The Prince and Princess of Dirt have returned and that fortuitous omen can mean only one thing…more garden adventures at The Angry Dwarf Dairy!
All children of the Royal Family.
And yes, that is a hand full of cookies in Layna’s hand, accepted as acceptable bribery for not running across the street when no one is looking. After the first time she escaped, I sacrificed my dignity as a mother and handed her the bag of cookies to hopefully keep her in place long enough that we could finish. She is both quick and stealthy. Oy.
Once upon a time the Queen of Dirt noticed some tires out by the dumpster of a tire repair place by her castle. She basked in her brilliance when she remembered that people plant gardens in tires all the time and she rushed home to her beloved internets, which make all things possible. [dropping third person story telling for everyone’s sake].
I did some research and found a family in Arizona that basically created a self watering garden with tires for the beds. We took their ideas, made a lot of mistakes (and learned from them), and came up with this:
Rows of tires stacked on sawed off five gallon buckets that are fitted to a main PVC line which hooks into…
a master bucket (to maintain a certain water level) with a float valve that is fed from one of our rescued IBC totes. Dirt is placed on the screen that is sandwiched in-between the two tires (see above above) and it sinks into the water just enough to wick the water up to the top soil level, and the roots of the future plants. I’ll also put straw around the base of the plants to help with evaporation and keeping the soil temperatures cooler. I also painted some of the tires white to help with temperature, but then I got lazy. I’m calling it an experiment to see if it really helps. I think lots of science happened from people being lazy.
This is Naomi’s happy work face (she actually had a lot of fun, I just snapped the picture at a weird time…just saying so you don’t think I force my kids to do too much manual labor). Layna ended up eating more dirt than cookie but meh, she’s had worse.
We filled them with awesome garden dirt and I’ll check on them in the morning to see how high up the water was wicked. Also every Prince and Princess needs a domain that is all their own…so Little Man and Little Girl get their own garden tires to tend.
It’s taking more self control than I would have thought to not rush out right now (in the dark) and plant seeds. I know it’s mid January and February is going to freeze my toes off. But it’s gorgeous and the last 20+ years of experience living here doesn’t necessarily mean it will get cold again (like every other winter), right? Perhaps it is a good thing that Layna got into all my seed trays (I should vacuum the dirt off my bedroom floor at some point) and made it so I have to buy transplants and they won’t show up anywhere until mid February. Dang self-control inflicted upon me!
Also, as a preview of sorts…the husband man has decided to do a for real aquaponics system again, but this time based on a proven system and not one of our own experimentation. We will be doing a straight raft system (to avoid our previous problem with growing media) and it will be around 128 sq. feet of growing space. It will be something of an investment but I am really excited to get started, and as he has ordered most of the complicated stuff online already, we are committed! I will be documenting all along the way.
And for anyone curious, here are the current animal counts: 3 cats, 27 chickens, 1 goat buck, 4 pregnant goat does, 1 milking doe, 1 four month old goat wether, 1 rabbit buck, 4 rabbit does, 40 rabbit kits of various ages (numbers to be reduced Saturday, stay tuned for that!), and 3000+ earth worms. The worms totally count.