My mind and actions in viewable format.
Posts tagged sustainability
“According to the Garden Writers Association, 84 million U.S. households gardened in 2009. If just half of them (42 million) planted a 100-square-foot garden, that would total 96,419 acres (about 150 square miles) no longer in lawns, and no need for the tremendous resources that go into keeping them manicured. If folks got even one-half of the yields I got, the national savings on groceries would be stupendous: about $14.35 billion! So, a 100-square-foot food garden can be a big win-win for anyone who creates one — and for our planet.”
Thanks Torrentialraines. This is essentially my point from my last point. Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/Square-Foot-Gardening-Food.aspx?page=3#ixzz1JLBp9ZT (via torrentialraines)
Spring Project: Garden Prep
If you know me, even a little, you’re probably aware that I’m a do-it-yourself sorta guy.
I’m also into sustainability and I really like pursuing activities that require that I reuse or re-purpose stuff that would otherwise end up in a dumpster. A quick look at my backyard illustrates that fairly well.
An astute observer might notice that I’ve added fence raised beds and a trellis since the last time I got to play outside. I also put in about 800 lbs of topsoil and amendments to make some freakin’ grass grow, but that’s another story.
Now it hasn’t been quite warm enough for me to plant anything (really), but I’m getting ready for a lot of things. Part of that readiness is getting the potato box built and ready for spuds.
Enter the only thing I had to buy for the entire project: 4 x 4’ pressure treated 4x4s. They won’t rot. And for this application, I need ‘em.
What I’m building is called a potato box. This is a great idea. Last year, I planted the ‘taters in the garden box, and wasted a tremendous amount of space, and got very few potatoes (5 lbs). That link purports that in a small space you can grow up to 100lbs of potatoes. So, color me intrigued. Let’s build it and see!
Calm Down. It’s Level. I just live on a wicked hill.
So, this contraption will get filled in with some dirt and some seed potatoes. Once they’ve sprouted and grown up into green shoots, I’ll cover them with more dirt and add a course of wood/mesh around the outside to hold the dirt. Each course of wood/dirt will result in the plants growing higher and higher. Each time the plants grow up, they’re supposed to put out more spuds. We shall see. I’m just excited to get them out of my garden beds. More room for onions and peppers now!
But, growing stuff, requires water. And if you live in the burbs like me? The water SUCKS. I burn through some serious amount of brita filters to make the stuff even palatable for people, and I can’t imagine that the plants enjoy it straight from the tap. I used the city water last year to water my garden. It wasn’t bad, but, really, I want a more sustainable way to do this hobby.
Last year I procured a barrel, from a former colleague of mine, that was going to go to the dump. I don’t know if you know this, but the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry totally throws a lot of stuff away. Once upon a time, my barrel held something like 200 liters of glucose. Oh man, that’s a lot of water, I thought. He brought it home for me because he is all kinds of awesome.
First thing to do was to install the union through a hole near the bottom. I used a 3/4 in pipe and a 3/4 inch drill bit, so a little whacking was required to seat this properly.
Plumbers putty combined with PVC glue (wear gloves) will make an excellent seal.
It’s important to have a minion who is willing to use the hose when it’s really cold outside! (Way to go Fredbo!)
Finished sealing, and filled with water, it tests and doesn’t leak!
The finished barrel was seated (temporarily) on some crates I had. I will be changing them to concrete block, but I didn’t have any lying around. Notice also the guy ropes affixed to my fence posts. 200 liters of water is a tremendous amount of weight. I would not like to have the kids running around it unless it was anchored.
The next stage of the project is to put a small gutter system on my shed to aid in the collection of rain water. Then I’ll pipe in the irrigation hose to the raised garden beds. I’ll likely be putting some gold fishes in the water barrel to keep the mosquitoes and algae in check.
also, tune in 3 years from now when my Grapes are fully grown.