2 exciting classes this weekend!

I’m involved with teaching 2 classes this weekend that should be terrific! Read on!

If you’d like to come to either or both,  please RSVP  at 505-983-9706 so I know how many ingredients to buy for the Jam class and number of handouts to run out for both classes. We won’t be confirming your RSVP– just know you’re in! Come to one or both!


rain-barrelSaturday, July 19
Creating a Rain Barrel and Learn About Rain Catchment
Learn how to make your own rain barrel and learn all about rain catchment
Time: 10 am-1 pm
Instructor: Amanda Bramble/Jannine Cabossel
Location: Milagro Community Garden (Rodeo Road and Legacy behind church)
Presented with Milagro Community Garden at milagrogarden@yahoo.com
RSVP to 505-983-9706 or email: homegrownnewmexico1@gmail.com

Learn how to make your own rain barrel with this hands-on workshop. Amanda will cover the basic elements of rain collection systems including sizing and sitting your tank as well as keeping the water clean. We will also discuss accessories like tank gauges, first flush systems, and filters for DIY systems. Jannine will demonstrate making a rain barrel out of a 55 gallon drum. Amanda Bramble is the director of Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center in Cerrillos, NM (www.ampersandproject.org).

Class is free but we have a suggested $10 donation or become a 2014 Member for $35 and the following free: classes, potlucks and one ticket to the big tour on July 27th.



jam photoSunday, July 20
‘Jamming Jam Class’
Jam Making Class
Time: 10am-1pm
Instructors: Jannine Cabossel/Duskin Jasper
Location: Whole Food’s Community Room (St. Francis location)
RSVP to 505-983-9706 or email: homegrownnewmexico1@gmail.com
(You will not be contacted back, we just need to know how many are coming for printing handouts and how much ingredients/jars to bring.)

In this preservation class, you will learn how to make and process jams with available seasonal fruit. The twist on this jam session is our emphasis will be on adding unusual ingredients to make unique artisan jams. We will hand out recipes. We will also go over basic canning processes. You’ll get a jar of jam to take home! Come jam with us!

Class is free but we have a suggested $10 donation or become a 2014 Member for $35 and the following free: classes, potlucks and one ticket to the big tour on July 27th.

It took a village to build my greenhouse!

final greenhouse

I haven’t posted much about the greenhouse I’ve been building but now that it is basically done (I still have a few more things to do) I want to share the greenhouse raising from the ground up and give thanks to those who contributed with their time, labor and knowledge. It has truly taken a village to build it! It all started in January of 2010 and has taken 3 years to complete it. Many, many thanks to the following people:

First, thanks to Caleb for coming out in January 2010 and jackhammering the holes out to set the posts. I was hoping to get it done back them by spring of 2010 so I wanted to get an early start-what a dreamer I was… 3 years passed because of everyone being sooo busy with other things (including me) and then this year in 2013 the magic happened.

Thanks Lava for helping me make it gopher proof, mouse proof, putting down the weed cloth, unloading the gravel for the floor and much more I’m sure I forgot about. Thanks Jacob, (Lava’s son) who generously put in 2 days of work on it when he was here visiting his mom earlier this year.

Thanks Elodie for helping in various tasks including putting the headers up in the framing, window framing, gopher proofing the raised beds, putting the sink in and much more as well.

And a big thanks to Tom Rivers. Without him I still would be at the beginning stages. What can I say about Tom? He is a great friend who came over week after week every Friday on his day off this year and with his constructions skills actually made it happen. Together we were able to build it or I should say I helped him build it. Both him and I are a lot alike-we became obsessive about building it, like dogs with their bones and we wouldn’t let go of it till it was completed. Truly a labor of love. Thank you thank you Tom!

I am now putting on the finishing touches and buttoning it up for winter to see how warm I can get it inside at night using passive methods-more on that later…But for now here is a pictorial on building it.

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How to Make a Rain Barrel

I went to a Master Gardener workshop where we learned how to make a rain barrel and how to figure out how much rain we could collect off our roofs. The formula for figuring out how much rain comes off our roofs is easy-take your sq footage of roof x .623 gallon x how many inches of rain. For example: 2000 sq ft roof x .623 gal=1246 x  ½” (.5) of rain=623 gallons of collectible rain. It’s amazing how much rain we could gather assuming of course we get some rain!

 Here’s how we build a rain barrel. First we started with some food grade 55 gallon rain barrels.

Here is the list of what you will need:
Rain barrel
¾ “ bronze or brass water faucet
(1) ¾ inch plastic hose to pipe fitting
(2)- ¾ inch flat rubber washers
(2)- ¾ inch galvanized metal washers
short hose for the overflow

3” hole saw (optional)
7/8” drill bit/router
waterproof sealant

1. Put barrel on its side and measure about 3 inches up from the bottom.

2. Drill a hole with your 7/8” bit. Making sure you are drilling straight up and down (no angle). When the faucet is attached to the bottom of the barrel, you should have enough room to attach a hose and still have the barrel sit flat.

3. You may want to take a knife and ream out the hole beveling it a little wider on the top so you can start to screw the faucet into the hole more easily as it is a tight fit.

4. Now screw the faucet into the hole to start the threads then back it out. This makes it easier to screw back in after you put the washers on the barrel.

5. Put marine glue around the hole.

6. Then put the ¾ inch black rubber washer and the metal washer on top of the hole. Make sure the black rubber washer is the washer that goes against the barrel first. Take the faucet and screw it back into the hole. The faucet will cinch down on the metal gasket and tighten the rubber gasket against the barrel. The hole should be very snug or it will leak. You may have to use pliers to get it screwed in all the way.

7. Afterwards drill a 7/8” hole 2 inches from the top and as shown for the overflow hose to attach. Repeat steps above but insert the black plastic pipe-to-hose fitting through this hole.

8. It has small threads on one side and large threads on the other side for the hose to attach. In this picture the large threads are on the left and the small threads are on the right. Screw the small threads into the hole. The large threads fit a hose for the overflow.

9. There are several ways to drain water into the barrel.
a. Position it under a downspout or canale where the water flow can be directed into the barrel.
b. Use a rain chain to direct water into the barrel
c. Use downspout adapters like the black one above. The top of the barrel will most likely have a small covered hole that can accommodate the downspout adapter but if not you can drill a 3” hole on the top.
d. You can also cut holes to fit a basket that fits in the barrel like the one above.

10. Here is the rain barrel ready to be put under a downspout.

Put the rain barrel onto a base or cinder blocks where it will be level. It should be high enough to accommodate a pail or you can attach a hose to the end.

Lastly be sure you empty the barrel at the end of season and leave the faucet open so water will not freeze in it.