New to Southern Utah

shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

I moved to Southern Utah a year ago. I am sitting on an acre of desert in the middle of a small city. I am coping with a new, harsh environment and lots of wild animals. The scenery is beautiful in this part of the world. I am hoping to be able to share some of the lessons that I learn.


  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    Hi @shllnzl so you know people build "Strawbale houses", mostly from well STRAW that was baled.

    So reading your previous posts about the "110 temps & Freezing temps, & wild animals galore, & you have no soil, & your hubby hunting large animals, & your back is outa whack, & so on, - when I read all those challenges awaiting Solutions, Immediately THIS set-up sprang up in my mind:

    1. Have your hubby secure 4 posts, by anchoring them (inside about 5 to 7 gallon buckets with Cement). This way they could still be moved with a lever to re-arrange the furniture as it were). The (whatever tall) 4 by 4's could be scavenged.
    2. Have him help you enclose this (whatever dimensions you choose) with the smallest/strongest mesh that you afix to your posts, plus the ceiling..
    3. Since you live on ROCK, cover the Floor with the strongest tarp(s) you can scavenge, or buy.
    4. Preferably situate your secured garden at such an angle... that as the Sun beats down, it not only makes Shade, it also can be used to make some wind/breeze.
    5. Enclose any of the sides as you see fit for more protection, including weather.
    6. Here comes the more Fun part: Growing veggies in Strawbales... once in place, this would be easy for your back, & I know some people who have done this & it worked !
    7. So what do you think ? is this something that you can see the two of you doing, & maybe even get a kind neighbor to lend a Helping hand? or make several Adjustments ?

    Anyway, like I said the whole scene just BINGO appeared in my mind, pretty much all at once, in full color no less.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow Amazing how your mind just threw this together. This is a very feasible idea. It would be this or raised beds.

    I will have to think on the details; your method sounds like I could fence the rabbits and squirrels out. I will share our mini lawn with the rabbits but I don't want them eating my vegetables. Also the posts could anchor shade cloth against our high winds, another feature of desert living. 40 to 60 mph winds are not uncommon in this part of the country. Your method would provide crop rotation in that I could take resulting compost that might be harboring pest eggs and put it elsewhere in the desert.

    I have lots to prepare: what landscaping to keep, soil testing, continue forest compost method, and ultimately plan where I could squeeze in garden space. I am also keeping in mind the problems you have with strange people helping themselves to your produce. I am on an open ravine, so I don't want to advertise too boldly.

    I am getting excited about your idea; it simplifies so many of my hurdles. It probably won't happen right away but I can start to envision. Thanks so much for thinking of me.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @shllnzl - Good morning. -

    Silly me, when I posted this at near midnight yesterday, I left out 1 detail, but I need to Run to work now, so I will write later. - And you are so very welcome. Have a wonderful day !

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good morning @shllnzl

    The one forgotten detail is the Outside of your new garden arrangement. Because you chose to buy property at the TOP of a hill, (or mini-mountain or whatever with thus 50mphour winds), some extra protection... both from the wind, plus any people noticing, would be really helpful. - So my mind saw that you have planted & continually encourage Native plants (like Cacti) to shroud... the outside of your protected-from-wildlife) garden. --- Being careful not to camuflage totally, as your plants need enough Sun for photosynthesis, necessary for your foods especially >green VEGGIES< to grow & feed your ever more healthy bodies. - For any coverings Camuflaged materials for further protection is also good.. And you want the opening facing your house obviously.

    So now what do you think? Do you Agree it's a very DOable situation. Continue being excited 😀


  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow I do like the ideas you proposed. I was pruning landscape shrubs yesterday and considering which ones will have to die to give me the space for my garden. (The original owners landscaped nicely BUT put too many plants together and neglected them for a long time. They mostly did xeriscaping. I am identifying, tending and refining what is here. I will leave most of the property native.)

    I am also studying sun patterns and where shade is provided in the afternoons. Blocking afternoon desert sun is enough to protect plants if designed properly.

    I won't be able to block views from those on the ravine. I will try to make my garden less obvious to passersby; someone passing by last winter went to the trouble of climbing down a slight incline to steal a cloth trash bin I was using to cover a cold sensitive tall cactus. I did not find the bin below the planting area or stuck in bushes below, so someone walked off with it. That still boggles my mind. That kind of person would have fun bruising through a garden plot.

