Dad is leaving tonight to go back to the Central Coast and for 2 weeks, Gooby and I will have the house to ourselves. This means rearranging the inside of the house as we see fit, something we haven’t put much energy into while he’s been here. As well, I have to form new habits with getting the water pump and hoses situated for the garden and making sure everything maintains itself. I’m writing down the instructions as a self-reminder mostly, but as well, to give you guys a little more details about what I’m doing here.
In the morning:
- Go in the pump shed and turn the red handle (gently) to activate the well pump.
- Around the back of the pump house, turn off the pressure valve slowly.
I now have water running on the whole property.
For the garden/greenhouse:
- Turn on the electrical breaker for the portable sump-pump in the barrel.
- Turn on the hose from the outside spigot and fill the barrel by the greenhouse.
- Once the barrel is full, turn off the hose and go water the plants.
- Water the plants every other day, in the evening – unless special circumstances (extreme heat, sand storm, etc.)
For the trees:
- Go to the manifold around back of the pump house and activate desired hose to water certain areas.
- Both manifolds work – all 4 outlets on each manifold work. Turn on hoses as desired – NOT all at the same time – trace what trees they go to and stay accountable for what gets watered and for how long (no more than 2 hours).
- Water trees 3 times a week.
Easier put into words than to imagine, but it’s a simple system and will work for now. One of the very first things we do once we get the lump-sum from Dad’s retirement payment is to put the pump on solar and then essentially have running water for free. If we don’t pay for the electricity to pump the water out, we’ll be sitting pretty.
Yesterday, we experienced our first sand storm and that is going to be our biggest challenge I feel. With the winds up to 45 MPH, our greenhouse stood it’s ground with a little extra weight we added but we left the side flaps open to let air flow through and sand got everywhere inside. It’s important that we pack the sand down by getting it wet on a regular basis and keeping it hard. This will help with major winds in the future and making it not such a hassle to clean up afterwards.
If you’re planting in an area with a lot of sand, be sure to provide cover for your plants in case of high winds or if it’s in a heavy foot-traffic area where people are at a lot and can kick up dust. Water the sand down to pack it in and make it hard.
We’ve also been using the sand on the property to help fill in the pots/containers while planting so we don’t use quite as much BumperCrop and perlite/vermiculite. It works well as a filler, but it’s important not to use too much because it doesn’t drain the best. Easy water flow in your plants is important – water needs to drain out so you don’t drown your roots and don’t create a mud and mold mix within your dirt. As well, if you live in a hot area, draining your water is even more important or else the water and soil will get hot and create steam and could cook your roots, effectively damaging your plant. Everything needs to flow.
On the property, we have 2 dilapidated structures that were once used to house chickens and rabbits. I will be working to rebuild the chicken structure eventually as we will get some soon, but we’re not interested in having rabbits here yet so for the time being, I have to clean it out and use it for storage. When poking around there, I found 2 rabbit feeding troughs that will work wonderfully as lettuce containers, once I drill water holes in the bottom (important!).
I’m happy to get my lettuce beds going again. The goal is to work on growing them in succession, so as not to have one large harvest where we can’t use everything that’s ready and a lot goes to waste. If I am able to harvest a little on a consistent basis, I’ll feel successful on this project and can expand it eventually to be able to sell the lettuce locally.
We have a few mature fruit trees on the property that I have to focus on this coming week so they can produce their fruit into full bloom. Otherwise, we’re just allowing the fruits to be bird food. Another trip to the local nursery is required (YAY) to get some netting to throw over the top and save the baby apples, peaches and apricots that are growing. The bottoms of the trees need to have a ring dug out around them so when we water, the water doesn’t flow down hill and away from the trees.
Neither Dad nor I are very knowledgeable in how to get the most out of the orchard so it will be fun to learn, especially next year once we have the proper time and resources to dedicate to the trees. We’ll be planting more varieties as time goes on to create a border around the property. Most of them will continue to be fruit bearing – plums, pears, apples, apricots, peaches, cherries and whatever else will grow well naturally out here.
We’ve been making good progress but there is still so much left to do!