Sunday, September 7, 2014

Home making

LJ and I have been slacking on the blog front but not so much on the home front.

I've spent way too much time perfecting my rain water collection system, which included no less than 4 trips to Home Depot over multiple weekends but I think I've finally got it dialed in the way I want it (for now).  The downspout is also PVC and has an elbow on the end with a threaded cap.  The idea is that when we want to collect water we can close the cap at the bottom, the downspout will fill with water and then the water will be diverted at the black "Y" to go in to the 275 gallon tote (this is a simplified 1st flush system).  It has worked well in the few test runs and I'm hoping to expand the system with a few more totes and maybe tap in to the downspout on the other side of the  house.  The goal is to be able to get most of our irrigation water from the roof.


We got serious about our main garden space and have put in a 16 by 16 (roughly, it isn't quite square and is more like 16 by 17) garden bed.  Our neighbors were extremely helpful in this process.  I went with them and picked up two yards of mushroom compost in their big diesel truck and then they brought their tractor over to make the unloading much easier.  They were super impressed with LJ's tractor driving skills and now have her on-call anytime they need a machine operator.

(Also, from the looks of our neighborhood you would not expect someone to have a tractor parked in their backyard but these are some  pretty awesome neighbors.  They have a front yard garden that is pushing 500 square feet, a plum and pear tree, and soon to be giant pumpkin patch.  Needless to say we were super excited to meet them at a recent block party.)

We are hoping to get some garlic planted in the bed within the next few weeks and then cover the rest with a cover crop for the winter.

Our Buffalo grape plant is in the background and has survived the summer.  We still need to put up the trellis for that and should get around to it in the next few months.  In front of that is what we hope to be our strawberry bed, though I might test out some cabbage and kale in it this fall just to see how it does.

Our herb garden has been the big winner of the summer.  The first picture is the recently planted cilantro patch.  I'm hoping to get it to self seed before the end of the season so next year we will have a huge patch of cilantro ready to go.

The rest of the herb garden has come from transplants that we planted just a few weeks after we moved in.  Some of the herbs have been traveling with us for the last few years and seem very happy to finally be out of pots and in the ground.  We have chives, rosemary, french sorrel, thyme, oregano, sage, mint, and dill.  I'm also hoping the dill self seeds for pickling season next year.  We've already had to hack the mint back once to try to keep it from overtaking the whole space (and also to make mojitos).

The raspberry trellis is up and I finally ran wire on it a few weeks ago now that some of the stalks are getting long enough to need them.  The plants we got from the nursery in May are doing great and are already starting to put up new shoots so we are expecting at least a small raspberry crop next year.  The transplants we got from our parents don't seem to have taken so we'll probably need to replant that section next year.  At the block party we also heard about some neighbors who might have raspberries starts they are willing to part with so we should be all set.

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