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Author Topic: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021  (Read 8667 times)

Maggi Young

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #60 on: June 23, 2021, 06:38:01 PM »
It is excellent to hear more  from Jasmin, and  from Arturo as well.
I am astonished that there  may  have  been  (surprised?) comments about the  inclusion of vegetable  growing and breeding  in this forum - do all we forumists not eat? I rather  imagine  they do, and  so the  subject  is applicable I think!
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hamparstum

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #61 on: June 23, 2021, 09:52:38 PM »
Maggie, I thought the vegetables we eat are plants.... :). I also thought that we discuss about growing plants and show photos of them. I find many edibles quite beautiful plants in their own right. Robert shows us ways to integrate everything into a single sustainable unit, in the size of his urban garden and his more extended rural property. I see a lot of wisdom and foresight in what they do/show as well as an introduction for potential readers of our discussions interested in making changes in their life styles.

Arturo
Arturo Tarak

Maggi Young

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #62 on: June 24, 2021, 10:40:57 PM »
This photo of Zdenek Zvolanek, by Zdena Kourosova, seemed apposite!



"Edible Alpines was class suggested by Jim Archibald ( the late seed collector. Here are  the  first collected at  the Beauty Slope." ( ZZ's garden in Karlick in Czechia)
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #63 on: June 25, 2021, 03:30:47 PM »
Arturo,

I want to thank you for the weather/climatic information.

Also, you are spot on! I desire to integrate many aspects of gardening.

Any time you want to post text about your experiences growing plants at your farm, I am eager to learn more. I know you have your vegetable crops as well as ornamental species, both common and new to you. Your experiences must be unique to your climate, soil, and other growing conditions.
     Jasmin prefers birds and their garden contributions to other livestock. Ornery cows that press their full weight against you, crushing you into the barn wall; angry nursing sows; horses that trample in rages or fear, . . . you can see many farmers are injured by these so-called domesticated animals. Jasmin prefers dealing with finches, canaries, and what Australian gardeners consider total pests—the budgies and cockatiels.

Maggi

I like the term “rock garden”. The Anza Borrego Desert in Southern California is a gigantic natural rock garden. There is nothing ‘alpine’ at all in this desert. 40˚+ C high temperatures are common during the summer. During seasons when adequate precipitation falls, this desert explodes into a cacophony of blooming wildflowers. It is truly amazing. In other portions of eastern California, species grow that alpine growers seem to covet. There is nothing alpine about these ecosystems. I think that open mindedness to all types of plants and growing conditions is beneficial to all readers and participants of the forum.

Through open mindedness, I hope to learn from and appreciate the postings made by enthusiasts that enjoy truly alpine species, as well as those that grow South African bulbs, species from the Himalayas, or something that caught their eye at a local nursery. Here in Sacramento, I have limited growing space and the constraints of our climate and soil. Most alpine species will not grow in our garden; however species such as our native low elevation Calochortus thrive. For me, the concept of permaculture is the perfect solution that integrates fruits, vegetables, and a wide variety of annuals and perennials into one harmonious garden ecosystem. Everyone has his or her gardening methodology, and unique stories to tell. It is very interesting to read and see photographs of their gardens and learn from their experiences. The exact plants may not work in our garden; however the concepts, and techniques can be fascinating, and aspects (ideas on color, arrangements, etc.) inspire and can be integrated into our garden. There is always something new to learn. What a wonderful asset!



Erythranthe lewisii x cardinalis is a hybrid of two of our local native species. There is nothing unique about this hybrid; others have made it in the past; however this selection is unique to our garden. So far this season, this selection blooms prolifically compared to my other seedlings of this cross. In this case, I made use of simple plants, easily obtainable in our area. This planted bed also contains seedling selections of our native Solidago canadensis, Anaphalis margaritacea, Eurybia integrifolia, and Aconitum columbianum ssp. vivparium, and new Epilobium canum hybrids I created. In addition, there are two peach trees and a native oak, Quercus lobata, and grow outs of the common annuals, Zinnia elegans and Cosmos sulphureus – unique hybrids that I created. Grow outs of beans and summer squash (for seed saving) also share this space. I let weeds such as dandelion, purslane, and evening primrose grow in this space (I eat them, yum-yum!). There is nothing exotic. All the plants can be found locally or find their way into the garden without my help (the weeds). What I like about this is that anyone can do this!  I find it highly creative (taking a common Zinnia and turning into something new and unique to our garden). I am never bored, each day and season has something new and exciting to see and experience. This is my creative vision of rock gardening, woodland gardening, permaculture, or whatever someone wants to call it.

