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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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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Swales in landscaping/gardening!

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I don’t even recall where I first learned the term “swale” or what they are but google keeps telling me it isn’t a word or I’m misspelling it, haha! But, alas, it is a thing! I’ve dug 2 swales around my 2 withering cottonwood trees and used that to slowly, SLOWLY bring those back to life. And since my pomegranate trees are right next to those I dug a small trench from 1 swale to the pomegranate trees and then dug a swale around all 5 of those trees (1 big swale) and they are doing great as well!

 

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So I thought I’d put together a post with some research I’ve found online to help anybody explore this topic if they feel intrigued!

 

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This video on YouTube shows how someone dug a swale in the Sonoran desert and left it alone for 80 years and the ending result! Amazing!!!

 

This video is a great shot of how a guy uses small swales in his urban garden. So these can even be used in small spaces or micro gardens, aka, micro swales, rather than large scale permaculture situations!

 

NOW…this video made me make a sad face when I saw his wedding ring (haha!) and say “AWESOME!” out loud at 2:15 when he shows how he redirects rainwater into a channel system, into a rainwater diversion box INTO these two pipes that shoot out rain water into 2 tree swales to water 2 citrus trees! GENIUS!!!!!! Ahhhhh! Endless ideas on YouTube. He is one worth following on YouTube, especially because he lives in the desert like I do!

 

If you think you can’t do swales on flat land, this guy proves that wrong in this video, so worth checking it out! Capturing 12,000 gallons on water from just rain, with minimal grade in the land!

 

Want to know all about swales from a permaculture “expert”? Well here ya go!

 

I think that might be enough videos and so hopefully if you think this is something you might want to add to your garden then I recommend doing your research and setting yourself up with a way to “harvest” rain water and redirect it to where you need it, even without pipes and drains!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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08-02-15 Rain and the end of Monsoon!

We did not get much done around the farm from early July to early August because it was just too hot!!! When we first moved in I knew I’d need accurate outdoor temps and I have always thought the temps on the media outlets are WRONG. So I bought a good indoor/outdoor system with an outdoor thermometer and an indoor 7 inch digital wireless monitor! It measures indoor and outdoor temps as well as humidity. The temps throughout July and even in August got up to 126 degrees at times!!!! So even when I would try to get up at 6am it would already be in the high 90s! Add to that that June to August is our Monsoon (rainy season) in Arizona and the humidity was suffocating on top of the already super high temps!

On our “First Summer” on the farm I definitely learned a lot, from experience and also talking to my modern homesteading neighbor. It reminds me of the show Alaska; The Last Frontier how they rush around all Spring, Summer and Fall to get all of their chores and hunting done because in the winter it is so terrible they stay indoors as much as possible and just “survive”. Well that’s how the Arizona summers are! And it isn’t the hottest June and July as I had always kind of thought or assumed, without putting much thought into it really. Rather, it is hottest July and August, with August being the worst by far! Lesson learned! I actually went ahead and put a note in my Google calendar for NEXT year to make sure all major outdoor projects are done or nearing completion by June, so that I don’t plan to put too much effort into outdoor chores during the hottest time of the year. Thankfully here we have wonderful weather almost the entire rest of the year. So I will be using that to my advantage all the way up until next summer!

So as the days ticked by I had to focus on indoor projects but thankfully I was pretty busy with work and so I didn’t have a ton of time on my hands as it was. But come the first week of August we had had a big storm and it caused some damage.



Our property is primarily flat and mostly level so when it pours it just pools in some areas around the property and causes some MINOR flooding. This picture above is the corner of the front yard, that yellow is the dying bamboo along a broken fence. Just beyond that is the driveway.


This is looking off of our front porch to the west 2 acres of ours that is totally vacant, natural desert. It looks like much more rain out there than it really was.


After a good storm we had this small dead tree fall. Thankfully it fell away from the house and just “rested” on this fence, didn’t cause any damage.



This is a tree in our backyard that as far as I can tell has never had a water source going to it. I’m not sure if it’s a native desert tree or a planted evergreen tree. Because it hasn’t had leaves I can’t tell what kind it is. I’ve been watering most all of our trees weekly by hand just to try to spur them in the right direction. This guy started getting a few green leaves on it by the end of Summer!



You see the green leaves!!!


Being as the goal is 100% homesteading and being self sufficient that will eventually mean eating all natural and only eating what we can produce or reproduce here on the farm. The idea may sound far fetched but it really is what I want to do. So I decided to splurge on getting myself a great cutting board as I planned to be doing a lot more cooking than I normally do!


Not only is this cutting board awesome but it’s also beautiful and I love having it on my counter at all times! Makes me feel somewhat like a…dare I say…grown up!!!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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