November 19th – Gardens.

In Hawai’i, there was always something growing and something being harvested on our property. Papayas, mangoes, pineapple, bananas, lilikoi, herbs, and some other stuff. It wasn’t a real garden in neat little rows that we were out weeding all of the time. This stuff can be found almost everywhere. People give you extra lychee or pineapples because they have too many at their house.

In Ireland, my grandparents had a garden and a greenhouse. My grandfather would grow rhubarb and when it was picked we would dip it in sugar and eat it raw. My grandmother would use mint from the garden to make a fresh mint sauce when we would have pork for dinner.

Here in Seattle, our outdoor growing season is fantastic and short without a greenhouse. Beside the curb, we made a raised garden bed and filled it with lettuce, kale, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, strawberries, and probably some more things.

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 5.40.20 AMIndoors we developed a wall mounted aquaponics setup that was cheap and fun to make.photo 2We built a chicken coop, but the landlord sold the house we were living in before we could get the chickens.IMG_2841Gardens have started to turn me on to homesteading. Living in a new house, we need to start the garden from scratch. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to have a garden.

Chicken coop rain barrel waterer.

First we made a roof that would direct the water to the new gutters.

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The gutters drain into a bucket. Rain barrels are becoming common enough that Home Depot has devices to make it easy to make your own.Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 9.51.11 AMThe bucket drains out of the far corner. We had to drill a hole in the bucket and push a piece of PVC through that would hold the tubing we have left over from the aquaponic wall garden. We found the buckets outside on trash day as the neighbors seem to go through a lot of cat litter.Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 9.51.24 AMRunning along the wire.

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The tube then is connected to a PVC pipe with a cap.Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 9.51.33 AMThe last step is to install the nipple waterers!

Chicken coop.

Every homesteader needs a chicken coop. We had a shed that housed firewood despite our house not have any wood burning capabilities. I suppose there is an elevated fire pit outside that we use twice a year, but nothing that warrants half a cord of wood to be kept dry all year long. Here is the picture before:IMG_2660There were a couple of vegetable boxes that held some weeds and green onions, so we took them apart and moved them next to the street in the front of the house so that they might get some sun. Then we planted peas, kale, lettuce, and cilantro. Then we built a chicken coop. I have step by step pictures and one day I may put them all together. We re-did the roof so that we can collect rain water and have an automatic watering system. The feeder is also pretty cool, but I am going to make sure that it will work before I post the details about it.

Here is the picture after:IMG_2841There are only a few steps left before we get chickens. There is a lot of interest locally of raising chickens as well as vertical gardens.