All posts by johndgrigsby

I want to share experiences and lessons I have learned through this blog. I have a diverse background as a husband, dad, Army sergeant, youth leader, Sunday School teacher and director. I have a zest for life, and hope to share just a bit with you.

‘‘Tis blackberry season

It is July in East Tennessee – and you know what that means? Yep – it is blackberry season.

You will find me in out of the way fields in the early morning and late evenings. My goal is to pick as many berries as our freezer will hold – a quart at a time.

I made a little video to show you where I pick berries and a few pointers. Check it out …..

First No Till Garden

I just finished my first no till garden and decided to make an instructional video.  If you are interested in how to make a no till garden, or want to see how I did it then please go watch the video below.

No Till Garden video

I have made a few raised bed gardens this year, but this one is just a bit different.  It really wasn’t that hard, but in retrospect I wish I had more green items to include before I added the papers.

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More organic material would make for a more rich environment quicker.  I know by adding adding compost in the years to come the ground will be built up, but I wanted to plant cantaloupes this year.  We will see how it goes.

 

 

Greenhouse – Regulating Temperatures

My greenhouse has become a favorite place for me to work on most days. From watering, seeding to transplanting there is a lot of activity in the greenhouse.

But I am struggling with keeping my temperatures within an acceptable range.

When it was cold I had to add a heater to keep the temperature above 40.  I let the temp drop into the 30s one night and lost the tomato plants I had in the ground.  This of course is a manual process and adds the cost of electricity to my gardening efforts.

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heater on a metal chair so I don’t burn the place down

When the temperature gets too hot I have another problem.  The greenhouse will heat up in a hurry and the extreme temperature will kill off any tender seedings, and even some things in the ground.

I have a window that opens when the temp gets above 75 degrees and will leave the door open for ventilation.  I have a small fan in the greenhouse to help with air flow, but it is not really big enough to keep the temps down.

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what a great invention – opens and closes around the 70 degree mark

Today I added a shade cloth that is supposed to block 70% of the sun’s rays.  Too early to tell if it will be helpful, but got to try something!

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10×20 shade cloth covers most of the greenhouse

I also have a thermometer that registers the high and lows.  This is helpful as a reactionary tool, and give me some insight as to what is happening in the greenhouse.

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I can set the indicators to show the last low (green) and high (blue).  Actual temp is red arm. 

These are my attempts and regulating the temperature in my greenhouse.

I would love to hear what methods you use to keep things around an optimal temperature.  Drop you comments below if you would……

 

Plant Based Diet – Greenhouse

I have enjoyed the new foods I have found and eaten on my plant based diet. I do like a good variety of fruits and vegetables.  The only thing that will make me feel better about my plant based diet will be to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables from my own garden.

So to increase my possibilities of fresh veggies that I know are grown organically, I built my own greenhouse.

This rest of this post is to show some of the stages on how we built the greenhouse.  I want to thank a few folks who helped make this dream a reality.  My dad helped me more than anyone and worked tirelessly with me till it was finished.  My son helped weld the cattle panels.  And lastly I got the inspiration and blueprints from TexasPrepper2.

We started with a 2″x8″ foundation that is 16’x7′
The framework is made of 4’x16′ cattle panels
My son welded the 4 cattle panels together and then we stapled them to the 2x8s.  I also have some rebar drove in the ground and attached to the 2×8 for stability.
We started our wooden framing with a window on the south wall and a door on the north.  Notice we also have wood chips down so we can work without getting so muddy.
The trench for both water and electricity in the greenhouse.
We used pallet boards for the shelves.
All ready for the plastic!  The edge of the cattle panels we cut a used water hose to be sure the plastic doesn’t get caught on the wire and tear.
Finished product!  My dad and I spent over 12 hours building this greenhouse, and it ain’t perfect but it sure will suit my needs!!

Plant Based Diet – Business Travel

This week I had to travel to Nashville for work. I was gone three days and dreading what my meals I would wind up eating.

Lucky for me I wound up eating by myself for supper both days – so I was feeling good about my chances.

I was able to have a salad at all meals that I ate. So I had good options for greens and fiber!

I did find a great little restaurant close to my hotel. PDK Southern Kitchen & Pantry had a nice little southern charm menu with locally sourced foods. They also had free little New Testaments where you place your order! I will visit again if I have the chance.

So I was not as tight with my meals as I would be at home, but still pretty good for me. And better than I usually would eat.

Plant Based Diet – Back on Track

So my pause from the plant-based diet was to enjoy the festivities of my son’s wedding. And boy did I enjoy!

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My son’s wedding cake just oozing with chocolate goodness.

I ate pizza, macaroni and cheese, sweet tea, brisket, pork, cakes (it was a wedding already!), ice cream and all sorts of other goodies during the wedding weekend.  I did not really push away from anything to eat the whole weekend – which started on Thursday.

Friday night I actually got sick with diarrhea. Not sure if it was the MSG on the brisket or all the sweet tea I drink that day, but something just did not agree with my system.  So the day of the wedding I was in recovery mode not eating a lot, and drinking lots of water.

There were left overs on Monday and I worked through some, but found my way back to eating more plant based food.  And then on Tuesday I was back to just plant based meals.

What did I learn from this pause?

I learned that I do like the taste of cakes and ice cream, but it leaves me feeling empty and sort of sick inside.  I guess I have finally pushed through the sugar withdrawals and can do without sugar.  When I do eat or drink those things I just do not get the same satisfaction as I used to.

Eating those kind of processed foods also make my body feel sluggish.  I did not feel as sharp as I do while eating a plant based diet.

So now I continue my journey of eating a plant based diet.  I am not perfect, nor am I super strict about what I eat, but I am doing much better than I was when I first started this journey.  I look forward to learning more food options and how these foods affect me.

The way I really feel is this – I like to release pounds from my body more than I like to eat empty foods.  That has been my biggest and best eye opener!

I just started reading Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live, and it is really revealing about why we should be eating a plant based diet.  With all the big money that surrounds the food industry it is no wonder that this message will take a long time to get out and be adopted in American culture.

Not sure who I heard this from, but I thought important to share because it really helps with my mindset.  I am not becoming a vegetarian, but rather a nutritiocian!

 

Plant Based Diet – Pause

I am taking a few days break from my plant-based diet. I have a huge family event this weekend, and know what to expect from the food being served.

I will try to watch what I eat, but want to enjoy all the festivities that will be taking place.

I have concerns that I will gain weight. I have concerns that I will lose any moment that I have gained in my body’s biology. I have a concern that I will lose the taste for plant based foods.

But I have hope that these concerns will not be realized in a few days, and that I will be able to enjoy this weekend with family and friends.