May was a great month for the garden! I spent a lot of time out there and am pleased that it looks as good as it does. It has rained quite a bit and everything is extremely green! I stepped back for some of these photos so you can see the design of the garden more instead of focusing so much on individual flowers. I hope you enjoy taking a tour of the garden, I wish you all could see it in person because the pictures just don’t do it justice. It is like a garden of paradise out there, with so many birds and animals, flowers and fruit, I am truly one lucky gardener!
Here are some photos from my garden in April 2011. It was a very rainy month and some of the photos really turned out nice…they are worth a click to see the larger image because the thumbnails really don’t do them justice. I particularly like the way the rain droplets look…I think my favorite photo is the Solomon seal, but the strawberry photo is a close second…actually, I like them all. The rain this month has made everything very green and vivid. Read More
The heating and cooling systems on our trusty suburban ranch was more than twenty years old when we decided it was time to replace them with new, high efficiency models. So Mary and I began our due diligence on the subject and started comparing available options. When I first learned about geothermal heating and cooling for residential applications, it was both fascinating and a little intimidating. It seemed like a technology that everyone should be using, but since they weren’t, I was skeptical that it could really be as advantageous as it seemed to be on the surface.
Time for another tour of the garden! June is a big month for the garden!!! Things that were small in the beginning of the month are huge now. Beans and corn that were still seeds a month ago are now over 5 feet tall! Here is a gallery of photos I took, mostly from June 21st (solstice) so you can see what is blooming and how far along some of the vegetables are. Click on the thumbnail for detailed descriptions and larger photos. Everything is grown organically. Read More
Last updated April 25, 2011
We are implementing energy saving strategies to attempt to reduce our energy use at our home by 50% In this post I am going to be updating graphs showing our total energy use for Electric and Gas showing the difference between the average energy usage of the last 5 years to our current usage. Read More
I thought it was very important for you to have access to the garden design for the Sprawlstainable Garden. This drawing shows the entire site, the legend to all the edible plantings of fruits and vegetables, the house, the gardens, the patios, etc. The download is of the entire yard, the little thumbnail photo to the left here is just a small section of the garden.
These are the amounts I am using to calculate how much the food we grew would have cost if we would have bought it at the store. I got the majority of these numbers by pricing organic produce during May and June 2010 at the Whole Foods Market in Town and Country, Missouri. It would probably be more accurate if I got the numbers based on when these vegetables and fruits were at peak season, but it should be a pretty fair estimate of the actual cost. Some of the items are still blank because Whole Foods was not stocking them at the time I checked prices…so I am hoping by the end of June I should have everything filled in. There are a few items like currants, gooseberry, Jostaberry and serviceberry that I have never seen at the store…so I think I’ll just guess those to be similar to the blackberries and raspberries. Click here if you would like to see the food growing totals for 2010 to see how much we have grown and the value of that food. I am surprised at how fast the savings adds up and I expect that by the end of the year we will have saved quite a lot of money by growing our own food, although my numbers don’t reflect the amount I invested in the garden, but as I said before, I am a gardener, so if I wasn’t planting food, I would have been planting flowers. Read More
This is a portion of my spreadsheet that lists both the amount of food we have grown this year and the cost of buying this amount of organic food at the store. Also included at the bottom are the totals, including the percentage we have eaten of the produce (I am keeping track of how much we eat versus how much we give away.) Remember, my goal is to grow and eat 300lbs of food this year! I will update this list each week and keep it posted as a sticky to stay at the top of the list so you can watch the progress. Read More
One of the factors to consider when choosing a geothermal heating and cooling system are the ramifications of the exterior installation requirements. Unlike traditional systems, there is quite a bit of work that needs to be done outside the home to place the lines in the ground that are needed to carry the liquid that runs to the compressor inside the house. The photo here shows a simple illustration of where the holes were drilled in our yard, 200′ deep and 10′ apart. (Geothermal systems can also be installed horizontally, or in pond or open loop systems, but in our situation vertical loops were the best option.) Read More
We’ll be doing a number of posts about our new geothermal heating and cooling system. It is a substantial investment in our home, and will go a long way towards meeting our goals of reducing our energy bills and our carbon footprint.
These videos are made from time lapse photography we captured during the outdoor portion of the installation process. Read More