Friday, April 20, 2018

Small Scale Homesteading Tactics



Yesterday, the day was gorgeous with 70 degree weather, sunshine, and nary a cloud in the sky early on; so around noon I took advantage of it and got outside to fill the last 3 planter boxes, to get my potted veggies planted and the 2 front flowerbeds prepped for their future displays. All this was finished by 2:30 p.m. Sorry about the angle of the pictures – they were taken from the porch deck, looking down on them:

Along the strip of our meager lot, Hubs helped me make a 'fence' border by lining up my  blossoming Patio Apple tree, Tomatoes (under a plastic drape that can be folded up to let heat escape on super hot days), Onions (80 count), Blueberry bushes (caged), and Strawberries. In the background is the 55-Gal. plastic garbage can to catch rain water. I hope the neighbors weed stay on his side ...
My Patio Apple Trees (1 Red/1 Yellow) are blooming, Cabbages - 12 count (green, white & red) are planted. Potted Geranium and Hens-Chicks sedum.
Celery (6 count), Broccoli (4 count) & Cauliflower (4 count) planted.
Delphinium & Shasta Daisies caged; Foxgloves staked.
Chrysanthemums, Delphinium & Shasta Daisies caged;
Foxgloves staked. What can I say? I like balanced uniformity …

I ran out of room for the spinach; and I have some leftover onions (maybe about 20), cabbages (9 - 3 of each color), broccoli (4) and cauliflower (3) that will have to wait to be planted too, but I managed to get the bulk of my potted veggies in the 5 planter boxes Hubs made up for me the tail end of last summer. If I lose the l.o. cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower to time and $$$, it’s no big loss - they were only sold in containers of 6 ct. and the cost wasn’t anything to have a heart-attack over.

Wednesday, I pulled my potted Geraniums from under the porch where they had been sheltered from the winter freezes; they will perk up and be strong and colorfully bushy in no time. And Hubs helped me move the strawberry jar into place afterwards. I was happy to see that I was able to sufficiently water everything with the water gathered in the 55-Gallon gray heavy-duty garbage can set in the lava rock for just that purpose (to gather rain water to water my veggie beds):

Geraniums pulled from under the porch where they
wintered and set in place on the porch.
Potted Geraniums on the porch steps - the porch needs
painting. Perhaps later this year ... or next year.
Strawberries planted (5 count; they will multiply by summer's end and the babies planted in the jar cups which will increase next year's yield) and placed near netted Blueberry bushes. The blueberry bushes already have blossoms on them.

Of course the water is depleted now and any water gathered from now on will have to be supplemented with city water – which I am not happy about – but perhaps by this time next year there will be a row of rain barrels across the back of the house full of rainwater runoff that will carry me through next year’s garden season. That is the plan anyway. I do have 1 rain barrel set up now that has not yet been tapped, but that will not last long once the veggies’ growth begins in earnest. And I am saving the cooking water and left-over coffee (made with bottled water) too in empty plastic jugs that would normally be drained down the kitchen sink drain – it won’t be much, but it will be useful when the hot days arrive.

I am also getting interested in aquaponics too for inside winter greens like lettuce and spinach. Aquaponics is not a new concept – it was done  in ancient Babylon on a much larger scale; and Israeli has been growing aquaponics gardens for decades. I have the jars, seeds, and Jiffy Seed Pallets, but I still need the cups to hold the seeded pallets; and am crocheting patterned jar jackets to help keep algae out of the jars. I would just wrap the jars in newspaper if we lived in the country, but since we live in a citified crowded neighborhood, having newspapered jars in the windows would be seriously frowned upon. The double-duty crocheted jackets will be pleasing to the eye from the outside as well as inside. I finished the purple/gold jacket up Wednesday evening, and finished the red/gold jacket up last night …

MOD crocheted Jar Jackets - I like color ;-)