In this Issue
Welcome to Monsoon Season! There has been record rainfall in July so far, and one storm was the most violent I have experienced since coming to Arizona in 2003. It seems that climate change is favoring us with more rain. The big storm caused a big flood, washing out part of the road that had been stable for many years, and obliterating most of the gabions amd check dams in the main gully, and the earthen dam near the well. It may take years to rebuild them all. We will use different methods and structures that will be more robust and resistant to washing out, and will start at the top boundary of the land so the flood can't build up as much momentum as it flows down. There has been rain most days so far in July, and water is still flowing half-way down the gully and going into the ground. This will help recharge the water table, which I was beginning to be concerned about, given the reduced pumping rate from the well we were seeing in June.
The garden storage building has been carpeted and the back temporarily sealed to keep rats out. We will be further sealing up and insulating the holes we were going to use for egg drops when it was a chicken coop.
Dan & Niki have left the Sanctuary for personal reasons, leaving on amicable terms. Thank you Dan & Niki for all you did for the Sanctuary!
That currently leaves only me (Edwin), but there's good news: Michael Moore (not the film director) from California will be joining me on the 31st, so we will have a real "community" once again soon. It will be great to have Michael helping out with the harvesting and vending at the Farmer's Market in Bisbee. More about Moore in the next newsletter.
The Farmer's Markets
I (Edwin) harvested on my own this past week, and did not harvest quite as much as usual. Still I did about 80% of normal sales. This week I brought more to the market to try to reach previous levels of sales, and succeeded. There was a little less competition this week also, since some vendors don't come every week.
I plan to bring more produce to the Douglas Mercado this Sunday, the 21st.
The bean crop is doing gangbusters this week, and the summer squash and cucumbers are also abundant. There was large harvest of lettuce and kale as well, today. The okra and tomatoes are just starting to produce but won't be money makers of significance until at least next week. The melons are starting to set fruit, and the winter squash is doing better with the rains.
Mixed lettuce and kale continue to be the staple crops, and the monsoon rains plus added compost last time the beds were dug. have made the lettuce especially lush (see below).
I planted a new bed of red potatoes. It's time to replant more spinach, stir-fry mix, and lettuce. I am working on widening an existing bed and will be digging up an old lettuce bed to replant. The tomatoes which produce medium-sized fruit were planted late and will not be producing for at least a few more weeks.
The chinaberries have continued to shoot up, thanks to all the rain. Some have grown a foot in the last month, and even the smaller ones are starting to take off.
I solved the fruit tree drip system problem, it was a clogged filter. The existing system is adequate after all, without splitting it into two circuits.
I also extended the chinaberry tree circuit in the upper level, distributing water to newly planted trees.
With Dan and Niki leaving I've been playing catchup, so the solar oven did not get worked on. I bought a few 5-gallon buckets with lids to store food in, and they are in the storage building now. There is rice, whole wheat, beans, and lentils.
- Sightings of deer and other wildlife nearby. The dogs seem to keep the deer from getting too close.
- The hills are greening up thanks to all the rain.
- I've partially installed the first drip tape system for the garden beds. Each system will do about 6-9 beds, depending on the length of the beds.
On the agenda for July/August:
Continue selling produce at the Bisbee market
- Finish replanting empty beds and continue succession plantings of the summer crops as needed
- Weeding, especially the bermuda grass which loves to grow wildly during monsoon season
- Continue to obtain more compostable materials
- Spread another application of biological control for grasshoppers
- Receive Michael into the community and make sure his needs are met.
- Start work on finishing the interior of Edwin's dome and/or water heater if time permits
- Finish at least the first drip tape system and order parts for a 2nd.
- Repair road as needed
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://sacredgardensanctuary.org and encourage them to subscribe to this newsletter.
Wishing you peace and love -
Edwin Basye, Steward