Gardening times

Spring is coming and with it, the time to start gardening again. We start to prepare everything and to decide what kind of vegetables, fruits, herbs and other we want for our gardens. We also revised our compost and need to think about which will be the best way to distribute everything. For this, we have chosen to follow the principles of the permaculture.

Why permaculture? Because is based on the ethical principles (care for the earth, care for people and fair share) taking into account the rules of the nature for making their own designs with less effort, which achieves the maximum effect.

Permaculture is a concept created by Bill Morrison and David Holmgren and means permanent agriculture, and by the time, this concept developed to permanent culture, which covers all aspects of life. Nowadays, it also takes into account the personal, economical, social and political reorganization.

Permaculturists are inspired by observing nature and thus they rely upon natural patterns. As in many other great cultures, permaculture can be seen trough 5 elements (wáter, soil, energy, air and people), which overlap with each other and create a web of life which is nicely presented by the holistic, permaculture flower.

Following this principles and because we want to reuse everything, we continuous with the compost and the warms help this to make hummus, perfect for our garden. Following the principles of permaculture, we don’t use any chemicals trying to help the planet and avoid the climate change, the loss of biodiversity or other problems like intensive chemical agriculture.

      

As well you can use the compost from the dry toilets, but we prefer use this for plan trees and no the aliments. As well, the animals are an important part of this system. They provide us shit (manure), that we use for fertilizing the soil, then they help cleaning the land and as well are a source of products (like eggs, milk, etc).

Permaculture can be implemented in every country and every place. Actually 120 countries are practicing that and is possible follow the principles as well in the city, all is just creativity. It is possible to plant on balconies, roofs, sharing plot of land with neighbors, buying local, recycling, participating in consume cooperatives…

There are many available resources on internet about permaculture and we invited you to check the next links if you are more interesting about that 🙂

http://permaculture.org.au/

http://permaculture.wikia.com/wiki/Permaculture_Wiki

Institute for permaculture http://permakultura.org/

www.permaculture-media-download.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxJDCy9BjFQ&feature=related

And as well with some pictures about the permaculture course that Bruno and Ivan give to us:

            

And finally, we want to let you know that in Crotia, permaculture movement is rapidly growing. Institute for permaculture was founded last year, while there are several interested permaculture places which can be visited:

EIA http://www.eia.hr/

Recycled Estate http://www.zmag.hr/

Latinovac http://www.latinovac.org/

Zoe

Drenjula power

Drenjula? What is that? If you’ve never been in Kuterevo it’s normal that you don’t know. But here, this is Drenjula is almost a way of life 😉

So, some explanations. “Drenjula” is the Croatian word to name the fruit from the European Cornel (Cornus Mas in Latin), a tree native to southern Europe and southwest Asia. I had never seen this tree before coming to Kuterevo (and even never heard about it!) but here it is everywhere! You can see this 2 to 6 meters tree all around the village and people use it in various purposes.

Thus, it is very common here to eat drenjula jam, dried drenjulas or to drink drenjula liquor, rakija and sirup. All of that is made from the small berry which has an acidic flavour when it is not cooked. This is not so good in this way (in my opinion, but some people love that!) but bears are very fond of these cherries.

The wood from this tree is very hard and shock resistant and was already used by Ancient Greek craftsmen to make spears, javelins and bows. The wood was so linked to the making of weapons that the name of the tree was used as a synonym for “spear” in poetry. But this wood can as well be used to make very good tool handles or ladder rungs. In the past, it was also employed to make sticks, handles of umbrellas… Moreover, the European Cornel is an excellent firewood.

The Drenjula tree was, in ancient times, also recognized as a medical plant with various properties. For instance, the bark, the shoots and the roots were used to treat fevers and the fruits to treat diarrhea, stomach aches, cramps…

As you can see, this small fruit is full of ressources 😉

Amélie

Bear Botanical Garden

One of the main goals of the Brown Bear Refuge Kuterevo is to make visitors aware of environment protection. Across Bears, standard bearer Specie of huge European natural forests, people can understand easier the importance of the equilibrium of our ecosystem. For now, we are working in a Bear Botanical Garden, where we will present plants in relation with bears and with humans. This project is going to develop the educational side of the refuge: across this garden, people will be able to discover secrets and treasures of plants.

Now the garden is in a good evolution, we’ve already crossed different steps:

  • First we needed to find the good area for it. We finally chose a land which offer different kind of ecologic condition: dry lands, clearings, little forests and edges. With this, we’ll be able to have in the garden plants which have different needs.
  • Then, we made a map of this area and a list of all plants we would like to have in the garden. For the moment we’ve chose only plants that bears eat but maybe in the future we will also present others types of plants like medicinal ones.
  • After we thought about all things we will need to work in it. We’ve decided to make a path, to put fences around planting areas, to make educational bulletins boards in English and Croatian and to name all the plant in Latin and Croatian.
  • After talking, acting! We’ve begun to work on the path and on planting. We’ve planted one beech (Fagus sylvatica) and two sorb (Sorbus sp). Now the snow is falling so we will continue this work on this when conditions will be betters. We will then decide about what information we will put in the bulletins boards, we are thinking about something in relation with bear, humans and ecosystem.

That it for the moment. We are hurry to be in spring to can enjoy our dear garden flowery!

Millo

Sorbus aucuparia

Today I would like to make you discover a tree that you can find in the nature around Kuterevo, and whose fruits are part of the bears’ natural food resources. This tree is called “Rowan” (in Latin: Sorbus aucuparia; in Croatian: Jarebika). You can find this tree in all northen Europe and Asia. It is very tolerant of cold and that’s why you can see it in high altitude mountains.

This tree is not always well-known by people, however it has an important place in the environment and it is part of the healthy ecosystem. Thus, the rowan is an important food resource for many birds, which in turn disperse the seeds in their droppings. Snails also feed on its leaves and deers, hares and insects larvae eat its foliage and bark.

The rowan is not only useful for animals, it is also for humans. For instance, we use its fruits to make jam and jelly and we distill them to make alcohol (rakija!). But be careful, the juice within the berries has a laxative effect when it’s not cooked 😉 We also use the rowan as an ornamental tree and we use its dense wood for carving and turning and to male tool handles and walking sticks. But even if it was not useful for human, that’s wouldn’t meant that it is not important in the nature!

Moreover, the rowan has a symbolical importance in different cultures. Thus, it was thought to be a magical tree, protecting people and livestock from witches and sorcery. It also used to be planted in churchyards to keep the dead in their graves and thus stopping ghosts from disturbing the living. In the Celtic mythology, the rowan is called “Traveller’s Tree” because it is thought that it prevents those on a journey from getting lost.

Amélie