K Revak

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since Oct 08, 2015
My youngest will graduate in a year and for the first time in 30+ years I will be responsible only for myself.   Looking at taking an early retirement stipend and going off grid.  I have an extensive raised bed garden and lots of handyman experience.
Southern Alberta
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Recent posts by K Revak

Love these discussions with people chiming in with their different viewpoints; its the best of diversity.

Were I'm at in the great white north (+90F summer/-30F winter) I'm thinking of a retreatable design.  A core that will be kept at room temperature and a west end large breezeway/entrance room that will kept above freezing that will contain things like laundry, storage, utilities.  A deck/patio wrapping around the east end so I can seek out/hide from the sun as appropriate.
My experience:
-florescent lights seem to be good for starts.  I use grow bulbs, have heard using a warm white and a cool white bulb works fine
-florescents produce a fair amount of heat and have caused overheating problems when used in an enclosed cabinet
-stacking them can provide the warmth needed rather than having to use warming pads.  I have had problems with overheating with an enclosed stack.
-you can have a little more selection of light spectrum  using LEDs
-being able to adjust the height of the lamps above the plants is a must to prevent them becoming too leggy
-the LED lights can be hard on the eyes and somewhat blinding.  There are special glasses you can use to avoid damage from too much exposure
-LED lights are more focused than florescent so I would tend to go with LED if you are using an open rack in front of a window, florescent with the lining below if enclosed.
-hydroponic shops sell a white one side, silver the other plastic that can be used to "wrap" your grow areas to keep the light and moisture in
-next year I think I will go with a florescent 2 tube fixture and an LED fixture in each 2x4 bay, stacked 3 high, seeds on top where its warmest and migrating the trays downward as they grow

my 2cents worth.
Here's some general info on chinese wheelbarrows.  Shouldn't be too hard with some ingenuity.  
http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2011/12/the-chinese-wheelbarrow.html/

1 year ago
The land is in the Camrose AB area.  Classified as Morainal, Black Chremomics.  Excellent deep soil farmland.  I haven't worked out in my mind why this patch is so water laden but there is a ducks unlimited wetland a few miles away that has been going dry.  Thanks for the great pointers.  Will review and try to grok it.  
1 year ago
I guess what I was looking for is
-comments/thoughts on chinampas in cold climates
-how do I go about confirming that if I sculpt canals that they will retain water throughout the summer and not just become mud holes?

1 year ago
Looking at 100 acres that is flat and wet.  Some areas that are a couple feet higher and support scrubby birch, otherwise the grass is chest high.  Zone 4 -30C in winter, +30C in summer.  Mosquitoes are horrendous.  The price is right since it has no utility for conventional agriculture; too wet for equipment and grazing for most of the year.     It is a few miles from a Ducks unlimited wetland so the water table in the area is high.  Land to the north is higher and conventionally cropped; land slightly slopes to the south.  An adjacent plot plans on establishing a bee farm.  

The answer that comes to mind is chinampas.  The price is right so I would have headroom to have someone come in and do some land sculpting.  Essentially cutting channels for the water ways and piling the soil on the land strips for growy things.  I walked the land June 2017, water was barely sub-surface in some of the low areas (I'd sink deep when walking the low spots).  It didn't have the stink of anaerobic decay tho.

-anybody have experience/insights on cold climate chinampas?
-being so flat, would I just end up with a stagnant fetid mess?  
-suggestions on dealing with the mosquitoes?


1 year ago
Last spring I looked at a 100 acre plot of land that was very boggy with many areas that had areas raised a foot or two that supported mostly birch trees.  This is in central Alberta.   Far too wet for conventional agriculture or grazing.  Price was cheap and was thinking with hugelculture and some drainage ditches it might work.  Mosquitos are horrendous tho.   Wrote it off as a type 1 error but...

What is other's experiences with re mediating boggy terrain?

Ken
1 year ago
I'd be a little skeptical of using straw bales in a humid environment.  All the sources I see indicate that good boots and hat are required to keep water off.  A friend that built one near Calgary said the most important thing he did was have the foundation 2' high.  That prevented the snow from piling up against the cob.

How did yours turn out?

Ken
1 year ago
Speculating out loud here.  Would it help to put a ring of copper wire on top of the mulch around the seedlings?
1 year ago
My land plan is similar to yours.  

I did about 50 this past spring.  Will see how they survive the winter.  What I did is use heavy duty landscape fabric and sewed my own grow bags to save money and possibly air prune the roots.  An arborist friend suggested that the bags should be almost twice as wide as they are tall.  (most root spread horizontally rather than vertically).  She thought it a good strategy to get many starts going at minimal cost.  

Mine ended up a little wider that tall because I couldn't prevent the bottoms from falling when moving them around.  I also used a chicken wire wrap on some to provide structural support.  Seeds are cheap so I'm going to start a bunch of vines and berry's this winter.  A heads up that most seeds will require months of cold stratification; if you want to go that route you need to get your orders in pronto.  I did add fungi inoculate when potting them.
1 year ago