• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Carla Burke
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Leigh Tate
  • thomas rubino

KC's 2020 Visions

 
gardener
Posts: 3113
Location: Southern Illinois
573
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nice job Kc!

I like that you are growing a crop that will last in storage for some time.  This year I am growing mostly potatoes (in the spring I was seriously concerned about being able to get food/uncertain about food supply chains).  To this mix I am adding in sweet potatoes (I love them, but nobody else in my family does—more for me!).  I also have just a bit of summer squash and a bunch of tomatoes for fresh eating.

But I do like that you are setting up for winter as opposed to strictly for fresh eating.

Way to go!

Eric
 
gardener
Posts: 569
Location: Central Texas
211
hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The tree trimming crew brought out a couple of trucks to dump more chips this evening. Fortunately, I was out in the rabbitry when I heard the trucks beeping while backing up to the existing pile. I ran to the house and filled a grocery bag with zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, and onions to give to them (plus it cleared some space in the refrigerator drawer where I put the stuff that needs to be processed or preserved) :)
IMG_20200701_171038147.jpg
One of the trucks
One of the trucks
 
Kc Simmons
gardener
Posts: 569
Location: Central Texas
211
hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Eric Hanson wrote:Nice job Kc!

I like that you are growing a crop that will last in storage for some time.  This year I am growing mostly potatoes (in the spring I was seriously concerned about being able to get food/uncertain about food supply chains).  To this mix I am adding in sweet potatoes (I love them, but nobody else in my family does—more for me!).  I also have just a bit of summer squash and a bunch of tomatoes for fresh eating.

But I do like that you are setting up for winter as opposed to strictly for fresh eating.

Way to go!

Eric



Thank you, Eric! I have been eating a lot of it fresh (and taking a lot to my parents for their meals), but certain things are producing way more than I can consume before they spoil, so I've been trying to preserve the extra. Since most of it is ripening in a "steady flow," I haven't had enough of the same thing ripen at once to make it worth getting the canner out, so I've been freezing it, mostly. Potatoes were definitely my main crop for early spring (and probably for fall), and I've been eating A LOT of them, recently. I've finally sorted through them all and stored the unblemished ones, but have been eating those with minor damage that would be unlikely to hold up in storage. I've been trying to grow sweet potatoes this summer (I don't like them but the rest of the family does), but have had some trouble with the slips getting established during this brutal and dry heat wave. However, they did appreciate the recent, brief rain showers and cloud cover, and it looks like several of the vines are finally starting to grow!
Since July & August tend to be really hot and dry, it's common for the crops to kind of "go dormant" during these months and pick back up in the fall, so we shall see how they fare with the deep wood chip mulch and whether things continue to produce or decide to take a break for a little while.
 
Eric Hanson
gardener
Posts: 3113
Location: Southern Illinois
573
transportation cat dog fungi trees building writing rocket stoves woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kc,

Looks like you have a mountain of woody garden gold what with all those woodchips in that picture!  With luck it will last you some time.

For me, sweet potatoes are both easy and hard to grow.  Easy in that they use hardly any soil nutrients and thrive on neglect.  Once the slips start they take off like rockets.

The hard part is that every critter loves to eat sweet potatoes !  So in the past I have grown sweet potatoes, but mostly fed critters.  This year I set up a fence system so I now have the best sweet potatoes I have grown yet.

Nice project!

Eric
 
Kc Simmons
gardener
Posts: 569
Location: Central Texas
211
hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Been a while since the last update, but not a lot to report.

1. It's been hot and humid all summer, so I haven't been able to work on projects too much because the heat/humidity quickly becomes more than a person can handle. This has caused me to be a bit overwhelmed with the huge to-do list, but I've kind of been just doing what it takes to get everything through the day.

2. I've decided to let the garden go for the summer. A lot of stuff has died out, but there's still some crops and plenty of weeds growing. My little strawberry patch was full of baby plants & runners, but a lot of them have died, even though I have been giving them a bit of water.
*Note to self- don't try to grow green mulch in the paths next year because they just get filled with crabgrass that throws seeds everywhere.

3. Next year I think I'm going to try a different layout of the garden because everything just grew into a big mess and was difficult to harvest and it took a lot of time to make my way through everything and gather the ripe crops. I finally quit because it sucked being covered in sweat, itchy from the plants & bugs, while seeing the sun set knowing I still had other chores to do. My brain works better with more organization.

4. Bugs are everywhere. Stink bugs, squash bugs, leaf footed bugs, sharpshooters, possessive/stinging pollinators, grasshoppers, caterpillars, mosquitos, flies, harlequin bugs, fire ants, aphids, and, last week, swarms of Japanese beetles showed up for the first time. Bumblebees have made a big comeback, which is great until you grab one while harvesting. My dragonfly swarm is back this year, but haven't made a dent in the mosquitos and gnats. The ladybugs seemed to fade out in early summer. The biggest pain is the fruit flies that have invaded my house!

5. I decided to not do a fall garden. It's still 100°+ each day, and I figured there's no sense in just feeding the bugs more. I still have a few kale plants from last winter, and may do some more greens in October.

6. A big % of the produce ended up being pig & poultry food this summer because I just didn't have the time to preserve it. Then, the aforementioned fruit flies would try to infest stuff from the garden as soon as I brought it in. Definitely not what I'd hoped for but at least it saved me on animal feed and wasn't totally wasted.

