It’s been a while since I have posted an update to the blog as most activity goes straight to YouTube, in this post I’ll link a couple of my latest videos. The infrastructure upgrade project is moving along nicely and I have a self imposed deadline to get a lot of it done. To recap what is being done:
Adding electrical outlets throughout the yard
Adding electric to the chicken coop and future garden and potting shed areas
Adding artesian well spigots around the property including the new garden area and potting shed
Extending house water to the new garden area and potting shed
The electric being added has both hot (always on) and switched (timed to go on at night) outlets. There is also two dedicated circuits, one for a future electric gate and one for a well water pump and pond aerator.
Here’s a video I posted about two weeks ago where the trenching had begun:
And here’s a more recent one:
I have a deadline of November 9th to have a majority of this in place, we are having a big house party and I want to have the electric working so the yard can be lit up. The race is on!
To save some cost I purchased a used trencher and will be selling it after the work is done, renting one would have cost around a grand since I am slow at it and have to trench when I find spare time. Once this phase of the project is done I’ll do a walk through of the improvements.
I’ve previously blogged about building a dragon fruit support, these have worked well and I now have a total of four in the yard (one is on a palm tree trunk). I’ve also given a few to friends and relatives since building several is only a little more work than building one.
In this video I cover the materials and tools needed plus the build process itself. It’s a bit long so I sped up parts where I’m using power tools and this also reduced the noise.
The most difficult part is notching the 6×6 post, if anyone has suggestions on making this easier I’d like to hear it. In the meantime, let me know if this was useful.
We were lucky, hurricane Dorian barely touched the coast here and damage in the state was minimal. At Three Acre Paradise there was no structure damage and very minor plant damage. Here’s a video of typical winds we saw plus a walk around the property afterwards.
The damage that saddens me the most didn’t actually happen during the storm but was a result of the storm preparations. After Dorian passed we still had to leave the front gates open since I had secured them with some concrete blocks, that night a deer came in and caused a lot of damage to one of my favorite avocado trees. This is the first tree I had planted, it was starting to recover from previous deer damage and was growing nicely. Now I’m not sure if it will make it. Fencing only works if you close the gate!
The tree has about a third of the bark remaining. I could let the smaller branch at the bottom grow then remove everything above it but no telling if that would work. One other possibility I’m hoping for is that as the tree grows the missing bark area won’t grow with it, in that case the bark around the tree will expand and the missing area will be a smaller percent of the total (hope that makes sense). I have a mulberry that is recovering in that manner.
In any case we were fortunate that Dorian stayed off the coast. Maybe that will be it for this year, if not then we will be ready. Every time I run through a hurricane prep the checklist gets refined and as a result the stress level gets reduced.
I’m glad to get back to normal, now to resume planting!
Hurricane Dorian is projected to take a northern turn away from Melbourne, however just a slight wobble could put it very close or even over us. I’ve made a decision to go ahead with my pre-storm checklist and get the house ready for any possibility. Running through this exercise will also allow me to see if anything on the list needs to be added or updated (it does). I’ll post an updated list in the future with the changes.
Here’s a video walk through of what it looks like once we are prepped. If there was a threat that we were going to take a direct hit I’d do a few more things such as securing all loose items in the yard and putting up the last remaining shutters. I consider this stage of prep is good for anything up to a category 2 storm.
I’ll post a follow up in a few days, hopefully there’s not much to show.
Finally a break from the rain! Wait – what’s that just over the horizon? It’s tropical storm Dorian, and we are right in the path!
Now that the property has dried out a bit I can get to work on the big infrastructure upgrade project. This is primarily adding water pipes for irrigation and other uses plus power to all different parts of the property. Once this is in place I can begin the fun stuff like a new and improved garden area. This week I purchased some of the pipe needed and leveled out the location where the new garden will be Check out the video of the progress:
Hopefully Dorian doesn’t cause too much interruption as I’m prepping everything to be ready for the end of September or beginning of October, that’s when I want to rent a trencher and get everything in place. To be completed before I can begin the trenching – buy all materials, get utilities located (power and internet wire), reserve trencher, clear and mark all paths. A lot to do!
This coming weekend is when Dorian is supposed to pass over, if it’s interesting I’ll post some video. Until then, stay dry!
We’ve had rain every day for the past couple of weeks and this has resulted in a mosquito invasion. It’s the worst I can remember since we have been here, it’s so bad that I haven’t been able to go out in the yard at all. About a week ago I took some measures to control this and the yard is now a happy place again.
In this video I’ll show the tools I used to combat the mosquito outbreak. Three of the tools are for the yard and two are personal protection. These are all things that are working, for example here’s a pile of dead mosquitoes from the mosquito magnet:
It’s nice to get back to almost normal, there’s still daily rain and a lot of the yard is a mud pit but at least I can get out there and work. Here’s the video:
I’ve put referral links on the YouTube page but here they are again for reference. Any time you shop Amazon and start from a referral link it helps me out a lot!
Once the property dries out I’ll start working on the infrastructure project (explained in this post). I’ve already had some fill dirt placed to raise the new garden area but it is also too wet to work with. In the meantime there’s been a lot of new stuff planted so I’ll do a property walk through to show some of these new additions. Until then, stay dry!
I’m constantly watching videos related to homesteading and raising food in Florida. There’s so much to learn and I’m always adding to my lists of things to do and plants or trees I’d like to add. Rarely do I subscribe to a particular blogger but these three caught my interest for very different reason. Check them out, especially if you are in the south! In no particular order:
Pete Kanaris – Green Dreams Florida
Pete creates professional level videos from food forests and gardens all over the place. He also runs a company (Green Dreams Florida) that specializes in edible landscaping. If you want to see variety and some of the best food forests around check out his channel.
I actually found Rob’s page through Pete. Rob is doing something unique – he’s living for a year completely on food he forages or grows himself in Orlando, Fl. It’s interesting to see how much work it is to feed a single person this way. Once the one year challenge is up who knows what he will do next but you can always look back through his video library to see how he survived the challenge.
Donto & Amy – Food Foresters
This couple does a little of everything. What I really like about their channel is they show it all – challenges, successes, failures, and a lot of personality thrown in. I see them working with a lot of the same problems I deal with such as flooding, bugs, and weeds to name a few. They grow vegetables, fruit trees, raise livestock and even show processing and cooking their harvests. This is what I’d call the down to earth realities of homesteading with constant updates.
If you have any favorite southern homesteading YouTuber bloggers feel free to make a comment below. I also have a few worldwide ones I follow but not as closely as a lot of their methods don’t apply here in the subtropics.
In this previous post I used a plant cloner to propagate cuttings. While the cloner works well, it is a bit of maintenance with having to keep it clean and running a power cord for the pump. While browsing around for other methods to clone using cuttings I came across the idea of using a sandbox. Does it work as well? See for yourself in this short video:
The tray and sand cost about $20 from Home Depot, be sure to get the small tray which holds 100 pounds of sand. I’ll continue to use this tray for more challenging cuttings and post an update with those results.
If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to my youtube channel. Most future posts will be videos so that is the best way to get alerted when something new is added, plus I need to get to 100 subscribers for youtube to let me have a custom web address (url) for my page.
Recently I got a bunch of free sugar cane cuttings from an ad on Craigslist, while I already have some sugarcane growing it’s nice to have several different varieties. In this video I attempt to get cuttings growing using several different methods and locations.
In summary, the bucket method and in ground had about the same results. There was no success in ground with pieces grown vertically, all that sprouted were horizontal or at about a 45 degree angle.
Have you ever planted a bunch of stuff then forgot what was where? Maybe not if you are new to gardening but that day is coming. I quickly learned the value of labeling everything that goes into the ground unless it is absolutely unmistakable. It’s also handy for when spouses or friends go roaming around so they don’t have to ask what every single plant is. In my case, I’ve got hundreds of things planted around three acres so there is no way I could remember everything.
The challenge I had was to find an inexpensive but durable way to label things as they went in. A lot of plants die off so the labels need to be able to be reused and easily changed. Metal and wood products are out, they simply don’t last very long in the ground here or are too expensive. Oh, and one more thing, my handwriting is awful so I want to be able to print them out.
The solution came bits at a time but I now have a system that works and holds up for years. I make plastic labels, print adhesive labels to go on them, then fasten them to plastic covered stakes (solid plastic or fiberglass stakes are very expensive).
For the plastic labels, I tried several different things and finally found what I believe is the best solution for the price. I use plastic rain gutters, they sell for around $5 at Home Depot or Lowes for a ten foot section.
These gutter sections are thick plastic and UV protected. They are designed to last for many years in direct sun and weather extremes so are ideal for this purpose. You can make around three hundred labels from a single piece.
It may be hard to tell from the photo but these are thick! They also have several flat surfaces which can be cut for the labels. I don’t like to waste but I think the longevity of these makes up for the plastic that will be disposed of. To make it easier to work with, I cut these into shorter sections first (around two feet) then use heavy tin snips to cut out label blanks.
The blanks are about an inch high and three inches long. Once I have a bunch of blanks cut, I use a soldering iron with a big tip to make a hole in one end of each. You could also drill a hole but I think melting one through keeps the label stronger.
The holes get a little dirty and messy from the iron getting crud on it but that usually scrapes right off.
I’ll prep a whole bunch of blanks at once then do the finishing as they are needed.
To finish, I print a label from a Brother label maker, I strongly suggest getting one that includes an AC adapter as these things can eat batteries.
I haven’t had any of these labels fade out from the sun yet, the ones that are two years old now actually look as good as the day they were printed. If you use the genuine Brother tape refills it would be expensive, I use a generic version of TZ tapes. Using a 1/2 inch tape holds two lines of text nicely.
As you can see above, for a finishing touch I like to clip the corners and trim the label. Trim it pretty close to the hole so when tie wrapped to a stake it doesn’t try to wrap around. I like to use the short plastic coated stakes from Lowes, the three foot ones are right at a dollar each. For temporary applications I’ll use bamboo stakes but they only last about a year.
Of course you can put several labels on each stake to save even more cost, I do this when plants are close to each other. I hope this is helpful for someone, if you have any other great ideas for labels please let me know!
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