Planting update

The greenhouse addition:

Quite a few tomatoes, 2 cucumbers and a bunch of seedlings.

It’s really nice to have some “real” tomatoes occasionally in winter. And now the first cherry tomatoes are growing outside in the tomato cage, hardware cloth wrapped with shade cloth to keep the wind out. Soon we’ll have a LOT more tomatoes.

We finally cleared the new road in preparation for the new greenhouse, as we’ll have a lot less space to turn around.  Now we got the circular driveway and coincidentally, can drive up to the swales and dump water from the truck.  It worked great, the upper swale holds about the 300 gallons, one tank, and it won’t be long until the grapes below will grow roots up to the water.

We’ll also plant seeds on the swales (flowers, gourds, squash, …) and depending on the weather, occasionally dump a load of water.  It costs us $1 plus driving two miles and about 20 minutes of our time to get 300 g at the well.

Here are the seeds we bought at a Habitat for Humanities store in Vegas last week for 10 cents/package.  Why didn’t I buy a lot more?

There’s a fairly level spot above the lower swale and I built it up with black brush we had cleared off the new road and dark dirt below the bushes.  We definitely need more dirt, but at least got started.  Obviously the cans indicate where the seeds are and amazingly, they didn’t blow over in the wind. Not exactly beautiful, but they do the job.

Also buried some mint root, as this point I’m glad for everything that grows there.  As soon as it warms up we’ll plant some beans and maybe corn and definitely sunflowers.  I’m afraid we’ll have to fence it once it gets hot.

The bamboo we got from Anna is doing great, but you can’t tell from this picture.

One of the many flowering weeds.  Have to take a bunch of pics of the countless wild flowers, or weeds …

Like many people in the area, I’ve had allergies like never before this last week.

Papercrete for ponds?

I was reminded about papercrete at another IC website yesterday and decided to do a little more research.

To my amazement, you can even make PONDS out of papercrete.

We just got 100 lbs of sodium bentonite to waterproof the ditch with the leach rock and I’m afraid we’d literally need a ton to waterproof the pond.  Well, we haven’t even unloaded it yet, so we’ll give it a try.   The weather has sucked lately, went from too HOT to WINDY to RAIN, HAIL and COLD.

The pond is almost pure caliche and papercrete would be great to smooth the surface, fill all the cracks and build a little “planting are” in the middle for dirt for water plants.

Here’s the site with a pic of the pond:

http://www.livinginpaper.com/business.htm

And here’s the material they used to waterproof the papercrete:

http://www.ugl.com/drylokMasonry/masonryWaterproofer/powdered.php

Seems like the biggest problem with papercrete is the MIXING.  There are no commercial mixers and the mixing is most of the work.  I want to use papercrete blocks where we can’t use adobe, such as over windows and doors.

I still want as much adobe as possible for thermal mass, but papercrete is light and perfect where adobe won’t work.

I also read about papercrete with local rocks used as foundation and that is just PERFECT for us.  We’ll test that for the greenhouse.

Now if it just warms up a little, I’m ready for a few test batches.  A FOUNTAIN is the perfect test project.