    I appreciate your helping me make a plan. I will follow forums closely to continue my learning process.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    Hi @shllnzl - Hopefully two responses on the same day is okay with you :)

    re any " soil Testing ": here in our "Happy-gardening family Group" have you seen any of the dozens of our Garden photos I've shared here ? - You know the 20+ inch sweet cucumbers, & small mountains of luscious Cherry tomatoes, & giant succulent

    Superschmelz kohlrabi, & 62 Squash in a single season, etc. etc. -

    Well, guess what? - I have never, not once, done any 'soil Tests'. True. - Now when I am positively Encouraging humans to get ! their own body Tested, as I do mine, - why not bother with 'soil Tests' ? Because the PROOF is in the pudding, smile. - iow for every hour of time I can give our 3+ gardens, look at the Results... bigger, better, UP & out! - had INdeterminate tomatoes growing past the gutter, unto the ROOF: another excuse to be on the roof doing gymnastics lol, but I digress.

    And re "Raised-beds": that's what you will be doing in the STRAW-bales as you can see on this site I shared. How much have you learned there ?, that you too can Apply... - You see, the public assumes that the deeper the soil you build up (true for Root-crops & those with even longer TAP-roots), the better... - but as I proved, when I showed the tapemeasure at the base of another productive tomato plant, your garden can Thrive... just fine in but a couple inches of soil. TRUTH. Right there in your STRAW with just some soil - How, what is the magic secret ? - None other than the out of this world Compost-tea... iow have like two barrels filled, inside your magical garden enclosure, & your health will improve...

    Enjoy a wonderful day !

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow Your latest comments are precisely why the straw bales appeal to me. I can have solid rock underneath and put my better soil only where I need it at the moment. At our other location, we totally replaced the top 8-10 inches of soil before planting the first time.

    Kohlrabi is one of my husband's favorite vegetables...

    I am still wondering if I should put a barrel of worms somewhere...more research pending on that one.

    On a side note, I rescue earthworms after a rainstorm. I found a doozy here in the street; had to be 8 inches long, although I had never seen one that big before. It was given a new home in my yard after being carefully covered by dirt.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You keep hooking me in, so @shllnzl - now post #3 for today:

    re "wondering if I should put a barrel of worms... I found a doozy here in the street; 8 inches long, although never seen one that big before. It was given a new home in my yard after being carefully covered by dirt":

    Um, certainly not as long as that Australian critter:

    Obviously I am showing you that monstrosity for Illustration purposes. And just so you know, IF ( & that's an unnecessary if) you're now paying more attention to worms... A worm is a worm is a worm. Or not !

    Red wigglers are less than 3 inches long and the diameter of a pencil lead, therefore they can easily turn piles of vegetable scraps into fertile garden fertilizer. Red Wigglers don’t dig deep, they are adapted to chewing up vegetable matter and animal manure in the top layer of soil.

    But you know what? - Not only do I Not 'test soil', I also have never had a Worm-bin; & for that matter, if you were going to Europe, & telling them they should be having such a contraption, they would laugh. - Well, my German Grandpa, in whose garden I had my Garten-start, he would not laugh - he would tell you that "worm-bins" are another silly idea, & then show you his GARDEN: the truthful EDEN#2

    re "Kohlrabi is one of my husband's favorite vegetables..." - He is one truly smart man.

    Why? beyond it being another magnificent Cruciferous 🤗 veggie (Kohlrabi is actually from cabbage, & if you're looking for a cabbage-alternative: Never heard of anyone allergic to it). Kohlrabi has been a staple of German meals for 100's of years mostly Raw, but can be eaten cooked too.. You can enjoy both the kohlrabi root plus its leaves, as both have significant nutrients. Kohlrabi tastes about like a Broccoli stem.

    According to National Nutrient Base, kohlrabi can bless us with Potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, aw well as vitamins A, the B-complex, C, and K. - Oh, & it is also high! in dietary Fiber, plus antioxidant compounds: phytochemicals & carotenes. Health benefits of kohlrabi include its ability to

    1. improve Digestion, & thus maximizes your nutrient uptake efficiency.

    2.Boosts energy levels from its minerals, especially its Potassium.

    3.helps regulate Blood pressure. Potassium also functions as a vasodilator... which you need to prevent heart attacks, or strokes. -- Potassium is also a key part of fluid regulation, with sodium to regulate fluid movement between cells.

