Thursday, September 29, 2011

Late summer Okra!

Okra is without a doubt the most frustratingly slow plant to sprout....  My sunflower/cucumber garden was up for literally months before I even realized that some of the okra seeds had sprouted.  Turns out I had one "mega-bush" in there and 4 smaller bushes hiding in the sunflowers the whole time....
But after "biding its time" all summer, it is okra's time to shine, I guess!    As soon as mid-September rolled around, the okra started blooming (oh those beautiful delicate pale yellow okra flowers!!!), and now it is fruiting like mad. 
The chickens love the okra seeds, but my wife is not letting me feed the birds....  She is going to pickle it!   
The fried okra, well, I'm one of those people who find it a bit too "slimy" for my taste, but she says some folk love their okra pickled!   Alright, whatever, I am willing to try anything....   And if we don't like, we can probably give it away to those old Southerners down at church... 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Much Land to be Self-Sufficient?

Very interesting infographic on how much land space would be required to keep your family of four self-sufficient.    According to their bottom-line calculation, it would take about 1.5 acres, assuming you bought your own wheat, although almost 2 acres if you grew your own wheat.

I am left wondering, though, if they only calculated for one growing season.  In the desert you can grow stuff literally year round, 12 months out of the year.  Which means you can bring in at least 4 harvests a year of your typical veggie crops, and at least 3 harvests a year of your grain crops.    Presumably that would lower the amount of land space you would need.

When you start talking about self-sufficiency on your own acre, it is important to think in terms of Permaculture principles.   Chickens, goats, pigs, and fish are necessary for a functioning circular ecosystem, consuming waste while contributing fertilizers for the soil. 

You would also need to  re-route almost all your wastewater into grey water systems.  A typical 20 minute show provides enough irrigation water to keep your garden soil moist even in the summer time. 

Creating grey-water systems here in Arizona is difficult because most houses are built on concrete slabs.  Finding or building a post-and-beam foundation house, or easiest of all, using a manufactured home, are the best alternatives. 

The good news, if you follow these tips, you can have a functioning SELF-SUFFICIENT homestead in the desert ON ONLY AN ACRE.   Quite amazing, if you ask me.

Here is their webpage with the infographic:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

You weren't crazy, this August really was HOT!!!

And the irony is, this is the first summer I have kept gardening all the way through!   Cucumbers, watermelon, and corn still producing, while the pumpkins are setting fruit and growing strong. 
The Republic just did an article on our excessive heat this August, supposedly the hottest August on record! 

The month that wouldn't cool off has finally, mercifully, ended. August reached record-setting levels of misery in many ways. To name a few:

- The highest average high temperature: 109.
- The highest average low temperature: 87.5.
- The hottest August day ever: 117.
- The average temperature for the month - the high plus the low divided by two - was 98.3 degrees.

That leaves August tied for the hottest month ever. The real surprise here is that it's August. Every other month in the top-5 list is a July.