I am in Southern Utah, on the side of a mountain about 5300' elevation, supposedly zone 7a, depending on the winter or lack there of. In 2019 the last snowfall was the last day of school the end of May, and then it started snowing on Thanksgiving and snowed nonstop to about late April, 2020. But we did get a hard frost the week after Mother's Day pretty much ruining the chance of apples and grapes for the year. Most years, like this year so far, we get a few inches and then it melts before snowing again. Summer temps are usually about 90, sometimes reaching 100. Last summer we were over 150 days without rain, that didn't help either.
We have 3/4 acre, about 1/4 of that is taken up by the house and garage (I built it myself, hammer and nail, everything). There is a 100 gallon plastic water trough that is home to many guppies. The guppies are a hobbie and we sort out the plain, deformed, ugly, or old so that those with the best colors can breed and create colorful offspring. The guppies we sort out are fed to the chickens, or the turkeys, or the ducks, or the goose, to give them a treat and a little bit of extra protein. The chickens are for egg production, some may be eaten in due time. Some of the ducks are for egg production and hopefully hatching out some ducklings. We probably have about 20 Pekins that will be dressed out for dinner within a month or two. Three of the 5 turkeys are pets, the 2 females just started giving eggs, and we are hoping to hatch a few this spring. There are 2 Toms that will be dressed out for dinner within the next month or two. Several of us were sick for Christmas and we didn't feel up to processing the bird so I guess it was given a stay of execution. The goose, Gus the Goose, is a pet and the kids are working on his instagram following. Gus is supposed to provide security if something is dumb enough to try and get close to the birds. The kids know how to handle him, but I happen to know his wings hit hard, I pity the fool that gets too close.
The property was naturally full of Pinion Pine and Juniper, as well as typical desert type vegetation. After 6 years of trying to get trees and plants and anything else growing (on a casual effort) I tested the soil last month and discovered it is slight alkaline and very much depleted of nutrients. I have been scattering wood chips since I bought the property and cleared the area for the house. A neighbor gave me some ground cover and some Iris' and they were growing well so I didn't think about testing the soil. Most everything else fared poorly, except one tomato plant that started on its own just outside the chicken run and grew very well. That was the clue that the soil needed help. I am in the process of helping with chicken manure, horse manure, wood chips, and sadly for at least this next year some fertilizer and soil amendments.
OK, I babbled enough for now. I hope to learn some stuff around here to make this next growing season more productive, maybe even adding a quackaponics system using the poop water filtered out the bottom of the duck pond I plan to build in the spring.
Michael, welcome to Permies! Thank you for such an interesting introduction. Sounds like your location has its challenges, but it also sounds like you are learning how to adapt and thrive. Permies is a great place to learn, ask questions, and share.
Burl Smith wrote:[b] The guppy tank is in a heated room, no?
The guppypond is in the yard and sits on the ground. The sides are insulated. It has a heater and it is inside an 8'x10 green house. In the summer the greenhouse limits the amount of direct sunlight and helps keep it cooler, maybe about 83*. The bottom sitting on the ground acts as a heat sink in the summer. Last year it probably had about 300 guppies doing well. In the winter the warm water helps keep the greenhouse above freezing. I cover the pond at night with plastic and a sheet of bubble insulation, but enough moisture sneaks out to allow the condensation on the plastic ceiling to rain down and water the plants. I only watered twice so far this winter.
Leigh Tate wrote:Michael, welcome to Permies! Thank you for such an interesting introduction. Sounds like your location has its challenges, but it also sounds like you are learning how to adapt and thrive. Permies is a great place to learn, ask questions, and share.
Thank you. I am surfing for helpful information.
When in doubt, doubt the doubt.
All that thinking. Doesn't it hurt? What do you think about this tiny ad?