Prepping Apricot Plum tree seeds and wisteria seeds for germination AND gardening spreadsheet PLUS *YouTube video*

So I mentioned before that I ordered a good amount of seeds including some flowers and also fruit trees to start from seeds. I’m eager to try all different types and starting them from cuttings, seeds, plants, bare root, etc to further broaden my understanding of gardening and learn through trial and error.

 

So after making my gardening spreadsheet (which you’ll see a shot of in the video below) I realized I had 2 seeds I needed to get to work on NOW. My Japanese Flowering Apricot Plum tree seeds need to be soaked in water for 24 hours and then cold stratify in the freezer or fridge for 60-90 days and THEN they can be potted indoors to germinate. So in the video I get started on that.

 

Check out the video on YouTube here!!!!

And you can SCROLL DOWN for pictures of GORGEOUS TREES!!! What these babies will be one day! *swoon* Oh the day!

 

My Japanese purple wisteria vine I’m starting from seeds as well and they just need to soak in water for 8 hours prior to me planting those in soil indoors to germinate.

 

The hope is that at least 1 Apricot Plum tree will go up beside the chicken run and then I will do 1-2 in the zone 1 food forest and if the other 1-2 actually germinate for me and do well they’ll go out in the big food forest. They are beautiful flowering trees and look absolutely stunning, they should do well in our zone and I’m eager and hopeful that they all turn out well!

 

This is what those will look like…

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Ahhhh! I hope they do well here! And I can’t wait to see them looking like this in several years! Pops of light pink studded around the property in the spring, heavenly!

 

The purple Japanese wisteria vine is going 1 place, as of now, and that is on the pergola in the zone 1 garden that you walk under to go from the driveway to the front door. The purpose of it is to provide shade in the summer months and also just be beautiful!!!!

 

Here is a look at what my wisteria will look like… LOVE!

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*drool*

 

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And THIS is my goal!!! Training it to go over the pergola, splendid!!!

 

More to come!!!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Sheet Mulching my zone 1 Permaculture gardens *YouTube video*

So in just the first 1/4 of the book Gaia’s Garden it dives into soil fertility, reviving life in your soil and that you really have to start…for lack of a better phrase…”from the ground up”. And you do that by starting with your soil. Yes you can plant things in crappy soil and then just add fertilizer but why make yourself need to have to buy something that only gives you temporary “fertility” and then you have to redo quarterly or year? If you promote healthy soil life and then take care of it (which is actually less work than you might think) then your soil becomes living soil and it will go through the normal ecological cycles of life all on it’s own and take care of everything you have planted in it.

 

I just cannot say ENOUGH about the huge kudos I give to the author of this book! It has changed how I look at EVERYTHING in relation to gardening. And I have utmost confidence that I will be able to put certain things in place that will make my land here in the “barren desert” very fertile and fruitful! I just know it!

 

Yesterday I started working on the sheet mulching project for 2 beds in my zone 1 garden and I decided to do a video about that. I’ll be wrapping up this project in the next few days and so there will be more videos to come.

 

For now check out this video I put on YouTube of the sheet mulching process, layers and stages.

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Let’s take a walkabout my zone 1 garden in the future food forest! *YouTube video*

On the day everything was wet here a few days ago and I did the tour of the future food forest I decided to tour what I call Zone 1. I am only about 1/3 of the way through the book Gaia’s Gardens about home scale permaculture BUT I am learning so much. I had never thought to include my front yard in the design, doh! I had thought I’d have grass and a rose garden and just pretty flowers and that’s it. Talk about feeling like a ditz!

 

So, I have dubbed this my zone 1 garden in the front yard and back yard that all already is fenced in on it’s own on the 8 acres overall and the front yard already has a lot of mature trees for shade to create that “canopy” affect that you really want in a mature food forest, or really that you NEED!

 

So now I’ve got plans in my head, I’ve drawn them out and I’ve talked about them on our Facebook page a lot so today in this video on YouTube I do a walkabout showing you this area in “real time video” and where I plan to put things! There are so many details I do not have planned out but rather just have the frame work figured out thus far!

 

If you have any ideas or suggestions I’d love to hear them!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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We have identified some of our trees!!!

I put this video on YouTube and shared it all over Facebook on local gardening groups asking for help in identifying a few trees in my front yard!

 

And success!!!!!!!!!

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I’d like to introduce to you my 3 trees in the front yard! They are Chinese Pistache Trees! This is what they will look like in a year or two when they’re more mature and healthy AND they get passed the straggly young phase!

 

 

Chinese Pistache Tree

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Love!!!!!!!! IF love was a tree I think it’d look something like this beauty!!!

 

Then on the west side of the front yard are two LIVE OAK trees!!!

 

This is what they look like young, like mine are.

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And then one day when it gets a little older it’ll look like this!

 

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I just love learning about these trees that are here so that I know how and when to prune them, how to properly care for them so that they can come back to life and be wonderful blessings on our homestead!! You will see these guys in future videos on the YouTube channel for sure!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Check out my WET future food forest!

We had a good 2 inches of rain here a little less than a week ago and when I went out to let the dogs out after the rain had stopped I decided to tour my future food forest and see where all it was holding water. Boy did I learn a lot! You can check out the video on YouTube here!!!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

If you like what you see here make sure you subscribe to the blog and the YouTube channel to stay up to date on our #startuphomestead adventures!!!

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Seeds ordered to start “greening the desert”!!!

So I’m beginning my research on Permaculture by reading the book “Gaia’s Garden (home scale guide to permaculture)” and previous to that I was searching the interwebs for information and I did that for a few weeks in the place of the time I’d normally spend watching TV daily. So you could say I have become obsessed with this idea of Permaculture and now I am officially wrapping my mind around so I can figure out exactly where to begin with it on my homestead.

 

So I still have to finish the book BUT after Christmas (the day after actually) I got really motivated and decided to spoil myself and order a few seeds from Amazon. I’ve been researching different places to get seeds, what types, all that jazz. A YouTuber that I follow did a video last year on how to track and organize all the information about your seeds and plants so I’m going to do that. And once I get my spreadsheet done I’ll share some screen shots of that with you guys just to show you how it is working out.

 

But today I want to share with you in my juvenile excitement, what seeds I ordered!!!

 

Trees or bushes!

 

dragon fruit seeds

Dragon fruit seeds!

 

Japanese Flowering Apricot Plum

Japanese flowering apricot plum! Gorgeous!

 

Organic Northern Highbush Blueberry

Organic northern highbush blueberry!

 

Purple Bamboo plants

Purple bamboo! (this is gorgeous AND it will serve as a wind break on the eastern side of the property/food forest)

 

Non-edible plants & vines!

The purpose of these is to add color, life, nitrogen to the soil and also encourage bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and all other insect life to happily move into our area to encourage and promote our new “ecosystem” we’ll be developing here!

 

Butterfly Garden Flower Seeds

A butterfly garden flower seed mix

 

Electric Blue & White HALF MOON LOBELIA Erinus Flower Seeds

Electric blue and white half moon Lobelia

 

Japanese Wisteria Vine

Japanese wisteria vine (this will go on my pergola by the front porch to add much needed shade)

 

 

Low Growing Wildflower Mixture

Low growing wild flower mixture (these will go in the front yard area and also by the well)

 

STAR JASMINE VINE

Star Jasmine Vine (this will go between where I park my car and the front gate to the porch since it puts out such a wonderful smell)

 

TRUE ENGLISH LAVENDER

True English lavender

 

Wildflower Butterfly Hummingbird Mix

Wildflower butterfly hummingbird mix

 

So, I am very excited about all of these! They will be coming in the mail almost at all different times between now and the 2nd week of February. So I’m going to focus on finishing 1-2 books on Permaculture before they all come in so that I can make sure I’m well prepared on how to handle these seeds, germinate them in doors and exactly when to plant them outdoors. Everywhere you read it says “after the last frost” but here in zone 9b in the lower Sonoran Desert we rarely ever get a frost. I think it got down to the low 20s two days last week and that even is rare. So I need to figure out how soon I can plant these things outside so that they can establish before summer heat in July!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Our First Hugelkultur bed

So upon getting this land and quickly diving into research about farming, gardening, farm animals, homesteading, etc I stumbled upon Permaculture. Shortly after that someone on a Facebook homesteading (nationwide) group mentioned a Hugelkultur bed. So then, of course, I had to research Hugelkultur and I was just blown away!!!