7. Bought some 3ft garden fencing on clearance, and am going to try to fence in the big garden space and let the geese, ducks, and maybe the silkies have their way in it over the winter. Hopefully they'll find/eat pests in the mulch and weed seeds, plus clean up the old plant remains (saving on feed). Since my annual garden is attached to the forest garden I'll need to protect some stuff like strawberries and small shrubs/trees before I let them in.

8. Vines, oh my gosh! They've been excellent producers, but man do they take up space. Will definitely need to come up with a better trellising system before next spring.

9. Still need to improve/expand the poultry yard and coops when I can source the materials.

While this may sound like a "negative" update, it's not all bad. I've just been a little overwhelmed with the daily stuff and other stuff that pops up and needs attention. It's caused me to become a little burnt out (literally, with the Texas heat lol). I've only been on this homesite for a little over a year, so I'm still trying to design and implement the right system, which is hard when my hands are already full. But, I hope, it'll get better as I keep going.

Soon I need to sit down and start refining my plan to identify the priorities and what tasks will give me the most bang for my buck when it comes to simplifying and saving time.
 
Kc Simmons
gardener
Posts: 569
Location: Central Texas
211
hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Time for another update... Though there's actually not a lot to report. Autumn has arrived, meaning it's cool enough to want a sweater in the morning but by noon you're wishing you were wearing shorts. ;)
Seriously though, after the Hurricane Laura hit the coast, we got some nice rain, followed by a few days of 95°+F & 95% humidity, but after that temps have been fairly pleasant, in the 80s & 90s, with some days of rain mixed in. This has allowed me to work on some things, and has really helped with the burn out mentioned in the last update.
1. I've been cleaning up the annual & forest gardens by chopping the dead/dying stuff and using it as mulch in the food forest. Currently in the annual garden there's still a few okra plants, some peppers, a few greens that made it through the summer, some of the yard-long beans, plus a few tomatoes that survived the chop and put out some new growth after the rain. I also still have the HUGE broccoli (I think) plants that grew all summer, but never produced anything (though it's possible they aren't broccoli and I forgot what I put there). Also the sweet sorghum got chopped for pig/poultry food after I saved some seeds, and has put out a lot of new growth.
In the forest garden I still have a bunch of sweet potatoes that I've been chopping the vines for the animals as I get ready for harvest. There's one pumpkin plant in the hugel, and luffa vines all over. Additionally, I tossed black-eyed peas in the open areas after I harvested onions and potatoes and those suckers have tried to really take over. Lately I've just been harvesting a few pods at a time because the plants are a haven to the mosquitos that swarm me whenever I disturb them.
Most of the annuals are being left alone, so I can save seeds from them since they survived with very little care or irrigation. I didn't save tomato or tomatillo seeds because I suspect I'll have plenty of volunteers next year.

2. I've been debating sowing a fall/winter garden, so decided to "compromise" and will be doing a few things in containers, the keyhole and other empty spaces. Normally I'd plant in the annual garden but, since the pests were so bad this year, I want to periodically run the silkies (chickens) and the geese/ducks through the garden to eat any bugs/larvae they find, and hopefully some weed seeds while they're at it. Right now I'm putting a little fence around the annual garden, but may expand it to include the forest garden once things start going dormant and I can see what will need protection from the birds.

3. I've begun dumping rabbit manure on the empty spaces in the garden, but am holding off on the wood chips until I can get the birds in there for bit to mix it with the top layer of soil and find/eat weeds/seeds. Since I have a steady supply of the rabbit manure, I'll probably add another layer, then the chips, then I'll let the poultry go through again and mix the chips with the manure; which really seems to help the chips break down and provides a nice planting medium in the spring.

4. My moringa is setting seed and hopefully they'll ripen before it gets too cold. I messed up last year by stratifying the seeds in the fridge, and they ended up rotting.

5. The apple trees seem to be broken... Meaning they've put out some flowers in the wrong season. Hopefully they're just enthusiastic and will bloom again at the right time of year.

IMG_20200927_153230585_HDR-2.jpg
Moringa Seed Pods
Moringa Seed Pods
IMG_20200927_142958578-3.jpg
Apple blossoms in Sept
Apple blossoms in Sept
IMG_20200928_124125339_HDR-2.jpg
Cowpeas
Cowpeas
IMG_20200928_124217650_HDR-2.jpg
Hugel with pumpkin, sweet potato and cowpeas
Hugel with pumpkin, sweet potato and cowpeas
IMG_20200928_124113096_HDR-2.jpg
Broccoli and sorghum
Broccoli and sorghum
IMG_20200928_124200574_HDR-2.jpg
Okra and beans
Okra and beans
IMG_20200928_124141623-2.jpg
Peppers, eggplants and tomatoes
Peppers, eggplants and tomatoes
 
gardener
Posts: 1962
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've had a few confused apple trees also.

I think I've seen two different trees blooming just a little, recently.
 
Kc Simmons
gardener
Posts: 569
Location: Central Texas
211
hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My apple trees definitely are confused. They are still blooming and one of them is actually trying to make fruit.
Both are low-chill varieties... But I honestly don't think there's been any chill hours since last February.
Screenshot_20201112-142605.png
Autumn apples
Autumn apples
gift
 
100th Issue of Permaculture Magazine
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic