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Frequently Asked Questions
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What will you be growing?We'll have a number of growing areas... In the greenhouse we'll have tropical fruits [https://www.brownkawa.com/post/planting-plans https://www.brownkawa.com/post/wrap-up] We'll also grow cool-weather annuals in the greenhouse in winter (brassicas & greens) and warm-weather annuals in summer (melons, peppers, tomatoes, cukes). We plan have an outdoor garden with more traditional local plants (regional squashes, melons) and also general hardy shorter-season plants like radishes, greens, brassica). We hope to have an outdoor orchard on a slope, bermed to capture water but also irrigated when necessary (sour cherries, apricot), and some drought-tolerant trees in other areas (jujube). ...and we could go on and on about various plans in our head, but I'd better stop here before I move into the areas that we likely won't be doing for the first few years!
Will you raise any livestock?We will for sure have layer chickens, which we also had in Wisconsin. We hope to have honeybees, but that probably won't be until our second year. By then we should have enough citrus growing to keep them well-fed! We are considering having meat chickens, and maybe rabbits... we did help out with chicken slaughter at a local farm to see if we were up for that. Our conclusion was that we are able to do it, but do not want to do it for a business. If we did that it would just be to feed ourselves and our guests. We don't have any plans to go beyond that. We aren't planning on goats or sheep or pigs or a horse or donkey, but we've toyed with each of those ideas and haven't ruled them out. Maybe eventually if we have more neighbors or like-minded neighbors we could get some community animals so we'd have a share in the work and bounty but could still go on trips now and then! We definitely wouldn't get cattle.
How do keep going when there is so much hard work to do? (1/26, Jan)"We do have surges and stops. Recently we've had lots of stops due to weather or holidays or contractor schedules, etc. Then when that slow-down is over, we're eager to jump in! But for example, once we were done filling the trenches, I had a definite feeling of "OK, now it's on us -- nothing stopping us from finishing quickly; no more excuses!" I figured we could get an early start the next day (yesterday) and just whip out the frame. The result of that is that I was compelled to stay up until 1:30, sleep in, then "needed" to do dishes and bathe (at least a monthly requirement, hah!) before heading over. So all we did was move the frame over and try that one end piece out for size. So for us it doesn't feel like we are able to "keep going" -- more like we go in fits and starts. For me the challenge is to be kind to myself when I have one of those Kimi-induced (rather than weather/contractor/etc-induced) slowdowns... and to be kind to Chip when it's a Chip-induced slowdown! We are retired, after all! :D
Will you be capturing water? (1/25, Ross)"We will capture rain off of the greenhouse "roof"(/walls). It's not designed perfectly for that (no eaves) so we'll probably have to do something goofy like screw a gutter toward the bottom using the same screws that affix the lexan, and then silicone-seal it to the lexan face... On the back it will be easier because the siding has bump-outs, so we can at least put the gutter below a lower bump-out. On the other hand, the siding is installed horizontally instead of vertically so I'm not sure how nicely the water will flow. We'll also be capturing and reusing graywater. And eventually we hope to have a small aquaponics system inside for some of the growing (greens and such), and that will recirculate water. It might be too much for this first year, though -- not sure when we will get to that. This year we plan to put a bathtub in! Then we could use that for fish after we have a bath in the house... and yes, the bath water can water the trees! Outside, we will chip wood to create on-contour berms to slow down runoff and incourage infilteration, and we will plant fruit trees above each berm (well, we might berm in other places without planting as well. We don't plan to capture water after irrigating -- hopefully we'll mostly be watering just enough that the plants will take up and use what we give them!
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