All posts by Roze

Spring is Here!

Yes, it’s time to start working in the gardens again. This year we will have a double challenge. Not only will we be working on the garden we had last year, but there is a new site as well.

In December we inherited a property that has since eaten our lives over the last four months. The yard is one of the biggest challenges. Once we clear the rubbish, we will have to totally revitalize the soil. In many ways, it will be a perfect testing ground for some of our ISRU projects.

The front yard was xeriscaped once upon a time and we will be restoring that. The back yard will have a compost heat experiment as well as a couple of keyhole gardens.

Over the winter, we have worked with District O.N.E. and One Table, our local food to table group. It has been very interesting and I am looking forward to our further adventures.

Lessons Learned, 2015

Over the winter, we have compiled a list of things that we’ve learned.

  • Zucchini will take over the world.
  • Root cellars need a constant temperature.
  • Veggies store better kept in a root cellar and in either sand or straw.
  • Onions are hardier than you might think.
  • Composting is vital to return nitrogen to the soil.
  • Tomatoes will ripen in paper bags and boxes.
  • Pumpkins are almost as bad as zucchini.

At the end of winter, we still have frozen green beans, zucchini and plums. It’s been wonderful, but we are looking forward to fresh fruit and veggies.

Zucchini Galore!

We have been so pleased with how well our garden has done. We’ve given away more produce than we’ve been able to eat or process. It’s been great. The pumpkins we thought would not grow have taken over rows in the garden with their long vines. The butternut squash has not been a prolific, but we have 3-4 ripening. Zucchini have been fantastic, as have the crook neck (two varieties) and the delicata. The tomatoes have exploded and we have all sorts of them growing. The few we’ve had ripen have been heavenly.

We’ve been making plans to expand the garden and add new veggies. Next year we plan to plant Fewer zucchini, acorn squash, cucumbers and eggplants, kale, onions, garlic, corn, green beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, radishes, and the wild variety lettuces. The pics below are of the Bee garden we’ve put in between the compost and the fairy patio. I’ll be taking more pictures this week.

These pics show the growth in the garden and some of the veggies we harvested.

Produce!

Our garden is doing well. This year is a ‘bench mark’ year. Seeds vs starts. No fertilizer. Basic watering. (ie, an hour, no more, and not every day) We are trying to see just how good the soil is and what we can get out of it.

So far, things are going very well. Our radishes are huge! The spinach that survived the first weeding is doing well, as is the lettuce. We have squash everywhere! Funny bit is a few hills didn’t sprout, so we raked them out and planted new seeds. Well, we ended up with a lot of volunteers. We have harvested lettuce, spinach, radishes and cilantro. The herbs are doing well too.

We had a wonderful salad tonight.

Farm to Table

In Huerfano County, we have a group, District O.N.E. which is working to bring fresh local produce from Farm to Table. They’ve started gardens across the city of Walsenburg, and work with LiveWell Huerfano County. Huerfano RE-1 has leased District O.N.E. 2 acres behind the high school campus for farming. A group of Permaculture interested folk will be converging on the land on June 18th to till and plant.

In the mean time, there have been some great articles in the news on Farm to Table and urban ag. This article out of Omaha is great.

District O.N.E. and Livewell Huerfano County are also holding a farmers market every Saturday in Heritage park, from 9 to 2pm. We had our opening day last Saturday, and they figured that they earned more money in one day than they did at any point last year.

Mud, Rain and Gardening

In between more rain that this county has had in over 40 years, we have planted the garden. We had an explosion of weeds as well. This weekend, we plan to finish weeding and plant the second round of spinach, carrots and radishes.

We added to the garden areas on the side of the house and added more tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and moved the mint tire. We used ceramic insulators as row markers and with the extra rocks, we built a fairy patio sitting area.

New beginnings

We have begun to garden at my mom’s house. She has a huge backyard, and has given us full rein to do as we please, as long as the front is kept neat. While this is a temporary solution, we are continuing with our gardening experiments. We plan to build a cattle fence greenhouse and begin experiments with hydroponics.

First off, we spruced up the front beds with plants from the other house.

 

Once we got the front started, we began on the side garden area. Most of the transplanted plants have bounced back.

Then we started on the back yard. We tilled up nearly 500 square feet of the garden and as soon as it stops raining for more than five minutes, we will be planting. I planted kale, a lettuce mix, two kinds of onions and tomatoes on the side. The back will have squash, green beans, pumpkins, radishes and carrots.

A big setback.

We’ve lost our home.  Our agreement was terminated. We had to move as the new owner gave us two weeks. To say that we were in shock is an understatement, especially as we’d been told that the house and land was ours to use until we no longer wanted it.

So, we moved. Stuffed our life in storage. Dug up what we could of our gardens, and put all sorts of plans on hold. No more experiments, garden plans or anything else. Luckily we didn’t get notice a week or so later. If it had, we would have been deep in house construction and garden building.

We’ve moved in with my mom for a while until we can buy land. No more lease agreements. No more uncertainty about property. We are looking at a 40 acre piece of land. We are considering a GoFundMe campaign. I’ll post more details as things progress.

 

Snow!

In the last few weeks, we have had a lot of snow. Right now the total for the season is close to 80 inches. In some places, we still have 8-10 inches on the ground. In other places, we have mud.

While Spring is less than 15 days away, we will be lucky to have continuous warm weather for some time. Meanwhile, we will peruse the seed catalogs, plan raised beds, start seedlings and do our best to stay out of the mud.