Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Guide to how to live moneyless! (in the spirit of Gift Economy and Self-sufficiency)

Inspired in the "Moneyless" book of Mark Boyle, which I really recommend!

Moneyless guide Gift Economy / Living sustainable / Self-sufficiency

- you can grow even in small places like windowsills (for those in cities; see my posts from 2009)
- renting or borrowing land (for instance a friend or relative) / landshare
- using urban wastelands
- join an existing ecovillage (see, and eurotopia book)
- occupying ghost towns (especially if you have a good of friends)
- buy land (which is not a moneyless option)

- home sitting / boat sitting
- house exchange
- living in house of friends (or borrowed for free)
- squatting
- caves
- abandoned blackhouses, farmhouses and ruins
- living in a caravan
- yurts and tipis (or even wild camping)
- natural constructed homes (earthships, strawbale, earthbags, roundhouses, subterranean, benders)

3-  FOOD
- grow your own (the easiest option for most; very easy to grow potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, corn, kale, onions, turnips, mustard greens, tomatoes, bush beans and amaranth)
- wild food and forage (see
- catch roadkill
- guerrila gardening (especially in cities)
- skipping and dumpster diving (especially in cities)
- community orchards and gardens
    - seed saving and swap (
    - swapping produce with friends
    - food forests, perennial vegetables (low maintainance) like berries, wild greens or fruit trees
    - leafcurf (from nettles, ramps, linden, alexanders, groudn elder and charlock)
    - growing eggs, honey and mushrooms
    - permaculture design (,
    - start your own compost, fertilizing with liquid comfrey or nettles
    - sheet mulching using dead tree leaves instead of digging, dense growing instead of weeding
    - cooking from scratch / become a vegetarian
    - use simple ingredients / buy in bulk (rice, cereals, vegetables, pulses are very cheap) 

- rainwater harvest
- well, boreholes and rivers
- solar shower
     - soapwort as natural cleanser (or mock orange or new jersey tea)
     - hyssop as natural deodorant
     - nurture skin with aloe vera
     - clean hair and skin: herbs soaked overnight (sage, yarrow, mint, rosemary)
     - hair cleaner: rye flour and boiled nettles (or rice flour or boiled linseeds)
     - soap: make lye out of rainwater and hardwood ashes, and add fats
     - toothpaste made of fennel seeds, cuddlefish bone, salt or baking soda
     - toothbrush made out of marshmallow roots, liquorice, neem or eucalyptus
     - mouthwash: boiled mint, anise, thyme, rosemary or lavender
     - cleaning your bum: water rising, newspaper, leaves, or even rocks
     - cut your own hair (or ask a friend)
     - cleaning the house: vinegar (make your own apple cider), baking soda, boiled herbs or salt
     - cleaning the dishes: wood ashes /  scrubber: luffa, a ball of dried grass or pine cones
     - wash your clothes: nearby sink or even river; use sun to dry, a mangle or wear them wet!
     - compost WCs (very easy to build) (see also my post in building your own greywater system)

- barefoot or moneyless shoes (made of recycled tires, plastic bags and carpet)
- hitchhiking (
- liftsharing
- biking
- and trusting fate (people offering you accomodation)
- wild camping or bushcrafting (see "outdoor survival handbook" by Raw Mear)

- project
- solar charger
       - rapeseed oil candles or beeswax (storytelling, singing, games)
       - start a campire (keyhole fire)
       - rocket stove (elbowed flue pipe, 15kg olive cans, insulating material)
       - hay box (slow cooking)
       - earth ovens (for baking) (see "build your own earth oven" by Kiko Denzer)
    HEATING - putting extra jumpers or clothes
       - gas bottle wood burner
       - mansory oven (more complex)
       - solar heater

- homeschooling
- alternative schools (barefoot college, steiner schools, montessori, small school, , sudbury, summerhill) (see "alternative approaches to education, a guide for parents" by Fiona Carme)
- freeskilling groups
- get a used mobile phone from friends/ get a computer through freecycle, trash or through friends
- use linux, skype, openoffice, hushmail, duckduckgo, truecrypt

      - Localised healthcare (herbalism)
      - Menstruation (mooncup, reusable pads)
      - Natural contraception (withdrawal method, combined with understanding of a woman cycle)
      - cloth swapping (see, get from friends, go to a second hand shop
      - make your own, mend, knit your own clothes
      - freeshopping
      - make clothes out of hemp or nettles (but this requires skills)
      - pillows, out of reedmaces / duvets, out of wool
      - make and play an instrument (for example make out of wood logs and roadkill skin)
      - painting (made out of marigolds, blackberries, poppies, clays, charcoal, chalk, rocks) / mushroom paper
      - street parties, games, performances, debate evenings, local groups, sports, movies...

