Wednesday, June 26, 2013

what a difference 7 years makes

I was having fun going through some old photos the other day and ran across one of the main garden area from early 2006.
Here is the one I took yesterday from about the same place.
What a difference a few years makes!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

garden update

A video of some of the gardens. I somehow managed to omit an entire section but didn't realize it until  it was uploaded.  We have pretty much got everything planted and things are really starting to grow. We are hoping for  a good  season!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

growin tool handles or an implement tree

  All homestead have implements of destruction  with broken handles. More  often than  not it is easier and as cheap to simply buy a new one  which leaves us all with a pile of  perfectly usable if they had a handle implements. We are no different and found ourselves with this nice assortment which we burned the old handles out of.

  Many years ago we ran across a web page  that showed an ol feller growing his own tool handles and we thought how cool, one day we are gonna do that.  Finally this year, the trees we had coppiced, for another  experiment, were ready to fit  the implements on and attempt to grow our own handles.   Who knows if it will actually work, how long it will take, or if the handles will be straight enough to   use. In the mean time, they implement trees will look   neat and be a conversation piece.

Monday, May 13, 2013

early May garden walk

Spring has been different normal  this season  so the gardens are off to a rather sluggish start. Rain has been plentiful, perhaps slightly too plentiful,  but temps have been rather cool, especially at night. Low forties, and even thirties at night, makes it difficult for plants to grow well.  Tomatoes, peppers and other warm weather crops are still not  in the ground and what is in, is growing very slow with the exception of cole crops. The good side of the coolness is we should have a good crop of cabbage, peas, onions and greens of all sorts for a change.

For this video I actually wobbled around the  top  gardens for a while to catch some of the scenery and layout of the land a bit better. Pictures can only show so much of the land lay out and what we have to  work with. I was going to wander the others areas as well but there is very little growing  at this point. Hopefully spring will arrive later this week. This has  finally got to be blackberry winter we are in,  3 weeks late right on schedule. Boy, have we been spoiled the last few years!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

water features

Most permaculture experts recommend 15% of land mass be in water features. Given we have 15 acres of mountain terrain we will never be able to accomplish this, but we have been  consciously increasing  water features over the last couple years. In the few permaculture classes I have taken, the instructors say it does not matter how big or small the features are as they all enhance the biodiversity and any increase in  biodiversity is beneficial.   

A couple years ago when we scrapped the trailer I used the sink, tub, and toilet as  container gardens. All homes need rearranging from time to time so  the last couple  weeks we have turned the sink and tub into water features around the gardens.

The sink is  a bird  bath. As soon as we move more rocks  around the property I will surround it  and cover up some of the plastic ugly.

 This is down in the bowl  area where there is quite a bit of run off when it rains heavy so we made an overflow down to  a swale that is also on a slope. Once  the flowers grow this summer it should  all look quite nice.   I will continue to expand the garden there and we will likely work toward a few more swales and  possibly another small water feature.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

tinman scarecrows

Stumbling around the  internet one day,  the manthing ran across  a tinman scarecrow. Knowing we had a pile of empty coffee cans and bored one day, he set about building  Spinnegan. 

We thought he was so cute that as soon as we had a stash of cans again he set about to building Rainbow Rosie. Since we didn't have  enough cans to give Rosie  arms or legs we decided to  clothe her and stuff  her.  Not only are they  kinda cute and serve a purpose, their heads are  also functional planters. Rosie still needs a bit more stuffing to even out her lumps n bumps.

No instructions  were  used  when making them. He just laid out the shape using different size cans, made holes in the bottoms, and strung them together using wire. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

remember that ol trailer?

Probably not  as it has been so long...

Well anyway,  years ago we had a fifth wheel camper and it slowly rotted away. So we tore it down, sorted it and recycled what we  could for projects around here and there it sat for a couple years while we pondered what to do with the frame.  We always thought it would look neat dropped  down off the axles with  a gazebo on the platform and raised beds in the actual frame. Finally,  early this spring we  actually got around to accomplishing it, or most of it.

First we manhandled the frame to where we kind of needed it, dropped the wheels off then  hooked a  tow rope to it and got it into position. We layered cardboard in
the bottom, filled with leaves, then added compost.

 Since it is in a semi-shaded spot we decided that it would do well  growing our cabbage this spring with a few flowers and herbs mixed in. In another week or three we will  put corn in between them to help provide a bit more shade  later in the spring. 

The gazebo, ahhh well another couple years and we may have that done too. In the mean time it makes a handy place to sit containers and plantlings.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

monday's mountain musings

We have been busy around the homestead as of late. Besides  starting on the great garlic adventure we  have about doubled  garden space yet again.  We now have over 70 raised beds, the three big gardens, the greenhouse containers and plots of herbs and  flowers in various locations.  As soon as things start growing, it should be lookin quite pretty around here. 

We are hoping to make the leap into some market gardening of herbs, veggies, lotions n potions and crafty type stuff this year too.  We have a couple folks spending a good bit of time around helping us, getting things done and trying to make the leap with us.   We are hoping to  be able to make a decent go of it and  pay the few bills that we have. Finding a new  income source has become  somewhat important  since the manthing  got hurt last fall. This is something we have thought about for a long time, wanted to do, and finally have the need and want  at the same time (and  have help too).

Spring has been slow to arrive this year.  Temps have been 10 or more degrees lower than normal for a couple months now  and  nights  have remained quite cool.  Early spring crops are just beginning to grow well and summer crop plantlings are ridiculously tiny.   Tomato starts  still  have but one set of leaves, peppers are  just sprouting and tobacco is about a half inch tall.   I am sure glad we have a long growing season even with a slow start everything should still have plenty of time.  Planting of all crops began last week. Another week and the first plantings of everything but tobacco should be in the ground.

Monday, April 15, 2013

the great garlic adventure

A week or two back the manthing declared he was going to become "THAT Crazy Garlic Guy" and by golly I think he is serious. All the beds up closer to the shack are going to be filled up even though we have about doubled the  bed space. This left us wondering where we could find space to  plant lots and lots of garlic and then it hit us that deer dont touch  garlic, birds don't eat garlic, garlic is shallow rooted, and it does not require full sun to grow.    

 Down in the holler, the wooded area is quite nicely laid out and largely unused. After looking around a bit it was decided that with a bit of clearing of undergrowth  we could put several large, partially shaded, beds in.  Garlic is supposed to be one of the better money making crops for small acreages and  while we don't need much money to survive, we need some.  Soooo,   We are hoping  to  have 25000 plants in within  5 years.  We currently have somewhere between 1500 and 1600 bulbs in  and we will continue to grow the stock  over  the next several months for fall  planting.

So, we began cleaning up the woods a few days ago. Hauling dead fall out of the way, pulling small pines, and taking out a few trees for  firewood.  I completely neglected taking pictures of  the area before but here are a couple showing the first section we are working on.   Once this is done we will  mark out the area a bit better and rake the woods to begin mulching and building soil a bit.  Hopefully by this fall we will  be  planting down there on on our way  to  the manthing becoming THAT Crazy Garlic Guy.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It's Spring and we're still kickin

It's been a while but we are still around. I am trying to get back into updating a bit more often than I have been. Anywho, Spring has sprung and I have Spring Fever, but here is a little video of the nekkid gardens to tide you over. Yes, we have added a few...