Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Archive for May, 2007

Germinating dicots

Posted by Nika On May - 31 - 2007

Things are sprouting in the first raised bed. In the shot above, you see a sprouting melon.

Here are some tiny broccoli plants. All of these will be thinned down to the best plants (ok, best guess in the best plant). Next planting spree I will be planting only one seed, I dont think I need to plant many and then thin, seems like a waste with such a high germination rate.

Here the radishes are on their first set of leaves. Growing like gangbusters.

Here is a comparison on the mesclun lettuce. The one on the left is 5-27-07. The right is 5-31-07.

Planted our store bought non-organic tomatoes. You can not see the cage around it in this shot.

Leaf from a pimento pepper plant.

Rows of sprouting collard greens.

Planting cartography

Posted by Nika On May - 27 - 2007

Planted the second bed yesterday. Here are a few photos of how I set up the bed and the map I make up for myself to set out the plants. These may be seeded a bit tight but we will see. I will be needing to cull some by design.

I hate forgetting what I planted so this year I am mapping it out. Will transfer this to an electronic copy so that, when the paper is lost as it is bound to be, I have a permanent record. I marked off rough 1 foot sections to help me with the planting. I used a 2×4 to make the marks after using a ruler to mark off feet.

Tomatoes, rosemary, some flowers, cant remember what else right now While out watering these two beds I noticed that we have sprouts already!

mesclun lettuce sprouting – Pack says 10-14 days to germination but these little guys are on their third day, good start. Hope you can see them.

Radishes sprouting – planted 5-24, sprouted 5-27 – pack says 3-10 days for germination.. guess they like their new home. The collards are sprouting too. Nothing else besides the fact that Ed is almost done with the third bed and will be starting on the fourth tomorrow. It seems we are going to have six (6) total! We have decided to change the sandbox idea into the “kid’s garden”. We have also set up a screen tent in the backyard (photo coming) so that the kids can play in the shade and a bit less bug.

Panoramas for perspective

Posted by Nika On May - 25 - 2007

The driveway and the greenery.

Here is a panorama of the driveway.

Well, we are on our own now with the carpentry. It will be fine and it will be SUBSTANTIALLY cheaper. Here is a shot of the raised beds. Right one has been planted, middle is waiting, left is being built and the 4th is in the queue.

Here are a few panoramas around the house.

Two raised beds

Posted by Nika On May - 22 - 2007

Today is Tuesday and the first day in a while that work can get done because its been raining cats and dogs here.

Fill and top soil – loam continues to come although today the dump truck got stuck in our soft lawn, no more until tomorrow.

Here are a few shots of how the raised beds are coming along today.

There is some interpersonal “excitement” going on right now with the construction team, its possible we may have to finish the other two beds and the whole chicken house ourselves.

Gotta butch up for that (making grunty lumberjack noises).

First raised bed system

Posted by Nika On May - 17 - 2007

Yesterday and today, the first of six raised beds has been built. They will be lined at the bottom with wire mesh to keep out the burrowing rodentia. They are lined on the sides to keep the wood from leaching chemicals into our food. On top of the wire mesh are radiant flooring heating tubing which will heat the beds in the winter. The tubing will be filled with polypropylene glycol (PPG) that circulates into a heat exchange manifold associated with the biomass generator/boiler.

Here is the raised bed from our back door.

Here is the raised bed from slightly above.

You can see a closer shot of the interior here.

A really close up shot of the tubing and how it is tied down.

What it looks like if you were laying down inside (as if!)

On the fill

Posted by Nika On May - 15 - 2007

We are having to bring in fill to create a level surface in our backyard for the raised beds. We learned that this fill, which is palm sized smooth rocks and black earth, is the scrape from a nearby dairy farm that has been sold and is being torn down for a subdivision. Crimes!We will benefit from this because this fill has loads of cow manure and, oddly enough, cow bones (think calcium). The story is that when a cow has passed away, the farmer takes the carcass out into the pasture and lets nature re-assimilate it. The bones we come across look pretty old and moldy, well taken care of by the elements.

We may have the greenest yard/garden for miles.

The truck is seen here, backing up our driveway and up past our house and hopefully missing the wellhead.

As seen from inside the house, truck makes the house look small. Notice our grill. We are very low tech. It would be awesome to have a deck that wraps around our house and in the backyard. It would be awesome to have a gas grill or just a much more butch charcoal one. We tend to be utilitarian so we do not have those sorta of amenities.


The truck is tearing up the side yard. It will come through here some 8 times today to get the amount of fill we need.

Dumping the fill.


Preparing the Way

Posted by Nika On May - 13 - 2007

We live on 16 acres and have, until now, been very light on the land. We built our house 11 years ago and have not done anything else with the land. We have always looked out the back windows and wondered when we might begin to make a garden and a kid-safe play area.

I have tried gardening the soil and the forest floor is completely unarable. If you try to even dig a small hole, the roots make the ground like iron. We also have extensive ledge that makes it hard to do much of anything but build raised beds.

In this post, I am going to show you some images of what the land looked like just after the tractor guys cleared the brush and began to ready the ground (bringing in fill, pulling stumps, etc) for the day the loam arrives.

This is what it looked like when they started to scrape away the forest floor.

We built the wood shed. Next to that we will be building the shack for the generator and then across from it the chicken/quail house/fenced in yard (we have wicked predators).

In the Beginning…

Posted by Nika On May - 10 - 2007

buttercrunch bibb - close

We are moving even closer now to self-grown organic veggies, meats, and eggs, year round!

This spring we are getting a slow start with planting for at least two reasons:

  • I have not been too inspired to do the deck container gardening, I cant really say why, I just cant.
  • We are finally getting our backyard “reformatted” so that we can build the beginning of our self-sufficiency gardens.

What I mean by that is that we will be building/installing/configuring:

  • A high efficiency biomass electrical generator
  • Raised beds (and later greenhouses) that will be 4 season, with the use of circulating heated hydrolics run off the excess heat from the biomass generator
  • Aquaculture pools that also will be 4 season, warmed in the winter by pipes from the generator
  • A heated chicken house so that we can have chickens that dont freeze half to death

I am going to use this static page as a home for photos and updates on this project. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to drop me a note via the contact form.

Check back often because this will be a fast moving project, with chicken-cams and aqua-cams, perhaps.

The backyard is where a lot of the action will be.

This is what it looked like before we got started.


Posted by Nika On May - 10 - 2007

Welcome to our very Humble Garden!

We will be blogging our journey as we finally build our raised beds, our chicken and quail house, our wood shed, and the biomass microgenerator that will power and heat these things.

We are very glad that you have come to visit and we hope that you will stick around and see what we are doing.

We have two companion blogs that we have been running for years before this blog. If you would like to visit those go to either of these two links:

Nika’s Culinaria – Culinary Photography and foodie talk

Progressive HomeSchool – Our secular homeschooling journey

About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.



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