To shift gears…

In the future I want to write about the California (plant) life zones in our region (at least how it was taught to me in college almost 50 years ago – so much of this has changed, e.g. think, the advances in biochemistry). Photographs and text might be review for many and edifying for others. Above all, I hope that it provides clarity when I write about my outings in the foothills and the higher portions of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

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fermi de Sousa

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #64 on: June 26, 2021, 12:57:47 AM »
It is excellent to hear more  from Jasmin, and  from Arturo as well.
I am astonished that there  may  have  been  (surprised?) comments about the  inclusion of vegetable  growing and breeding  in this forum - do all we forumists not eat? I rather  imagine  they do, and  so the  subject  is applicable I think!
I agree, Maggi, that it's wonderful to hear from Jasmin as well on this thread!
I also agree that we should never be "plant snobs" and turnip our noses at vegetables! (sorry about that :D )
When we visited New Zealand a few years ago I was impressed that the growers of superb alpines also had accompanying vegie gardens. We grow a varying amount of vegies (some years the depredation by critters is very discouraging) as well as ornamentals in our garden. And yes, even petunias! (Albeit the species Petunia axillaris).
Most kids are introduced to gardening via the growing of their own vegies. I certainly did and gradually graduated to flowers and of course the pinnacle of gardening is rock and Alpine plants  :D
cheers
fermi
Mr Fermi de Sousa, Redesdale,
Victoria, Australia

hamparstum

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #65 on: June 26, 2021, 10:23:27 AM »
Robert
    Part of the mysteries of life or gardening when it comes to the nature of this forum and thread is how to integrate human beings as they really are in their incredible complexity.  So it boils down to find the exact balance between plants and the people that tend them. From what you describe, Jasmin prefers feathered animals. So I went on thinking around which of those could fulfil the role of grazers or browser. Well just for the sake consistency I remembered two: domestic geese and domestic turkeys. Both can be kept free roaming. My neighbor just across my eastern fence kept both. It was fun to hear them. He would goose-herd them out of their enclosure every day and let them eat grass and return them into their coop at dusk. The same with turkeys that would also eat other plant materials perched in lower branches. From my experience with mammals, I honestly never had to go through those terrifying scenarios you mention. In thirty years, perhaps the most direct aggression I encountered was a ram that caught me un-aware and gave me a thug. Of course mine are very tame animals in nature: sheep. Of these, milch sheep are even more peaceful and gentle. I've been keeping a flock during these past 30 years. I still hand milk my ewes every day during the milking season. Sheep are seasonally poly-oestrus. That starts usually late February when days start getting visibly shorter and by mid April, milking should have finished. This season, as one other real world piece of data, today I have to still finish milking my last three ewes, of 8 that were being milked. Somehow, somewhere in the season the cue that animals utilize to adjust their internal clocks was displaced so this season  it has been delayed for 2 months at least. The rams were doing their duty as usual. This is not the first time I noticed these delays, but never this far ahead. So not only things have shifted but they are more pronounced. Although we can easily relate to the functional disruption that Covid has caused to mankind, it would seem that an even vaster disruption that is happening right now still is denied: the direct relationship of mankind and the planet earth. Perhaps this is caused by the delusion that one can live beyond the laws of nature...
Arturo
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 10:18:33 PM by hamparstum »
Arturo Tarak

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #66 on: June 26, 2021, 06:24:09 PM »
Arturo,

Your experience and observations with sheep are very interesting. Jasmin is the “animal” person. I am the “plant” person. Jasmin can fill you in more concerning her experiences with domestic animals. I am limited to my experiences raising turkeys when I was very young. We do have wild turkeys on our rural property in El Dorado County.

