Hello Everyone

rockwhisperer(6a)October 29, 2012

I had this forum recommended to me today by the folks on the herbalism forum, since apparently they aren't involved as much in the growing aspect. I've been a GW member for awhile. Just wanted to say "hello". I'll be reading older posts today, so I won't be asking questions that have already been answered.

Hubs and I are retired. We're on "the down side of 60". We moved onto 1.67 acres a couple of years ago. It is pretty much a "blank slate" because it is on limestone and in order to get trees to grow you have to dig rock out of a big hole first. Our neighbors have done it with pick-axes. We bought an electric jackhammer and a loooooooong extension cord and have been using it a lot over the last two years. Getting plants established has been difficult because we've endured 2 summers of intense heat and drought here in NE Oklahoma. But we have made some progress, it spite of it all. We've planted fruit trees in the back yard, which has a fence around it, and various other kinds of trees out on the remainder of the property.

Where we lived before was on "black gumbo clay" soil and we had quite a bit of shade. I grew a lot of mints and basils, culinary herbs like oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and so on, and vegetables in raised beds in a small back yard.

Now that we have the space to grow we're scrambling to amend the soil and/or dig out rock and/or build raised beds and/or build flower and herb beds wherever there is any shade at all. I've finally been able to get oregano re-established but I've lost a lot of plants that I brought over from the other house. The droughts have set me back considerably and have ruined two summers' worth of vegetable gardening. Very discouraging.

I have six Auracana hens for eggs and fertilizer. A cat that brings me "gifts" of baby rabbits -- ewwww. And an old dog that thinks he's a human. I learned to make soap last winter. I'm a quilter but I'm slow at it. I do most of my cooking and baking "from scratch". I'd like to have a goat for milk and some bee hives but Hubs says no on the goat and I'm afraid bee hives might be more than we can handle.

I'm sure I'll find much I can learn here. Thanks to everyone for sharing your knowledge. --Ilene

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CA Kate

Welcome Ilene. It sounds like you have an ambitious future with all your plans.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 2:14PM
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Hi Ilene,
Wow, I'm glad our droughts weren't as bad. It must get discouraging. We have decent soil but very thick sod so I've ended up doing lasagna style beds. It's amazing how quickly layers of grass clippings etc turn into nice soil. I have lots of earthworms. I top off the beds with composted horse manure that I found on Craigslist. The horse owners mixes in kitchen scraps and bedding plus turns the pile during the winter. He just asks a small fee for using his tractor to load our utility trailer.

Have you tried composting worms?

You might check to see if there are any permaculture groups in your area. I found one on meetup.com. Really enjoyed touring some places that are striving to be self-sufficient. Our DIL has layers. I'm thinking of some meat birds. Quite a few people in our area have goats. One of the men in our library book club brought in goat cheese he had made. It was quite good.

Best wishes for new and improved garden beds.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Thanks, Westelle, for the welcome. Defrost, I've never tried composting worms. I have a compost bin but I don't pay enough attention to it. It eventually composts. Since getting the chickens, I just throw anything I have on the surface in a raised bed out in the garden and if the chickens don't devour it, it becomes part of the ground. There are lots of horses around here but it's sure a lot of work to truck horse manure around. I tried that with cow manure a couple times. The chicken manure is working out though.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:44PM
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