When moving to Spain, my only experience with gardening (besides being a voyeur with my mother’s gardens) was growing heaps of kale on our 1×3-meter balcony in Stockholm, Sweden.

Growing up in the States, I ate kale at every turn. Kale is so popular in the US among foodies, vegetarians, low-carbers, vegans, hippies, so much so that each year, someone comes up with a new and innovative way to market kale (kale chips being one of the latest fads).

I’m also on the kale-chip bandwagon — kale grown and gathered from my garden, rinsed (to rid of the occasional aphids or butterfly caterpillars), dried, seasoned lightly with sea salt and nutritional yeast (great cheese-like taste and super source of B vitamins), and laid out in single layers in our 9-tray dehydrater. The kale chips come out crispy, savoury, and mouth-wateringly delicious. My youngest daughter eats them like there’s no tomorrow.

So, in the early years of us living in Stockholm, I couldn’t find kale. Actually, that’s not quite true. I found it but only just before Christmas time when Swedes would buy it up to decorate their Christmas tables. I was aghast that no one actually ate it. So, my mom sent me some seeds and I started growing it every year on my balcony. Every other balcony around us had maybe one tomato plant and the ubiquitous balcony herbs, but our balcony was like a kale forest, almost impeding our view across the courtyard.

I was hooked on growing food, and next thing you know, a permaculture book fell in my lap and I couldn’t get enough.

Simultaneously, our three then small children attended a Rudolf Steiner Waldorf daycare and school in Stockholm — For those unfamiliar with Rudolf Steiner, his spiritual insights and practical suggestions brought about biodynamic gardening, an ecological, ethical and holistic approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition. I was intrigued.

Our vegetable gardens here in Spain incorporate both permaculture and biodynamic gardening ideas and methods, plus a little bit of local knowledge from Spanish old-timers who come for a visit and bandy about their steadfast theories. My husband and I combine ideas, test year to year, read more, plant more, and we’ve come to a point where we’re at times overflowing with courgettes and butternut squashes and at other times wondering why our red peppers never grew.

Gardening is an art, a skill and a matter of trial and error.

Life, like our gardens, is full of adventures, new experiences, and slowing down to smell the flowers, observe and then learn a bit more.

We grow kale year round on our farm. Our kids still devour it and we’ve come up with new ways to eat it. We know from where our veggies grow, we enjoy digging our hands in the dirt, and we savour every bite of those vegetables that nurture our health, spirits and minds.

Life is good. We’d love to share our little piece of this earth with all those interested to visit.

Come and see what you take away with you.