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Glanvillia, Saint John, Dominica
i am a mom/wife/textile designer gone haywire. I love to sing(music/arts AA degree), craft, exercise, and be goofy. Just living life outside the norm. And the norm thanks me for it. Oh yeah, and I like me some haikus. . . . . . . . . . What are we up to currently? Aaron recently started medical school at Ross University on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean, and the kids and I are along for the crazy ride :)

Gardening with Mittleider part II

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hey everyone- oh my goodness these videos are a bear to upload!! I have been trying to do them at night so that we can use the computer during the day, but sometimes they're not done in the morning so we've had to cancel the almost done uploads several times. bleh. I thought I'd post the first four vids and a few tips up to that point and then on part III I'll continue to give tips and show videos. My plants have been in for a week and a half now and actually started sprouting 2 days after. I love Arizona!
The cucumbers won the sprouting race

ok, here are some of my notes from the seminar:

Control 6 Elements for Success:

1. Light

Your plants must have full sunlight all day long! No trees, shrubs, fences. Plants can even shade themselves. Prune off excess sucker stems so there is plenty of air and light.

2. Temperature

Seed usually don't germinate until they reach 75-80 degrees. If your climate is a cold one, you can build a mini frame around your rows and cover it with greenhouse plastic (uv protected). If your climate is too hot, use the same frame but cover it with 30% white shade cloth (30% is maximum- you can go lower). And only cover in the hottest parts of the day. Plants will stop fruiting once the temperature reaches 95 degrees.

3. Air

Plants receive air through the roots- they need soil air. No standing water, so avoid flooding. Make your beds 2 inches above the height of the walk ways to promote drainage.
If you have a problem with clay soil, make your beds and then mix in sand to make up 30% of the bed and your problem is solved.
If you are container gardening, use sawdust and 30% sand to fill instead of dirt. This helps with air supply, drainage, and spread of nutrients given to the plants.

4. Water

A plant is a continuous water pipe from the tip of the smallest root to the top of the highest leaf.

When you first water your seeds keep the beds wet until they sprout. After that, water once a day first thing in the morning -1 inch of water in the bed and that's it. if you live somewhere especially wet and dry like AZ you may need to water 2x a day in the summer. If your plant is wilting it is dying, so watch your plants to see if they need more water.

If you have a problem with salinity (salt) in the soil, create the beds, then flood it three times and it will get the salt far enough down away from the planting area that your plants wont be affected.

It is important to have level beds so that all nutrients given to the plants will stay and soak into the soil where they are placed, rather than running to the lowest point of the bed when watered. (I have a video of how to level the beds coming soon)

Water only the root zone of the plant. *Do not sprinkle* this will water weeds, waste water and promote disease. Try your hardest to not get the rest of the plant wet when you water- this just promotes disease as mentioned. If you automate water using an above the ground drip system it will be easier, faster, and more efficient. Using 3/4 inch #200 psi pvc piping (painted with exterior paint) and drill 3 #57bit holes every 4 inches. Set this on a 6"long 2x4 to suspend above root zone. (when I make mine I will video and post)

5. Food
A plant can not grow beyond it's most limiting factor. In my opinion food is, in most cases, the most limiting factor. There are plenty of the nutrients that your plant needs in most soil, however, many are bonded to other elements and cannot be absorbed by the roots, so they do you no good. The food given to plants must be water soluble and available to roots. The 13 natural mineral nutrients needed for the best growth and health of the plant are:

Major Elements

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium in the form of Potash

Otherwise known as NPK and is available at any garden center. You will need 16-16-16. 16-16-16 is the relative percentage % of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium(K) .
Plants use these nutrients to develop different parts; N builds strong leaves, Phosphate builds strong roots, and Potash promotes root development and disease resistance.

Secondary Elements

  • Calcium
  • Sulfur (Ca and Sulfur are found in gypsum)
  • Magnesium (epsom Salt)

Trace Elements

  • Zinc
  • Boron
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Chloride
  • Molybdenum

A continutous supply of these elements is best, so feed them every week! I will include the fertilizer recipes at the bottom of this post.

6. Competition

weeds, bugs, animals

Weed early and often. do not use mulch. keep ground dry and bare.

Prevent disease and bugs! Pick fruits as soon as they are ripe and prune your plants so that no leaves are touching the ground (we will be training all our plants UP). Clear the ground of any trimmings and pull out and dispose of plants as soon as they are done fruiting. Do not let fruit rot on the plant. Do not let your plants get over-watered.

