and confidence

solidarity and confidence - planting vegetables for our future
solidarity and confidence – planting vegetables for our future – Dilan’s first raised bed in the color garden of FamiliaFeliz

Today our local mayor – following national law – limited public access and even interaction with officials. The world, and specially countries like Italy, France and Spain are experiencing a unique challenge driven by COVID-19.

We decide based on our past and we will be judged based on our future.

Juan Petry, artist

All life is falling back to privacy in flats and houses. We are living in a little village in the countryside and we are happy to stay over the day in our big garden, full of flowers, salads, vegetables and fruits.

Every person is triggered by love or fear. Both are implemented into our thoughts to motivate us. But only love leads us to arrive in a joyful future.

anonymus, artist and friend of CASAdelDRAGON

On one side its right to follow the law and to limit social contacts, on the other side there is a big impact even for youth. The new generation is passing a fundamental lession about their relation to other people and to nature at all.

Actually we are planting vegetables in our garden. We trust in a future, and we deliver confidence to a new generation. We will share what we will harvest and we will give to those who need it.

And we enjoy the solidarity between the inhabitants of our beautiful village in Castellon.