Weekend Coffee Share – Gardening Dreams

LSU Purple Fig

Can I offer you some hot coffee today? I’m definitely having another cup! It’s raining outside my window, and the air is fresh. It’s a welcome rain. We’ve had temperatures in the low 70’s this week. A sharp contrast from all the snow we had last week.

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.

– Margaret Lee Runbeck

I have to say this – I feel great! I had a full night’s sleep, and I just feel good. I have been focusing on visualizing my goal of a homestead, and at the same time living in the moment here in the city. I feel that I’ve come to a good place.

corn

There is no way that I could have the huge garden I had last year, but I can have a small container garden. I have been growing microgreens inside for a while, and within the next couple weeks I’m going to plant cherry tomatoes outside. Since the space is very limited (in our backyard, ten minutes from Las Vegas strip,) I have to choose carefully, and not overdo it. (I often tend to do that, because I enjoy gardening so much. I have no problem caring for a 1-2 acres garden by myself.)

squash

I am planning to add some kitchen herbs later this spring. For fun I’m going to have some organic dwarf fruit trees, in containers. I actually ordered some this morning; pineapple, fig, and pomegranate. Pineapple is a wild card, I’ve never grown that! I eat a lot of pineapple in my fruit salad for breakfast, and thought it would be fun to try. This way I keep my homesteading dream alive, and enjoy some gardening, while my daughter attends a good school in the city. ..and hey, I can plant the trees on my property later on. That makes it extra fun, and worthwhile to take care of them. It’s not only my dream, my daughter loves growing fruit and vegetables as well.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. – Audrey Hepburn

Both my daughter and I are very visual, and we’ve started to look at different housing alternatives for our future homestead. Mostly just for fun, but also to know a little bit about how much cash I should have saved up before going into the project full-time. Our property is a few hours away, and there’s nothing on it right now. The whole project is still years into the future, at least 2-3 years, maybe more. I actually don’t feel a rush to get there, I want it to succeed long-term, more than getting there fast. I love the job I have now, and I enjoy exploring Nevada and surrounding states on my free time. For the longest time the big change of moving from the countryside to the city, pushed me slightly of balance, but I can feel zen returning to my life. It’s a good feeling.

Would you like a refill on that coffee? Or maybe some tea? How is your week so far?

Have a fabulous weekend!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share; Carr Fire Update – My Garden – Zen 

I promised you a more positive coffee share this week, and I will deliver! The zen is slowly finding its way back. The coffee is ready, please have a cup! How is your week so far? 

Last weekend I was in shock, when our county was declared in a state of emergency because of the Carr Fire. When a big fire just gets bigger, and gets totally out of control you feel kind of small. I’m a very organized person, that plans ahead, and take care of things in good time etc..well, there’s limits to what you can do in the midst of a raging fire, after you packed your bag. (You don’t want to unnecessarily endanger yourself in anyway, so that precious resources would have to be used to rescue you.) The more positive note is that the fire is getting more contained by the day. Last night (Thursday,) it was 37% contained. The containment lines towards the city of Redding, with the highest population, is strong now. BUT CalFire also said last night that Low relative humidity and an unstable atmosphere have increased fire behavior. I am by no means letting my guard down! My bags are packed, and I’m still ready to go if need be. This is the latest info I have about the fire.

Incident Start Date: July 23, 2018 

Incident Start Time: 1:15 p.m. 

Incident Type: Wildland Fire 

Cause: Mechanical Failure of a Vehicle 

Incident Location: Highway 299 and Carr Powerhouse Road 

CAL FIRE Unit: Shasta/Trinity 

Unified Command Agencies: CAL FIRE, National Parks Service, Redding City Fire, US Forest Service 

Size: 126,913 acres 

Containment: 37% 

Expected Full Containment: Unknown 

Firefighter Injuries/Fatalities: 2 

STRUCTURAL SUMMARY 

Structures Threatened: 1,358 

Residential Structures Destroyed: 1,060 

Commercial Structures Destroyed: 19 

Other Destroyed: 474 

Residential Structures Damaged: 189 

Commercial Structures Damaged: 8 

Other Damaged: 61 

CURRENT SITUATION 
Situation Summary:  Low relative humidity and an unstable atmosphere have increased fire behavior. Shifting winds, steep terrain, and dry fuels continue to challenge firefighters. A Red Flag Warning has been issued this evening through Saturday. Crews will work through the night to mitigate potential spot fires across control lines. Repopulation of residents in the areas affected by evacuations will continue as conditions permit. 

