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Garden Planning, Hiking and Wood Stoves

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Posted on : 10:00 AM | By : Nic | In : , ,

The other day John and I walked the garden and figured out how big it actually is. We didn't have a long enough tape measure so we used John's foot, which is about 12 inches. As it turns out, the area is 285'x 120', a total of 34,200 square feet. An acre is 43,560 square feet so it's not quite an acre. It's still way more garden area than we expected. We plan to cut it in half. The front half will be raised beds built with non-pressure-treated wood. There will be 7 rows of boxes with a 5' walkway between and a 10' driveway in the middle if we need to get a truck in. Each row will have 28 boxes, and each box is 4'x8' or 32 square feet. The total raised bed area is 4,416 square feet. They will have veggies and herbs, all of them non-hybrid, all organic, and we will plan them out so that they will be companion planted. So each box is going to have a variety of plants (which means we will have to have a very detailed map of each box as well). The first year we are going to try just about everything... lots of green veggies like kale, and many herbs for cooking, teas and medicinal. We are going to have plenty left over to take to the farmer's market and give to family and friends.

The back half of the garden will still be rows, but it will be corn, pumpkins, and root vegetables like potatoes. On the north side of the garden we will be putting in a greenhouse, hopefully about 200 square feet. The greenhouse is vital in extending the growing season, which is only about 5 months. If we can get two more months, we can do the tomatoes and other long-season plants much better. We will also extend the season by putting plastic hoop houses over the raised beds to warm the soil, and doing succession planting. I'm doing a big graph paper picture of the whole thing and it should take a while but when it's done I'll post it (although it might change over time).

The other thing I was wondering is if we could replace the wood heat stove in the trailer we will live in, with a wood cookstove. My book has a huge section on cooking on a woodstove, building the fire, etc. The problem is, and something I hadn't really considered, is that in the summer gets really hot in Montana. Cooking on a woodstove in the summer would be miserable, but I suppose I could do all my summer cooking on a barbecue or solar oven. If we could eliminate our electric stove, we would be down to a washing machine, lights, the pump for the well, and charging the laptop. That's probably the mimimum we could live with comfortably, and feasible to power with solar and wind.

Besides garden planning and staying up late playing board games and contemplating living without electricity, we went on a little hike yesterday with my dad and new stepmom. We built a fire and cooked veggie burgers, sat around and then went on the Trail of the Cedars. It's a handicap-accessible hike with a boardwalk through the forest. They have little observation places to see different features, like cedars that fell over and waterfalls off the rocks. It also goes past the Avalanche Creek gorge which is a neat waterfall that has cut through the rocks. Bears are still a concern even on such a well-traveled hike, so it was tough for me to just let the girls run on ahead and tell them once to stay where they could see me. I kept reminding them even when they weren't out of sight, and of course eventually they disregarded the whole thing and took off. When will I break those habits? lol

Comments (3)

You can build a Fun-panel solar cooker in less than an hour from a cardboard box and a few metres of aluminium foil.

Tom Sponheim
Solar Cookers International

Now that is a BIG Garden!!! I would love to see pics!

We have a garden of raised beds and we really like it.

I thought you might find this interesting. A great idea for hoop houses for raised beds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBcQfxdpUaA