Big Storm Coming

Three storms are lined to wallop LA county with 5-10 inches of rain! The paper said this morning that we haven’t had this much rain in one month in 3 years.

Well, well there’s certainly not been lack of postings lately – almost two entries a day!

Nope, we are not finished pulling rabbits out of the hat just yet. We are full of surprises and hope you are enjoying the “show” just as much as we are.

Figuring we can’t wait for the new site to be launched since we are so far behind, we are just going ahead with all the ideas we’ve had in the works this past year. The new site and journal will come in time and then I will finally be able categorize seven years’ worth of entries. O happy days! Ok, the happy day isn’t here just yet. In the meantime….

We’ve been doing this for sometime now, but now have come up with a catchy new title. A “new” addition to the PTF journal titled ‘Confessions of an Urban Homesteader where we urban homesteaders take time to answers questions from our readers. In the works, on the new website there will be a whole entire special section for this category; but, in the meantime, enjoy (while I dream of the super cool new website in the works – and you can too by helping us make the website a reality by making a tax deductible donation)

When you create a new bed or planting area, do you have to bring in soil? Or is the native soil sufficient? Or do you generate enough compost that you can fill in a new area such as this tree-planting bed? – Brad

A. To fill up new raised beds, we have enough compost/soil (thanks to our ducks, chickens, goats and thousands of wrigglers) on site.

I noticed the grids over your raised beds. Are they what you use for plant spacing? If so, are they permanent to the bed or are they removable for crop rotation? Good idea! – ValP

A. The “grids” are temporary and used to protect the young plants from wildlife.

No mortgage, taxes, or homeowners insurance? – Molly

A. No, Yes and No. About the yes. Since Jules Dervaes basically traded 10 acres of land in Florida for this fixer upper in a low income neighborhood over 21 years ago the county taxes are affordable. Of course, these figures were estimations of living expenses sans costly business(es) and PTF expenses. Oh yeah, Justin alerted me the fact that I forgot to add fuel (biodiesel brewing) expenses which he estimates at $300 for an entire year. Plus, there is wear and tear expenses on the car (tires, brakes, etc.), which are minimal.

Last, but not least, one of the guarantees in life — government taxes.

What do you use for the borders of the beds? regular wood that you can buy at a lumber store? Mohammad

A. Some are recycled cinder block, redwood and most are plywood.

With previous harvests at 6000 and 5500 pounds, I’m curious what plans you have to almost double those previous figures… Eric

A. We still have to go over 2007 figures and we haven’t finished – but preliminary tally’s now at ~5,700 lbs. As for how we’ll get 10,000lbs we are curious too! Last year we didn’t have much (3 ” and normal is 19″) rain, a devastating frost (affected the citrus and guava – pathetic crop this year) and months of disruptive construction. Even with all that distractions to our regular planting schedule we reached nearly 3 tons. God willing we will be blessed with good weather and abundant rainfall. This year we’ll concentrate more on growing our own food. We have a few options: focus on growing more staples, less cash crops, quicker succession turn over rate, better garden management, new varieties and maturing fruit trees.

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  1. melissa says:

    Amazing that you achieve 3 tons with space devoted to”lightweights” like lettuce! Hope you have a fantastic (and heavy) tomato crop this year. I bet you’ll find a way to reach your 10,000 lb goal, even if means growing on your roof!

  2. crystal says:

    Beautiful picture! I’m really enjoying all these posts!

  3. kory says:

    I’m curious as to how you track the management of your various planting beds. Do you follow a rotation schedule? How do you know when to start seed for transplant, I assume (especially if you are going for maximum tonnage) that no bed sits idle for long, that must take a great deal of planning.