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10 January 2012 @ 08:20 pm
Hi there!  I'm a 34 year old married nursing student, my husband and I own a home with a 1/6 acre lot, so I'm pretty stoked about setting up a garden in the spring. 

I'd also like to try my hand at canning, since it's just my husband and I, and I'd like to make pickles and such for Christmas gifts (ye gods, it's January and I'm already thinking about Christmas presents...someone shoot me).  Except, well, I've never done canning or pickling before.  Do you folks have any suggestions for easy recipes, easy instructions, that sort of thing?
Current Mood: curiouscurious
06 July 2010 @ 10:06 am
I was very excited to find a community like this. Since I've just joined I thought I'd be polite and post an intro. I've been slowly changing my lifestyle over the years, without realizing my drive to live simply, frugally, and at least somewhat self sufficiently were ultimately leading towards urban homesteading.

I've been in my first home in Wisconsin for over a year now and have a little 1/10th acre lot. I'd never had the opportunity to have my own garden before so I put in a test garden as soon as the ground was workable last spring. It was 126 square feet with 16 varieties. It went so well that I expanded to my entire back yard this season with 662 square feet and 53 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers.

This last year has been a great adventure. I've starting getting back to basics and learning lots of new things. I now do a lot more around the house making basics like soap and fresh sourdough bread. I took on my first carpentry projects making cold frames and rabbit hutches. And you guessed it, added two rabbits to my budding homestead. A pair of angoras to give me fiber and fertilizer. Sadly my city doesn't allow any other animals. I'm also time strapped between work and going to school nights and doing the homesteading thing alone, but I'm doing what I can.

On a more personal level, I currently work as an analyst for an engineering group. My background is pretty varied and includes everything from working as a construction mechanic to a programmer. On weekends I’m either working hard around the house, or with the family at their cabin AVTing, fishing, and hitting the driving range.

I'm a vegetarian, attend a Pentecostal Church, spend time volunteering through my employers volunteer organization, have a subscription to my local theatre, and do touristy stuff so I have fun things to practice my photography on. I’m fond of lots of “c” things: coffee, cooking, crochet, cutsey stuff, and cats. I’m unusually attached to my kitchen appliances. Grain mills are the coolest thing ever. I’m dehydrating all the time. I especially adore my Vitamix and make more than my fair share of green smoothies and hot soups in it.

06 July 2009 @ 10:32 am
Here's my gorgeous courgette flowers this morning.

6/7/09 Courgettes

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15 April 2009 @ 02:57 pm
Hi all,

I hope that this is allowed and if it isn't, please let me know and I'll delete it ASAP.

I just wanted to let you know about my new website, http://patiofarmersguild.com for anyone who is interested in organic gardening/farming and self-sufficiency in small or unconventional spaces. It's part blog, part forum, part resource guide and hopefully much more. It's very new but it's worth a look and I'm hoping that it'll keep growing with time. I'm also always looking for contributors, so if anyone is interested in writing an article or essay, passing on a tip or idea, reviewing a relevant book or even just adding pictures of your own patiofarm, I'd love to hear from you. My email is pfarmer@patiofarmersguild.com

Again, I'm not trying to break any community rules, so please forgive me if this isn't allowed. I'll be happy to delete it. Thanks so much for your time and I hope to see you on the forums!

Kelly the PatioFarmer

x-posted a bit.
Current Mood: excitedexcited
11 July 2008 @ 04:51 am
Hi! Longtime lurker, first-time poster . . . .

Have any of you seen the Freedom Gardens Network site yet??? It's a Myspace/Facebook/MyFolia clone devoted entirely to urban homesteading and sustainability.

If this is old news, sorry--I just discovered it today, so I'm kind of excited.

The link takes you directly to my profile on the site, so once you all squeal with glee and create an account, you can add me. ;-)
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic
11 June 2008 @ 10:52 pm

I'm making a container garden for the first time this year. Some were started from purchased seedlings, but others have been started from seeds and need help, since I didn't know how many would germinate. I'm glad I planted too many -- my germination rate's been pretty bad. And yes, I know it's a lot of plants, but I have a family of six and hungry relatives and suspect I'll have a lower yield than normal due to iffy sunlight (I live next to a train which blocks all light for several minutes of every hour) plus pollution (I live in NYC, zone 6B) and the rapid drying out that comes with container gardening, though I added polymer crystals and have some self watering pots to try to help avoid that if possible.