When the worst shock subsided, I decided to do my best to stay in a positive state of mind. As soon as I possibly could, I went back to work. On my free time I’ve kept myself very busy in the garden, and taking care of the plentiful bounty from the garden (canning, and distributing the goodies to friends, and family.) I’ve had plenty of time to plan my fall garden this week, and I’ve been propagating some new fruit trees.

I’ve been focusing on propagating citrus trees this week. I’ve propagated California Honey Mandarin, and Meyer Lemon trees. The method in the photos above, propagating from cuttings, in simple tiny green houses made out of plastic bags, is very effective. If you count the amount of work, and the success ratio, this is my favorite method for the majority of fruit trees. My experiment with air layering this spring worked out wonderfully as well, but it is a lot more time-consuming.

My container garden is growing, both in number of trees, and size of the trees. I currently have four relatively big pomegranate trees, a big number of fig trees, lime, lemon, mandarin, two varieties of orange, dates (still very small,) and I just started a couple apricot trees as well. It is very rewarding. I think fruit trees are beautiful. Partly because of the joy of seeing a new tree grow (you can easily see weekly progress during the summer,) and partly because of the promise a new fruit tree gives for the future. I love the nurturing part. Some new baby fruit trees require a lot of attention to thrive. It feels so awesome when it is obvious that they do. I enjoy the challenge. I still consider myself a newbie to growing fruit trees, it’s something I’ve only done for the past 5 years, or so. Still relatively new. It’s kind of exciting not always knowing what to do, and being forced to do research. I document my experiments, and write down what works, a not. That will eventually be a part of my book; Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget. The book is far from finished. I’ve decided to work on my book every week, but lift the timeframe I had in my head. I want it to be both visually appealing, and of good use to my readers. I really like learning about something I find fascinating, like growing my own food. (Yeah, I find the learning process to be very beautiful, and fascinating ..after all, I am a teacher.) Bringing a beautiful tree as a gift to someone I believe would appreciate it, is one of my favorite ideas for a gift. To me a gift is more meaningful if the person giving it have put a thought, and effort into the gift. This gift could potentially help feed a family for years to come. Not even mentioning the joy, and beauty it brings.

My effort to stay in a positive state of mind have been successful. Everything that is happening is beyond tragic. Over 1000 people lost their homes, and people have died, but I can’t go around thinking about that all day, then I would need some serious help myself very soon. I’d rather stay positive, and perhaps I can inspire, or make this tragedy easier for someone. I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of semi-strangers this week; phone calls, emails, messages, real life conversations with actual strangers while in town. The majority of people are coming together, and showing a beautiful side, that might have passed unnoticed earlier. I see it. Many people are noticing the positive vibrations that this tragedy started. Another unexpected effect of this is, that I actually have been blogging every day since this started. All this turned into a good new writing habit. It started to ease the mind of friends and loved one, and ended up being a wonderful outlet for me. Writing helped me process this tragedy to some degree. Kind, encouraging, daily interaction with my blogging friends, via comments on the blog every day have been absolutely wonderful, and very helpful in keeping my spirits up. I’m going to do the best I can to return that. The goodness in other human beings had me humbled. 

Do you need a refill on that coffee? I think I’m going to have another cup 🙂 Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? 

This was just to let my friends and family know that I’m still here. In good spirit. Thinking of how this week started, I feel so much stronger now. How are you doing?

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about? All are welcome! 