    4.strengthen bones - along with the other minerals, it also contain manganese.

    5.some benefit to EYE-health: Kohlrabi's rich source of Beta-carotene, which acts as an antioxidant compound in the ocular area. Vitamin A can help prevent macular degeneration and slow down cataracts, by neutralizing free radicals in the eye & preventing oxidative stress. boost the immune system

    7.increase circulation

    8.assist in protecting muscle and 9. nerve function.

    10.Last, tho not least, According to a study in the journal Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, eating kohlrabi may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, as it contains potent phytochemicals including Isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, & indole-3-carbinol.

    in closing today for you, until you get your blessed garden going, Please... eat your Broccoli SPROUTS year-round (indoor), starting now, if not yesterday.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hopefully that gargantuan/giant snake-like worm up there did not freak you out. You ok ?

    Also, yesterday re 'hooking' me in, my family member was Yelling at me, so I was a more than a bit Stressed, so apology if that was needed.

    Anyway, do you think starting soon you might Enjoy some Broccoli-Sprouts...: in case you do, (because I also enjoy Pumpkin & Sunflower seeds), you do Not want to eat Broccoli seed. Why? -- Eating the raw, unsprouted seed provides lots of sulforaphane, but seeds also contain the antimetabolite erucic acid, which is metabolized during sprouting, so eating seeds is not recommended.

    Let the seeds sprout until they are just barely 3 inches tall, as these few days old broccoli Sprouts contain glucoraphanin at least 20 times the concentration of full grown broccoli. Glucoraphanin is a direct precursor to sulforaphane, a sulfur-rich compound found in all cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower or kohlrabi, with broccoli being the best source by far. In these foods, it’s in the inactive form glucoraphanin that belongs to the glucosinolate family of plant compounds.

    Sulforaphane is activated when glucoraphanin comes into contact with myrosinase, a family of enzymes that play a role in the defense response of plants. Myrosinase enzymes are only released and activated when a plant is damaged. Therefore, cruciferous vegetables must be cut, chopped, or chewed to release myrosinase and activate sulforaphane. RAW veggies have the highest levels of sulforaphane. Raw broccoli has ten times more sulforaphane than cooked broccoli

    One packed ounce daily of broccoli Sprouts (added to a Veggie-salad) is very Chemoprotective against cancers, via health-promoting phytochemicals such as isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol. Best is when enjoyed all year long...

    @shllnzl was I convincing, enough for you to Add organic home-grown broccoli Sprouts ? 🙂

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow The worm didn't freak me out. The one I picked up with my hand was at least thin. (I checked it out, looked more like a worm than snake, so what the heck, I kept it.) I meant to comment back, but was helping hubby with elk meat processing (still am for at least a couple more days.)

    I tried sprouts of various types a few years ago. Then I started reading how I was supposed to (if I remember correctly) rinse with mild bleach solution or some such to fight wrong bacteria. Sprouts at the store have warnings too. Put me off the project for awhile. I kept my mini sprouter dish though. (Someday I may start a thread devoted to all the healthy, in-trend things I tried over 20 years ago when that sort of thing was mostly unknown amongst mainstream city kids like me -- the value of reading everything in sight.)

    Interesting information on sprouting regular broccoli seeds as I had never thought about suitability or possible harm from sprouting the wrong seeds. Lucky for me, I had bought seeds meant for sprouting in my earlier experiments.

    I appreciate the link to the Amazon product. My sprouter was meant for short sprouts; do you recommend any specific container for the broccoli sprouts?

    All of you helpful types in TGN are muchly appreciated by me. All these experts to inspire and instruct...

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @shllnzl yes I've heard about that bleaching rinse too about sprouts and I wasn't interested in doing it because of that.

    But as with everything, it just takes a little more research. The lazy man's way of growing sprouts does require the bleach to confirm there is no e coli. But the working man's way means heaven forbid but you must rinse those 'ole sprouts at least three times daily in non-chlorinated water to resist the introduction of bacteria growth on your growing sprouts.

    Now anybody that can convince me they don't have one minute three times daily to rinse a jar of sprouts out needs to sorely take stock of their daily life and make a few adjustments to loosen their daily routine up a little. One minute 3Xdaily is all it takes to guarantee yourself of a healthy harvest.

    So if sprouts is your wish and desire...go for it! Just leave the city tap water out of your sprouts jar.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball Thanks for the info.