Permaculture in an Organic Vineyard at a Radical Ecovillage

I live in what is probably North America’s most radical ecovillage, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. I moved here over 15 years ago to live in the country closer to the land, and to devote my life to reducing my impact on the planet.

Spring is the time for getting the garden in. Part of my garden is in my organic vineyard. I don’t just grow grapes. I grow cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, and melons between my grape vines. And in the past few years I’ve also been growing perennial flowers to provide an additional cash crop from the space. I use comfrey within the rows of grapes to smother the grasses and other weeds that would otherwise rob the grapevines of water and nutrients. Most vineyards would just spray herbicide to control the weeds. Permaculture is possible even in a vineyard.

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Early Spring Self Sufficiency On an Ecovillage Homestead

Living sustainably and self sufficiently is a lot of hard work. You have to take the opportunities to get work done when the weather allows, but you also have to take time to appreciate the natural world around you when you have the chance. This is early spring for me in the ecovillage where I live.

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Where Do Lettuce Seeds Come From? And How to Save Them

Some vegetables can be baffling when we think about where their seeds come from because we only see the part we eat. Sometimes that part is a seed and but most of the time it’s a completely different part of the plant. But the seeds are the key to the existence of the vegetable we are eating, so every vegetable must have seeds somewhere. But where are the seeds on a head of lettuce?

This video will not only show where the seeds are, but how to grow them and save them so you can grow your own lettuce year to year without buying seed.

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I Fixed a Dead Chest Freezer and Turned It Into a Chest Fridge

My old superefficient Sundanzer freezer was DOA when I got back to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage from Florida last spring. This time, I wanted to convert a chest freezer to a fridge with an external thermostat. That way it would be more efficient because it wouldn’t dump the cold every time I opened the door. But when I looked into chest freezers, they were not available and were on backorder for months into the future.

But I noticed a number of appliances on the curb in the village waiting to be brought in for recycling, one of which was a small freezer that still looked in good shape. I thought I’d do some troubleshooting and see if I could get it running again.

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Supercharged SOLAR DEHYDRATOR that doubles as a COLD FRAME

When I was thinking about building a solar dehydrator, my unused cold frame caught my eye and I thought, hmm, that would make a great solar dehydrator during the off season. I use a cold frame in the spring to get my starts going early because it’s like a mini greenhouse. It gives full natural light early in the season when I start to run out of space under the grow lights.

But once I’m done with starts, the cold frame just takes up space in my backyard until the next season. I thought, why not have it double as a solar dehydrator. With a few modifications, it could become a dehydrator and not only conserve space, but save me the trouble of having to go to the trouble of building a separate dehydrator.

I’ve been frustrated with the inefficiency of an electric dehydrator since it uses over 600W and seems like just a waste of solar electric power when the sun is right there in the summer. So in this video I design and build a new kind of solar dehydrator that can double as a cold frame.

How Sustainable Living Prepared Me for a Pandemic

I return to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage for this video to talk about what awaited me on my return and how I was appreciating sustainable living systems I have set up because they have also prepared me in many ways for a pandemic. I have rainwater catchment, solar power, perennial fruit plants, seed supplies, renewable fuels, lots of food stores, some I grew myself and some purchased, and of course TP.

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