I have been looking at some sites the past couple of weeks to try to learn more about gardening. We have started small with two 4x8 foot raised beds plus some containers. I hope to add two to four more raised beds next year or maybe even this fall. I bought a compost bin at Costco and it is a little over 1/2 full. I have been after my husband to make me a compost bin for a while but he just hasn't had the time. I figured that the money to buy one was worth not having to worry about the time it would take. I would really like to start producing most of our vegetables and then learn how to can some things. I could probably grow things year round here in Alabama. Our winters are a little cool but still pretty mild- snow is a rare thing. Looking at some sites I am learning that with a hoop covered in plastic and a cold frame I could at least have a few things growning in the cold. We would definitely need to have our fence up in our neighborhood. The Association has told us that we have to remove our shed which was here when we bought the house.
Backwoods Home is a magazine that has articles about gardening, canning, how to live off the land, and many other things. I have looked through past issues and am learning a lot about all of this. One of the things that interests me is making a solar oven. I really want to make one and try cooking in it. You can make it out of a pizza box or get more fancy and make one more sturdy. I think it would be cool to use in our home school on how the sun produces energy and will cook our food. It would also keep my kitchen cool in the hot summers. These people who write for this magazine really eat elk and moose and rabbits and stuff like that. As long as chocolate is available I don't know about eating that, but cool to see them do it. I am not into the "global warming" scare with the Al Gore philosophy so I thought that I would have to weed through all that, but it did not have that slant to it. I do have a love of seeing people make it in harsh conditions. Love Little House and the pioneering spirit. I loved the public tv series years ago when they took four families to the west and they had to try to make it like a pioneer. Like the Alaskan Experiment that is airing now. Something about "making it" draws me. Growing up in coastal Alabama and Florida and going through a lot of hurricanes where we were without power for days is part of my love. It is a challenge to see if I could survive and enjoy it.
Tim's Square foot garden is a great site. I just wish it was the same zone as me so that I could just follow his planting guide and not have to work at this. He tells how to garden more through using a cold frame and hoop plastic. He also shows how to interplant to use the space more effectively and how to lay out planting beds.
Path to Freedom is a family that is right in the middle of the city in California and on 1/5 of an acre produce all their produce and even sell to restaurants lettuce greens and edible flowers. It is amazing how they have laid it all out and are using the land they had. They even have goats, chickens and geese in this small space! I wonder if the neighbors are so enamored by them. They have solar panels for electricity and have converted their Suberban to biodiesel that they produce from used vegetable oil. They home schooled when it was illegal - just kept their kids inside till 3 and hid them! So, I think they push the envelope in a lot of areas, but it is so full of how to's that you ought to check them out. They use a solar oven and have made a clay oven for cooking.