Odonata Update

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Apr 22, 2008, 10:31:58 AM4/22/08
to Permaculture Design Course
This is posted on my blog as well....

April 21, 2008

Well it's been a busy week. Spring is here and it's actually been
really warm for this time of year. We went from cold and freezing to
short and t-shirt weather within a week. Of course I'm happy with the
warmth but the ominous words 'climate change' is always in the back of
my mind. It's really difficult to say what is 'normal' yearly anomaly
and what isn't. There's weird weather across the country right now.
It's snowed in Vancouver last week! Also been reading some stuff about
methane release in the Arctic which scared the bejeezus out of me.
Sometimes I get pretty depressed and frustrated about it all and feel
like I'm not doing enough, but I try to assure myself that I am
working on it.

A woman dropped by last Wednesday to meet us and say hi. Ends up she
lives on a farm a few km's away. Very friendly and told me about the
local garden club that was meeting that night. She said she figured I
might be interested because she saw all the 'garden stuff' in the
yard. I did go and ended up volunteering for a the plant sale they
hold in May. I met a few people, mostly older and I'm pretty sure they
already think I'm a bit nuts. :) I was explaining how I was making my
new garden beds this years, 'no dig' methods and on kept looking at me
skeptically and saying, "Are you sure you just don't want my husband
to come over and dig it all up with a tractor?" Ha ha. It's was pretty

Anyways with spring coming on like it is the green stuff is exploding,
which is good of course but also bad when one is trying get
'smothering' material down on numerous different patches before the
grass and weeds grow up. I also funnily enough was having difficulties
getting enough newspaper. I didn't have a vehicle for most of the week
and when I did the the recycling depot where I could go and get a
truckload or two wasn't open. I was getting a little paniced because I
really wanted to at least get the main tomato and veggie bed done.
It's the one that I'm making on the big area of partially composted
straw and llama manure. It needs to be ready the soonest. It had
clumps of grass and dried, waist height or higher, weedy material all
over it. I discovered that the dried stuff came really easily and
revealed some of the best soil I'm ever seen; black, loamy, lots of
organic matter. I think it's close to what people call, "black earth".
I was pretty excited. So because of that and the time constraints, the
frustration I was having getting my materials, the fact that I
discovered just how much sitting around this winter made me turn into
a blob without a lot of physical stamina which the quick change in
temperature made worse...I changed my plans.

I sent the hubby out to the home store to get a roll of black plastic,
which I figured would be relatively cheap, while I pulled the dead
weeds out of about 1000 sq foot area that ringed the main area of half
composted straw. I had decided that I was going to put in a mandala
garden in this area and will be adjusting it's original design. The
hubby returned with 900sq ft roll of professional grade weed barrier
because he couldn't find any plain old plastic. Yowza not cheap but
good stuff. It blocks out the weeds, but lets water through. I really
didn't like spending the money on it, but boy did it make the whole
process quick and easy relative to the other methods. Once I got the
tall weedy stuff out I mowed the whole area, so there is a thin layer
of grass clippings. We then laid out the barrier and duct taped the
6ft strips together. The people before us had left a couple of stacks
of cut up insulated doors which along with a couple of logs and an old
iron farm gate, I laid around the edges to keep it from blowing away.

So fingers crossed in a month or so's time, the grass will be
decomposed enough to deal with easier and of course none of the weeds
that would have been there could grow. When the time comes to plant
I'm going to remove the whole barrier and move it to another spot . On
the mandala beds, if still needed I plan to use a type of barrier that
eventually disintegrates as well as the straw mulch. I'll plant the
tomatoes and everything else in holes in that barrier. It's not the
perfect by the book 'no dig' method but I think it's going to work out
alright. I did a similar thing last year when I dig my quick garden.

I also have got several hundred different seeds planted and there's
still more to come. I've been trying to figure out what to put in my
tomato guild as well as researching, planning and sourcing plants and
trees for the overall planting plan. It looks like this year is going
to be a bit of a hodge podge and an experimental season. I gotten and
will be getting a number of different plants to 'try out' as well as
develop a collection of stock plants that I can grow more plants from.
I'm also going to focus on learning about and trying to get different
native plants, especially edible ones. I've got a good list to start
from that I got from the garden seminar. My goal is to try and get,
either through buying or wild collection of seed every plant on that
list. I realized after talking with the presenter that my property,
though small, has micro systems that could grow pretty much all of
them. We had fun going through all of the different areas needed -
Open meadow, dry meadow, moist meadow, rocky, shady marsh, woodland
marsh, open marsh, woodland, edge and interior, sand (sand dunes) etc
etc. Which reminds me...my soil analysis....as you can probably gather
from the above list I have ALOT of different types of soil! In some
cases I walk 20 ft and it totally changes. I managed to get a broad
survey done, but more indepth analysis is going to come slowly. I'd
like to get a soil testing kit because I'm really curious about ph and
nutrient levels in all of the different areas. Hopefully I'll get that
next month . A kit with enough tests for all the different areas I
have to test is a little pricey so it's on the wish list.

I've been trying to get at least a basic list of the seeds and plants
I'm working with on the wiki. It can be found on the Seed List 2008
page. It's not in any real order yet. I'm just dumping the info in and
have the organization part on the 'things to do on a rainy day list.'
Yesterday we went to Herb Farm farm to pick up plants and more seed,
mainly perennials. I've listed what I got and some notes about each on
this page: /Richters Trip April, 21st 2008
. It's not all complete yet.


May 5, 2008, 9:07:54 AM5/5/08
to Permaculture Design Course
Just a quick update.

We went to a rare breeds demo show yesterday to meet people and look
at chickens.

We decided on the breed,

It's Canadian, a good all round bird and good for cold climates. They
are also supposed to be pretty laid back as far as chickens go. We
found someone who is actually selling them right now, both adults and
day olds so are just deciding on what to get.
I also got the book that the Rare Breeds association put outs on
raising and breeding conservation breeds, it's helped a lot in
figuring out how we can actually be apart of breeding them, even
though we'll have a small flock. The goal of this association is to
increase their numbers as right now it's considered endangered. It's
a little complicated because you have to ensure genetic diversity but
they have a pretty good nettwork set up to help with that. Basically
it consists of trading the roosters around each year. Fun fun... lots
to learn.

We're also decided that we are going to get half a dozen runner

These guys seem well suited for what we need. They prefer foraging to
feed and are a-okay in the winter. They actually have no problem
playing in the snow. They also apparently lay more the chickens do.

We're also looking at getting a breeding pair of geese, again a rare
breed, likely Pilgram. They love to eat grass, which we have ALOT
of. They'll be our 'mowers' in the pasture where we will be planting
fruit and nut trees. I wouldn't mind a couple of sheep but we just
don't have the space or wherewithall to look after them right now...so
I was pretty happy when I figured out that geese can do the same thing
in a smaller scale.

Beyond that I'm just trying to get more beds, prepared, the cold
weather seeds planted and the numerous other seeds planted in the
greenhouse. I'm going to be taking a bunch of cuttings today off of
some of the perennials and get them started for fall planting. Busy
> this page: /Richters Trip April, 21st 2008http://www.wikieducator.org/User:Jadeapple/Odonata_Fen/Richters_Trip_...
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