Thursday, October 23, 2014

You should...

You should plant paperwhites now. In the humdrum of winter you won't regret having fragrant flowers blooming in your home. You can get bulbs, like these Ziva Paperwhites, already pre-chilled at your local nursery and they will bloom in 6-10wks or you can pot them up, like I did. I put these or hyacinths in the fridge and take the pots out 1 week at a time to have a succession of blooms over winter. Pre-chill for 9-14 weeks. Occasionally check on them and give them a little water, but not too much so the bulbs don't rot.
Wrap in a plastic bag, close the box & tape shut.
Check on them every couple of weeks.
When the tops start breaking through you'll need to pull them out.

You should...notice Fall right now. It's been spectacular. Cool temps, no frost, good rains.The colors are outrageous.
Pond by Foggy Bottom Refuge
 Cups of spiderwebs in the Asparagus
Devil's Walking Stick- Aralia spinosa
 The sky and the leaves oh my!
 Nature watch with Smokey
 Panicled Aster
Symphyotrichum lanceolatum
Harebell in the wheelbarrel

Drummond's Aster
Blooms after Short's Aster
 Symphyotrichum drummondii

You from the end of the season deals now
Tent sale= Mr Poppins Winterberry bush $10
and 6 Blueberries, $2.75 each. 

You should go outside and see something that you've never seen before. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

No Frost in Sight

Almost done with my latest growing space- the geodesic & geothermal dome. After a lot of searching for best designs for hoophouses I came upon the geodesic dome. They aren't new to me. Once when I was thinking about building a home I looked at geodesic kit homes. I still like them, but I can't beat the construction of my 1851 home. Once I saw the price tag on these geodesic greenspaces I looked into making my own. Of course they require a lot of precise wood cutting and geometry, which I was actually kind of excited about doing. Still looking I came across a very cheap way of building them with PVC, but surmised that wouldn't last long and then I had an epiphany. Many google searches later I couldn't find anyone who had this idea: buy a child's climbing dome! It's cheap (in greenhouse terms), well constructed and should last a very long time (and could have a dual purpose-climbing). 
 Hubs and I stacked 2 layers of concrete blocks to add height to the
five foot tall dome. 
I used zipties to strap the plastic to the climbing handles.
 I used a door I had from my last hoophouse (now deconstructed).
I dug foot space about 2 feet into the soil. The purpose is
to have a cold air sink and to take advantage of the geothermal
warmth of the soil below.
Cool air sinks. Warm air rises. 

 We had about 3 inches of rain last week so I
tossed some cardboard down until I get some rock in.
Hopefully you can see how the space is below grade.
The dome is 10ft in diameter and with my foot space I have
about 8 ft of head space. 

 In the space- collards, leeks, shallots, pansies, hyacinths, mizuna, chard, kale.
Lettuces, cilantro, spinach, flowers (experimental) are still in the flats. 

 The chicken wire is for when I raise the plastic sides
for ventilation and so the chickens don't get in.

 Guttation (above): when the stomata close at night and
the soil is heavy with water, root pressure builds and forces the
excess water out of the hydathodes (water ducts) on the edges of the 
leaves. This is not dew. 
 Collards, Alliums and Chard.
Outside the Dome:
 Tronchuda: Leafing cabbage

 The nasturtiums are very happy with this weather. 
No frost yet and none in sight.
 One of my new Asters. 
 A rambling squash
 My hidden cottage

 The hedge.
 A few of the pumpkins we grew this year.

Happy Fall with no frost in sight!