Designing 2 New Gardens For The Homestead | Ep. 3

You know, they say that things take twice as long
as you think they will to complete, even when you take this rule into account. I forgot what the name of that rule is, but it certainly seems to be
true as I juggle, you know, different projects here at the Urban
Homestead – the fence, the actual gardens, the irrigation, the shed,
all sorts of things. And really this is just phase 0.1 to
get everything off the ground here. There's just so much space. So what I thought I'd do today is show
you a little bit of actual progress that's been happening. Last
episode we talked about planning, today we'll talk about a
little bit of progress.

We have some gardens in the ground. We have some rudimentary systems
in place here, so stay tuned, enjoy the journey. So the first thing to talk about is this
massive delivery of soil that just came in from my friends at this Espoma Organic,
who are not sponsoring this video, but I do work with extensively. So
we've got some Land and Sea compost. We have a raised bed mix. And then
over there in the back corner, we have their mushroom compost, which is like remains of what
comes from mushroom growers. But I'm also collecting some natural
inputs. So I'm raking leaves. I'm raking weeds. Both of these
will go either into the compost, probably leaves into the
compost or leaf mold.

The weeds will be turned into an
anaerobic weed-style fertilizer, which I'm excited to show you about. So I know I've shown you guys the
grow bag garden quite a few times. So what I want to do is select a couple
crops and just kind of show them off for you. Crop one that's really
been performing well is
this black cobra pepper. Now look at the stem, it's sort of
fuzzy. It's a really interesting pepper. And as you can see, we've got quite a few coming out and
just look at the structure of it. Very interesting. You've got this nice
Y and then they Y again. Boom, boom. And it's just a beautiful,
beautiful pepper. We have another, Thai giant hot surrounded by some lettuce. And then I want to show you the grow
bag, the hundred gallon grow bag. Now this is an interesting layout.
I've got cucumbers in the middle, which I'll be trellising pretty soon. Some more of these Thai
giant hots surrounding, and then I have flowers surrounding all
of these.

So we have some cosmos here. We have a bachelor button. I believe
there's some zinnia in this mix as well. And I also brought down the lemon. So the Meyer lemon is down. This
eventually will go into the ground. But then another exciting
development is this loofah. So it's got a little
bit of leafminer damage, which is kind of annoying because I
seem to always struggle with loofah, but it's in this
sub-irrigated planter here. And what's really nice is there's like
four or five different trellis tiers. But on top of that, what
I'm doing, it's a pro tip. Instead of letting your loofah just
climb up like this, that's wasting a lot. What you should do is you should force
it to spiral around each of these and go all the way up that
way. It'll fill it in. You can rotate it every so
often to get maximum exposure, but I'm very excited about this loofah. The next thing coming up is starting
to increase my pollinator approach. So I have a desert rose yarrow
here, which is quite beautiful.

Here's a lantana that's
struggling just a little bit, much more so than when I bought
it. Honestly, it's only been a day. So something happened here. But it's a variegated one with some
yellow flowerheads, very beautiful. This one right here is a plumbago, which kind sounds like some sort of
hybrid plum fruit. But clearly it is not. There's a salvia there. If
you're in Southern California, salvia must be on your
list, some kind of salvia.

And then we also have a
lion's tail. Very beautiful, probably a fantastic one for hummingbirds. So I cleared a bunch
of this weed out which, man does this weed die
fast. Once you pull it out, all the color leaves it
in like half a second, but it is a gnarly one as you can
see. It's all over here right now, but we cleared it out of here to
put in this beautiful little guy.

So this is actually a pallet that I took
a circular saw and just cleaved right in half. So you have the middle piece of the pallet
right here and then here's the other edge. And then I was supposed to get
more of a fabric-style landscape fabric, but this one works okay. It's
just a little bit flimsy. But what you do is you sandwich. So you staple it in on the front
side and then you also staple in the backside right here. So take a look
at the back there. It's all contained. And then you fill the top with soil. So the soil is actually sitting in a
landscape fabric sleeve if you will.