My endeavor is to create closed self-sustainable systems with plants. The goal is to feed us without inputs or outputs. This is not possible at our Sacramento home, however it is possible, at least in theory, to do this on (or with the addition of) the rural El Dorado County property. We, more or less, did this when we farmed. Without the export of farm products the process is greatly simplified, but still has many challenges. The process is very closely linked to the cultivation of ornamental plant species, so I will report on my progress and processes.

I am also working to create domestic self-sustaining seed lines with a few of our locally native plant species. As Jasmin wrote previously, the plunder and devastation of our local ecosystems has not only continued during the COVID epidemic, but it has accelerated. Jasmin is working on a photo essay of this situation. In addition, I monitor environmental conditions in each of our local ecological life zones (part of the original project). Some of my data sets contain nearly 40 years of daily-recorded information. From time-to-time, I post charts and information hoping to provide helpful information regarding our native plant species, the conditions under which they grow, and how they are responding to fluctuating environmental conditions. Sadly, there is very little “alpine” habitat without our region, however I know that some are interested in a broader spectrum of plant species. My hope is that this will help gardener grow plants that maintain long term viability in garden environments.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
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Leena

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #67 on: June 28, 2021, 07:12:37 PM »
Robert, I admire what you are doing! Being self sustainable and growing your own seed lines. I envy your all year growing season, but on the other hand I don't know if I could live in so hot climate, so there are good and not so good things in each place. Your posts lately are inspirational, and though I grow some vegetables, I could do it more. Growing most of our food was a goal for me and my husband also once in 90s (and we had sheep and chicken also then), but after couple of years we had to do other work for money to pay the bills, and there wasn't enough time and energy left for anything but a small vegetable patch.
Just this year we are now part time retired and I'm hoping to have more time for the vegetable garden in the future, so I'm looking forward to reading more about your farm.
Leena from south of Finland

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #68 on: June 29, 2021, 05:29:42 PM »
Leena,

My wife Jasmin and I had a small market farm. We know first hand how difficult it is to make such an enterprise financially viable. Those that promote the new age of organic mini-market farming are generally dilettants. They are extremely well financed and their primary revenues are derived through lectures, seminars, writing books, radio shows, etc. Their so-called farms are frequently nothing more than amusement parks: petting zoos of farm animals, hay rides, and corn mazes. I once asked a fellow farmer what he thought of the use of a mandala-shaped vegetable garden as a practical method for growing vegetables profitably. His answer was succinct; this was “worthless as tits on a boar hog”. The principals of these operations may expound sound farming methodologies, and they may even work extremely hard; however the end results are elitism and a system that only works for the elite select few – those with money and in the “in crowd”.

I am retired, semi-retired. It is only with an outside source of income that I could attempt to create a self-contained, self-sufficient garden, mini-farm that provides our food needs as well as many beautiful ornamental plants. I hope to document how this endeavor evolves over time. I already have decades of experience; however challenges still exist. I hope fellow Forumists will find significance and inspiration in our evolving garden-mini-farm. This is just my way of approaching things, definitely not a blueprint to follow.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

ian mcdonald

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #69 on: June 29, 2021, 08:14:10 PM »
I think big business is running countries, not our representatives. Profits before people.

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #70 on: June 29, 2021, 11:28:12 PM »
Ian,

My wife Jasmin and I call the social-political system in the U.S.A the “moneyocracy”. Business-as-usual proceeds no matter what the consequences – human suffering, ecological destruction of the planet, etc. The talk of a green, carbon neutral future is just that, talk. I believe this talk, like I believe that a chicken has lips.  Jasmin adds:  Look at the smiles on our birds’ beaks!

What I find disturbing about the latest wave of eco-farming promotion is that the principals prey on idealistic, well-intentioned young people. I have met a number of disillusioned people who have spent sweat, time and money on eco-farming seminars, courses, and other moneymaking schemes only to find that it does not lead to a financially viable livelihood in eco-farming, unless one is rich or one likes to work hard for slave wages.

BTW – I am now following your diary again. I am very impressed and it is very interesting. It appears that efforts are being made to restore and maintain some ecosystems in your study areas.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

ArnoldT

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #71 on: June 30, 2021, 03:01:38 AM »
Robert

Many folks who have never farmed have this romantic idea about working the soil and growing one's food.

I often visit a family member who farms in the Puglia region of Italy.

He works 15-18 hours a day. Prays that some weather  pattern or  insect doesn't destroy all his hard work. 

