Monthly Archives: April 2014

Hugelkultur -Raised beds for True Permaculture and Long term Production.

I love the idea of hugelkultur and have tried it a few times with some success- I expect it to increase with time as the underlying logs break down.
Hugelkultur –
http://permaculturenews.org/2010/08/03/the-art-and-science-of-making-a-hugelkultur-bed-transforming-woody-debris-into-a-garden-resource/

logs and scraps for base of Hugelkutur bed

logs and scraps for base of Hugelkutur bed


Fallen trees and branches and logs used as base for raised beds that will ultimately be fertile and require less water than traditional beds- especially after 2-3-4 years.
Logs and branches and leaves topped with soil/compost to grow..

Logs and branches and leaves topped with soil/compost to grow..


Huglekulture Inside

The next hill I hope to make is when I help some friends build at least one good sized herb hill or herb spiral. The hope is to make a medicine and tea garden as well as supply the the neighborhood bees with food.
May do a basic circle or spiral but I am thinking that a keyhole setup will allow for easier planting, weeding and harvesting.

Keyhole setup for hugelkultur and Composting.

Keyhole setup for hugelkultur and Composting.


U shaped Hugel - raised bed. Utilize a lot of wood and produce a lot of herbs and greens.

U shaped Hugel – raised bed. Utilize a lot of wood and produce a lot of herbs and greens.

Found these great images online and will add more as the real hills get assembled and used.
**Building
**Loading
**Planting and then long term as the wood breaks down and feeds the soil for years.

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Compost bin Construction- Pig Pen gone and Compost on the Way

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New compost bin- 1st section ready, loading up

I recently helped friends start a new multi-bin composting system. The above is the way it looks now as 1 bin is ready and getting loaded. Eventually It will have 3 bins for Compost in 3 stages. (green- starting, half way and ready for the garden).

 

The footprint for the bin started the day as an old pig pen, all of the pieces have been reclaimed and many will be used in other projects around the house and yard. The old nails were too rusted and damaged to reclaim but will be sent to recycling.    

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Pieces and debris removed from the Pig Pen for Compost bin location.

The reclaimed HT (heat treated) wooden pallets will make a solid frame for the collection and creation of the black “gold” that will feed the garden and plants for years to come. The mountain soil in this are is very fertile but also heavy with clay. Additions of alluvial/sandy soil from the stream, leaf mold and compost will keep it strong for years to come and fertile as the garden of Eden.

There are plans to complete the full 3 bin system as well as a Hot compost drum- to speed up the process for the garden as to “spike” the other open compost bins . It will look something like this: Image   

 

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Ultimately the bins will look like this. 3 bins with a pallet base- covered by burlap coffee bean bags.

More plans and more work for the 2014 garden..

 

Link

SPROUTS – Tiny Explosions of Taste and Nutrition

SPROUTS – Tiny Explosions of Taste and Nutrition

I have loved sprouts since the first time I scooped them off the salad bar into my plate. later enjoying them in stir fry and other meals.

Then I read about sprouting seeds in a jar and eating the young sprouts, seeds and roots. At that time I learned that there are dozens of seeds and plants available for sprouting and eating- all are economical sources of nutrient rich food.  

Many of the “sprouts” have a greater nutritional impact- bang for the buck- many have a different impact. All are fun because you can grow and watch them form AND then eat them.

Many can be used in smoothies or juice(especially wheatgrass/barley grass) and they have a great nutrient impact. 

Add a few baskets and trays and jars for a full rotating crop of greens and beans and other young veggies to keep you well fed and entertained.

# # http://alliemoonraw.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/20121004-190935.jpg 

Some information on choosing seeds and growing sprouts for food.

*                       http://www.efoodsdirect.com/blog/sprouting-how-to-choose-seeds/

You can save money om food by growing inexpensive sprouts – You can even make money sharing or selling sprouts and microgreens-

 

**             http://hubpages.com/hub/Growing-and-selling-Microgreens-An-example-of-a-commercial-urban-agriculture-operation

 

Compost- Beautiful Black garden GOLD

Is that a silly title….Black Gold….Much like the Clampetts at their black Liquid Gold.

I love making compost but with a large garden you need a lot of compost. To generate enough compost I decided to create traditional compost bins with recycled (HT) shipping pallets.

barrel Composter In plastic- could be Stee

barrel Composter In plastic- could be Stee


3 bin Open Composter

3 bin Open Composter

The traditional 3 bin system will generate plenty of compost by next spring (for new system0 but I need compost this fall at the end of the growing season to prep the beds for next year- and of course fresh compost next spring for planting. That is why I like to have both an open system that will process the yard and kitchen waste ( plus some added manure) and and an eclosed system that will “cook” hotter and Create compost faster. The proper working of the fast and slow systems will generate the great garden food all plants need.

