It’s happening again, the distinct ying/yang effect of the amount of blogging waning as my amount of doing waxes. Here are some quick updates to where some of the projects are at.
BIG NEWS: I have permission to utilize as much of .5 acres as needed! This is at the site about 4 miles from my home. As reality sets in on the amount of work that this will take, I am thinking of sticking to just one 50×100 foot section that will be tilled under this spring, and then start a chicken tractor rotationally grazing what will be the other 50×100 garden. This will allow for essentially ALL the beds to be taken out of production annually for soil building and grazed by 10-20 layers in 1-2 tractors. As we get closer to planting time (OMG I have to start seedlings in less than 2 weeks!!) my research, planning, budgeting and shopping have gone into High Gear. Uber exciting!
The presentation went over very well and we will be meeting again this weekend for a more in depth discussion. The name appears to be morphing from a “victory garden” into a “Household Ecology Center” to stress the system thinking inherent in it. Big Thanks to Emily at Eat Close to Home for her suggestion of using a second plastic barrel for the composter -that may very well make it to the final system: it saves $30, cuts an hour off the instalation and is better sized to the garden. Lots of momentum on this
In addition to catalogues from Fed-Co, Johnny’s and Seed Savers, I am currently devouring Andy Lee’s Chicken Tractor as I will be putting them to use in about 8 weeks. Love his idea of simple straw bale structure for winter housing. Also getting time in the queue is Lester Brown’s Plan B 3.0 which is one of the most important books I’ve read. Lays out the immediacy, magnitude, and potential solutions to the problems of our generation. We need to Get Real. Now. On the less immediate and lighter side I am also dabbling with Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage. I plan to build one of these with the farm owners who are letting me use their land. I’ll need it to -on another property I intend to grow 1500+ lbs of potatoes…
Another tip from Emily was GrowVeg.com. I signed up for their 30 day trial and so far the system is fairly slick and certainly faster than my cobbled together spreadsheets. Really like the fact that you draw the plans and it calculates planting rates with numbers of plants and then builds a plant list including planting times, etc. Interface is not as inuititve as I would like (very few hot keys), but its not bad. Big downer is that it is a subscription based system, not a downloadable software pack. At $35/year it will add up and I have to have internet to view the plans. Grrr.
The reality of the coming year is sinking in. I will be growing food on a scale completely outside any reference I have ever had. It appears I will have livestock, and I will also be very involved in a local sustainability group that is dreaming big enough that we have booths at both our county fair and the MREA I am also still maintaining my 50hr/wk salaried job and then there are little things like my essential roles as husband and father… I also would like to blog 70k words this year as I hope that others can continue to learn from my trials. At least the days are longer in the summer…
Keeping perspective will be difficult this year, but I have had enough people offer help with the market garden that I am continuing to dillude myself that I can still juggle all these eggs without any breaking.