His hands are like baseball gloves.

But he loves it.
Arnold Trachtenberg
Leonia, New Jersey

ian mcdonald

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #72 on: June 30, 2021, 11:48:42 AM »
Hello Robert, I,m sorry to say the ecosystems I write about are the remnants of the landscape we used to be familiar with. "Development" (destruction) is now the norm. Apathy on the part of the majority allows this destruction to go ahead. The only wildlife friendly future will be our historic records. Too many people have been repeatedly told that we must have "development" and can,t be bothered to question this. The feudal system is still evident but people are too busy watching tv to realise. Small areas are preserved if the wildlife there is considered by our leaders to be important but these small areas are not connected to any other protected areas. This means that wildlife are in an ever shrinking area and cannot increase their populations. It is not too long ago that governments did not believe that climate change was happening. Anyone speaking up for wildlife were called "greens" as if they were abnormal. Who are the ignorant, I wonder. We seem to live in a time where it is accepted that we must loose our wildlife and our food comes at the cost of destroying our world.

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #73 on: July 01, 2021, 05:04:19 PM »
Arnold,

The description of your Italian family member is very familiar to me. I may be retired from moneymaking, but farmers never retire.

My wife loves my farmer hands! I am not sure if they are like baseball gloves, but they are constantly in the soil or handling a tool.

Yes, farming is hard work, but I too love it.


Ian,

It is sad to hear that massive development seems to be occurring almost everywhere on the planet these days.

My wife and I are working on a photo essay concerning the local destruction of the environment, climate change, and the impacts these activities are having on the wild plant species that we enjoy growing in our gardens. Social impacts that impact gardening will be address too. Many young people want to farm and/or garden, however housing and land prices are well beyond their financial means. If they do have the money, their work is so demanding that there is little time or energy left for gardening.

Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #74 on: July 10, 2021, 07:25:29 PM »
We are currently in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave. Today and tomorrow all time record high temperatures in our region are likely to fall. The record high temperature for the Placerville property is 110 F (43.3 C). Yesterday’s (9 July) high temperature at the Placerville property was 108 F (42.2 C).

Below is a chart of the average annual temperature at the Placerville property from July 1987 through June 2021. The period July 2020 through June 2021 was the second highest on record.





The above chart is the trend line of the average annual temperature (in degrees centigrade) at the Placerville property, 1990 through June 2021, using a 20-year running average. It is easy to see the alarming temperature trend, a 0.95 C increase in the average annual temperature during this time period.

The chart I posted earlier of the average annual precipitation from 1870 to 2020 shows a steady decline in precipitation and chronic drought over the past 15 years or more. I will be posting an updated precipitation chart and a 20-year running average chart in the future.

Climate change is having a severe impact on our regional ecosystems both managed and unmanaged systems. This translates into major impacts to our garden, both ornamental as well as food crops. Extreme summertime temperatures, a decline in winter chilling hours, chronic drought, and xenobiotic compounds in the atmosphere from the chronic wildfires are some of the major factors that are impacting our garden. Ecosystems in the Crystal Range are also being detrimentally impacted by the same factors listed above, as well as rising snow levels, and a decrease in the number of snow cover days each winter. The rate of temperature increase is higher in the Crystal Range (I will post this chart in the future), and this factor is accelerating other ecosystem changes.

During the Medieval Climatic Anomaly (c. 950 to 1250) it is estimated that temperatures were 3 C higher than previous time periods. Many lakes and rivers dried, and there is evidence of two periods of drought that each lasted 100 years. Our current temperatures are above those experienced during the Medieval Climatic Anomaly. The length and severity of drought are dramatically increasing in our region. The pace of change is extremely rapid. The rapid climatic shifts are causing irreparable damage to natural ecosystems throughout our region. Both plants and animals communities do not have adequate time to adjust to the climatic changes taking place.

Needless to say, we have to adjust our gardening to these obvious changes taking place. Many species, which grew well in our garden 15 years ago, have died off or have been removed due to poor performance. Considerable thought is being put into what plants to grow and how. Plant breeding (improvement/adaptability) is being pursued to help ameliorate the impacts. It is all an ongoing process that continues to evolve.

Until the next time…

Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

 


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