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Archive for April, 2012

Mulch, Mulch, And More Mulch!

April 25, 2012 Leave a comment

While taking the dogs out this morning, I heard the sound of wood chipper in the neighborhood. I drove around the corner on my way to work and found a tree company clearing tree limbs for Georgia Power. I asked Paul who was manning the chipper if I could get the mulch and he said no problem. I asked him to drop it off in my front yard. Then he proceeds to tell me that they are doing all the streets in the surrounding area and expect to be in the vicinity for four months. I promptly returned home and printed out a map for him to the orchard lot and told him I will take all his mulch while he is in the area. If he comes through, my orchard will be a Back to Eden orchard in no time!

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Categories: Edible Garden, Orchard Tags: ,

Raised Bed Garden First Harvest

April 24, 2012 Leave a comment

With everything growing so well, the raised bed garden has been looking absolutely beautiful. Not wanting to spoil this beauty, I have been very reluctant to harvest. The aroma of the basil finally got to me today and I decided to harvest some basil, green onions, and horseradish leaves for soup noodle.

After cooking spaghetti, I topped it with basil, green onion, and crushed garlic. Then I poured on boiling chicken broth which brought out the aroma in the herbs. This was accompanied by homegrown rabbit cooked on the grill as well and assortment of steamed vegetables (horseradish, collard, kale, beet leaves, daikon) from the community garden and my own raised bed garden.

Categories: Edible Garden

Free Mulch!

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Fully inspired after watching Back to Eden yesterday, I searched on Craigslist and found someone just 10 miles from me who had requested a load of mulch from a tree company and then realized just how large a truckload of mulch was.  Desperate to get rid of their Mulch Mountain, they were offering the mulch free to all takers.  I swung by at 10AM this morning with my 5 x 8 trailer which holds about 9 cubic yards and proceeded to load, haul, and unload  load after load.  By 6PM, I had managed to haul away 6 loads totaling over 50 cubic yards.  Even at bulk pricing, single grind mulch (not  decorative but good for ground cover and erosion control) costs $8 per cubic yard.  So after a long day’s work, I had solved their Mulch Mountain dilemma, got a good start to implementing what I learned from Back to Eden, and saved myself about $500.  Everyone benefited and everyone’s happy.  Thank you Lisa for the free mulch!

Based on the mulch calculator here, for my 110 feet x 195 feet lot, I still need another 200  cubic yards to cover my entire lot.  Time to contact all the tree companies and hope that I can get some truckloads brought out and dumped for free.

Categories: Orchard Tags: ,

Back to Eden Movie

April 21, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the things I have truly enjoyed as a side product of my meat rabbit operation is all the like-minded people who come to me to purchase foundation stock.  Today, Gary from Gainesville came to pick up his 2 bucks and 6 does.  As we talked about his reasons for getting into raising meat rabbits, he discusses with me his interest in growing his own food on his 5.5 acre lot.  Since I have similar interest, we talked at length about what we were doing and what we have learned. During our conversation, Gary mentioned to me an approach to gardening shown in a movie called Back to Eden.

When I got home, I looked up Back to Eden and was excited to find out that it was a movie which has been made publicly available online. I began watching it and immediately what I saw made so much sense that I knew I had just stumbled upon the true solution to my orchard watering dilemma.  This was reaffirmed when the gardener who is the focus of the movie stated that he has never watered his orchard since its inception 31 years ago through droughts in an area with gets 15 to 18 inches of rain a year.  When I bought my orchard lot, I ruled out growing vegetables due to the lack of municipal water supply.  Based on what was shown in the movie, I now believe that I can grow not only trees at the orchard but vegetables as well without artificial supply of water.  The information was so refreshing and logical that I placed an order for the DVD.

Throughout the movie, the clips of Paul Gautschi’s orchard showed trees whose limbs were arched downwards.  This seemed very convenient as it placed the fruits at a height which facilitated the picking.  In addition, with this arrangement and fruit which dropped would not have far to go before they reached the ground and would be much more likely to be undamaged.  The DVD has bonus contents not shown in the movie, including a how-to on pruning fruit trees.   I am very excited to see how this is done so I can apply the information to my own orchard.

If you have not seen this amazing movie, I highly recommend it.   The approach used is not mainstream but instead mimics what occurs naturally in nature and the results speak volume about the soundness of the logic behind it.  I have learned through experience that truth is blindly clear and amazingly simple.  This was no different.  I was so impressed that I looked for other information on Paul Gautschi and found the following videos on Youtube which also contain a wealth of information.

Thank you Gary for introducing me to this amazing movie.

 

 

 

 

Raised Bed Garden Update

April 20, 2012 Leave a comment

The raised bed I built and planted in five weeks ago is doing amazingly well. The Chinese cabbages which were already doing very well when I did my last video has continued to grow and is now so big that they are crowding each other. The kale and the collards received a recent growth boost after a day of rain and are now looking magnificent also. The horseradish leaves have also continued to grow like it’s on steroids. The garden has been a breeze to maintain. The soil mixture remains moist and loose so even when the occassional weed pops up, a gentle pull extracts it with its full root system. I am very pleased with how well this garden is yielding especially considering the minimal efforts to maintain it. Also, considering it’s my first stab at square foot gardening, I think the results are considerably better than what I have seen at many of the beds at the community gardens. I wonder if my rabbit manure is the secret ingredient. I am so pleased with the results thus far that I am already thinking about starting another bed to give the tomatoes and beans more elbow room and sun. I would also love to try my hands at some eggplants, squash, and watermelons.

Orchard Watering Solutions

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the challenges I knew I would face with the orchard lot that I purchased was the lack of municipal water.  Getting water service would not be very difficult but would not be cheap.  Meter installation by itself is $2,000.  Then I would have to pay for trench and line installation to bring the water from the street to the orchard which will probably run another $2,000 at least.  When I made the decision to purchase the lot, I made up my mind to abandon municipal water in order to stay true to my efforts to become self-sustainable.  My plan was to haul water from my house for the first year or two until the fruit trees were established enough to draw ground water on their own.  I also thought about possibly building a shed at the orchard to provide a surface for rain harvesting.

Since I have my hands full at the moment, building a shed is out of the question.  So I started to look at solutions available for watering trees efficiently.  The first one I found was a tree watering bag from TreeGator.  I have seen this used for the trees lining city streets.  Further research led me to Tree IV Root Feeder from SayeGrow.  This solution seemed superior on multiple counts:

  • Efficiency: Water is fed directly into the ground rather than released onto the ground surface and possibly leading to waste from runoff.
  • Aesthetics: The root feeder is driven into the ground so nothing is visible.
  • Transport: Since a bucket is used to supply the water, the same bucket can be used to transport the water to its destination.  The product is designed with this in mind and plugs are sold to allow for transport of water in the same bucket as the one that the water will be dispensed from.

I placed an order for 10 of their Build Your Own System and Reservoir Plug.  After these arrived, I purchased 10 buckets and lids from Lowe’s and made the final product myself with the use of a 1 3/16 Forstner Bit.  The process was extremely simple.

Backyard Chickens On CNN

April 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Raising backyard chickens is becoming more mainstream in urban neighborhoods.  I personally know of a couple of people in my neighborhood who are raising them in their backyard.   Good to see that this is receiving positive media coverage.

 

 

Categories: Chickens