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Discussion about sustainable agriculture and different methods of permaculture gardening! Sharing your own experiences and dreams is very much welcome. I will keep updating this first post with good materials, i.e. videos and text, about the topic.
For reasons I won't bore you with I have not gardened in years and my property and garden are sorely in need of maintenance. So this will be a major "improvement" project, this season. But I am getting back to it now, and I got an aeroponic cloner from my best friend for Christmas and am really excited about taking up gardening yet-again! I got into gardening pre-Y2K after reading about it solely for survival reasons. Prior to that my only exposure to it was when as a teen, my dad decided to grow some tomatoes in the backyard in California. A few months later my stepsister and I were going door to door in a ten block radius with grocery bags full of tomatoes begging people to take them. I was not real fond of gardening after that. And I didn't even have to do any of the work. :-) When I moved to the Ozarks, I read this book "Behaving as if the God in all life Matters" -- I loved the title, is why I read it -- and the whole "talking to nature spirits" bit fits right in with my interior-universe and archetype work, so I loved it. I first went crazy with flower pots on my front porch. The next year I decided to plant a garden. A REAL garden. In my backyard, I have two cinderblock beds in "L shapes. 6'x4'x32"h is one set, and 16'x4'24"h is the other set. A foot or two off, I think it's about 185sqft total for those beds. I have five, 4'w x 4'd x 6'h arch trellises of cattle panel along the side wooden fence in the backyard, those had 26 gallon tub "homemade earthboxes" at their base until an ice storm shattered all plastic and terracotta on the property. I might replace some of them this year. There's a round trellis in the middle of it all I sometimes vine things up. And I often put a few tubs out front where there's a little sun. Anyway, so it's not a ton of space, but it's enough to have quite a few plants, which is good because I have a whole experimental series lined up. :-) Some old pics for context: Empty season Arches Wilting late summer old season :-) (prior to someone making off with my copper-tubing framing haha) Not long before my (birth-defect-heart-valve) health wrecked my life for several years, I did a couple seasons of seed-starting using hydroponics -- I had about five Aerogardens at the time -- and that worked much faster and easier than regular seed starting. I had the idea, since I'm so excited to use my cloner (mostly on anything I am not supposed to legally propagate) (er, I am referring to patented pretty flowers people, not altered-state supplements! :-)) to hijack the seed-starting process and see if intervening with aeroponic cloning can actually succeed. Plan: Experiment #1: Grow seedlings to about 3" then snip off that stalk and stick it in the cloner. See if that tiny baby stalk with grow roots -- robustly and fairly rapidly (~10-14 days). Experiment #2: See if the remaining root and stub, left in the seed-starting environ, will regrow. Experiment #3: See if the very-rooted clone can go back into a soilless seed-starting environ (some ferts then) with grow light to develop some leaves. All this before planting out. I have a variety of minor issues that tend to impact gardening that aren't huge individually but which I think could be improved by having this ability to get 2+ plants from one viable seed, or even just at least one truly robust seedling, much more than the average, for the garden. The cloner will hopefully allow me to get ONE seedling from the nursery (if they will sell that few, or split buys with friends) and from that plant, end up with 2-4 seedlings for planting (I'd prefer to grow from seed though, for food plants). I will post my experimental steps and results here for anybody also crazy about gardening. :-) I'm hoping the cloner will allow me to fill my front porch with (dollar store pots probably :-)) lots and lots of pretty flowers (I'm a double-impatiens freak), and herbs, and maybe some great stuff for my semi-shade beds, and CHOCOLATE MINT which is currently my favorite plant on earth. I can't BELIEVE it smells and tastes exactly like a peppermint patty. I don't understand why it's not the most popular plant in the world. :-) RC PS Does anybody else here garden? Or do hydroponics??
Gotta start planning out my gardens. They've been piled up with 3 or 4 inches of highly caffeinated (thank you Whole foods) mulch (grass, leaves, coffee grounds), so it should be raring to go. I've been very half assed about trellising the last few years. And I've been over planting for the space. This year I'd like to go simpler; better trellising and fewer plants. I'm thinking of using PVC for the trellis. I read you can use a sulfate solution to keep the plastic from leeching (or very thick bamboo if I can find it) and also use it to water through so water ends up deeper, supposedly its more efficient and keeps away weeds down through less water on top. I'm also thinking of using 3 pieces of very wide (6") PVC for a planting project. Make a wide teepee and have one w/ cucumber growing off the top of one, and a few herbs 'plugged in' around the bottom, a shorter strawberry one; growing through cuts and a mixed variety, a flowery third as an experiment, see if I can get flowers up and down the whole thing. Below the teepee a low lying shrub tomato plant. And a bit of chicken wire mesh around the whole thing for climbing. So what are you guys planning?