Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to Build a Cheap Green House

There is no better way to prolong your growing season or start it earlie,r than to grow your vegetables in a Green House.  Even though I compare GA to Satans Sauna most of the time, there are occassions where it so cold you would have thought that hell has just frozen over. I know you up north folk get down in the teens and single digits. But anything in the 30s around here is considered a State of an emergency. And yes.. Yes.. I know.. Im from up north... go figure!! But I will say that I have acclimatized myself to the warmth down here.

But getting to the Green House. Whatever you decide to do remember that most green Leafy vegetables do very well in a semi cold environment. I have found out that most plants are very tolerant of cold weather as long as it stays in the 40s. Once the temp dips below that call it quits. Now there are different trains of thoughts when growing in cooler weather, for instance down here in the south. We may have 30-40 degree nights but most of our days are in the 60s with full sun. Unlike the north where 40 degrees is the high and the lows stay in the 20s. 
But either way a Green house of sort will prove to be beneficial. Pictured here is a simple design that I came up with that piggy backs off the Green house concept. I formulated my plan based off my raised beds that are 3'x6'. The Materials are as follows: 2 x Stakes $2.88 each, 1 x Roll of 4 mil heavy duty plastic $10, 10 x Wood Stakes 1"x2" x8' $1.88 a piece. Screws, powerdrill and Skill saw. The project took an evening to make three frames and went rather quick.
Even though I have pictured here the 1"x2"s that were cut to 6 ft for the length and 3 ft for the width. I found out that usung Treated 2" x 4" works so much better. I acheived success with the frames but over all I really like the sturdiness of the 2x4s for purposes of weather and for the occassional lean up against. I have boys and they like to hold every thing up with thier body. The stakes are awesome!! By placing them in the corner and fastening them down it really secures the frame. Which becomes a multi-use tool in the garden that I will explain in a bit.
Again the problem with using the smaller wood diameter opposed to the 2x 4s is fragility. However, by fastening the stakes to each corner screwing them in from both sides you are able to really make a strong structure. Remember these are frames. To serve as a base for a make shift green house that is not permanant but has plenty of uses.
When I started the raised beds a few years ago. I wanted to be able to have enough flexibility to add to the raise bed for how I saw fit. As the years past I look back and realized that this was a good decision to make raised beds. Now that I have my frames I am able to secure them in the beds and prep the beds for veggies and cover with the plastic.
As you can see I switched the the 2x4s with the stakes and added two 3ft beams across the frames to One- support the plastic, two serve as growing supports for warm weather crop and three... to help seperate and divide the raise bed for growing vegetables. Each column while looking through the top can now serve as a seperate growing window for each vegetable Variety. Im no genius.. But Im patting myself on the back for this one:)
Finally after the beds are prepped and seeds are sown and watered. The Plastic Cover can be pulled over the Beds. The $10 roll of 4 mil covers 250sqf.. For a more super heavy duty variety you can bump it up to 6 mil and that cost $28 for the roll to cover the same amount of sqf. The purpose of the Green House style frame is to provide enough humidity and warmth inside the Raised Beds that the Plants are not affected by the outside cold temp. There are several ways to refine this process to make the raised beds its own mini climate. I will expand on those later on this year. For now This is the cheapest way to provide just enough warmth to get the seeds germinated. Please keep in Mind that even on cold days if the Sun is out the Raised beds can get really hot and then you have an issue of over heating.. With this design its as simple as rolling the plastic Back to even out the Temp. I must say I am proud of this little garden. I look forward to posting any successess or failures in the future..

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cheap Bathroom Remodel for $300

I really wish I had the before pics of this bathroom before I remodeled it. This particular bathroom belongs to my wife's Spa. Living on a serious budget we are forced to find ways to live comfortable on the the cheap. The most expensive item for this project were the faucet. We paid $120 for a classic look. Add some deep brown Ralph Lauren Paint to the cabinets a coat of paint to the walls, a rock spray texture to the sink basin (which BTW was so cool. I took a normal laminate sink platform and spray painted a rock texture on it. It gives the appearance and feel that the sink was a piece of Rock. I then sprayed a clear water protectant sealant over the spray paint and I am proud to report that with heavy usage the sink has stood the test of time. Not something you might expect from a Wild man:)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Urban Self-Sufficientist TV

This is an informal introduction to Urban Self-Sufficientist TV also USSufficientistTV on You Tube. I started this blog a few years ago and I have been rewarded with meeting so many people from all across the World. Even though I'm just a small fish in a very large pond; I have in many cases provided entertainment to anyone bored enough to listen to my muse!! As I continue to develop as a Urban Farmer I want to take the next step in providing the occasional Video of my stomps... Whether it be working in the Garden, developing cheap and efficient ways to maintain sustainability or enjoying the outdoors, I will like to add another dimension to my blog through my life.

Below is my first video of a Recent Hog Hunt. I hope you enjoy..


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Smoked Fish

Depending on where your from the idea of Smoking foods take on several different meanings. I for one have only thought about meat and maybe poultry never fish. But smoking Fish is a common practice that has been around for a long time. The fish pictured are White Bass.. Many of the Locals have said they are garbage fish. Well I don't believe in the term garbage anything. There are some fish that are not edible and I have had my fair share of them. But most Fish are edible. I decided to save my catch on a recent trip and smoke them slow for several hours and recouped them the next day. The result was the magnificent bronze colored, smoked flavor fish I have ever seen or eaten. We were able to recoup most of the flesh by just peeling the skin and bone away and we took the fish and made a wonderful White Bass Smoked Dip spritz with a freshly squeezed lemon wedge and served with tortillas. It was magnificent! Recipe will be posted soon ......

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First seeds started for 2012

Well.... 2012 is here and like many years past we are making good use of our sun room. I love the fact that on most days this winter it stays bewteen 75 and 80 degrees.. at night it definetly cools off a bit... Hovering around the mid to upper 60s.. but all in all I'm fortunate enough to have one and we kicked off the new  growing season yesterday by planting the following:
New Zealand spinach
Brocolli Rapini
Swiss chard
Collard Greens
Red cherry tomato super sweet 100
Tomato big rainbow
Hawaiian Pineapple
Homestead tomato
Amish paste
Riesen traube
Costoluto genovese
Golden jubilee
Japanese white eggplant
Purple Artichoke
Eggplant little fingers
Japanese Eggplant (my first variety from a 4 year plant)
Italian cabbage
Bok choy
Bull heart French cabbage
Italian onions
Sugar Ann snow peas
Oregon sugar pool peas
The boys are excited they will try to make a little money this spring selling plants.. will post pictures soon:)