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Archive for the ‘Permaculture’ Category

We’re trying to get away for a few days next month and before that time I’ve got to get some garden beds going and get Duckingham Palace at least partially built. The major growing season in florida is coming up this winter and October is getting to be the very latest to start plants. I have two big beds created from cinder block border in zone 1. I am going to layer it this way: about 1 block height of mulch, then half a block height of manure and then some fill dirt/sand/top soil for the final half block height. My thinking is this, with all that mulch at the bottom there should remain a descent supply of moisture, along with the horse manure which should have nutrients and hold some more moisture and then the top layer which will hopefully provide the air layer, though with so much sand here, I may need to add some perlite to create those pockets for air. This is the start of the procedure with the block height of mulch. Underneath the mulch is a sheet mulch of cardboard to hopefully squash some of the weeds in the area. The beds are 13 blocks long and 3 blocks sandwiched into those long sides, 64 blocks total per bed. The imperial measurement of the growing area is about 3’11” by 15’7″. I have two of these situated between rows of trees in our orchard.

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Today, I got out my circle making device (a rope and stake) and measured off the outside radius and the inside radius (of the planting mound), which means everything inside of the inner radius will be the mulch/compost pit. Using the second countryside organics bag that was nearly empty (thankfully buckets were invented), I laid down the weed barrier and started mounding the dirt from the pit onto where the planting will occur. It will be about 3 feet wide at the base and maybe 2-3 feet high. The overall diameter of the outer circle is 12 feet and the mulch/compost pit will be about 6 feet across and maybe 3 feet deep, though, everything at the bottom will be stuck in an anaerobic state under water. The water level was still 16 inches below grade but you can tell by the darker (wet) dirt up higher that it looks to be about 10 inches below grade with our current weather situation. So hopefully the mound combined with grade will give a deep enough area for roots but not become completely water logged. Not sure how the other plants that will go in (comfrey, lemongrass, cow pea and maybe taro) will do, but we must experiment and fail if we are ever to succeed. Here are some pics

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And finally the birds eye view from a ladder

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So, the information started rolling in and I stumbled upon a meet up group for the Naples area and now the wheels are turning.

After the sun went down ( not any cooler since I have to completely cover up against mosquitos), I started the first path in the middle of what will be two banana circles.

Here is the pano with the circles drawn. This approximately 1/3 acres is almost entirely in standing water from now until October except this figure 8 of higher ground. So when I dig out the 2 mulch pits in the circle centers, I’ll be able to get it up slightly higher. I will do those and probably wait another month to see where the water table is then.

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Underneath the mulch is the paper bag from our countryside organics feed. It seemed to be the perfect width for a foot path and what better way to recycle an organic feed bag?!

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The banana (dwarf nam wah) is growing quite nicely, as the heat is here and it continues to get water a couple of times a week. The height is just under 6 feet and the size of that biggest leaf in the upper left side of the following picture is 4 feet.

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There are several pups and one already taken off a few weeks ago. The plant was put into dirt around the first of October 2012.

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Last spring I tried in a container with a mix of peat, perlite and composted manure and was able to get them to grow to about 3 feet tall but the biggest cucumber I got was maybe 3 inches. This year, I planted them in a mound of local topsoil I purchased and they had overhead sprinklers on them. This time around they maxed out 6-12 inches and not a single fruit. They had a flower or two show up but then petered out and died. Not sure what is going on. Seems some people grow them in Florida like 31 produce is growing them and others can’t get them to grow at all like me. The watermelon are in the same mound and same overhead sprinkler and they’ve gotten to about 18 inches now and may show flowers soon.

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So I noticed today the fruit had fallen off the vine. I didn’t think it was actually ready as the color was still mostly green with barely any purple to it. Cut it open and it surely smelled like the ones from last year from the mother plant. Tasted very nicely IMO if not a bit tart.

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So a week ago I planted some sweet corn and beans in the middle of the potato patch. Think 5 corn and 7 beans sprouted so far a week later.

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