- breastfeeding instead of bottles
- no baby food, at six months combine breastfeeding with some cooked food
- get baby clothes from previous parents, friends or relatives
- co-sleeping with the baby (no extra bed)
- diapers (second hand, rewashable) / diaper-free (by understanding the clues of the baby)
- consider skipping non-essential healthcare and vaccinations (inform yourself, at your own risk)

(but then you will be part of the system and not truly moneyless)
- unemployment benefits
- woofing, volunteering
- organizing workshops, teaching yoga
- making and selling handcrafts in local markets
- giving massages
- selling in ebay
- writting a blog and adding adsense
- writting and selling ebooks
- local garden work
- seasonal jobs (like fruit harvest)

Get rid of your debts! Potencially get rid of your TV or car!

- Mark Boyle
- Daniel Suelo
- Peace pilgrim
- Heidemarie Schwermer
- Elf Pavlik
- Tomi Astikainen
- Jurgen Wagner
.... (links to be added)

- Freeconomy groups, Freegle (, (second hand stuff and toolsharing)
- GIFT CIRCLES and GIFT ECONOMY (information in soon)
- HelpX, Woofing, Volunteering
- LETS and Timebanks
- and
- Street freecycling (there are a lot of stuff that people put out in the streets for free to take)
- Book Swap ( and, booksharing clubs, Bookcrossing
- Papers and pens: inkcap mushrooms; molted wing feather; birch polypores or polyporus squamosus along with a mesh to make the paper / making recycling paper
- (more links to be added in soon)

Monday, 26 September 2016

Millets, a list of different varieties

Foxtail millet (Setaria italica)
Japanese Foxtail millet 02.jpgThis is a millet, very easy to grow, very tolerant of drought and very fast growing (can be grown in 2.5 to 3 months). It tolerates slightly cooler conditions than other millets. Native to east Asia, widely cultivated as fodder and hay; domesticated since old times. Consumed as food only in poor regions of China and India.

Seed is tiny, and with orange hull, difficult to remove! Conflictive reports, apparently some varieties are easy to remove papery husk but it´s not the case with the variety I cultivated.

Quite productive. I harvested 400g/m2 in Austria.
Very beautiful when ripe. Bright-brown seed heads, quite heavy when ripe. Susceptive to molds.
Less than 1 meter high. Can be grown quite densely. High biomass. Can be grown in containers.

Japanese millet or Banyard millet (Echinochloa esculenta)
Japanese barnyard millet.jpgThis is a millet, very easy to grow and very fast (grown in 2.5 to 3.5 months). Grown in the far East as fooder and also as food, now less popular as rice took over its place.

Seeds are also tiny. Light brown hull is very difficult to remove!

Not as productive as foxtail millet, but it will produce lateral seed heads.
Dries very easily after harvesting.
Taller than 1 meter. Can be grown also densely. Can be grown in containers.

Proso millet (Panicum milliaceum)
Panicum miliaceum0.jpgThis millet thrives with warmer conditions than the two former millets, and a slightly longer growing season (about 3-4 months). This is the most widely grown millet in the US, usually just as birdseed but also as common millet. Best protein profile than wheat but poor in lysine. Highly alkaline. Irritant leaves make not the best fodder.

Best flavour but hull is slightly difficult to remove.
Seeds are large, inverted heads with many gold yellow seeds. Quite beautiful.

Moderately productive.
About 1 meter tall. Requires more space in the soil.

Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum)

Grain millet, early grain fill, Tifton, 7-3-02.jpgThis millet requires warmer conditions and a bit longer growing season (about 4 months). This is the most widely grown millet in the world, more than 50%. Native to Mali, then spread eastwards to India. A staple in Nigeria and Namibia. Stands harsh soil conditions, including salinity and drought.

Easiest hull to remove! :)
Seeds are large, with a whitish grey color.

Not as productive. Enjoys more watering. Goes dormant in drought.
Taller than 1 meter high. Requires more space in the soil. Sensitive to wind.

Finger millet or Ragi (Eleusine coracana)
Finger millet 3 11-21-02.jpg
Also relatively easy to grow, slower growing (about 4 months).
Adaptable to high altitudes. Native to east Africa and spread to India, where is quite popular and consumed as food. Grows also in the Himalayans.

No information in hull

No information in how productive it is.
Can be smaller than 1 meter. Smal sized plants, quite peculiar the shape of its seed heads.

Kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum)
Image result for kodo milletPrimarily grown in India. Quite drought tolerant but not widely grown. Or only as famine food.

