🌱 SELF SUFFICIENCY - A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES BEGINS WITH ONE SINGLE STEP 🌱

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Meet our new garden supervisor 🐈🐈🐈 Keeping track of all our growing operations!

Though we have always grown a few things on small patches or in pots, this year is the first year we have an actual vegetable garden. Though the plan is to buy some land somewhere in Central or South-America with a few friends and start working towards a self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle, we know that this isn’t going to happen in near future. We will have to wait for one…. or two…. and hopefully not three more years until this corona craziness all settles down. We are so ready for a new adventure.

Since we currently live on the other side of the world and with travel bans and crazy quarantine measures we don’t even wanna try to go look for some land in South or Central America. We are still quite happy here in Cambodia.

Two years ago we moved into a house surrounded by 4 hectares of fruit trees - mango, pomelo, starfruit, papaya, banana, coconut, guava, milk fruit, tamarind, soursop, jackfruit, and plum mango.

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This year, however, is the first year we got our hands on loads of good compost to enrich and loosen the soil. Cambodia’s soil isn’t the best one to grow veggies. Fruit trees (and some other non-veggie plants) don’t seem to mind the rock-hard, dry soil in the dry season and compact clay soil in the rainy season, but veggies are a little bit pickier when it comes to their growing conditions.


“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” - Lao Tzu


Both my husband and I have never grown food on a big scale. Luckily the two other people that are definitely coming with us have tons of experience, They are long-time friends from Belgium and we can’t wait to start this adventure with them. One is currently growing foods on a big scale on a farm in Australia and the other one is more into permaculture.

Recently we met a guy who is doing it.... going off-grid here in Cambodia. He told us to get our hands dirty and practice as much as possible with growing different things.

So we did. We ordered seedling soil, compost, neem oil, and a few other organic things to start our growing experience. We already made a ton of mistakes but are absolutely loving it.

Cherry Tomatoes


This is one of the first things we planted around Christmas. This little plant was our first step in the journey of growing our own vegs..... beautiful, right!

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Today we are already enjoying the nice and juicy fruits. Though they are cherry tomatoes, they are almost as big as a normal tomato lol. And OMG they taste amazing. Nothing beats the flavor of homegrown!

We already picked loads of them and we still have lots of tomatoes ready for harvest. Even though we already encountered our first mistake… I planted a lot of seeds because I didn’t think they were all going to sprout. All of a sudden we had too many tomato plants…. Instead of giving them away to friends, we planted them all but on a patch that was too small.

Branches started growing into each other, it became hard to water the plants too as my mom told me we had to make sure to keep the leaves dry when watering.

Though she is living 8000km from me, my mom and dad are giving us a bunch of advice. From the first time I showed her our veggie garden on a video call she said you planted everything too close to each other…. And right she was, though they are all harvested now, we made the same mistakes with our red radishes….

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Loofah Gourd - Sponge


One of the more exciting things we are trying to grow is our own loofah sponges. Though you can eat the zucchini-like veggie too, they told me it isn’t as nice as a zucchini so you are better of leaving the fruit to dry on the plant to make more loofah sponges.

The first gourds are growing, so we will definitely keep you updated about the process. They are super-fast growers so I bet it shouldn’t take too long before I can show you my first loofah sponge.

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What else do we have growing in the garden right now…..


Pandan aka Asian Vanilla


I am literally addicted to pandan lemongrass tea. Cold or hot, delicious either way. It is super easy to make and so refreshing. Pandan is an aromatic plant well-known in Asian cuisine for its sweet floral fragrance and versatility. The plant thrives in tropical climates.

You might know pandan from the famous green sponge cakes, but next to ending up in a lot of sweet desserts, pandan makes an excellent addition o savory dishes and beverages too. I’ll share my recipe for pandan lemongrass tea soon. Promise!

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Lemongrass


Easy to grow and yummy in tea, curries, and desserts.

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Mangoes


It’s mango season again. Yeahhhhh! Mango smoothies, chutneys, curries, and mango cashew milk drinks are back on!

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Pomelo


Next to mangoes, pomelos are another fruit that is in season right now. Yummy is smoothies and refreshing salads! Or just to eat as it is. Here in Cambodia they often eat it (like any other fruit) with a mix of salt, sugar, and chili.

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Lemon tree


Though we are far from getting fruits out of this little bush, a customer gave it to me. Can’t wait to have some lemons. Cambodia is mainly a lime country. I am more a lemon girl!

Though the plant is doing well and looks healthy, I think we overwatered it a bit in the beginning as some of the leaves are curling up.

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Aloe vera


A plant we have always had around the house to soothe our itches, burns, and other skin conditions

At the moment I just transplanted a lot of babies from some of my mother plants…. More aloe vera to come!

This plant is so easy to grow and care for! A must-have in every home or garden as it does quite well in pots too. Even in Belgium, we had aloe vera plants.

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Avocado


Though there is a big avocado tree in the garden, it hasn’t had fruit so far. But for some reason, I just love sprouting avocado seeds (we use at least one avocado each day).

These days however I just toss the seeds in the garden and some of them sprout on their own.... easy-peasy. This is the last one that sprouted without any help!

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This one is from a friend's garden.... since we are growing different things food swaps are a regular thing!

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Papaya


I love our papaya trees... they pretty much bear fruit all year round. You can eat them unripe in a salad or enjoy them juicy and ripe on their own or in smoothies or sweet desserts or breakfast bowls.

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Passion fruit


Also no fruit yet, but I reckon we will have our own little supply soonish.

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Eggshells for seedlings


We read this somewhere online and are doing a few seed sprouting tests in eggshells right now…. So far it seems to work. We are trying bell pepper, peppers, and eggplants.

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Rosemary


We bought some rosemary a while ago and planted a piece in coconut husks…. When we saw it worked we translated it to the edge of the vegetable garden. Though it doesn’t seem to grow very fast it is still going and not dying. That’s something right?

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Hibiscus


We have the pink and red variety in the garden. Though for some reason only the pink has flowers right now….. Hibiscus tea coming up!

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Thai basil


Though I am more a fan of Italian basil, which we are trying to start from seeds right now, this plant was given to me and it makes a nice addition to the garden.

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Many more projects are going on in the garden right now but I’ll leave that for another time.


This post is my entry for the Garden Journal challenge, hosted by @riverflows. Find more info about the challenge HERE.


HAPPY GROWING ღ ღ ღ


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