Phoenix Arizona, Hello!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by Grace Pignatello, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Grace Pignatello

    Grace Pignatello Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Urban Site Manager, Homeschooling Mom
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    Desert
    Hello!
    My story timeline is as follows.
    1985 to 2007
    I grew up on the west coast in Oregon. A place full of life. I loved walking barefoot through the forest and being surrounded by 100 year old forests. Sadly many of these forests have been completely harvested and turned into forest deserts with only one species. The trees I grew up under and the amazing memories, are just memories. I will never see them again or show them to my children.
    In my adult years I have moved around to different states. But always came back to Arizona.
    2009
    Started to learn about permaculture.
    2011-2013
    My first permaculture project started with a clay backyard in Phoenix. My husband and I did the impossible and brought the backyard to life. Sadly we had to move because the house became very moldy. Cancer* also started to take over and I became very sick.
    2013 to 2015
    Lived in an apartment. In 2015 I started to compost on our patio. I also kept a small worm farm going under our sink.
    2015 to 2016 moved into a home again with a clay backyard, in an HOA. I wasn't able to do much because of my health. Valley fever also beat my immune system.
    2016 to now.
    Our home in Surprise AZ, with our clay backyard, I have just created two garden plots. One to catch the rain water from one of our roofs. I created them by digging a deep pathway, some ridges, holes and ditches. Then I put down oat grass seed, covered with a little straw, and leaves I had on hand. Watered, and that was it. Once the oats sprouted I tossed in some sunflower seed and poppy seeds. The sun flowers have come up. I haven't seen any poppies yet. Once the oats grew to 5 to 6 inches I cut it down to about an inch to two with scissors. Using the chop in drop method. I learn so much this way when I am a foot away from the earth. The birds in the area love what I have done. Of course they eat some of the seeds, but they in turn leave their droppings.

    There is a lot of clay to remove from the backyard. I thought about making seed balls. But this may be to big of a project for me. I may recruit some help. Or grade the yard with a tractor. My next project is to start a tree nursery. Mostly using seeds I have collected from trees in the area. I also am continuing my compost. I would love to get a couple ducks. I can't have chickens here.

    The Future
    As many of you know it is possible to bring the desert back to life. The desert can easily be made into a forest again. The rivers that flowed all year round can do so again. A plant by itself will barely survive. We are the same way. My plan is to bring together and join others to green the desert. My family and I have talked about moving away to a green desert to take care of my health. This isn't my mission anymore. My mission is to heal the land, thus my health, and the health of others will be taken care of. By healing the gut of the earth, our guts will heal. Disease will be gone and we will be happy, healthy, and have everything we need.

    Start Your Journey
    If you are new to permaculture and want to learn the how and the why. Learn from compost worms. They will teach you everything you need to know. Compost will also teach you. If you are starting out you are blind. As you start to open your eyes you will see the world, nature, and life around you as it really is. Start your journey, your adventure today. My journey has lead me to learn from Geoff Lawton and his team, Joel Salatin, and Masanobu Fukuoka. Do what you can. Don't spend money. Be a child. Do what a child does. Take a stick and dig holes and ditches and build dams. Life will come to you. Join us and create paradise!

    To our success, dreams, and to life,
    Grace

    *My cancer journey.
    During a very stressful time of life, cancer defeated my immune system, my mental strength, and emotional strength. I didn't want chemo, nor did I have insurance to be diagnosed or treated. I was able to receive a couple high dose vitamin C IV's. These kept the cancer at bay, but I kept getting worse. This method is effective if I could go 3 times a week. This would be about 1k in cost a week. After two years of trying to fight it on my own and almost dying, I received chemo. Of course I didn't want to. But I didn't have the resources available to me to heal. The cancer is gone and I am able to continue my journey. I am very hopeful and have so much to live for.
     
    Aaron Clifft likes this.
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    3,046
    Likes Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    E Washington, USA
    Climate:
    Semi-Arid Shrub Steppe (BsK)
    Hello Grace and welcome!
    Having spent much time in Phoenix, I understand your challenges in rehabilitating the soil ... you're off to a great start. If you have any designs on building structures in your yard, your clay might be a good candidate for cob. Rabbits would be a good backyard candidate for earth-sheltered cob hutches (to keep them cool).
    Glad to hear of the successful outcome of your cancer journey, thanks for sharing. Love your thoughts on "Start Your Journey"!
     
