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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
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.
And we'll see more arable land become unusable. I wonder how the next generation will cope.
In the last 40 years, roughly one third of the world’s arable land has been lost to pollution or soil erosion,...
Global soil loss increases threat to food production
I'm thinking that the increased heavy downpours from climate change might increase the rate of soil loss.
Wow, Daniel. Here you are, ridding your property of blackberry thickets, and I'm trying to cultivate one in my pine trees! Around here, farmers spray fence rows (what few remain), and I have a difficult time finding patches. Admittedly, they are a thorny bramble, not exactly desirable for anything but the actual berries.
I spent nearly 4 hours "pulping" persimmons the other day. Got about 3 pints. It's very hard work which makes me wonder if it's worth the effort. However, my pecan/persimmon pie was delicious!
That's quite a struggle, Daniel, but you'll never be without blackberry conserve!
As a matter of fact, I'm making persimmon pudding today! However, nobody will eat it but me. I'm thinking about calling it something like "brown sugar delight", omitting the word "persimmon".
Frozen persimmons are a great dessert. My auntie used to make a wonderful persimmon pudding for Thanksgiving.
Daniel, I commented on your garden blogspot.
I hand picked a whole bunch of persimmons to be sold at the farmers market by my kids. They sold exactly NONE! Nate said people were totally ignorant about them. How sad. Now I have to grind them into pulp--that is, if he didn't throw them away.
I can hear you counting the days, Daniel!
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