About me...

Because this journey is intensely personal, there will be times when my posts will be about more than just rebuilding the physical aspects of my life. They may be random and sometimes I think they may not even make sense to some. But whatever I post here will be as honest as I can make it, no punches pulled, telling it like it it. I hope that I can share some insight with others who might be going through a similar transitory period in their own lives. With luck and perseverence I know I will eventually successful in my new life. I have very high hopes for all of this but then I had those when Dave was alive, too. I am naturally a pretty optomistic person, I think.

The rain has slowed me down this week. I can not believe how many times it has rained in the last 2 weeks. Of course, if I wanted it to rain, it would be dry as a buffalo chip. Anyway, haven't slacked off on things, just working on some behind the scenes stuff right now that is not all that interesting at this point. I am going to post some info about how much this is costing me so that people will have some idea of the cost involved if they embark on a similar project.
Here are some of the things that I have carted over from the old place. Fence panels will be used for trellising tomatoes and that roll of smaller wire is used to for cukes, snap and snow peas, etc. - in other words plants that are not quite as robust at tomatoes. These panels are just about indestructible. We used these for at least the last 7 or 8 years. Way more efficient than wooden tomato stakes and much more sustainable in the long run. I will take you step by step into installation and how to make the best use of them shortly. You can barely see but there is a pile of soaker hoses behind the fence panels.

More pictures of Ground Zero

Here are some more pictures of the new location, Ground Zero, meaning that I haven't done a single thing to the ground yet in these pictures. This first picture was taken standing about midway of the mowed section looking back toward the road. The next view is directly the other way, standing pretty much in the same spot as the previous picture.

Down toward the end, it is just grass. That little narrow spot is deceptive because it opens up around the corner. The next shot is taken after walking about 20 yards closer.

The final shots are of the Grassy Field, where the in ground garden space will go eventually. The blueberries will be planted along the back edge in a long row and the beds will be laid in on this wonderful flat, grassy area.

New Location, Starting at Ground Zero

This is a short angle view of the new location, so that you can see the trees, etc. at the back edge. The property is cleared at the front, but there is still a good bit of vegetation at the rear. Lots of honeysuckle, which is good for attracting bees and other pollinating insects and wild blackberries mingled among them. This is the area where I will be establishing the first beds.
Unfortunately the angle I took this picture at doesn't have much perspective so it looks much smaller than it actually is.

These are my 4 year old blueberry plants, which with the help of some wonderful friends, we dug up and transported to the new location. There are 46 of them in all. There are 4 different varieties, Premier, Tiftblue, Oneal and Climax, all having different harvest dates so that my harvest ranges over about an 8-10 week period.
These will be planted along the very back edge of the plot where the beds will be placed. They survived the move quite well and are loaded with ripening berries, even in these stressed conditions. I am excited about that because I was not totally sure they would survive such a traumatic event, but we did a good job!

Not a very good shot, but those are my grapevines. I bought those last year but because of Dave's illness they were never properly planted. I just "heeled" them in (that means we just laid them down & covered them with dirt to protect the roots). They survived the entire winter. They started bearing new leaves at the same time our in ground grapevines did and that was pretty cool. Plants are sometimes hardier than we give them credit for so if you have something you think might have died but you aren't quite sure, give it a little care & the benefit of the doubt and you might be happily surprised. We just potted them up & they were off to their new home.

Closer view of the rear buffer zone. I love the fact that this property is buffered on several sides and with small barrier (drainage) ditches. If I plan properly, from an organic standpoint, I can avoid having any runoff problems arise.

This is the long view of the property, taken from just about the center of the plot. The grassy area at the very back will eventually be the in ground garden, if all this works out like I have planned. These pictures are kind of deceiving because of the angles I am taking them at doesn't give a very good perspective.
Since this area looks a lot like someone's backyard, that might be a good thing because it will be easy to imagine how one could apply my info and methods to a landscaping situation.

To get a little better perspective, I walked down the the roadside edge of the property and took this picture to give a little more of an idea of the size of the trees,etc. That is one of the water towers for the city of Lincolnton. It is HUGE but I can't see it over the trees down in the area where I will be planting.

Beds to be installed

This is an example of a really well done yet simple raised bed. This is a stock photo, not mine, but eventually, the beds I put in will look like this (or better, I hope)!

Another stock photo of an excellent example of what we are shooting for at the new place. I love this oval configuration. I am planning on the perennial herb area to be decorative, as well as functional. I hope to plant a traditional "physics" garden, which is basically a medicinal herb garden. I am very excited about this project and plan on making it my #1 priority for the next year.

Basil - From Seed to Transplant

These are tiny seedlings planted in flats back in February. They were started under grow lights.
I use a really fine organic seed starting mix and simply scatter the seeds over the top of the flat and pat them
into the soil. The seed starting mix is soaked with water before any planting is done so it is wet before I apply the seeds. Seeds that might blow away get a light covering of soil sprinkled on top. Flats are covered with saran warp and placed under the grow lights for several days, until I see seeds starting to sprout. The covering keeps the moisture in and prevents me from having to water too much & disturb the seeds. Wrap comes off once seeds are up.

Same flat of seeds 2 weeks later. It is now time to transplant the seedlings into their individual pots. These plants will be for sale and so are transplanted into 3" pots. Transplanting seedlings that are this tightly packed is a delicate job, but if you are patience you should have no problem. Obviously, the average gardener is not going to plant like this and I posted this here for illustration only. To transplant, I use a sharp knife and carefully cut tiny sections of the soil apart, keeping the seedlings and their roots intact. This is kind of like planting rolls of sod. I put the entire block of soil in the pot, tamp down the dirt and water. There will be 3-4 plants in each pot.

This is the end result, after transplanting. These were trimmed back to 1-2 plants per pot, choosing the largest and/or healthiest ones to remain.
To allow the plants to become nice and fully, I will "pinch" the tops out of them, just above the leaf node and they will start to spread out from there.


Getting ready for 2010 growing season

Apology to anyone who reads this blog

Still not posting much to this blog. I am working on a new blog about the creation of a new growing situation where I am moving to in my hometown. I have not gone live with it yet but when I do, I will post the link here. I may end up focusing some of my blogging energy over there for a while.

At the new place I am basically starting totally from the ground up and I thought it would be the perfect teaching opportunity. So many people ask me for advice on growing their own food, organically, that I am going to post step by step exactly what I am doing at the new location. Because it was too late in the season to get the inground garden going (too much work to do on that to get any meaningful crop in the ground this late in the season) I am going to start with my raised bed and herb garden area. That should be a great way to start for me and it will give me the opportunity to post information that someone who wants to do a backyard garden can use.

Thanks for following along here and look for the link to the new blog. I had hoped to have it up by this past weekend but too busy with other projects. Soon, though, soon....

Been very, very slack with the blog lately. Simply have too much going on right now so hang in and I will get back to business soon as....Moving sucks, by the way.