In this Issue
Edwin will be working to repair the earthen dam using old tires filled with dirt and anchored. This project got delayed last month with much replanting of beds and digging new beds for corn. At the right is one of our many canna lilies planted around 3 sides of our pond.
We currently no visits scheduled. There remain 3 of us permanent members. We are still helping to sell Kaline's veggie van. It's in nice shape, if any one is looking for a van which runs on veggie oil, please contact us.
The Farmer's Markets
We are realizing the need for more diversity in our offerings at The Bisbee Farmer's Market. We would like to have at least 5 best-sellers at the market to boost our income. With better planning we can produce crops that will be sold out and not compete so much with other vendors.
Mixed lettuce and kale are our staple crops, and currently we have summer crops of beans and squash and later, tomatoes and other summer crops. On the left you can see one of our three beds of green beans.
The Douglas Mercado continues to struggle. The peak heat of summer and smoke from fires in Mexico haven't helped the turnout.
We are continuing to plant and harvest mixed lettuce, kale, a few radishes, and our summer crops of corn (at left) tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, summer squash, watermelons, and okra are coming up and growing. We are attempting to grow spinach in one bed with 50% shade cloth. So far so good, the plants look healthy. We planted cantaloupes and winter (butternut) squash. They are not thriving well in the dry heat, but we hope they will take off when the monsoon rains come (soon). Some of our watermelon plants got eaten (probably by mice). Our strawberries have been producing and we have sold a limited quantity at the Bisbee market. We would like to increase production of strawberries significantly for next year.
Our oldest pomegranate bush is bearing fruit this year, and will be ripe in September or October. Some of our younger bushes may have a few fruits as well. Our mature apricot trees did have a small crop this year, and we sold out what we had at $5/lb. They were very tasty. Our younger trees still have a few unripe fruits.
You can see in the picture below how the chinaberries have grown. Compare to our April newsletter and you will see the amazing growth. The 3-year-old trees are already 7 to 9 feet tall, and the reeds planted on the left are also just starting to take off. The bamboo-like reeds will provide a nice wind-break even in winter when they are dormant, as well as reed stalks for various purposes: shade, staking plants, etc. Later, when we have sufficient reeds to do more planting we will create more windbreaks and possibly plant them in our main gully to slow down the water flow during monsoons.
Edwin needs to work on the drip system for the fruit trees, as the water pressure is so low after installing more drippers, that the circuit needs to be split in two.
The solar oven did not get completed for the solar oven cookoff on the 1st, but we still plan to build it. By late summer we would also like to build a solar drier to preserver some summer crops over winter.
Edwin's cow-manure composting project has yielded some decent compost, which has been added to 8 beds. It's working well, except for the fact that seemingly millions of seed sprouts have come up and require more weeding time. The weeds are mostly pigweed.
- We have increased the number of beds to 25.
- We obtained the grasshopper biological control and have spread the first two applications
- We are now using the shade cloth on the most heat-sensitive crops such as spinach.
- Smoke from fires 30 miles south of the border have reached us but it's not nearly as bad at the Sanctuary as in the town of Douglas.
On the agenda for June/July:
- Continue selling produce at the Bisbee market
- Finish replanting empty beds and continue succession plantings of our summer crops as needed.
- Continue to obtain more compost and compostable materials
- Spread a 3rd application of biological control for grasshoppers
- Build the solar oven
- Fix up the storage building (ex-chicken coop) and move things in.
- Start work on finishing the interior of Edwin's dome and/or water heater if time permits
- Purchase a drip-tape system for 6 beds if funds permit
- Repair last year's damage to swales and earthen dam as time permits
Living in the desert involves many interactions with wildlife. The lizards follow Edwin around as he is watering the beds, and sometimes enjoy a little spray of water, and grab insects as they flee from the water. This guy on the left has gotten very fat on the bugs in our garden.
Please Spread the Word
If you know of anyone who has a pioneer spirit and is interested in community, permaculture and ecology, organic gardening, living simply, and personal growth, please pass the word by directing them to http://sacredsanctuary.org and encourage them to subscribe to this newsletter.
Wishing you peace and love -
Edwin Basye, Steward