Seeds are very small!
And hulls are very difficult to remove!!

Smaller than 1 meter high.


Teff (Eragrostis tef)
Extremely tiny seeds, easy to remove husk but due to small sized grains the process is somewhat labour intensive. Harvested within 3-4 months. Very small sized plants, like grass. Plants are very dry tolerant, but require warmth. Native to Ethiopia. Sold sometimes as an expensive new healthy flour.

Sorghum (sorghum bicolor)
A common crop, often used as hay, fodder crop or to produce syrup. Rarely consumed as food. Similar to corn in requirements but more tolerant of dry and poor conditions. Needs warmth and a long growing season.

Fonio millet or Acha (Digitaria exilis and Digitaria iburua)
Native to west Africa and as a famine food. Very small seeds and very difficult to remove husk. Available in two species, white fonio and black fonio (the last is less common). Digitalis compacta, known as Raishan is cultivated in Indochina.


Polish millet or crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis)
A common European weed, rarely cultivated as grain, but harvested by hand.

Job´s tears (Coix lacryma-jobi)
Cultivated usually only as ornamental.

Browntop millet or signalgrass (Brachiaria spp. or Urochloa spp)
A common forage grass, usually in the tropics or subtropics. Brachiaria deflexa is known as Guinea millet.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Giant pumpkins! The beasts of our garden!

It´s early August and the garden is thriving.

It has been a very rainy summer, and recently with more cool and even chilly weather.

Nevertheless the giant pumpkins, which have been growing since August, are now of a massive size.
They measure about 1 meter wide and I wonder how heavy they are.

We will have to make a large community pumpkin soup event!

For buying seed, go to

This is just one of our giant pumpkins!

The SECRET for getting giant pumpkins is liquid comfrey and plenty of rainfall. But of course the seed counts, the right variety (I sell some of this seed if you are interested)

Now I cut the leaves to stop the pumpkin of growing more and force it to ripe. I don´t want so large fruits!

We have 3 giant pumpkins, coming from two plants.

Overview of our small food forest, with (from left to right) kiwi, beans, corn, amaranth, millets and sunchokes in the background

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Bountiful gardens in north Austria!

It has been a very thunderstormy summer, with heat mixed with plenty of rain and at times large hail and windgusts. 

We continue our harvest of salads, spinach, kales, turnip greens, radish, and peas, that started in May. Since the beginning of July, we harvest some carrots, swiss chard, and plenty of zucchini and cucumbers. Recently, we began harvesting the first tomatoes, broad beans and bush beans, and ocasionally raspberries. We also harvested our first potatoes and barley. 

In soon we will be harvesting our first pumpkins! In the garden we also have green peppers, runner beans, corn, millets and amaranths, leeks, beets, a few broccoli, sunchokes, chinese artichokes, ocas, mashua, chufas, groundnuts, sweet potatoes and peanuts.

So what has grown fantastically this year and what were the failures? This summer has been prolific for all cucurbits due to the combination of frequent rain and warmth. Other plants grow fast but are also frequently eaten by slugs. Potatoes suffered due to excessive moisture and the Colorado beetle. We had our crop failure with onions, also due to excessive rainfall and the scarlet lily beetle. 

Every week we harvest peas, carrots, plenty of zucchini, cucumbers, and flower for salads. All organic and for free.

We will have a giant pumpkin soup festival in the autumn! Fingers crossed! 
Here is a preview of the largest garden. Watch the height of those jerusalem artichokes on the left edge!

Br growing such massive fast-growing plants locally, we produce our own compost and organic matter. Therefore not depending in external inputs of fertility. Think sustainable!

This week harvest. We can make several meals from this!

And this is one of our two gardens (the small one), which was severely damaged by a large hailstorm last weekend!

The hail stones were insane, as large as eggs! Damage here was large (not just gardens but cars, trees and houses), but thankfully our largest gardens, a few kms away, were left untouched.

Diversity is key.

Lemon cucumber. Looks like a lemon, Tastes like a cucumber!

If you are interested in seeds of any of things we grow, please feel free to buy them from me at

And here the gardener is harvesting some barley. Yes, we also grow our own cereal.

This is local economy. Our own locally grown resources, out of thin air, bedrock and soil, sunshine and water. 

Fully Sustainable as there are no external inputs other than my own work, my own seeds, rain and sunshine.

And the surrounding countryside and moutains...

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

What can you grow in your climate? How much heat does each vegetable requires?

Many of our crops grow accordingly to temperature, some requiring night temperature above a certain limit, in order not to stall in their growth, orders requiring the heat of the day to thrive quicker.

Consider global warming, and experiment with growing crops that grow more south than you live.

If you live in such kind of landscape, with cool summers, stick to most leaf and root vegetables (kales, turnips, potatoes, peas and broad beans, salads), barley and perhaps try siberian tomatoes, quinoa and zucchini

  • COOL SUMMERS These crops grow happily with temperatures between 5-15°C - the spring in most temperate climates and arctic summers: peas, broad beans, potatoes, kales, mustard, rocket, pak choi, radish, oats and barley, swedes, turnips, cabbages and broccoli sprout. As the temperature is above 10°C, then try lettuce and spinach, and with a longer growing season: rye, leeks, fennel, parsley, celery, parsley, carrots, onions, kohlrabi, parsnips and beets. 
  • COOL TEMPERATE CLIMATES Crops that do not need very warm summers and tolerate cool evenings (10 to 20°C) - this includes most of the UK, Scandinavia, perhaps a warm summer in Iceland: wheat, quinoa, zucchini and siberian tomatoes! If the summer temperatures reaches >20°C, then try corn and rocoto peppers. This climate also allows to grow apple and cherry trees. See my past posts in Icelandic gardening.
If you live in a temperate climate, like most of Europe and North America, then you can grow pumpkins, beans, corn, wheat, millets, amaranth and even try peppers and sweet potatoes. You can also try figs and almond trees.
  • TEMPERATE CLIMATES Crops that need warm summers (28-30°C) but they tolerate cool evenings around 10°C - this is the climate of most continental Europe and North America, and the warmer regions of UK: pumpkins, most types of beans, runner beans, amaranth, foxtail and japanese millet, rocoto pepper, and corn. Many more fruit trees grow with this climate, chestnuts and pears.
  • WARM TEMPERATE CLIMATES These crops also grow in a temperate climate with warm summer days (28-30°C), but need milder nights (15°C) - such as France, north Spain, southeast Europe, perhaps the warmer regions of UK and central Europe: peppers, lima beans and sweet potatoes.  Figs (zone 6), Almond (zone 6-7), Pomegranates (zone 6-7), Guava trees (zone 7-8)
In a Mediterranean climate, you can easily grow peppers, eggplant, cucumber, and watermelon (perhaps peanuts and rice). Experiment also with tropical fruits if you have no frosts
  • MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATES Tolerating not-warm evenings (15°C) but require reliable hot summer days (30-35°C) - southeast Europe, Italy, Spain and Portugal: watermelon, pearl and proso millet, cucamelon, sorghum and winged beans. Peanuts, requiring a longer growing season. Olive trees (zone 7-8), Avocado trees (zone 8-9). Carob trees (zone 8-9). Bananas (zone 9)
  • WARM MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATES These crops require warm nights (20°C), even if summers are not too hot (30°C) - coastal and southern regions in Italy, Portugal and Spain, Azores: cucumber, eggplant, rice and okra. Jackfruit, Mango, Papaya trees (in frost free locations). 
In tropical and subtropical climates, you can grow almost everything, and some crops like moringa, coconuts and cacao, can only be grown in such climate
  • SUBTROPICAL CLIMATES Crops that need hot climates, requiring both warm nights (20°C) and hot days (35°C) - such as tropical or subtropical climates (south Spain, south Italy, Canary Islands, Florida, south California): moringa tree, pigeon pea, bitter gourd. Rambutan tree. 
  • TROPICAL CLIMATES Crops that do not tolerate any cool temperatures, prefering year round tropical weather: coconuts, cacao, black pepper, vanilla.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Garden in north Austria, update June 2016 - daily harvests and plants thrive!

In our two gardens in north Austria, as of end of June. Photos and written update.

We have a small garden, 2 square meters, where we grow everything from salad, beets, carrots, bush beans, corn, amaranth, millets, kales, onions and broccoli.
In our larger (community) garden, we had to protect against slugs, with plastic fences. Here you see zucchini, and further behind broad beans and potatoes. A small wheat bed to the right.. 
Kale, with corn and amaranth further behind 

Peppers and okra, planted against a tile, to create a microclimate

Two pumpkins, also protected against slugs. And potatoes behind.

Some perennial vegetables: ocas and chufas, surrounded by spinach.