Other notes:

A lot of people are concerned about the pH of the soil. For us in the southwest, the pH of soil is fixed when you add the preplant mix with gyspum. To determine if your soil is acidic or alkaline, a good rule of thumb is: any place that gets more than 20" of rain a year is acidic and any place that gets less than 20" is alkaline. If you live somewhere with more than 20" of rain a year, replace the gypsum in the preplant recipe with pulverized lime or garden lime. A good gardening pH is 6.

The fertilizer recipes are as follows:

Preplant mix

80 parts gypsum (find in a large bag at most gardening stores)

4 parts Epson salt (Found at the drug store in First Aid)

1 part Boron (found at most grocery stores in the laundry isle as BORAX laundry booster)

Remember these are parts not percents. Add to center of the isles once they are made and leveled. cut into soil until you cant really see it anymore and then level again. You don't want to add before isles are made because it's a waste of fertilizer. You will be adding 1 oz or 2 tablespoon per square foot.

Weekly Feed

25 lb bag NPK

4 lbs Epsom Salt

10oz of Magic Mix (I get this from the website. It has the trace elements that are very hard to find, and when they are found can only be purchased in large quantities. Foodforeveryone has small bags with all of it mixed in the correct proportions. Either only mix as you need it or invest in some perlite to add so that once mixed, it doesn't get wet and goopy. )

Apply 1/2 oz or 1 Tbs per square foot close to, but not touching the plant. Do not work into soil (except when you are adding it along with the preplant mix), just water it and it will gradually dissolve into soil. When to apply: with the preplant mix, 3 days after all sprouts come up, and then once per week until after harvest.

Here are the first four videos. Please excuse what a horrible tutorial maker I am and my pants that are falling off during all these videos. I pulled the pants out of the dryer before they were completely dry so they never got set in their real shape, got stretched out in the first 2 minutes, and were huge in me all day during all these videos. Also, as you can see by the shadows in the videos, I didn't follow the mittleider method completely in getting full sun, but the important thing is to do the best with what you have. You have no excuse to not be gardening!

ok, I actually said the wrong amount to apply on this video- it's 2Tbs per square foot. The weekly feed is 1 Tbs per running square foot. Sorry about that! Just mix up a bunch and share your left overs with your neighbors! That's what I've been doing!



Thursday, April 23, 2009

TONIGHT is FREE MOVIE NIGHT at the Scottsdale 6 Drive-In. 8101 E. McKellips RoadScottsdale, Arizona 85256
They will have three free double features - Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Bedtime Stories, and Madagascar 2 will be the first shows starting at 8 PM.
The King Gypsy Caravan Band will be playing starting at 6 PM, doing a variety of uptempo, fun songs. They'll have a bounce house and slide for the kids, carnival games and prizes and much much more!! Plus, their concession special for the night will be $1.00 Nachos. Free balloons for the kids. Kenny the Magician will be strolling the grounds, amazing everyone with his close-up magic. And come meet their mascot, the West Wind Drive-Ins Dinosaur, who'll be at the event as well. It's going to a great time, so take your family to the drive-in TONIGHT, April 23rd.
P.S. - Please tell all your friends about the event and spread the word!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ok, so I figured if I posted about what a great time we had at this AWESOME FREE open house after the fact, you all would be jealous and upset that I didn't say anything beforehand so you could attend. SOOOOOO...... Here it is-
Drs Goodman & Partridge OB/GYN are opening a new office across from Mercy Gilbert Medical Center on Val Vista rd. They are having an open house at that office TONIGHT from 5pm-8pm, which is open to the public, current patient or not. It is going to be quite the shin dig. If you don't go, I'm going to tell my kids to tell your kids all about the amazing FREE hot air balloon ride they went on and your kids are going to resent you for quite some time for not taking them..... ha ha ha. Then I'll tell you about the free massage I got and YOU are going to resent you for quite some time. Don't miss this, it's going to be awesome. free food, live music, bounce houses, free massages, free hot air balloon rides, and if you RSVP on the website, you'll be entered to win the grand prize at 7pm- This practice doesn't skimp, so I'm sure the grand prize really will be grand! Here is the link:

Bow Holders

Real quick I have to post this in 2 minutes before it's tomorrow! The garden videos take a few hours each to upload, so it's gonna be a couple days before Gardening with Mittleider part II is posted since I have to upload them at night when we don't need the computer (yes, I know it shouldn't take this long- we are trying to get this problem fixed, but until then we wait). SHOOT, it's tomorrow! Darn midnight- I stay up too late! And I'm sick and losing my voice on top of it! We had the Downeys over for FHE tonight and played us some guitar hero world tour afterward- I sang one song and sounded like a dying frog. Hooray for drums!

