Godless in the garden


Godless in the garden

Discussing all aspect of gardening.

Location: Planet Earth
Members: 181
Latest Activity: 7 hours ago

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Comment by Daniel W on December 6, 2015 at 1:04pm

Bertold, that's a beautiful rhodie.  Really beautiful.

Comment by Daniel W on December 6, 2015 at 1:04pm

Joan, I really enjoy hearing about your geodesic dome greenhouse.  I don't know if we will do something similar, but I daydream about it.

One of our chickens now seems to be poking holes in the eggs.  We don't know which chicken.  I don't know if she's trying to murder competition's babies, or sipping their juices.

On my family farm, previous farmers had plowed the waterways to maximize fields.  The result was massive gullies.  The Missouri dept of conservation paid for earthen dams across the gullies.  Two resulted in an acre pond, each, and one was about 1/4 acre.  The smaller one silted over, resulting in no more gully above the dam. I never heard of swales at the time, but I guess that's what it became.  My dad stocked the ponds with bluegill and crappie, and we braved the mosquitoes to fish for them.  If the fish were doing their jobs eating mosquito larvae, I didn't know it.

They also provided seedling trees, something like $5 for a bundle of a hundred.  We planted hundreds of trees.  In the end, there was more forest.  The remaining land was never good - either clay or sand.  It was never very productive.  I don't know what it's like now.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on December 6, 2015 at 12:49pm

We've lived here 14 years now, and this one rhodie blooms every December.

Comment by Randall Smith on December 5, 2015 at 8:00am

Interesting, Joan. Always a fount of knowledge.

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 5, 2015 at 12:25am

The erosion of arable land presents a formidable problem. Thankfully, there are ways to renovate destroyed growing grounds. Creating swales on the contour of the land can fill in the gullies and prevent new ones from forming. 

We are growing on a dune left over by the last Ice Age. The soil erodes quickly and as soon as cutting the trees and grasses. Our land was dense forest until strip logging occurred.

"The Newport lumber mills were involved in planing, shingle, cedar post and pole milling. A 1909 promotional brochure touted Newport as “the largest cedar pole shipping point in the entire Northwest and many thousands are annually yarded here awaiting shipment” (Bamonte, 34). Between 1910 and 1920, the Diamond Match Company gained ascendancy, and by 1923 was the largest employer in Pend Oreille County. The humble match was in great demand for lighting everything from pipes to kerosene lamps."

Four cedar trees grow on this property of which we are aware. The rest of the regrowth include red and white fir, a few varieties of pines and the ever beautiful in the autumn, Western Larch. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 4, 2015 at 10:49pm

The geodesic dome performs much as we expected, even as we hoped for more varieties of vegetables. We moved the citrus trees in before the first frost; the lemon tree has about 20 lemons developing. Their blossoms filled the greenhouse with the most lovely aroma. We had good pollination, I don't know if they pollinated naturally or by my little brush work. 

The chickens get a handful of greens every day, leaving nary a leaf uneaten. Their delicious eggs stand up in the frying pan looking like white daisies with yellow centers.  

I have a bunch of experiments going looking for greens that can thrive in these conditions. Latitude makes a difference for solar heating and clear days for access to sun rays. 

Length of day, Dec. 3, 2015 

Newport, 8h 34m

Spokane, 8h 38m

Vancouver, WA, 8h 53m

Pagosa Springs, CO, 9h 44m

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 4, 2015 at 10:48pm

Daniel, A few nights ago the temperature got below freezing inside the greenhouse; the zucchini and tomatoes were nicked, yet I hoped our plans for starting the propane heater would work. A few days later, all plans were adjusted. We don't get any candlepower from the sun because the sun does not rise above the forest and the solar panels pick up very little energy from that source. We earlier upgraded the solar panels realizing the ones that came with the kit would not work for our area. A killing freeze that lasted for several days and nights took all the life out of the tender plants.

Lettuces, brassicas, kales did fine. The most recent seeding did not make it; the soil was too cold.

The dome's design is to heat the water tank with solar energy and warmed air flows under the soil and it, too, is powered by solar energy fan. We installed a propane heater. The other morning I found the water in the tank with a layer of ice that required a hammer to break. The ice was as thick as a pane of glass. All broken up, the ice floats on top and has not refrozen solid since. I turned on the pump to get the water flowing and it put the solar batteries working overtime and not getting replenished. 

Our propane heater could keep the water tank and air at a 52-degree temperature needed for sprouting seeds, but one propane tank lasts only about 100 hours. Too expensive to make this option feasible.

Our next strategy is to compost the dead plants and maintain the greenhouse for the winter thriving plants, i.e. kale, spinach, beet greens. The radish greens were delicious at first but now taste bitter. The good news is we should be able to have greens all winter long. Many varieties of lettuce thrive, much to my surprise. 

Length of Day
8h 34m
Comment by Daniel W on December 3, 2015 at 9:32pm

Joan, how is the greenhouose going?  Do you have a heat source or heat storage  via thermal mass?  Or the soil does that?  What veggies are producing now?

Comment by Daniel W on December 3, 2015 at 12:17pm

Chris, me too.

I don't know that the next generation cares.  At least in the USA, the young vote in very low numbers.  They don't seem to care about the fact that regressive forces and corporate opportunists are taking away their future.

Oh, better get back to gardening thoughts.  I'm getting too negative.

Going through seed catalogs already for next year.  Damn internet, it's all available now!  I shouldn't be buying seeds so soon!

Comment by Plinius on December 3, 2015 at 12:25am

And we'll see more arable land become unusable. I wonder how the next generation will cope.


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