Love,

Ms Zen

Growing Fruit Trees In Containers

pt (1)

I grew up in a cold place where it was impossible to grow fruit trees of any kind. I love fresh fruit and vegetables, and eat a lot of it. Sometimes it was even difficult to find a variety of fresh fruit in the grocery store, and it was always very expensive. Now I live in California (garden zone 9b,) and my options are (almost) unlimited. I can grow anything my heart desire, with a little effort. I’m in heaven!

Fruit trees take several years of growing, before they produce fruit. I have been moving more times than I can remember the last six years, lived and worked at several different ranches, and been on a cross country trip with my RV. My semi nomadic, adventurous lifestyle, lead me to start experimenting with  container gardening, a few years back. Now I successfully tried growing; different kinds of peaches, cherries, olives, plums, pomegranates, lemons, and figs in containers.

Last year I decided to sell my whole container garden, it was starting to get BIG in every aspect of the word (the trees were huge and many,) before moving to a new place. This year we’re leasing a property, and I will plant a traditional annual vegetable garden. On the side I’m going to start a new container garden with fruit trees. I planted the first four trees yesterday (photo above. Don’t mind the surrounding mess/weeds, we’re in the middle of moving in to our new house.) I’m focusing on trees that are suitable for our dry/hot climate, like pomegranate, and fig trees. I will plant some other trees, but I’d like the majority to be draught resistant.

I’m trying to think of ways to save water. For the past three years I’ve planted my fruit trees in smart pots, durable grow bags made out of fabric. It’s cheap to get used ones where I live (!) They work great for growing vegetables, and fruit trees. Last year I grew tomato plants that was closer to 10 ft, in 25 gallons smart pots. (Here is a post with some container gardening from last year.) The only thing I was concerned about was all the water that poured out on the ground. I’m sure there is a way to work around that, to save that water. Until I figure out how, I’m going to use self watering pots that water the trees automatically. The first week you water on top, after that you fill up an empty space at the bottom, and the plant uses the water it needs. I’ve tried it indoors with flowers, ten years ago, or so. Using them outside, as a means of saving water is new to me. I will keep you posted about how this method works for different kinds of fruit trees.

I prefer dwarf, or mini dwarf trees, for container gardening. It’s easy to maintain a short tree. You can pick the fruit with ease, prune it, and easily cover it with a net if it need protection from birds. I have tried regular sized trees in containers as well, it works, but you have to train the tree from a young age to the form you like. It’s a little more work, but doable. Just don’t let it get to big in the pot. Depending on the tree, I find that 15-25 gallon containers are most suitable. 25 gallons pots can grow a big, productive tree, but are very heavy to move. I have a heavy duty garden cart to move them on, but it’s still slightly challenging to move the 25 gallon trees by yourself. (I’ve done it many times, that’s why I choose to sell my container garden before moving last summer.) The trees I planted yesterday are in 15 gallon pots. Which will work perfectly for a couple years, until it’s time to replant them anyways (before they get root bound.) One of the most important thing when choosing containers for your fruit trees, is that the container drain well. You don’t want the roots to constantly be wet. They need to dry out in between.

If you have a container garden because of limited space, and you buy your trees at a nursery, pick your trees carefully. Try to pick “cone shaped” trees, with branches growing at a 45 degrees angle upwards. It’s easier to keep training that tree in the right shape, that will save you space. (Naturally you don’t always get to be picky, and that’s fine, you just have to work with what you got.)

I will keep adding trees to my container garden throughout the season, when I get a good deal locally. My goal is to have a variety of fruit trees, so that there is always fresh fruit available, year round. It is actually possible here. I sometimes barter working a few hours on someones place, or with someones horse, towards fruit trees, or fresh produce. The farms and ranches in our area are usually very busy during spring/summer, and appreciate the help. If you want to know what these two strong arms worked with today, check it out on Instagram. (It’s going to be 30ft x 30ft when it’s done.) I assure you I don’t need to hit the gym today, and I won’t have to do it tomorrow either..lol. I love this time of the year!

Are you interested in container gardening? Have you tried it? Do you have a container garden? Are you interested in trying? What type of fruit trees thrive in the climate where you live? Tell me about your garden!

 

Love,

Ms Zen