Creating Traditional Raised Beds

On the last day working as an intern at Cricket’s Cove, I learned the super-easy way to create raised beds in a pre-weeded garden plot. The day before, a fellow intern and I weeded the four raised beds on the farm. It only took a bit of muscle and a prior day of flooding each bed with water to soften the soil around the roots. πŸ™‚

We only used a few tools – wheeled hoe, basic hoe and a few shovels. It took roughly a total of twenty minutes to complete. πŸ™‚ ❀

Last week, I helped harvest bamboo for the first time and worked with a few other interns to construct a bamboo fence. We have troubles with deer in the area, so this will help deter them from walking in at night. πŸ™‚ Thank goodness, we do not have to worry about deer entering our future homestead in New Zealand. πŸ˜€ haha The hunting areas where deer flock (as far as I know) do not roam around Mangonui. ❀

The future plan is to use bamboo for various projects around the Butterfly Forests Homestead. There shall be a possible idea of creating a ground barrier that will be deigned for bamboo to grow, without the plant taking over.. we shall see what route we take in order to have a supply of bamboo. . πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

*Of course, one can also plant a two tier effect hedge of plants deer do not like to eat around the property. . Or nasty bushes and plants that will cause them to pause or stop. I do not think that shall be an issue in all-honesty .. or something we will have to consider later on. πŸ™‚

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Water conservation: Swells

This morning, I learned how to save water in swells with connecting ponds. πŸ™‚

By using a hillside one can create tiers of land with small ditches. Each ditch has a mound of soil in a rounded ‘step formation’ with water. Each tier has various useful plants and trees nearby to help with stopping erosion and slowing the water loss. Depending how much water you want to store and if you plan to have fish in one of the lower tiers to help make the land more fertile – you could have three to five ponds with various swells between each pond. πŸ™‚

A water pump is used to help with water cycling in the water ponds and lower levels, and/or in times of need when a drought is happening. We are currently having an early drought this season in Virginia. So the water level is dropping in the ponds by inches. We need to have the swells kept at ground level for water. If we do not keep the swells full, it takes more water and trouble with water staying in the area .. and more water is used when the swells are low with how mother nature will automatically try with balancing things.

When it rains, the swells will fill to full capacity and overflow into lower tiers. Once the last tier fills and spills over – the domino effect proceeds in continuing to all ponds. If there is a creek nearby, it will eventually flow into the creek when the last large pond is over filled by rain storm. By having the swells, this stops the rain water from gushing quickly down the slope of the land and taking precious soil, organic nutrients, etc with it. By having the swell-tiers method, this helps collect water sources into pond reserves.

Excellent with improving the water-table’s surface where your plants shall be rooting best. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

Overall, it is a better control approach in regards of water storage/watering plants on a semi hilly to steep landmass. The tier-swell method really helps lands who have been ‘raped’ over many years by over grazing livestock, clear cutting trees and repetitive mono-crops heal faster overtime with new green growth and watering more effectively.

The Property While Away

So, while we are still living in the states and getting ready for the big move in 2018: we need to have property maintenance of the olive trees and so-forth.
-It is amazing how quickly a well maintained property shall be taken over by nature again, and transformed into what I picture as a happy meadow. πŸ™‚ Β Once or twice a year, we have a lovely landscaping company of two tend to our needs while being away from the future Butterfly Forests Homestead. πŸ™‚

Here are the before and after photos. Keep in mind, when we left the newly mowed property – the time was June 14th of this year. It took them a total of seven hours to mow. How quickly it grew in full swing! πŸ˜€

The crew of two said:
In some parts between the trees the growth was quite thick and as high as the bonnet of the tractor.