Then what you do is, you
have, just cut a little X in, stuff in some herbs and
then water in the top. And so you have this very efficient, very slim and trim herb style planter
which is going to fill in and grow quite nicely once these guys get over their
transplant shock. So when I moved in, there was a jade in this and
what was stupid about it was, it was literally just a chunk of jade
that the landscaper who remodeled the house just stuck in. So it was
just a dead branch basically, but it looked alive. So
it was kind of a trick. So I took a cosmos from my
garden. And as you can see, we have to deadhead it a little
bit to keep production up, but it has transplanted in quite well.
So we have a little cosmos here from my, my dear friend, Supannee and we want to clean this up
every so often so it looks nice and trim.

And so that, see, look at
these new flower buds here, so that these guys keep
on growing and producing. So we'll just take all these off. This will look nice and clean and I'll
get onto the next section for our Epic Homestead update. This is probably the most substantial
update as we sit here in the front yard in an actual raised bed, or
on an actual raised bed. This is a four foot by eight foot
by 12 inch tall red cedar raised bed made out of single pieces. So the
lumber, it's pretty pricey, but red cedar, it's probably just one step below redwood
as far as its longevity for raised bed material. So very pleased with this. And let me just show you
kind of what we got going on, as well as the interesting
mulch that I decided to use.

So this time around I've actually given
myself a little bit of room so I can actually walk around here and deal
with the bed, which is very handy. But as you can see, the
design is quite simple. It's just individual pieces
of lumber with one little four by four corner to help snug them up. But that's really all there is to
it and very simple construction. So take a look at this mulch. It's actually a shredded redwood bark
and it has almost a fuzziness to it. I believe there's an unofficial
term for this called gorilla hair, but it's very interesting
and it's quite flammable. So you don't want to do this if you
live in like a super hot area that could catch a spark. Cause this,
just look at the quality of it, that could light up like crazy.

But it
keeps the soil dry or wet, excuse me, like I've never seen before. I mean, I haven't watered this in a few days
and you can see that this soil here very, very moist. And so I'm pretty
pleased with it. Great insulator. It seems like the soil overall
is kind of hot, so it's warm, but in general very pleased with this. So we've got a lot of things going
on in here. We've got some tomatoes, we have a line of zinnias here. Some of these cucumbers again
have been hit with the leafminers, which I'm not happy about,
but it is what it is. Built up some simple little
bamboo trellises which I'll
be talking about on the Epic Gardening channel soon. But the
most interesting thing is right here.

pexels photo 9660872

So, the inground bed. I haven't had an inground bed
since I grew potatoes in early 2019 for the Apocalypse Grow
Challenge, my survival challenge. So this is the first inground bed where
I'm not growing potatoes in my gardening career. And why? First of
all, why would I do it? Well, I have so much land that it makes a lot
of sense to grow inground for a segment of my crops. Now that's probably
going to be production crops. Like if I want to do production
potatoes or pumpkins or cut flowers or, you know, corn or
grains, things like that. Inground makes a lot more sense because
I don't need to build structure around it. But number two, it's
just fun to experiment. And I want to show you guys as many
different methods of growing as I can, of course still showing the small
space stuff, but also, you know, experimenting, having some fun. So
let me just hop behind the camera.

I want to talk about how I amended
the soil and formed this bed. So what you can see here
is a little tomato section. We've got some peppers and we have
some onions, green onions, et cetera, and some habanero. So we
have jalapenos, habaneros. I've got a little lashed up
bamboo system here that's got, it's just going straight down. And the only reason for this is these
peppers don't need a ton of support, but they might need just like one tie
because there's actually quite a strong coastal breeze that
comes through this way. And I think it might be smart
to have one little tie here, especially if I were to decide
to perhaps overwinter these. Eventually they get pretty big
and perhaps it might need it. Also just a cool thing to experiment with. But what we're talking about
really is the formation of the bed. So the flippers put down these chips, which thankfully they're
natural wood chips. They're not dyed or anything crappy like

So I just moved the chips away. And then the next thing to do,
let's take a look at this soil. See how hard this soil is.
They just scraped off the sod. And I mean this is like exceptionally
hard clay, very compact. And so I actually took a tiller, rototiller and tilled up maybe
four or five inches or so here. So you can see that's right around where
I started tilling it starts to go down a little bit. So I worked
maybe four to five inches down, but I also built this bed up
about four to five inches. So I have maybe eight to 10 inches
worth of growing space here in this bed. And I just formed a 30 inch across bed. So the reason I've chosen the 30 inch
bed is because you can straddle it. So I can just straddle it just like
this and work in it really easily. But also like all sorts of different
garden implements work really well on a 30 inch spacing. So it's just a really nice
manageable size to work from.

