Amy Gardener

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since Aug 29, 2016
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building greening the desert hugelkultur
5000' Corrales, NM
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Recent posts by Amy Gardener

Interesting. Thanks for the info Richard. I'm of no help on this one but good luck with the search.
Amy
3 days ago
Just curious... could you sprout any organic packaged wild rice from Minnesota or Canada? The wild rice that I cook from a bag looks just like this wild rice from this company that specializes in "sprouts:"
https://sproutpeople.org/wild-rice-sprouts/
Lundberg organic wild rice is about $11/pound here in the US. Sprouting wild rice sounds like a nice winter project....
3 days ago
Hello Sue.
I am in zone 7 so my experience is somewhat different but may be helpful. I have about 400' of 5' x 10' hugelculture berms built with cottonwood and sand and silt. The process has been going on about 20 years. Alongside the berms are adobe buildings. The recipe for adobe construction is 8 parts sand to 1 part clay plus some organic matter (mostly goathead plants). I give you this recipe in hopes that you will not add clay to your berm. The rock-hard results are great for building permanent structures for your homestead but not helpful for growing plants. The plants that grow well on the berm are natives grown from seeds that are in the sand already or easy to gather on roadsides locally. Mix those seeds with one part clay and one part compost to make 1/2 inch dry pellets to toss into depressions formed by your boot prints. These depressions hold water and help the plants grow. Eventually you will replace some of the natives (saltbush in my case) with edible plants. Use trimmings from the volunteer plants to enrich the berm. Hold the moisture in the berm with trimmings (keep all organic matter in the berm).
I have success planting non-natives at the foot of the berm where runoff water catches. I use horse manure to enrich the berms with organic matter since this is what is available here. My neighbors fill the wheelbarrow daily and I wheel the manure up ramps to drop the droppings on top of the berm (sheet composting). The nutrient rich runoff at the bottom of the berms has supported the growth of fava beans (great for eating and for compost), irises, fruit trees (plums, apricots, apples, pears, jujubes, cherries...) and extensive crops of garlic. The key is as much organic matter as you can get every year. Eventually (think 5 years or more) if you make catchments for water on the berm or even inject water into the berm with a homemade pvc hose attachment (about 3' long) the worms will take over. This project has been very rewarding and it is worth the effort that I put in years ago. The harvests over the last 10 years have been abundant and steadily increasing. Enjoy the process.
Amy
1 week ago
Hello Desert Friends. Do any of you have recommendations for maintaining tools in the desert? Specifically, techniques and supplies for hand-sharpening shovels and blades, lubricating moving parts without WD40 (due to problems with fine sand mixing with oil), refreshing wooden handles and removing rust? I like to avoid toxic chemicals where possible. Whetstone? Drystone? Grits?
Thank you for sharing your tricks!
1 month ago
Set aside 30 minutes to work on this project. Get in your vehicle. Drive up and down the driveway. For 30 minutes. Repeat when plants grow back.
Works in New Mexico.
1 month ago
First post ever! The tool I use most, is not even a garden tool. It's called a Dasco Pro Nail Puller 15" long x 3" wide. Indestructible. Great for digging, weeding, levering out rocks, measuring 3" holes for planting, making furrows for seed, deconstructing old stuff to harvest wood, pulling out salt-bush thicket, carrying cholla and other cactus, removing buried barbed wire, wedging up pots, opening pellet bags, readjusting bricks and pavers,...
1 month ago