The adventurous journey from Eastern Germany to Eastern Canada
I think the whole story began with my mother and grandparents being engaged gardeners. All of them cared (and still care) for their own gardens through out their whole lives. The summers of my childhood were filled with homegrown fruits and vegetables. Strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, lettuce, radishes, potatoes...you name it! Picking and eating berries and cherries right off the tree is one of the fondest memories I have. There was a big cherry tree in my grandmas garden. Every summer my dad and I came to help picking cherries. We took the longest ladder we had, fetched the buckets and hooks (to secure the buckets and to get the branches closer) and up the tree we went. Eating cherries right off the tree as much as I could muster was my summer feeling in it's purest as a child. There is still no real summer for me without the taste of fresh cherries. Luckily there were more than enough cherries on that tree than I could eat, because now it was my grandmas turn. She preserved big loads of jars every year so we could have cherries for dessert all winter long and she surely was the master of preserving summer's harvests. Granny made apple sauce, berry jams, cucumber pickles, pear 'Helene', rhubarb dessert, syrups and bags full of frozen herbs.
I'm just realizing now that I'm thinking about it. Both my grandmothers preserved their own produce and cooked with it all year round. It was normal for them since that was the way they grew up. Everyone had their own garden to feed the family and none of its produce should be wasted . My mom continued this tradition in growing and preserving and luckily I inherited this trait as well. Though I didn't really realize it until later..
After school I went straight to University to become a teacher. I studied biology and geography, so nature was always this big part of my life. But it hasn't been until I quit my job and left my old life behind, that I realized what I was missing. Even though I taught natural science in the class room, I felt like I lost contact with mother nature, to the important things that really matter and to the joy of life in general. Getting my hands dirty, sowing seeds and watching the seedlings grow, harvest and turn the produce into food - it sounds so simple, but it's an original necessity of living. Something most of us lost their connection to due to a lifestyle far away from anything really natural.
I felt like I needed to do something real and looked for a job in farming. I ended up as a volunteer on a farm in Germany and became the gardener in a big self-sustaining garden that fed the whole family, workers and partly even animals. It was the most rewarding job I had so far. The work doesn't stop with the harvest though, because with a homestead you need to get creative when you cook from scratch with what grows in your own garden. So I dived into cooking and preserving and found myself enjoying what I was doing. Work didn't feel like work anymore, it was fun! After half a year I moved on to another farm in Ireland - very different and challenging. The idea of the set up there was a forest garden and I came right in the beginning of the process. Besides planting orchards, wind brakes and edible hedges, I took care of a big vegetable garden and an industrial-sized polytunnel. I learned so much every day and I never wanted to do anything else.
But as it is in life, there are always surprises and hoops to jump through. I met my future husband online, we finally met in Finland, settled in Ireland and after almost one year moved back to Germany for a couple of years, because our first son was about to be born. Even though we knew somehow that we wouldn't stay there for long, we ended up renting a garden near Dresden. We were happy to see our son crawling around in the grass, eating our own berries and enjoying the freedom of our own little green space. In those two years we made so much jam, we had to give a lot away to friends and family. We started to dream of our own little lot with a garden, where we can do what we want and grow our own food. At some point we just made the decision to move to Canada, where my husband comes from. It surely was quite a move with two little kids and a container full of stuff. Here we found a house with a big empty lawn next to it, which was perfect for the dream of our garden. And there we go, this is how My Nordic Garden got founded.
We are very happy about this first year and about how much we were able to accomplish. Starting a vegetable garden from scratch that feeds the family through a big part of the year is nothing we did before in this climate. It is challenging and very rewarding and we learned so much! We hope you enjoy following our own adventure and get inspired to start a garden yourself. If you have any questions or don't really know, where to start, just get in contact with us. We are very happy, if we could help you to grow the garden of your dreams.