Friday, May 25, 2012

26 Tons of Horse Shit and an Eclipse

Last Saturday, Dominique and I went to visit Scott and Anita Pittman's permaculture farm in Pojaque.

Scott Pittman, from the Permaculture Institute

One of the Pittman's gardens

During the visit we met Troy and Christina, two biologists from the Yukon Territories, and Nick, a young traveler from Louisiana, on his way to a permaculture course taught by Scott Pittman at the Lama Foundation in Taos.

We invited them all to stay at the farm, and on Sunday and Monday, they helped us spread 26 tons of manure!

Last Sunday, we also had visitors from Cleveland, Ohio.  Chantal and Mark just bought 13 acres near Cerrillos and are interested in growing their own food.

Mark in the greenhouse

Thanks to 3 layers of eye protection (sunglasses + grinding shield + welding shield), we were all able to get a perfect view of the eclipse Sunday night.

The greenhouse floor was covered with mulch to keep the weeds down

Ariel and Dominique shoveling steer manure

Dominique transplanting chard

Ariel transplanting chard

Nick Planting bush beans in the chard bed

Poki shaping the fence bed after sift-turning compost in the bed

Dan, one of the residents at Gaia Gardens, donated a beautiful bird bath for the garden.  Thank you Dan!

Irrigation lines were installed along the fence.

Our Scarlet Runner Beans are growing happily on the fence line

A third of the garden is now irrigated with drip lines (t-tape) and divided into 4 zones.  Each zone is set to irrigate for 45 min. a night at various intervals.  So far, our water supply is sufficient and the plants seem to be doing fine.  We've been brewing 100 gallon of compost tea each week and applying it to the beds. 

We've been shooting short video clips of our activities at the farm and plan to create a 3 min. video for a Kickstarter campaign.

Please join us on Sunday for our volunteer farm day 2:00-6:00pm
We'll be transplanting basil and making more beds in the garden. 

Our Community Meeting-Potluck Brunch is held before that 12:00-1:30pm

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  If you wish to support this project, you can make a tax-deductible donation here.   See our Wish List

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sheet Mulching, Airstream, Irrigation and Dowsing

While we contemplate what to do with our (lack of) water situation, we've been busy with a myriad of things.

 The two fields that were recently leveled by our beloved friend Will and his Bobcat have been covered with cardboard and trailers of manure have been delivered daily.  We need muscle power on Sunday to spread the manure and cover it with straw.

Our irrigation material has arrived and we've been busy installing it.  One third of the main field is now drip irrigated and the timers set to run for 45 minutes a night.

We started getting compost from our first pile and top-dressing our garden beds with it.    


Ariel (right), our latest wwoofer staying at the farm.


On Sunday, we'll start transplanting chard into these beds.

Our potatoes seem to happy here.

Thank you Sydney for loaning us your Grandma's 1973 Airstream!

Our compost tea brewer has been running steady until ... the air pump broke.   I have temporarily attached a ShopVac to it until a new pump is found.

Permaculture designer Derk Loeks taking an inventory of the trees that we recently purchased from the Forestry Department.

Dominique and Ariel getting ready to post flags were the trees will be transplanted.

Larry Killinger, architect, builder, permaculturist and dowser has been doing a survey of the land to identify veins of water.  He is also a big fan of raspberries and has been transplanting more raspberries in our current patch.

Our greenhouse is getting pretty full...

Water Update
We are contemplating doing a Kikstarter campaign to raise the money for a new well.  I have initiated a project on Kickstarter and our friend Brian will take a shot at the text for the Project Description.  We need to come up with a clever angle to present Gaia Gardens and create a 3 minute video.  Trying to raise $8,000 in 30 days require a quality presentation on Kickstarter.

My problem is that I am so busy staging the birth of a farm that I can't find the time to engage in the creation of a video.  Is anyone reading this blog gifted with video editing?  Or knows someone who is and would be willing to give us a hand?  I have an excellent HD camera.

Despite our uncertainty about water, I continue to be inspired and motivated. Every single day, I can't think of better things to do but to build soil, nurture plants and support nature to regenerate a magnificent oasis on this beloved piece of land.

Please join us on Sunday for our volunteer farm day 2:00-6:00pm

Our Community Meeting-Potluck Brunch is held before that 11:00am-12:30pm

Sign-up on the right of blog (Follow this Blog by Email) to receive announcements posted on this blog.

  If you wish to support this project, you can make a tax-deductible donation here.   See our Wish List

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Plant Sale, Sheet Mulching and Full Moon

PLANT SALE tomorrow Sunday 2:00-6:00pm at Gaia Gardens

Tomatoes (very small plants)
Basil (very small plants)

We recently invited 3 adorable young British travelers to stay at the farm.  This morning, they helped us unload a truck load of straw (than you Juliana and Danny for the generous donation!)

We started sheet mulching one field to build soil for fall planting. 

Our first compost pile just got retired.

Last full moon

Potatoes are coming out

Applying compost tea to the newly planted Radish beds

Water Situation Update
We got two bids for well drilling, both around $8,000.  We are still exploring the option of installing a large water tank with a booster pump.  We'll be deciding this week which option we choose.  We've raised $300 so far.  If you can spare a few dollars, you can donate here.
COMMUNITY MEETING (and Potluck Brunch)
Sundays 12:00-1:30PM

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays  
2:00-6:00PM  (feel free to come at anytime during these hours)

Sign-up on the right of blog (Follow this Blog by Email) to receive announcements posted on this blog.

  If you wish to support this project, you can make a tax-deductible donation here.   See our Wish List

Saturday, May 5, 2012


On Feb 15, Gaia Gardens was initiated with the intent to create a demonstration urban farm in Santa Fe.  For the past ten weeks, a small group of us, including several wwoofers, have been preparing the land, building a greenhouse and grooming several thousand plants to start a 7,500 square foot vegetable garden.

Just as we were about to order our irrigation equipment, we had our well inspected to make sure the well capacity could support the irrigation demands.

The results of the well inspection were not positive-the water table is very low, the pump is only 3 feet under the water surface and the volume is not enough to serve both the domestic needs of the dwellings on the land and the irrigation needs.

We were hoping that a second well on the property could be reactivated but the inspection revealed that the casing is broken and the well is unusable.

So we are stuck with not enough water to continue this project… and we have thousands of plants that need to go in the ground within 2 weeks!

The prospect of installing a large water tank and building up a reserve for irrigation is being explored but my early assessment is that our well just doesn’t have the output to provide the necessary volume for irrigation.

So we need to drill a new well to access deeper water.

The cost:  $8,000 for a 160 foot well.

We need your support to raise the funds to pay for a new well. 

We have been full steam ahead since day one and every obstacle that has sprouted in front of us has been weeded and attended to. The well is the next challenge. We have so much momentum and enthusiasm for this farm project. Help us to sow this ideal into a harvest of reality. If you have not visited us then please do so. You’ll be amazed at our progress.

Gaia Gardens is a project fiscally sponsored by the New Mexico Community Foundation, a 501(c) 3.

Please CLICK HERE to make a donation.  Donations are tax-deductible.

Our deepest gratitude for your generosity and support,