Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia

This past weekend I did more projects related to Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia.  These projects include more plantings, labeling the plants, adding shade to the propagation beds, and building a 1200 gallon rain water harvesting system.

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia

Look at That Garden

This past weekend was another busy one on the farm in WV.  In spite of all of the rain, I managed to plant more than a dozen perennials and shrubs and put some grass and clover seed down on the areas I added topsoil to last week.  After the seed was down, I added hay on top to keep the seeds moist.  Even though it has rained on the East Coast of the US for the last 30 days straight, next week is suppose to get sunny and hot, so I don’t want the seeds to dry out.  Many of the projects this weekend were additions to or completions of projects done last weekend.  These projects can be viewed at Farm Update – STUN Shear Total Utter Neglect.

You’ve Got to See These Labels

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia - Labels

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia – Labels

I went to Michael’s craft store and bought Popsicle sticks (or tongue depressors).  These were used to label the annual plants that I put in last week so I don’t have to carry a map around with me showing what is planted where.  I wrote with a sharpy marker on one side of the stick and a ball point pen on the other side of the stick.  I know the sticks won’t last a long time, I’m just wanting them to last through the summer.  Because they are wood, they can just rot in place after the summer be additional mulch and compost.  See the picture titled “Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia – Labels” to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

I also put labels on most plants in the food forest.  These labels are different than the laminated labels I put in the perennial garden.  These labels are aluminum that you write on with a ball point pen and make a depression on.  I will do a future video and post on that in the coming weeks.  You can see a brief overview of the labels in the YouTube video  My Weekend in West Virginia

Cover Those Plants

Now with the weather predicted to change from wet and cool to hot and dry, I needed to cover and protect the propagation bed and the hardwood cuttings.  I added shade cloth to the top of the propagation beds and used wire ties to hold them in place temporarily.  Due to the high winds I get on the farm, I needed more than just wire ties, so I put two sections of four foot fence over the shade cloth to hold the shade cloth down.  It was raining for most of the weekend, so I just did a quick job and it doesn’t look too pretty, but it is functional.  I’ll come back in a few weeks and tidy things up a little.

But Wait, There’s More

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia - Rain Water Catchment

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia – Rain Water Harvesting

And the biggest project for the weekend was the large rainwater harvesting system.  This system includes four 300-gallon IBC totes totaling 1200-gallons of water.  And believe it or not, I actually filled them up this weekend into Monday of this week!  We had a nor-Easter roll up the coast of the mid-Atlantic and got over an inch of rain.  Well an inch of rain on an almost 1300 sq. ft. roof, makes for a lot of water.  The picture titled “Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia – Rain Water Harvesting” shows the tanks on Saturday morning half full.  It continued to rain through Monday and filled them the rest of the way up.

I have a plumber coming in two weeks to install a pressure tank and pump for this system and then I will be using it for my intermittent mist system for the propagation beds.  I need instant-on pressure for the mist heads, so just a pump itself will not work for this system.  The other systems I’ll be putting in will be fine with just a pump and no pressure tank.

I will be posting two additional posts and videos on the rainwater catchment system in the future.  One will show how I put this system together and explain all of the parts and pieces.  The other one will go over some of the lessons learned, mistakes, and fixes for those mistakes.

And now the Video

Please check out the YouTube video below that provides a video update of the Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia.


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