Sunday, February 28, 2016

getting organized

there are a lot of things i'd like to do around here so being able to manage chores and projects efficiently is appealing.  i've spent a lot of time getting the gardens started and there is still a lot i'd like to do but at this point i feel like there's a solid foundation established and to be able to move forward i need to get better organized.
seeds are a very important part of the gardens and the future of this place.  i've been saving seed each year and building up a good stock.  what started out in a shoe box when we moved here became several boxes, and bags, and jars scattered here and there.  it was hard to find what i needed quickly and easily.  i'd been swearing i was going to get them organized for the last year or so but never quite got around to it.  i'd probably still be struggling with getting going on it if not for staal.  a few weeks ago he built me a beautiful set of shelves so i'd have a place for seed storage.  he used some salvaged cedar a friend gave us.  it's a little rustic and rough and also has staal's fine and loving touch about it.  we took a trip to the hardware store and bought a bunch of canning jars and i got to work cleaning, and sorting, and labeling.

i like sharing our living space with the seeds.  they're beautiful and to me something central to our life here so the placement feels fitting too, having them at the hearth, the heart of the home.
***the fireplace is damaged so we don't use it, we have a woodstove in the other room that we use for heating the house.

i've still got a few seeds that need to be cleaned and sorted but things are in pretty good shape now and i've had a much easier time finding the seeds i need to sow over the last couple of weeks.

another area that i'm working on getting set up to be more efficient is irrigation.  in the spring and summer here irrigation is a necessity since we often don't see a drop of rain from april to october or november.  usually this means i'm pretty much tethered to a hose spring through summer and that makes it difficult to be productive during that time.  over the last couple years i've put in some drip line here and there but i've also been expanding the gardens over that time and i haven't quite been able to get the drip system expanding at the same rate.  i've made the drip system a priority this winter and i've almost got it finished.  i've got two battery operated timers with 4 valves each that will make most of the watering automatic and give me a break from dragging a hose around.

in addition to being more efficient as far as my time goes, watering with drip irrigation is a more efficient use of water.  because the water is being applied more slowly over a longer period of time than hand-watering there is less runoff, deeper soil penetration, and less water needed to keep things growing and thriving.
staal has been working on setting up a pump at our rain storage tanks (which are currently full and holding about 4,000 gallons of roof runoff from this winter's rains) that will be able to supply water to the drip system in the orchard garden so that we don't have to rely completely on well water to irrigate.  it'll be interesting to see how it all works out.

as i've become better acquainted with how i'd like to use the greenhouse i've been able to start getting things better organized and more functional there too.  i've got pots and flats and other propagating supplies on shelves on one side and irrigation supplies on shelves on the other and i've put up some tool racks so that i can get what i need easily and not have tools just wandering about and getting in the way or getting lost.  

it's better organized than it was a few weeks ago but it's still a bit of a jumble and there's a lot i'd like to do.  i've got a bench on the north wall (shown below) that i use mainly for starting seeds in flats and rooting cuttings.  

i'm going to build a bench (probably two-tiered) for the south side (below) so that i can reclaim a bit of the floor space and make better use of the area.

much to do but i'm excited about all the possibilities.