ANYWHO, I wanted to show y'all some bow holders I made for my friend Cassi- they turned out so cute! The letters are for her daughters- Anndi, Hadley, and Kamryn and her bathroom is decorated in red yellow and orange, so this is what I came up with. They remind me of Cassi cause they're so spunky :o) Aren't they adorable!?

You just hang them on your wall and clip hair bows and clips on the ribbon that hangs down. This is not a new idea, but I like how they turned out. And no, this is not scrapbook paper decoupaged on, it's paint. It would've been easier with paper, probably, but I wanted that clean look. Whelp, it was nice chatting, I better set more videos to upload and go to bed. Sayonara!

Gardening with Mittleider part I

Friday, April 17, 2009

If I haven't spoken to you about the Mittleider Method Seminar given by Jim Kennard I went to a few weeks back, I'm sorry. I plan to remedy that in this here post. You must find out about this way cool way to garden with less water, less money, and in any kind of soil. It's awesome. Jim Kennard has been a humanitarian missionary for the lds church because of his knowledge of this method and along with Jacob Mittleider, Jim (the President of the FoodForEveryone Foundation) has traveled the world teaching people how to garden the smart way, boosting the economy of many third-world countries (and some not so third-world). I have so many stories about this but I'm only going to tell you about one since I want to keep your attention!

In Papua New Guinea they were having problems with cannibalism. Whenever a tribal war was won, the winning tribe would eat the losing tribe. People were getting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (the human version of mad-cow disease-allegedly contracted from eating the brains of a member your species) which causes dimentia, speech impairment, jerky movements (myoclonus), balance and coordination dysfunction (ataxia), changes in gait, rigid posture, and seizures. Usually people will die within weeks to months of getting it and there is no known cure. The Australian military came in and put a stop to the cannibalism, but then the people needed a new primary source of food. They sustained their tribes on sweet potatoes, but not well. In the area that Jacob Mittleider visited, the hospital and school were about to be shut down because they couldn't feed the people the necessary 5lbs of potatoes per day. After Mittleider came and showed them how to garden his way, their sweet potatoes were 5 times as large as they used to be and were grown quicker and so yeilded more crops per year. They were able to sell and barter their sweet potatoes and thrived as farmers. One boy who was taught this method, Sir Silas Atopare, grew to become President of Papua New Guinea from 1997-2003.

AMAZING???? I know!

So, with that being said, I am going to continue into my first installment of "Gardening with Mittleider." At the free seminar, we were given a handout that I will share with you about how the rows are supposed to look and how this method differs from traditional gardening.

If you want me to email you these notes so they're easier to read, just let me know. Also, if you click on them they will become a tiny bit larger.

Here is a little bit about the Method from Jim Kennard:

Here is my garden planning vid:

Sorry about that weird little bit about the Frankenstein corn dog. I'm such a freak.
In the next installment I will provide videos of me making my beds, leveling the beds, and the awesome sand-planting of the seed. How exciting, right? ha ha- you know you're interested! Show me the love by commenting so I know I have people interested in reading about this!

PS- If you're a gardener, here is a Gardening Journal from FFE foundation you might appreciate



Sunshine Sharing Preschool

Friday, April 3, 2009

I am going to be a preschool teacher at Sunshine Sharing Preschool next year. I can't tell you guys how excited I am to be teaching here. It's going to be awesome. There are 5 teachers total which include Megan's kindergarten teacher at Benjamin Franklin and other women that are experienced and awesome at what they do. The curriculum includes the spalding method of learning to read (awesome), outdoor animal time on the farm (yes it's on a farm), crafts, music, lesson, and reading time. Oh man, if I were on a search for the perfect preschool, I would stop right here. This is exactly the type of preschool I'd put my kids in because it isn't a glorified babysitter, these kids will be learning so much! In fact, Matthew will be attending with me - I'm just thrilled he gets to come! Each student gets their own baby chick and gets to garden as well. Here is the flyer- one side is the basic flyer, the other side is a list of the teachers and curriculum and pricing. Just click to see it full size. I can't tell you how excited I am- I'm just bursting at the seams! Sign your kids up soon because space is going to go quickly.