Access Panel in Compost Tumbler

Access Panel in Compost Tumbler

Recycling a barrel with an axle on a stand, a bunch or hole drilled into the container and an access panel created- will start turning leaves and weeds and grass and kitchen waste into dark useful food for the plants in your garden
It will also be useful to add to the open bin composter to give the material in there a KICK. The microorganisms pushing the process along will be transferred to the new material and get in cooking.

Structural Reinforcement for barrel

Structural Reinforcement for barrel

The barrel can be plastic or steel (even wood) but it need to be closed and able to spin to move the rotting material around without using a fork or other tools. Keep a good blend of carbon filled AND Nitrogen loaded materials in the bin and keep in damp but not WET. The movement allows the workhorses of compost- microorganisms and worms – to have access to much more of the material and break it down even faster.

The holes in the barrel allow for the process to continue aerobically and limits the “fun” smells that often accompany rotting of vegetation. The rotting is a part of the process but movement and air and “bugs” turn it into garden food with less stink.

A fun way to recycle tires and a barrel. Put tires arond barrel and roll in the garden to turn the material.

Barrel with Tires

Barrel with Tires

Can also set the tumbler on a vertical axis to do the work of Composting.

Vertical barrel

Vertical barrel

Summer Ideas as Garden Grows (7 Layer fun in Future)

Last year I made bunch of hummus for an event and had a lot left over. I love it on crackers, bread and as veggie dip.

It is also a good creamy dressing but I wanted to play so I got a tall clear container and started a 7 layer ….dip/salad/snack- Not sure what it was as I set it up.
– pinto beans ( sprouts would be great too)
– hummus ( garlicky and good)
-diced red onion ( fresh from garden)
-sliced cucumbers( fresh picked) {will dice next time}
-thin layer hummus
– diced tomato( garden fresh)
-onions plus chopped herbs

Cover and put in fridge for 2-3 hours and serve as a salad or a dip.

Other options/ideas:
– mix some chia/flax for a gelatin consistency

put tortillas or chips on a baking tray and top with scoops of the dip/ salad put in broiler ( bottom shelf) for 7-10 minutes , until a light browning/ crust forms- this can be topped with chopped chili peppers and a nice vegan cheez.

Potato Towers are coming Along Nicely for 2014

After the Potato Tower has been set up with soil/compost and Straw- seed potatoes set in the soil and topped with soil/compost-

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Potato Towers with soil/compost and straw- ready for seeds.

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Allow for the plants to get started and as the leaves spread and vines grow to about 3-5 inches add a mix of compost and soft-sandy soil as well as a ring or straw around the framework-Up to the bottom of the leaves.
Water well again and **

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Potatoes planted-March 2014- leaves poking out

-Allow to grow 3-5 more inches and repeat the process 1 or 2 more times and then let the tower and all of the plants to grow and spread out the top and sides of the tower.

Keep it well watered BUT not too wet. Fertilize with aged manure / compost and an organic fetilizer. Fertilizer should have good mix of Potassium and Phosporous and lower Nitrogen . Too much Nitrogen and you will have a great collection of green and leggy plants but lower output of potatoes. Using any fertilizer with high phosphorus-potassium to nitrogen content will do them well. N-P-K – 5-10-10 or 8-24-24 are good mixes.

If adding fertilizer- make sure to scratch it into the soil and not in contact with the plants growing in the tower.

Option 2 ( add more seedling potatoes)

After the Potato Tower has been set up with soil/compost and Straw- seed potatoes set in the soil and topped with soil/compost-

Allow for the plants to get started and as the leaves spread and vines grow to about 3-5 inches add a mix of compost and soft-sandy soil as well as a ring or straw around the framework-Up to the bottom of the leaves.
Water well again and **

-Allow to grow 3-5 more inches and repeat the process of adding soil/compost and straw and add more seed potatoes and cover with 2 inches of soft sandy soil up to the bottom of the established leaves. you will now have 2 sets of plants growing .
***repeat the fill and cover process 1 or 2 more times to the top of the tower and allow the plants to grow and spread out the top and sides of the tower.

Water and fertilize as before.

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2014 Gardening Survey

The attached survey is for fun and comparison.

What are you doing this year?

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CLMW8GZ

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