August 9, 2009


It's been over a month since we posted our last update. This is mainly because we've been taking care of a lot of loose ends and focusing on details, which don't lend themselves to splashy photos. It's also been extremely hot (90°F- feels like 100°F), which has sapped our energy and cut our work days short.

With all of the specimen plants moved over, Petra has been focusing on the bigger landscaping plants, some of which were a chore to move . They're mostly all over now and she can begin working on her "dream garden." Her sentimental favorite is this gorgeous 6' Pachy, which she acquired as a seedling soon after she took up the hobby more than 13 years ago. Of course, it's been growing ever since and over the past few years has increasingly become a problem to re-pot and move. Petra stubbornly held onto it, hoping to eventually get a place to put it in the ground. Well, it's finally arrived at its permanent home! Grow, baby, grow!

Brian and Carlos plant a baby African baobob in the ground (note the double layer of chicken wire to protect against gophers). One might question the wisdom of Petra's landscape planning, since this species eventually forms a massive jaw-dropping trunk. In 50 years our white picket fence will be a goner and in less than 100 years you won't be able to traverse any further down Camino Rainbow!

One important accomplishment has been the installation of 100amp electrical service to the farm. We had a line run down to the greenhouse and were finally able to hook up an inflator fan that pumps air into the space between the 2 layers of poly that cover the greenhouse. It's amazing that this little fan is enough to keep a giant 32' x 96' "air mattress" inflated 24 hours a day! It is claimed that this measure will provide some insulation against both hot and cold extremes, as well as helping the poly to last longer. We'll see.

We've finished covering both of the greenhouse end-wall frames with Lexan and screening. We've also made Lexan panels to cover the windows during the winter (not shown). Next will be an electrical line down the length of the greenhouse, then roll-ups, doors and fans.

This is a view of the greenhouse interior from the north door. The 4-bench area covered with black shade cloth will be a bug-free "seed house" for starting new plants. The green-shaded bench is a work table.

A view from the south door.

On a separate front, we had a mason come in and build 8 4'x8' ground beds . These are designed to safely grow seedlings into larger marketable plants. We'll cover the bottom with wire cloth to keep out the hungry gophers, of which we have a large and healthy population.

A better view of the ground beds. Petra has decided to not rent out the little half acre parcel next door (visible in the background) behind the duplex. Her ambition is already starting to outgrow our little 3/4-acre "farm."