So far, I have:

One topsy turvy with two german cherry tomtato plants
One self watering hanging planter with a third german cherry tomato plant (number 4 is going to go to my mom)
One medium sized trash can with two windowbox roma tomatoes that are huge and gorgeous and starting to flower but I think it's still too soon so will be pinching off the flowers
One small pot with a third windowbox roma tomato (this one went into soil later than the other two, so it's still small, but looks healthy... and number 4 of these went to my mom's pile of pots)
One medium sized trash can with some sort of multicolored indeterminate slicing sized tomato plant that a friend gave me which I planted nice and deep and am watering but doesn't look so great
One smaller pot (probably will need to go into a trash can later if I don't kill it) with an indeterminate slicing sized tomato plant that the same friend gave me... it's looking healthy but small so far

About 20 dixie cups with red robin seeds thinking about germinating, those will go in hanging planters, I think maybe.
One self watering hanging plant with "WORLD'S SMALLEST TOMATO" which never germinated... but I keep watering it and hoping... though I may stick something else in and give up in a few more days

Two self watering hanging planters with Mexian mini gherkin cucumbers, started from seed and still fairly small ( plus one of these for my mom, if she ever picks up her darn plants!)
One small pot with multiple Mexican cuke plants starting, so I'll either have to transplant or thin, depending on how well they transplant (I ran out of soil so just stuck a bunch into the pot and probably have 10 plants started and there's only room for one or two)
One small pot with two bush salad cuke plants, one needs to be transplanted but it looks nice and healthy so I think it'll be ok

One self watering hanging planter with a bush zucchini plant that's growing like crazy and I'm kicking myself for only growing one pot of this... thinking about starting another one or two... maybe when I give up on the world's smallest tomato?

Nine dixie cups with a bushy short basil thinking about germinating, these will go into the pots with the red robin tomatoes, as they're about the same size and will cohabitate nicely

I also have a stack of empty cups impatiently waiting for me to buy more soil to start the bush sugar snap peas (which I know are likely to not survive in the heat, but I plan to put them in a shadier spot and baby them, I've got the seeds and waited too long... so why not try at least?) and hyacinth beans (same story, though they're hardier and will go in a less shady spot). I need to think of something good for the string beans (pretty ones with big purple flowers) to climb. Plastic twine maybe?

I am also ordering bare root quinault strawberry plants once it cools off a bit in a day or two, I'm torn between 50 and 100 plants. I'll be using hanging planters for those and if I run out, I'll do DIY hanging planters from cans.

I desperately wanted sweet and hot peppers, too, but didn't see any started plants I liked. Maybe if I do, I'll try to put those into dirt as well.

Plus whatever else grabs me before it's too late.

Now, I know it's putting the cart before the horse, but I have a question about extending the season for the everbearing strawberries and indeterminate tomatoes. If at the end of the season, before it gets too cold, if I put them indoors with grow lights (or what I was thinking was hanging them from the top of a tall closet with grow lights in it), how long will they continue to produce?

In addition to my previous post, I'm currently gathering information on the best plants to try to grow indoors over the fall and winter to help cut down on grocery costs. Any information on appropriate, cost effective lighting would help, too!

02 June 2008 @ 12:43 pm
I'm new to this community.

I have an idea regarding a more efficient solar powered renewable energy solution.

Note that current solar panel technology is roughly 2% efficient.  I propose the use of magnifying lenses to concentrate sunlight, direct the laser's heat toward a liquid, and then use the liquid's subsequent molecular excitement to move other items, that might, say, charge a battery.  (Think of a wind turbine that is not turned by open air currents, but by a circulating, closed system of heated liquid or gas.) Now, many questions remain: what liquid to use?  is the liquid's excitement to be harnessed as steam pressure or some other manner (pneumatic vs. hydraulic pressure)?  Would it be best to use one large magnifying lens or many adjacent medium-sized lenses?

I am seeking answers and suggestions.  Thank you for your time.
18 May 2008 @ 11:34 am
Pictures of the Garden

Can anyone tell me how to do Notes on Flickr?

(xposted to compost_wackos not_quite_rural and gentlesurvival)
04 September 2007 @ 06:11 am
Recently a few friends of mine have voiced the opinion that the US is headed for a Great Depression-style economic recession. Putting aside the question of whether or not that is the case, here is what I would, ideally, do if that did happen.

1: Expand the garden. I would want to at least double, and preferably triple, the size of the SFG, and get really hardcore about scheduled planting and harvesting, in order to get the most out of the garden. I would also plant more energy-intensive foods like squashes and potatoes.

2: Get some fowl. I would get two or three chickens or guineas to keep in the back yard. I would build a little house for them to lay in,with a roof that hinged open for me to collect the eggs. At night, they could roost in the trees or on the fences. In a depression situation, fowl are valuable because eggs are good sources of protein and nutrients, and if you have a rooster, they are self-replicating. We could trade both eggs and chicks to other people.

3: This probably falls under wishful thinking: Get a Dairy Animal. I would love to have a miniature cow, but we probably don't have enough space or money for one. So it would probably be a pygmy goat. I had a pygmy goat when I was a teenager and found her to be an affectionate and fun pet. We would have our own milk, and could also make cheese for ourselves or to trade. She would have to be kept on a tether to keep her from eating the garden.

This is just where I would start, in our present living situation (urban renters.)

I have thought of learning to can food, but I really don't like to eat canned food, so I don't feel very enthusiastic about that, but I do like putting up cooked food in the freezer.

What would you do?