  • Corn is about 40cm tall and beginning to tassel. I grow 4 different varieties
  • Foxtail millet is about 30cm tall. Other millets (pearl, proso, japanese) are about 15cm tall.
  • Amaranths are about 20-40cm tall, and growing fast (three varieties). Quinoa, some seedlings, some 30-50cm tall begin to spike. Barley has been flowering for a month, while wheat (spelt, emmer, kamut) since two weeks.
  • Tomatoes have been flowering. They are about 50cm tall. 
  • Squash begins flowering, and it has a large size 30-100cm wide. Pumpkins are around 1 meter long and began to flower (giant atlantic and hokkaido). Cucumber produced 1 fruit last week, 1 meter tall, others setting buds have 30cm tall (three varieties)
  • Carrot in seedling stage, eaten often by slugs. Beets as large seedlings. Some heirlooms of both. In community garden, these have been harvested.
  • Peas have been producing pods for about 3 weeks (green and purple). Broad beans are just recently flowering, and around 1 meter high.
  • Bean seedlings are around 20cm high (several types: bush beans, french beans, black beans, runner beans). 
  • Spinach flowering, has been harvested for a month. Lettuce has been harvested for 3 weeks, full size begins to bolt, others are still growing. Valerian salad harvested for second week. Kales harvested since two months. Miner lettuce and minutina now of a fine size and start to be harvested.
  • We failed to grow most brassicas due to slugs and temperature extremes. I have sown some broccoli and cabbages, and in one of smaller gardens, we have some 10cm broccoli seedlings.
  • Eggplant and sweet pepper planted flowering at 35cm tall, peanuts at 15cm high. Okra planted while setting pods. Rocoto planted 30cm tall.
  • Lima beans setting pods indoors. Winged bean just growing. Malabar spinach setting seed indoors, while outdoors remains at 20cm high.
  • Potatoes have began flowering. Its a nice thick patch, combined with onions, which has been damaged by lilly scarlet beetle. Sweet potato vines are between 15cm to 1.5 meter, now under plastic cover. 
  • Mashua vine is just around 30cn tall but healthy. One growing indoors, of around 2m tall begin wiltering. Oca plants are bushy around 30cm wide. Yacon planted with 10cm. Groundnut vines 1meter long. One skirret plant of 15cm high. Chufas remain similar to last month, about 10-15cm high.
  • Other perennials: sea beets, scotish lovage, perennial kales, 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Self-sufficiency in Austria!! (Garden in north Austria)


Now I live in Gmunden, upper Austria (zone 7) and working on a repeat of my self-sufficiency research study.

Having arrived in Austria with my companion, I met this fabulous community garden group of young people, with whom I join forces in growing food and a future food forest.

I wonder how much food can I grow in a small area 40m2.
They kindly borrowed me a piece of land to experiment with this. And we hope to grow some crops like quinoa, millets and amaranth in Austria, besides perennials like rocoto chili pepper, good king henry, oca, skirret, and others!

Exciting times!
Here goes my "simple" plan of annual vegetables, for self-sufficiency:
  • Garlic (60 pieces planted) (estimated yield 365 pieces, one per day, full year) 
  • Pumpkins (2 seelings planted, planned more 5 seedlings) (estimated yield 10-20 pumpkins, two per month, for half a year or more) 
  • Onions (60 pieces planted, in 4m2) (estimated yield 60 onions, one every 3 days, for half a year) 
  • Corn (50 seedlings planted over 3m2) (estimated yield 50 ears, one per week, for half a year) 
  • Potatoes (currently 4m2, planned more 3m2) (estimated yield 2kg/m2), 15kg of potatoes for about half a year 
  • Beans and peas (72 seeds planted over 2m2) (estimated yield 1.5 kg/m2), 3 kg for 30 meals of 100g, twice a week for 3 months (planned more 3m2 of beans), then enough for half a year 
  • Sweet potatoes (area planned 2m2) (estimated yield 1.5kg/m2), 3kg of sweet potatoes for about 4 months 
  • Barley and wheat (planted area 4m2 barley and 2m2 wheat) (estimated yield 0.5kg/m2), 3 kg (two meals a day, for a month) 
  • Quinoa (planted area 3m2) (estimated yield 0.1kg/m2), 300g (about six meals) for a month 
  • Amaranth (planted 3m2) (estimated yield 0.1kg/m2), 300g (about six meals) for a month 
  • Millet (area planned 2m2) (estimated yield 0.2kg/m2), 400g (two meals a week) for a month 
  • Tiger Nuts (to plant 0.5m2, about 40 pieces) (estimated yield 1kg/m2), 500g for a month 
  • Scorzonera, Skirret, Burdock to plant 0.5-1m2 of each (estimated yield 1-2kg/m2 
I hope to experiment with small plots of Salsify, Oca, Ulluco, Yacon, Malabar Spinach, Sea Beets, Miner Lettuce, Groundnut, Buckwheat and possibly Peanuts.

Yeah, it could be peanuts, but slugs are a major challenge in the rainy Austrian summer. Let's see!

More updates in soon!

If you are iterested in buying some of my seeds, please go to :)