Tag Archives: gardening

Oh Where to Begin?

Life and good intentions often get in the way of each other. To be honest, we got run over by the proverbial Mega-Bus. The property we inherited needed more than just a wee clean-up. In fact, it’s still challenging us, although, as of April, it is paid off! Yes, we inherited a hefty debt as well.

We also had to become full time care givers for two years. Between that, needing a health income and then the pandemic, much of life got put on hold. This website was one of them. While it slowed us down, it didn’t stop us.

The garden work… Oh what a challenge. I’ve worn out more helpers than I can think of. I’m not sure which bothers them more; the state of the yard, or that the old lady (me) works just as hard as they do, and often for longer. ūüôā In this post and probably a few to follow, I will post pictures.

In the six years that we’ve had the property, we cleared the yards of trash only to have the roof blow off, and have to start all over. We had to remove an 80+ year old tree, and at present, we’re in the process of removing a cement stairwell that is pulling off the house. We’ve revamped beds, divided the yard to accommodate two dogs, added beds outside of the normal boundaries, and worked constantly to repair/refresh/rewild other parts of the garden. It’s been a challenge.

Some of what I’ve learned shouldn’t be a surprise to any gardener. But…

  • Compost will dessicate
  • There is never too much compost
  • There are always Volunteer Plants-usually Pumpkins!
  • Squash will take over everything
  • Weeding is never done
  • Tools will break at the most awkward time

Now for some pictures.

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.

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.

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.

 

Melding Hydroponics and Aquaponics. A winter Issyroo project.

Winter Issyroo Experiment
Part 1Here are some pictures of our new hybrid aquaponics rig going in.  Right now some conventional potted plants are on the stand, but by tomorrow evening we will have the unit all but completed.  It combines soil enrichment techniques, aquaponics, and vermicomposting in a small space and sports automatic controls.  Plant, cull, feed and harvest will be the only tasks, and these are vastly simplified.

The first crop will be lettuce, radishes, and spinach with crops in  parallel bins on the shelves above and below.  bear in mind that the room these are in varies from 5-30C, just as a winter time greenhouse would.  Other test objectives include:

1. Test the effectiveness of the LED full spectrum lights (7W draw!) as grow lights, comparing these to the sunlight coming in the south exposure window behind the rack.

2. Test the hybrid soil enrichment techniques, aquaponics, and vermicomposting system on a small scale before deploying a similar system in an enclosed greenhouse (scheduled spring 2015).

3. Build and program the control system which will allow nearly unattended operation.  The system is intended to be transparent to the growing operation, only requiring the human touch on the plants.

4. Create a fully documented, scalable, and open design which may be replicated allowing apartment dwellers to grow a fairly substantial amount of food in a very small space with minimal expense and effort.

Yes, you read that right… ¬†this is to be a fully documented open hardware project! ¬†Stay tuned for updates both here on G+ as well as issyroo.org,

PS. Dear stoners… this project will be vastly disappointing to you. ¬†Even though I live in Colorado, I don’t grow or use pot. ¬†This is not to say these techniques won’t work for it, but I just don’t know and I won’t be finding out. ¬†I don’t have anything against Cannabis, but we do Federal and State contracting and subcontracting. ¬†I must test clean, and abide by federal laws. ¬†Besides… ¬†It’s just not my cup of tea… more for you! ūüôā

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As Autumn shifts to Winter

Life has been busy.¬†While the weather has been wild, we’ve gotten a lot done. Between unseasonably warm weather, snow and wind, we’ve managed to paint and trim the Wendy House and construct another raised bed. We’ve trimmed trees of deadwood and chopped, split and stacked a lot of firewood. We still have a lot to chop, as two truck loads were donated.

We’ve planned for new buildings as well. We hope to have at least one greenhouse by spring. We came across plans for a greenhouse made from deer fence and scrap wood. We will be making one or two of them. Plus, we plan to build a small barn/chicken coop. All of this of course is dependent on funding and time.

We did have a bit of fun. As the weather got colder, we moved all of the herbs inside. The front part of the Wendy House is full of herbs. This of course started a discussion. Aaron had been looking into hydroponics and aquaponics. He began looking at things online and discovered Dutch Buckets.

Next thing I know, we are off to Home Depot and Lowes. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but we learned some things, and will incorporate them in the spring. Below are a few pictures. I’ll be posting a full article after this one.

Bucket Project1 Bucket Project51 Bucket Project13 Bucket Project3 Bucket Project24