 

Hugelkulture is where you dig a small ditch or trench (depending on what size you want) down into your soil and then place old tree logs  down in it. They can be any size, any length, any thickness as long as they fit into the area you dug out. So you can dig an area to fit whatever logs you have and what you’re working with on your land! Which is fantastic! Then you layer on top of that dirt, twigs, more dirt, water each layer and then finally cover with dirt so you have a mound and top that with mulch! The REASON you do this is because (it is totally genius I’m not sure why everybody isn’t doing this with their extra wood laying around their property…if they don’t have or use a wood stove) as the wood begins to rot and decompose under there it is putting nutrients (GOOD nutrients) into all the soil around it. The dampness from you putting water on that layer when you first built it in combination with the dirt and leaves added to it to retain that moisture, aid in that break down process. Also, when you do water that mound in the future, those logs help the entire mound to HOLD ONTO every bit of water you put onto it, as does the mulch. So you’re keeping more water right there where you need it to do what you need it to do without irrigation. And since the bigger logs could take years to break down, you have a setup that takes you maybe an hour tops and it is a self-fertilizing gardening mound for YEARS! Brilliant!

 

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So I knew I’d incorporate this on the homestead somewhere but I didn’t know where. The big site I plan to do the food forest on is going to need a lot of prep work before I can plant anything or even put in hugel beds to sit and break down for me as I’m not sure where I’ll want them yet. So one day raking up some leaves in my small front yard area (fenced in in front of the front deck) I decided I could totally do it in one of these raised beds that goes around the front deck. It is a large deck so there are 3 pretty good sized raised beds.

 

So I got to looking around for supplies because I knew I had wood logs, twigs, mulch, top soil, etc and so I just wanted to make sure I had what I needed. Then I remembered another video I had seen where they talk about using dead, dry leaves as part of the layering and I had those as a few of our trees just started (or finished) shedding the very few pitiful leaves they had, lol! So I got to work!

 

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This is the bed I started out with. Pardon the extension cord running out to Christmas lights, haha! There were some nice little weeds that started growing in there with some recent rains we had. Also the overhang of the porch waters this area pretty abundantly when it rains (until I add a water harvesting system in the future, of course!). So I pulled a lot of these by hand and dug out some of the peskier ones with a shovel. I didn’t worry about getting them all.

 

So I had my trench area dug out.

 

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Then I grabbed cottonwood tree logs I had cut up and set aside for outdoor bonfires but hey…this is way more important than that! =D Put those guys in there. As soon as they were in I watered the area down so those logs would be wet.

 

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Then I covered that with a little bit of dried leaves and debris from the yard, not a ton.

 

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Then I covered that with some of the dirt I had dug out.

 

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Then I covered that with cottonwood twigs and kindling.

 

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Then I covered that with some potting soil because I had some handy and I didn’t think it could hurt. Then I sprayed this down again with water.

 

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I put more top soil on this and then spent some more time digging out additional weeds on each side. And then watered it down again.

 

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Then once I felt the twigs were mostly covered and the ground around it was all good and I had covered it in water then I added my final layer which is mulch. This was the last bag of this stuff I had so I can’t do the other beds until I buy some more supplies, which will hopefully be here soon.

 

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I just finished by cleaning up that concrete area to the left, which is what is just off of my deck with a pergola above. And she was done!!!

 

THE PLAN is for these to sit and develop and let the wood start breaking down. I won’t plant anything in these until spring and I need to do a little more research about what I want to plant right up by the house. I know a Wisteria vine is going up on the pergola but that is a few feet further to the left here that you can’t see and doesn’t have anything to do with this one bed. I’m thinking I’ll do a mix of herbs, maybe a flower or two (something like citronella which will repel the mosquitoes come spring and summer) and then some lettuce type crops that you can frequently harvest from since these are so close to the house.

 

I will water this weekly just to give it a little soaking and help aid in the process as we do not get regular rainfall here. And I’ll probably take weekly pictures just to kind of keep a record and keep an eye on it and how it does.

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

If you have any suggestions on what I should plant here in Zone 9 in southern Arizona that would be great to have right off the front deck, also an area all visitors see and walk passed as they walk up to my front door, I’m open to suggestions. Please comment below with ideas and don’t forget to subscribe to the page so you can get a quick email any time I share a new post about our homestead setup adventures! Thanks so much for checking us out!

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