Welcome to Spring!
As many have asked for more frequent issues, we will resume publishing newsletters monthly instead of quarterly.
In this Issue
We have decided to give away our chickens and use the chicken coop for badly-needed storage. With the high cost of feed, we felt the effort for minimal profit from selling eggs wasn't worth it. Therefore, we won't need to build a chicken yard adjacent to the coop, and won't have to build a separate storage building.
Edwin has cleaned out the dome and the dome is now ready for plastering and plumbing.
We currently have some possible visits for later in the spring or early summer.
The Farmer's Markets
The Bisbee farmer's market is doing well for us, our weekly totals are averaging well above last year's. We continue to sell unsold produce to local retailers at a small discount, when we can. There are more vendors and more competition and are looking for more restaurants and retailers to sell to. Also, we finally purchased a canopy for our farmer's market booth; we've used it for two weeks and it is working out well.
We are continuing to plant and harvest mixed lettuce, spinach, kale, and stir-fry mix which has sold very well for us. We will be cutting back on Romaine because of slow sales. We now removed all the Agribon and are starting to plant summer crops. Our snow peas are starting to produce and we've also had a few radishes.
We have planted summer squash, watermelon, bush beans, and okra, and will be planting many other summer crops in the coming weeks.
We are also leveling a section of the upper garden in preparation of digging some new beds for root vegetables. Our target is to get at least one new bed dug and planted this month.
Our earlier plantings of chinaberry trees are leafing out and will start producing shade and leaf litter and helping to build soil. We expect them to grow 2 to 3 feet more this year.
We finally found a piece of tempered glass just the right size and shape for a solar oven. We will be building the oven in the next few weeks.
Edwin will be setting up a solar hot water system for his bathtub in the coming month, using a recycled hot water tank to be set in a box similar to a giant solar oven.
We will be continuing to gradually stockpile extra food, mainly grains and beans, for emergency food supply. We will also be planting pumpkins and/or winter squash.
- Februrary and early March remained cool, and we have some apricots setting on. Our olive trees and bush cherries overwintered well and are waking up along with all the fruit trees. The pomegranates are just starting to leaf out.
- We have decided to abandon the highway cleanup adoption as our numbers are few and we have many pressing projects here on the Sanctuary land.
- We have planted out some of the chinaberry trees which were grown last year in pots. Some of them died from the cold and some got eaten by rodents.
- We have increased the number of beds to 23.
On the agenda for April/May:
- Start work on finishing the interior of Edwin's dome
- Continue selling produce at the Bisbee market
- Continue succession plantings of our greens crops as needed.
- Plant summer crops: cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, squash, watermelon, herbs, okra, and more.
- Build the enclosure for the chicken yard.
- Double dig the new upper garden beds
- Collect more compost and compostable materials
- Experiment with EM-1 to create quick compost.
- Purchase a drip-tape system for 6 beds.
- Obtain biological control for grasshoppers.
- Obtain shade cloth to protect greens agains summer heat and sun.
- Plant more chinaberry trees