Sustainable Dreams

What is permaculture

As the world continues to change in so many negative ways, many of us are gaining a mind set on survival, and being more earth friendly. We want to learn how to live a natural life where we dont have to depend on multibillion dollar corporations that poison our world and rape our bank accounts.

"Simply put, permaculture is a design science that is rooted in the observation of nature. It’s a positive, solution-based way of thinking, using a practical set of ecological design principles and methods. Permaculture principles provide a way of thinking that enables people to provide for food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs."

My family currently rents our home.  The land we have to work with is very limited, but still a nice set up for a beautiful, edible garden space and a few chickens.

I have always desired a "live of the land" kind of life where we at the very least, could supplement our food costs with our own fruits, veggies, and animals. With that said, I absolutely cannot have larger or many animals in this rented space because of where its located and the fact that I do not own it. This makes my time here a good opportunity for learning the permaculture ropes before we move onto our own land when our youngest child goes off to college in 2 years.

I have posted my supplies needs on a couple of local websites, asking for the opportunity to gather supplies free of cost for cleaning up or disassembling in exchange for the sustainable project supplies. So far, I have been given a bunch of landscape timber and wire fencing. Everything in this rented space will have to be movable, so it will add an extra element to our initial project, but I am still excited for it all.

How to grow strawberries from seed

Strawberries are a perennial plant that will produce fruit year after year after the first year of growth. I wont get any fruit this year, but the growing process is no less important to bring up healthy plants. Below, I have included step by step instructions for starting your strawberries from seeds.

10 Strawberry Recipes You Will Love

Ive discussed my wishes for a self sustaining perennial garden in previous posts. Although it may take me a few years to achieve, I am slowly growing my options. It is very important that before I go too far, I must learn about each edible I grow for an acceptable success.

 When I purchased my seeds online from various companies via Amazon, it was later than I hoped for, and I wasn't ready when it was time to plant, but I managed to scrape enough resource with little cash as I could to get some seedlings started. Unfortunately, my strawberry seeds were last to arrive, so I am just now beginning to seed them into pots that I will leave outside in the sun since Spring has sprung :)

Step 1

Some strawberry seeds need to be cold treated prior to germination, so make sure to check the specific requirements for the type of strawberries you grow, before you plant them indoors.

If necessary, cold treat your seeds by wrapping them in plastic and freezing them for a minimum of 2 weeks, but try to give them 30 days.

After freezing, transfer your seeds to the refridgerator for 4 days to a week. then move them again to a cool but slightly warmer place for a few more days until they reach room temperature.

Pay close attention to the variety you use as well as whether or not the nursary may have already cold treated them. Skip this step if they have already been cold treated.

Step 2

Using soiless planting medium such as Kempf Compressed Coco Fiber Growing Potting Mix 11-Pound Block, Medium, and seed trays such as 720 Cells Seedling Starter Trays for Seed Germination +5 Plant Labels (120, 6-cell Trays)

Fill seed trays 3/4 full with soiless planting medium.

Step 3

Spread 3-4 seeds over the top of the growing medium of each cell or container. Cover with a thin layer of growing medium and water.

Cover the trays with plastic after they are seeded and watered.

Step 4 

Keep seeded trays in direct sunlight or use grow lights. 

Turn the plastic regularly to avoid too much condensation build up, but be sure to keep the growth medium moist at all times.

I use a spray bottle to wet the surface of seedlings so as to not over water.

Step 5

Once the second set of true leaves comes in, sort the weak plants out and transplant the stronger, healthy plants into bigger containers using good potting soil such as Espoma AP2 Organic Potting Mix, 2 Cubic Feet

You may also plant them in your garden at this stage as long as all danger of frost is over.

How to grow tomatoes from seed

Tomato seeds should be germinated inside, approximately 6-8 weeks before the last frost date for your area.
Select a fresh source for all of your seeds. If your seeds are old, the germination rate dwindles. Try to always get seeds at 1 or 2 years. Packaging and storage of seeds is as important as the age of the seeds, or more so.

Step 1:

***A commercially prepared seed starting mix, usually a combination of peat moss, vermiculite and per lite, is recommended.Using soiless growing medium such as American Educational Growing Medium, 20lbs or Nature's Footprint 650gm Coconut Coir Brick, Medium, fill some seedling containers 3/4 full. Use containers that have drainage holes so the soil can drain excess water. 720 Cells Seedling Starter Trays for Seed Germination +5 Plant Labels (120, 6-cell Trays)

Step 2:

Thoroughly wet the growth medium and leave it over night to be sure it has an equal distribution of moisture. The mix should be damp like a sponge after wringing it out. Not too wet and should not have dry spots.

Step 3:

Plant seeds 1/8 inch deep into prepared trays. You may put seeds very close, as the seedlings will be separated as soon as they grow their first true leaves.

Press growth medium a bit to firm up the medium over the seed.

Cover seeded trays with plastic to keep moisture in.

Step 4:

Light is not necessary for germination, but the trays must be kept in a warm place, and not outside at this stage.

Move trays into sunlight (sunny window) as soon as you observe them beginning to sprout. They will reach for the sun and grow quickly.

A heated greenhouse is ideal. Otherwise use indoor grow lights or direct sun windows. If you use grow lights, keep them on the seedlings 16 hours/day.
First true leaves

Step 5:

Watch your plants as they grow. First will develop 2 soft leaves or cotyledons. These are not the first true leaves as they will die when the true first leaves come in.

Once the first true leave are developed, it is now time to transplant each seedling into a bigger container. The plants do well with this extra step as they are able to grow a stronger root system.

Plant each seedling deeply, shortening the height of the seedling.
You may use diluted down, light fertilizer at this time if necessary.

Lots of sunlight...Don't forget!!!

Step 6:

Introduce the plants to outdoor conditions slowly. This is called "hardening off". If it is not done slowly your plants may be shocked.

The longer the plants remains indoors, the harder it will be to healthily incorporate them to the outdoors. Avoid full sun and wind when you first move them outside.

Once your plants stabilize after transplanting, even a bit before depending on growth, begin strengthening your plants by slowly introducing them to the outdoor environment. Put them outside in a make shift green house or just on a sunny patio during the warmest parts of the day. Bring them back inside when the temperature drops each time. Doing this will harden off your plants and make them stronger to gradually get used to the elements of being outside.

If really cold weather is in forecast <40F (4C), it is best to bring the plants back inside. Freezing temperatures will destroy your plants (and it happens fast).

Step 7:

When, and only when all danger of frost is over, transplant your young plants into larger containers or directly into the ground. Either method you choose, they should be place outside and planted in fertile, loose soil.