    Grace Pignatello likes this.
  3. Cornonthecob

    Cornonthecob Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Messages:
    927
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Welcome! :)
     
    Grace Pignatello likes this.
  4. Grace Pignatello

    Grace Pignatello Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Urban Site Manager, Homeschooling Mom
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    Desert
    Hello Bill!
    Thank you for welcoming me and saying hi. Thank you also for all the work you do for keeping this group running.
    Great idea for using the clay in this way. The yard I have is to small for structures and I am in a picky neighborhood. You have started me thinking about what I could do. The rabbit cob hutch is a great idea!

    We raised rabbits here as a colony. Great soil builders. I would be happy to share what we learned if someone would like to know.

    I will start and continue my journey! Thanks for the encouragement!
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,780
    Likes Received:
    142
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    hello Grace and welcome, quite the adventures for sure!

    i have a lot of clay here too, what gardens i can amend with sand
    and plenty of organic material helps quite a bit, but in other areas
    where i am doing chop and drop type soil improvement it also works
    very well (alfalfa aka lucern, clovers, trefoil and strawberries all have
    done ok here, but i suspect we have more moisture/rains than you
    have).

    the easiest method by far is to put down a few inches of decayed
    wood chips, leaves and any other organic materials and to plant
    into that, letting the worms do your soil mixing for you. they're great
    workers. i keep them all year round and use a few hundred thousand
    of them each spring when i put them back out into the gardens
    along with the soil they've been recharging for me. love it.
     
    Grace Pignatello likes this.
  6. Grace Pignatello

    Grace Pignatello Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Urban Site Manager, Homeschooling Mom
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    Desert
    Hello Songbird!

    We get about 5 inches of rain a year for this side of the metro. The East side gets about 7in. The desert here receives 10inches a year. You have to deal with very cold weather. This must be a great challenge!
    The seeds you use are great! I have yet to do strawberries. I will need to wait a bit.
    I couldn't live without wood chips or worms.
     
  7. Grace Pignatello

    Grace Pignatello Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Urban Site Manager, Homeschooling Mom
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    Desert
    Dear Permaculture Teammate,

    What I Am Doing Right Now In Permaculture

    -Learning
    -Sharing with others what I know and working on my communication skills with writing and speaking one on one. Brain storming ways to introduce others to permaculture in person.
    -Permaculture planning and life application.
    -Urban site planning and cultivation. My home.
    -Keeping a journal and taking pictures of my journey.
    -Running a Facebook group for others to learn from my urban site and join me for projects. This group is also to introduce others to permaculture and to teach what I know and have done. Also to have links for others to learn more about permaculture.

    -Compost and Worm Farming.
    -Logging and logged compost hours. I have composted for three years. So according to this equation,

    365 hours a year x 3years = 1095 compost hours (This is the 4th year. I have completed 8 hours)
    So I have 3900 hours left to go to reach 5000 compost hours.

    I am excited about these hours and can't wait to spend my time doing this. I have learned so much and have a lot to learn.

    -Figuring out a way to break free from the conventional way of employment, debt, and the American way. To be able to put my energy and my husbands energy in permaculture. My young kids too. We already homeschool.

    Figure out a way for me to attend the permaculture online course. And the two week course at Zaytuna Farms with my husband.

    My Plans and Future Action
    (As soon as possible.)

    -Greening the desert with a stick, my kids, and our hands. Going to invite others to join us. We will also drop in chop the weeds that grow. So maybe we will add a tool to help us. My goal is to give a show and tell and help others understand, we are able to make the change without any money or much knowledge.
    Be a kid in the dirt and you will be successful.

    -Start a tree nursery.

    -Share permaculture and projects with the senior community. Such as going to a nursing home and have the seniors help plant seeds in pots or make seed balls. This would also be a great place to work on my speaking skills. I would hate to be a conventional senior and wait to die. By bringing life and purpose to any group of people will in turn create life. I will also be including homeschoolers and anyone who wants to join us.

    Local Native American Reservation: Teach and implement basic permaculture gardening, compost making, and worm farming.

    Be able to describe my roles, goals, and what this will look like in action for my only passion: permaculture.

    My goal is to not go about spreading the news about permaculture myself. Or to permaculture the world myself. Geoff and his team have already paved the way. I believe if I join their team my energy will be better utilized. I'll explain it this way.

