Sunday, March 30, 2014

Grow Your Own: A Raised Bed and Tower Garden Experiment

Soil or aeroponics?  Why choose?  There are advantages to both.  In Daniel's case he is running an experiment in his front yard to see which one he likes best.  

As spring begins and the planting starts, he has two systems of growing.  One, a raised bed he designed and the other a tower garden that is a pilot system for a school gardening program.  In each system he plans to produce a yield that will provide healthy meals for his family.

Originally, the plan was to build the raised bed in the back yard, high enough off the ground so that he could work standing up.  The direct sunlight was better in the front yard, and because of that we trimmed some hedge and built it by the driveway.  By converting a sprinkler head into a bubbler irrigation system the bed is now watered on a timer.  

Daniel was also gifted a tower garden to experiment with as a pilot project for a local school's gardening program.  This is a perfect opportunity to see side by side how different grow systems work.  The tower garden is a soil-less system.  The nutrients are carried to the plant roots by an oxygenated water system the pumps water to the top of the tower from a storage basin at the bottom.  It is on a 15 min on/off timer.  

Placed side by side in the front yard, these two systems are going to provide an excellent opportunity to measure the success of two different grow styles.  Ventura Cooperative is happy to help Daniel as he endeavors to grow his own food.  Permaculture begins here, front yard gardening!

Learn more about Tower Gardens here.  

For more information contact Ventura Cooperative at:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ventura Cooperative Brings White Sage to NH

Maybe you've noticed, maybe you haven't.  "Live Free and DIY" is on the Ventura Cooperative logo. It's our version of the famous New Hampshire "Live Free or Die" state motto. In honor of this connection, we brought white sage to the granite state as the start of our coast to coast trading initiative.

White sage is hand gathered and native to California.  Hard to get in New Hampshire. What's difficult to fine in California--small batch locally produced maple syrup. That's where Ventura Cooperative comes in. We're building NH-CA trade partnerships to support locally made goods in both states.

Danbury General Store received our first delivery of white sage. It's a family run business with lot's of locally produced goods. The store is located right next to Ragged Mountian Ski Area.  Be sure to stop in and check out what they have to offer. Look for more locally harvested items and products to be traded in the future.  Have suggestions?  Contact us here.

Friday, February 21, 2014

DIY Rainwater Collection Barrel

This is a great basic design for a economical and efficient rainwater collection system.  In Ventura, as in the rest of California, we are facing serious drought conditions.  You'd be surprised how much water comes off your roof in even the lightest rain.  You're handy?  DIY  You're not?  give us a call and we'll install it for you.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chipping Away at Permaculture

As our next step in creating a permaculture landscape in Ally's yard, we asked our friend Don to come over with his chipper to help with breaking down a huge pile of brush. Instead of having all the brush hauled off to the landfill, we decided to keep it onsite and use the resource for mulch and compost building.  It's part of our permaculture ethic, to close the loop and reuse as much as possible.

Don purchased the chipper with this is mind.  Whenever we have a need to chip up a bunch of organic debris, he is the person we call.  He's been helping neighbor's and friends since he started in his own backyard last summer.  It's a great piece of equipment for small to mid-size jobs.  Easily portable and economical, and makes really nice mulch.

Earlier in the week, our crew had cut down a volunteer pine tree and trimmed vines and hedges all around Ally's yard.  The trunk and some of the branches were too big to chip, so we cut them into lengths to be used as firewood.   Most of the rest of the branches we cleaned for mulching. The rest we lopped up into big compost piles.  After about 6 hours of work we had about 5 yards of rough compost and a dozen bags of fine mulch to be used in the yard.

Thanks Don!  Now we can move on to the next phase of Ally's edible landscape--building raised beds and compost bins.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mulch for California Drought

2013 was the driest year on record for California.  2014 is looking like it could continue to produce emergency drought conditions across the state.  As we prepare for our spring and summer gardens, water use is a major concern, and heavy mulching this year is a number one priority.

Ventura Cooperative Garden Services sources mulch locally, delivers and installs it for you as needed.  Keep the water in the soil around the roots of your plants.  By the truckload or by the bag (reclaimed and reused whenever possible.)  Get some compost or compost tea too.  Check out Vcoop's garden services menu here.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Art City Winter Solstice Planting

Paul Lindhard from Art City Studios on the westside of Ventura asked us to help organize a community planting on a lot adjacent to the Ventura River Bike Path.  We organized some of the finest permaculture gardeners in the city to come down and help out.

Art City is a stone working art community.  Paul had dozens of pallets of shist.  These large stones we used as borders for raised beds all along the parameter of the lot.  We ordered 15 yards of Agromin's premium compost and Green Thumb donated starts to plant in the beds.  Here is a quick video of us preparing the site for a Solstice planting party.  If you get the chance, go down to Rex and Dubbers and check it out!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

TEDx Ojai-Dream Me, Build Me, Make Me Real

On September 21st, Jason Brock will be one of the speakers talking about redefining community environments at TEDx Ojai. The event is part of TEDCity2.0, and local organizers will be streaming talks from NYC as part of a day long exchange of ideas and inspiring thought.  Jason, one of Ventura Cooperative's founders, will be speaking on time banking as a way to help build networks of trust within our local economy.

Join him and other local cultural creatives in this all day event.  To request an invitation click on TEDx Ojai icon above.  Be sure and enter the word TIMEBANK in your request to receive a 20% discount.  All the details and information can be found on the website for the event.

Your participation is what makes the dream a reality.  Be the change.   These ideas are worth sharing.

btw-Sign up for the Ventura Time Bank as an attendee and get a 1 hour credit in your account.