I am anticipating having to be sequestered to the desert for several months at least, until the threat of the virus has left us. It is a four hour round trip to drive to town for groceries, so if I want fresh produce I need to grow it myself! Taking inspiration from WWI and WWII, I thought I should plant a victory garden, a virus victory garden. VV
Luckily, my friend Ray arrived from Ventura. He has decided to camp out on the land and spend his stay-at-home being of service to the Sanctuary. He arrived just in time to put his construction skills to use on the greenhouse!
The nearly falling down green house that I was going to demolish has been restored to stand firm. The miraculous thing about this property is, no matter what we need, we find it laying around or in a shed. There was enough lumber nearby to fix the structure and a big roll of wire screen to replace the broken windows to keep the critters out let the air flow in. My friend Bill the beekeeper reminded me sections on the top have open for bees to come and go as they please. And thank you Pat for your donation of power tools and screws! Some paint to give it a finishing touch might be nice, but not in the budget at this time of resource conservation.
Luckily the greenhouse has several raised beds from creatively repurposed items like a cow trough and old oil drums. We added to the assortment by drilling holes in the bottom of a couple of leaky old coolers which we filled with potting soil. After removing the weeds we added steer manure to the soil in the existing containers. Hopefully we got the mixture right. Then we lightly sprinkled in some bat guano, because there happen to be some caves full of it!
I need plants that will grow fast! So I selected varieties with short maturation dates and bought starter plants instead of seeds if possible, all organic. I bought a fairly mature cherry tomato plant, zucchini squash plants (for abundance), red pepper and strawberry plants (for vitamin C), serrano peppers (for excitement), as well as a selection of herbs for flavor and medicinal purposes. From my collection of emergency heirloom seeds I planted radishes (you can also eat the leaves), cucumber, kale, chard, spinach and bunch of lettuce. For faster growth I chose broccolini instead of regular broccoli, and green onions instead regular onions. I also planted a lot of beans because they are quick to grow and abundant producers. I even had in my pack Rattlesnake Pole Beans! How appropriate is that for a desert victory garden!
Here are some before photos. The toothpicks are to mark my rows so I know what are the things I planted and what might be weeds trying to sneak in.
The organic farming operation has officially begun. Not exactly how I expected it but times like this call for improvisation. I will update as the garden grows!
I would love to start planting the orchard for the non-profit farming portion of the Sanctuary. If you would like to donate a tree I have Ray and another volunteer on the way to help plant! Check out the donation page for more information.