    A tree alone will barely survive or die. A tree seedling trying to grow by itself will stay a seedling and be stunted and live a short life. I am a seed and want to place my self in the growing forest so I can grow as quickly as I can and be there for other seedlings. My goal is to be the tallest tree. But my hope is others will beat me to it. I want to be an ancient tree with other ancient trees. I want my seeds to fly all the way around the earth, to every corner. I want to join the forest and do what hasn't been done.

    I feel like I am a seed with a desert to cross or literally an ocean. And it seems impossible. But if I can imagine it, it is reality or can become reality. I need help to reach these goals. The birds and wind to carry me to the young successful forest.

    The end, the beginning,
    Grace Pignatello

    P.S. If you see something in my writing, grammar or spelling or anything that needs to be changed, please let me know.

    Facebook Page
    Grace Pignatello
     
  8. Grace Pignatello

    Grace Pignatello Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Urban Site Manager, Homeschooling Mom
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    Desert
    Updates

    I created a facebook group to journal my daily activities by taking pictures and explaining what I am doing and learning. What Geoff has said is so true! You can't take enough pictures!!!! I am also sharing with the group the most important permaculture information I can. Most of the people joining are learning of permaculture for the first time. I am also inviting others over to my urban site to learn with me and to teach what I know.

    Always learning every chance I get! Listening and watching Geoff's videos. I started listening to his videos 6 ro 7 years ago. They never get old and I am always learning something new. I love watching the "Soils" movie after I have worked with my compost. This has been very effective.

    I started a worm farm with composting worms. I am going to collect some earth worms tomorrow to seed my yard with. They love the clay soil here in the desert and will bring so much life to it.

    I invite you to join me on facebook. My facebook name is, Grace Pignatello and my group is Our Urban Permaculture Garden. You should see the link in my profile info here. I would also be happy to email you it at, [email protected]

    My goal is to bring life to everything I do.

    Find happiness in the earth,
    Grace
     
    9anda1f likes this.
  9. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    3,046
    Likes Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    E Washington, USA
    Climate:
    Semi-Arid Shrub Steppe (BsK)
    You're doing good work Grace!
     
    Grace Pignatello likes this.
  10. Grace Pignatello

    Grace Pignatello Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Urban Site Manager, Homeschooling Mom
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    Desert
    Dear Permaculture Friends,

    When I participated in this forum two years ago I was so excited to fulfill my permaculture dreams. I have not seen my dreams fulfilled yet. But all has not been in vain and my dreams are bigger then ever. Like so many I have felt, so limited by finances. My personality is to charge ahead, knowing I have everything I need to go where I want and to do what I want. But, I let others tell me there is reality. I lose faith and try to just live an ordinary life. The cost of believing others has been great. Climbing my way out of emotional and mental deathness I feel like I am finally reaching the air and can breathe. I am focusing on bringing life to the death around me within arms reach. First with myself, my home, my desert garden yard, and then to those who I have direct access to.
    Today when I stepped into my backyard, I started to cry because I was so grateful for the permaculture knowledge I have. For my green yard, the flowers, veggies, birds, bugs, monarchs, worms, and the life I can't see. My permaculture dream is to forest, heal the ocean by starting in the coves, and give the rain a home. Until then, I will strive to work on the now and what is within reach.

    I should be able to post some photos of my yard soon.

    Urban Desert Yard Current Projects
    Raked a veggie bed on gravel and packed clay. Tossed seed, sprinkled worm mulch. Sprinkled with cut rye grass. Covered with burlap bags. This is an experiment.
    Planted monarch butterfly gardens the same way as above.
    Planting bare areas with ceral, sunflowers and clover.
    Saving seed and planting it.

    Urban Desert Garden Advice 101
    Keep planting, plant again, and again.
    Start with flowers. Sunflowers are perfect. Desert Milkweed is easy to grow and hard to kill.
    Spend less and less.
    If you are working hard, ask yourself, "If this was easy, what would I need to do?" Then do it.
    Observe

    How To Create an Easy First Urban Garden Bed

    Toss sun flower seeds right on the ground. Buy them as bird seed.
    Water, and cover with burlap bag or old cloth. When they sprout uncover and keep birds off.
    Or rake the seeds in or wet the ground and push the seeds into the clay. This will be more time consuming but you won't have to worry about the birds.
    Once the plants are a foot or so you can put more seeds down so you will always have the sunflowers. Or plant other species, veggies, or flowers.

    Just keep going, as will I,
    Grace
     

Share This Page

-->