This morning I watched a you-tube of people in Cambodia using sacks to grow food.
The basics are universal. Plants need soil, water, nutrients, and aeration. In the case of the above you-tube, "cow dung" is used to fertilize. And a hollow stick is inserted in the middle to water efficiently and to aerate the plant.
But you and I are fortunate to have access to better gardening supplies - starting with better bags that can aerate the roots so the roots can prune naturally and create micro roots to better absorb the nutrients in the soil. I'll cover that topic in Part 2 of this series.
Ideally, I would love to grow enough produce to feed my family for a year by providing fresh fruits and vegetables and by preserving as much as possible.
Plus, how great would it be to have enough to share and maybe even to sell? Could I make enough money to get a motorcycle that's more conducive to riding in Mexico than what I have now?? Golly, I feel a little guilty even thinking about such a luxury after watching that Cambodian you-tube. Okay, I'm over it. Now back to real-town USA...
Initially, I began to think about the cost and effort of starting a garden. Let me be frank. Last year I started a garden. But then I traveled and wasn't able to tend to it. So it was a big fat flop! The year before that, I managed to grow some nice zucchinis.
Prior to that, I grew some IMPRESSIVE gladiolas, sunflowers, and peppers in Kerrville, Texas in the 90s. It was then that I discovered the power of poop - composted horse manure - to be polite and precise.
Therefore, my gardening experience is limited, but my determination to succeed this year is big.
So I've been studying up on how to best grow food. And the most exciting method of personal sustainability that I have found is through the teachings of permaculture experts.
In short, permaculture is:
"an agricultural system or method that seeks to integrate human activity with natural surroundings so as to create highly efficient self-sustaining ecosystems." ~online Webster Dictionary~Not only do I intend to grow seasonal fruits and vegetables, but I am determined to plant some fruit-baring trees that will provide a lifetime of healthy food.
I've also talked my brother into building a greenhouse for me to use for next year's seedlings. Maybe I can even grow food in it over the snowy winter??
And I've convinced my husband to get more chickens to add to our beautiful flock of six. Though I want six more and he only wants four :(
My family has learned a lot about chickens since the first time I took them out of the coop and tried to get them into the fenced yard to give them a bit of freedom. I had asked my brother to help me but he wasn't moving fast enough for me. So I decided to do it myself. I had an elaborate plan to herd them that didn't work.
Fortunately, my brother noticed my determination to get the job done and he rushed over to help me. In his words, "The last thing I need as a new Mexican in this all-White Mormon community is to be chasing chickens all over the neighborhood."
I felt like my brother and I were such worthless Yankees. Yet we got the job done. But I digress...
Key to my success will be the correct use of "grow-bags." Instead of growing plants in a traditional garden, I'll plant a garden using grow-bags and here's why...
In this series I will explain the science behind using grow-bags for plants. And I hope to get results similar to the ones by Larry Hall - a genius inventor in Minnesota. Here's a picture of corn grown by Larry in blue cloth Walmart bags. He grew this corn from a packet of seeds claiming growth of 4-5 feet. I think it was a surprise to him that the corn grew to an astounding NINE FEET!
And that's just the beginning. I've watched hundreds of hours of gardening videos and I'm convinced that gardening using grow-bags will be the most suitable for my skills, my property, and my lifestyle.
This year, everything is falling into place. I hope to make my 1/3 acre property into a formidable abundance of life and leisure. After all, it's not work if you're loving it, right? And I'm already loving it. Each morning I wake up and check my seedlings that I have growing on the top floor of my house.
I shrieked a few days ago when I saw my first sprout. It was from a seed I harvested myself, no less! I talked about that magical Mormon seed in another post.
In this series of blog posts I will:
- List some of my gardening challenges;
- Address ways that grow-bags can potentially solve or alleviate the challenges;
- Explain how my chickens will become an even bigger part of my permaculture, grow-bag design; and,
- Unveil my invention to use grow-bags in a unique way that will theoretically compliment my overall permaculture design.
I hope you will sign up to get my blog post notices (as soon as I figure out how to do that). Or join my facebook group, TLGardens, to participate in discussions of grow-bag gardening and the permaculture lifestyle. Spoiler: I've already exposed my invention on facebook, though I haven't really gotten into the details ;)
Roaring for a successful series that you will enjoy,