Author Topic: Skill Log: philbert  (Read 4227 times)

Offline philbert

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 38
  • Karma: 2
  • Infrequent TSP Forum member
    • Philarly Farm Blog
Skill Log: philbert
« on: December 03, 2012, 05:05:14 PM »
I figured I would create a thread to log my accomplishments (and failures) as I undertake the 13 Skills challenge.  Since there wasn't any specific rules about how to use this forum (Jefferson and friends would be proud, I'm sure!) I thought I would take a stab at it.

My page at 13Skills

I have decided to start with making a garden bed, since it's been raining and the ground is soft.  I have found a heap of old part rotten wood where my property meets the river from the last flood, so I think I will make a "Square Foot Woody (Hugulkultur) Garden" and then follow the methods described in Mel Batholomew's 'Square Foot Gardening' from there.  I'll post some pictures when I have built the bed.

Offline GeddyFlea

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 23
  • Karma: 3
  • New TSP Forum member
    • GeddyFlea Living The Dream
Re: Skill Log: philbert
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2012, 06:22:09 PM »
If I may interceed philbert, Mel's method is good for a beginner, but if you're serious about this skill, try the biointensive gardening method. You will plant more food per sqaure bed then with Mel's. Here is a link to the website http://www.growbiointensive.org/. I found out about this method when I purchased Marjory Wildcraft's dvd. She gave me a book for free about this. I've double dug 2-5'x20' beds and presently am over wintering these beds for next spring. I wont lie, it's hard work, but I shouldn't have to double dig these beds again until maybe three years, if that. Good luck my freind.

Offline philbert

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 38
  • Karma: 2
  • Infrequent TSP Forum member
    • Philarly Farm Blog
Re: Skill Log: philbert
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2012, 06:47:59 PM »
Thanks GeddyFlea,

I actually have a YouTube playlist of Biointensive videos, and am very interested in that approach for the longer term. My plan was to get up and running quickly (ala SFG) and then expand future beds by using the Biointensive approach.

I did try double digging a bed once and it was hard work. I plan on using my tractor to do the initial heavy work (ripping, etc), and then maintain by hand from then on.

Offline Kilted Brewer

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 23
  • Karma: 0
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Skill Log: philbert
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2012, 04:43:44 AM »
Hi philbert,

I'm planning on doing SFG beds as well (not as part of my 13 skills though), although I would like to improve on those down the road.

We don't have much soil at our home, bedrock isn't far from the surface, and what soil there is is pretty acidic from all the cedar, hemlock, and fir trees on the property.  I figured making raised beds ala SFG would probably be the quickest way to get a productive garden going.  And then down the road improving those beds and using them as the basis for a better system.

Still have more trees to take down though... I'm almost there.  I'm hoping to get the rest down over the winter and then have a backhoe guy come in and pull the stumps as soon as our road firms up enough

Best of luck to you, I'm interested in seeing your progress!

Offline philbert

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 38
  • Karma: 2
  • Infrequent TSP Forum member
    • Philarly Farm Blog
Re: Skill Log: philbert
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2012, 03:30:33 PM »
I was going to try and break ground this weekend, but it was 98F here yesterday and I had some electric fencing that needed fixing.  Lucky one of my existing skill is homebrewing, because I had sure earned a beer by the end of the day!

Offline philbert

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 38
  • Karma: 2
  • Infrequent TSP Forum member
    • Philarly Farm Blog
Re: Skill Log: philbert
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2012, 06:19:43 PM »
After seeking some advice on permies.com, I have come up with a "design" (well, concept) for the garden bed.



I had presumed that it would be aligned north-south to allow for even sun exposure, but the opinion over there is 'edge' is more important, so having a bendy shape allows for a mix of micro-climates in and out of the wind, and with more and less sun exposure.

Gonna need some nice garden edging around that, or my wife is going to think it's mighty ugly!

Offline hilljen

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 26
  • Karma: 2
Re: Skill Log: philbert
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2012, 07:32:07 AM »
Regarding your canning adventure, do you already have the equipment?

I bought my pressure canner used  for $15 from a listing in the local paper. Then I contacted the company (Mirro) and ordered the right gasket and valve replacements. Finally I took it to the local Extension office to have it calibrated. The woman who did the test told me that it tested to be more accurate than the brand new models! Mine is the older model that has an actual pressure gauge instead of the metal jiggler to let you know when the temp is ready to can.

When I talked to the person at Mirro to order the gaskets, I had to give her the serial number. She was then able to tell me my canner was manufactured in the early 1940's and was a model sold exclusively through Sears and Roebuck. She told me there were still tens of thousands of them in use and parts were readily available.

I have also gotten a number of used canning jars, mostly for free or a small cost. I hate to sound trite, but I do think the older jars are made better than the newer ones. They seem thicker. And the cost of new ones have gone up drastically, year after year.

Regarding the know-how, if you don't already know how to can, check with your local Extension Service. Mine had canning classes or a canning workbook so you could teach yourself. Of course, everyone swears by the Ball Blue Book, which you can buy at the local Walmart or many other places. One thing I would say, is don't rely on heresay or "My Grandma did it this way...". Times have changed. Many of the fruits and vegetables we have now are low acid or have other modifications that may make them perform differently than Granny's did in the past. Mayonaise jars used to be much sturdier than they are now. Sure, you probably could get away with using many of the old techniques most of the time. The problem is that one time when they fail. At best, you lose the results of a LOT of hard work when a jar or lid fails or a whole canner full doesn't seal. At worst, you can kill yourself and your whole family with botulism. IMO, it's not worth the risk. HTH :D

Offline philbert

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 38
  • Karma: 2
  • Infrequent TSP Forum member
    • Philarly Farm Blog
Re: Skill Log: philbert
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2012, 04:03:16 PM »
Waiting for the weather to settle down (we've gone from heat to rain) before building my garden bed, but we did a heap of pruning of our hedges, so I am going to use that material and some old hay on the floor of the hay shed to start a compost heap.

Also, I took a few basic "prep" steps in the last week.  Bought a small torch for my car keys, "copy canned" another 5ga. fuel can when I filled my other one up, and got a small 300W inverter for my car.  It's not much, but it can run my laptop (which in turn can charge my phone).

My wife (who thinks prepping is crazy) even admitted having the fuel storage was useful the other day when she needed to drive somewhere in a hurry, and was worried about having enough to get there.

Offline philbert

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 38
  • Karma: 2
  • Infrequent TSP Forum member
    • Philarly Farm Blog
Re: Skill Log: philbert
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2013, 03:25:20 PM »
Well, after getting distracted with a bunch of other stuff (including wildfires in the area) I realised I was overthinking this, and concentrating too much on the means rather than the end.  After watching Geoff Lawton's excellent 'Soils' DVD, I decided to take the simple option and build a sheet-mulched, "no dig" garden using hay, which I have plenty of.



I planted an assortment of seedlings from our local 'big box' store, including sweet potato, various peppers, snow peas (on the climbing frame), and a few carrots and parsnips.  Now I have to write up an article on this for my blog!

Offline philbert

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 38
  • Karma: 2
  • Infrequent TSP Forum member
    • Philarly Farm Blog
Re: Skill Log: philbert
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 12:39:17 AM »
Watering the garden after work today, and I saw a small lizard run out of the mulch.  Nice to see the predators have moved in already.  I positioned a second bale so I can make another one of these beds.  Someone asked me how big they are - I'd say about 30' x 5'.