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Leila Blair

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since Feb 23, 2016
I am a single senior woman living on 4 acres in SE Arizona.
I am trying to create a perrenial permaculture oasis in the desert.
I started 20 years ago, so my evergreens are now 40 ft tall.
Now planting fruit and nut trees and bushes as fast as I can.
I have 7 dogs, 3 cats, and 10 chickens.
I am in heaven when I'm in my garden planting something.
Palominas, az
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Recent posts by Leila Blair

I've been using spent oyster mushroom bags from a grower to grow mushrooms.
She has stopped selling them, so will have to buy spores online now.
For substrate I'm vacillating between Bermuda hay I buy for my goats, very old wood chips, or oak leaves I can gather from An oak forest. I used all of the above to make my starter bed, o g with coffee grounds. Looking for advice.
4 days ago
About frost:
since i go down to 10 degrees ive developed several tricks.
when i first planted my guavas i piled dead yucca bases around the trunks then threw old blankets and quilts over the tops. In spring had to cut off about 7 " of dead tops, but they lived. Dont have to protect now, theyre healthy and productive.
Ive collected a HUGE lot of glass cake toppers, cheese toppers and tall glass vases to use as cloches. I cover the young veggy plants with those and throw quilts over them at night.
Taller plants get tomato cages with sheer curtains durung the day and quilts at night.
i have a 6x8 greenhouse with a gravel filled  sink hole in the floor and grow light and big Chistmas lights.
It stays REALLY warm in there and was working great for starting plants until the mice tunneled in and started eating everything.
To thwart the grasshoppers i have a collection of wire trash cans to put over veggy plants.
i obviously spend ALOT of time in thrift shops, swap meets, garage sales gathering all this stuff. i also have 3 old wringer washing machines planted with chard, parsley and onions. They have tomato cages with sheer curtains over to keep birds out. Tomatos and potatos are planted in metal trash cans and covered.
8 months ago
i have a PVC drip system and it works pretty good, but i still have to drag hoses around and deep water some trees. The pineapple guavas are fine with just the drip, but the nut trees need more water.
i use 4 way splitters with shorter hoses on a long hose so i can water 4 trees at a time. That way i can leave it on overnight or when im gone all day.
My veggy garden is a 30 ft circle so i can use a sprinkler. Also use a sprinkler in the hazelnut guild.
And i have a hose system going to my  newer pine tree
guild. The older ones have hit ground water so dont have to water them anymore.
And i have volunteer mulberries and peach trees coming up everywhere. I give lots of baby trees away.
just found 3 four foot mulberries under the pine trees, gave the middle one away, leaving the other 2 there.
And these are all from a volunteer mulberry! ive never planted one!
ive been here 25 years and have 4 acres, so i can go crazy. But the back acre is fenced off for my miniature horse and 5 Nigerian goats.
my biggest problem is finding frost hardy food plants. i go down to 10 degrees on winter nights. Even had frost in the middle if MAY! A few burned leaves on my biggest pecan tree and the newest rhubarbs.
if you stay above 30 degrees try to find some Arivaca avocado trees. Makes me crazy that im too cold for them!
8 months ago
You can usually get free mulch from your local transfer station. If you dont have a truck, take a trash can, put trash bag in and fill up the bag. My back can handle about 6 bags,at a time. And find people with goats, horses, sheep, etc to harvest poop from. I use the same bag method from a neighbor with horses.
And start planting perrenials. I plant 2 year crowns of purple asparagus in the tree wells of every new tree. Buy on Amazon.
Also artichokes, and rhubarb. Im eating all 3 right now!
I have them planted in my hazelnut guild.
ive also been known to pick up bags of leaves left by the road on trash pickup day.
And you can call tree trimmer companies, they have to pay at the transfer station to dump their chipped trees. ive had them dump them in my yard for free.
8 months ago
I have a 40 ft "volunteer" peach tree. The peaches take forever to ripen. They are still completely green in July!
The birds don't wait for ripening, they peck holes, then the bees, wasps and beetles start in on the holes. If I want to eat a peach I have to chew around the bad parts. Thats if I can find some that actually had time to ripen.
I usually just pick up what's on the ground, cut off the good parts and freeze in small one serving zip locks to make compote for French toast.
1 year ago
How do you keep birds, bugs, mice, rats, from eating whatever you put in these solar dehydraters?
I was all ready to build one to dry mesquite beans when I remembered how fond pack rats are of mesquite beans.
1 year ago
I make my own tintures, so I collect all the blue bottles I can find to keep them in. Edgar Cayce said the color blue is very healing.
There is a certain brand mineral water that comes in blue bottles.  And a vodka and a kefir.
The blue beer bottles don't have reusable lids unfortunately.
Im on the way out to collect roses to put in vodka for tincture this morning.
1 year ago
I have 3 of them I use for growing greens.  I put a tomato cage on top and cover with sheer curtains to thwart birds.
1 year ago
I've been saving some large metal horse watering tanks with the thought of doing an aqumonics system. But
theres no room in the house, it would have to be in an unheated out building. My yard gets down to 10 degrees winter nights. Yesterday it was 18 degrees. In April!
I'm assuming this is not doable in my case. If I'm wrong, somebody please educate me. I'm a 70 year woman who has to pay a handyman for stuff like this, so dont want to make any expensive mistakes.
The good news is, my new outside oyster mushroom garden is doing GREAT!
1 year ago
Read about that method,  too lazy to drill all those holes.
1 year ago