And if I were to extend this
bed and put another one on, I would just leave maybe 18
inches or so between the two, maybe 24 inches and then
put another one right here. And so I can see myself adding
quite a few more inground beds, but I don't have a rototiller anymore. So we'll figure out other
ways to improve the soil. And really the goal here is
till once, never till again. I don't want to get into that habit, but I did need to break up that
soil and improve it just once. So you're going to see a lot more inground
stuff though I suspect it's going to be over this way.

again, here's the orchard, but I'm thinking at least in the
interim, this area, this land back here, it makes a lot of sense
to do the inground beds. So I could just do really long rows, like going straight
back and do corn, wheat, cut flowers, potatoes,
squash, sweet potatoes, whatever back here while I'm
managing and controlling these weeds. Let me show you a couple of things that
I've done here in the back to build a stockpile of organic matter.

So back here I am using quite a bit
of my old shipping materials as a stockpile for sheet mulch, which I will probably end up laying
on top over here to smother this out. We'll see how that works. Now, another thing I noticed is the
apricot tree over here is actually, it seems like it was purposely cultivated. It wasn't just something random because
they've got one of these watering poles here where you just dump the water down
and it's subirrigates. And something, look at this, something has been eating these pits
because some apricots fell to the ground. Oh my goodness, these
are all apricot pits. So something has been coming
into the yard and eating, so I'm already getting a signal that I
might have a problem with a fruit eating pest.

So there's a lot still left to do, but surprisingly we've made some decent
headway here on the property with the installation of some actual new gardens. I don't have the Birdies Beds
back here at the property yet. Actually I think the eventual future
for this particular space will be showcasing all the cool different
Birdies models that I love to grow in. And that's going to happen pretty soon. But I've learned some interesting things. I've been meeting some
neighbors around here. It turns out there's some
cool neighbors around here. I'm really excited about that, but
some really friendly neighbors too. And I've learned that technically, I think I'm allowed to have
a horse on this property. I'm not sure if I'm ever going to do
that, but it's nice to know that I can. I also think there's a chance that I
may be able to drill a well on this property and if I could drill a well, I believe the rule is
that if I drill the well, I cannot use that water for drinking,
but I can use it for irrigation.

That's fine with me. I mean
the orchard, the inground rows, if I could do well water that
would be absolutely magical. That would save eventually tons and tons
and tons of money and be a very smart way to irrigate. And so there's that. I just recently got a quote on the roof. The roof is a flat roof and that's one
of the few things that wasn't repaired super well. I mean, it was patched up but it wasn't
completely repaired and brought to new.

And so if I wanted to do a new roof, the only reason I would
think about doing that, it's probably at about half its useful
life, is because to put on solar, I kind of need a robust roof. And
so it would be a package deal. You put the roof on, you put the solar on and maybe get like
a power wall or something like that to store energy. Because you know,
it's more so than just gardening, which of course I'm all about, obviously. What I want this channel to be about is
how do you take the best of modern life – you know, electricity, the internet,
automation, systems engineering, all that kind of stuff. And
also the best of just, you know, sitting out here at 8:00 PM on a
sunny summer evening, hanging out, maybe harvesting some peppers,
you know, making a little salad, whatever the case may
be. That's ancient life. That's what we've done for
thousands and thousands of years. How do you do that in the society that
we've now created, this modern world? That's what I'm really interested in in
this next phase of Epic Urban Homestead and, you know, Epic Gardening.

what I'm really gonna focus on. I want to solve that problem for
myself and hopefully in doing so, solve it for many of you or
at least provide some sort
of pathway as I fumble in the dark here. So there's
a lot going on guys. I'm going to try to do at least one
update here on the blog per week, but if it slows down a little
bit, I apologize. Again, we have the television
show that we're filming. So that can take up quite a bit of
time over the next couple of weeks, but I'm very excited about that and I'll
be telling you all about that when it's coming out. So until next time, good
luck in the garden and keep on growing..

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