You've encouraged me. I eat watercress every day so I tried to grow it myself and went through one packet of seeds and gave up. Which is what I do. I'll give it another go and stick with it this time. I don't have any kind of aquaponic setup but I can rig something up with what I have around here. Thanks so much for talking about my favorite thing to eat!
I've wanted one for a long time but just haven't gotten to the point where I'm ready to tackle the back field. I can't remember where I found out about this company but you might want to take a look at their website http://www.themaruggcompany.com/products.htm
I lived in the West Midlands for awhile where hedges and dry stonewalls made a beautiful patchwork quilt of the rolling countryside. Dotted with white sheep, it'll brings tears to your eyes.
I bought books on both the art of the hedge and dry stonewalls, equally fascinating and inspiring.
Just wanted to post a quick update. My neighboring farmer had a big pile of dead leaves and said I can have it so I take my card over there every other day or so and load it up. There are tons and tons of grubs in there! Bonus!
I put up the baby pool, found some duckweed and just like you said they ate it all. I replenished it twice but it was gone by the end of the day. I may keep a little on the side in a separate pool to give to them a little at a time. It's free, after all.
This is as far as I've gotten but I thought I'd post a pic anyway.
You guys are amazing. I want to do all your suggestions, but I'll control myself and start with a few.
I already have 2 spare portable raised beds I built. 4x6'x12"so I'll cart them over to the run today and buy seed. I've got spare cage screens that go over each bed frame that I can use to keep them out till there's good growth. Whoa.
I have a kitty pool that all used for the duckweed. I use those flexible pipe misters to fill the water bowl. Keeps the water fresh. I just pull out the mister and use the pipe because it shapes to the side of the water bowl. Now I just have to locate some duckweed. I know I'll find it around here somewhere. Whoa.
I can move the long section of the fencing closer to the tree line and try to replant the dirt. Leaves are hard to come by here in Florida and I've been keeping an eye out for yard waste. I bought a little chipper shredder a few months back and it's pretty sad but it's something. I've got an awful lot of trees around here. I've also got several rotted wood piles and I can throw those in there. Whoa.
I have 4 foot high poultry wire to hook up for temporary fencing and create sections. A lot of people think I'm crazy because my fencing isn't a fortress. The tree line fence is chain link and while the chickens can't fly out, anything can climb over the top. It isn't to keep the foxes out, it's to keep the chickens in. Varmints are dealt with another way. And in my experience no amount of fencing no matter how sturdy will keep something out if it really wants to get in. The coop on the other hand IS a fortress. Not a mouse or a snake can get in there. I'm home 90% of the time, and the dog keeps any daytime predators away.
I have steady customers for eggs and have to hoard some for myself. They'd be very disappointed if I cut the herd down lol. I really do have enough room for 12 or more birds I'm just having a hard time trying to figure this out. I have a very good mechanical brain but this thing has me in a twizzle. That's why I asked for help because I just can't wrap my mind around it.
Okay, off I go! I've got my work cut out for me today! I can't thank you all enough. But thank you thank you thank you.
I have 12 hens in a run about 30'x75' for the past year-and-a-half and they've scratched down to bare ground. I need to give them more foraging space so I moved one part of the fencing the other day but it's not nearly enough. I need to keep a long tree line enclosed inside the run for shade and shelter from rain. And my other concern IS rain - I'm in West Central Florida hurricane territory and last season it got really muddy in there so I'm trying to be proactive by moving the fencing now before May.
Problem is the area I can move them to is really just crunchy brown weeds and no grass. Florida soil is really just sand and dust. I'd be surprised if there were any bugs in there.
I don't know what to do. I've spent a good couple of months thinking this through and I still haven't come up with a good plan. It's not like I can sow seeds and grow some crop or something for them to eat. Paul talks about the ideal system being one where you can move the fencing in rotation. I can move my fencing, but to where?
Can anyone help? I'm not desperate, but I'm getting there.
F Agricola wrote:Today (Saturday) is a hot one - 30 C at 9am inside the house, at 11am it was 44 C (111F) in the shade outside. About 40% humidity.
Holy hellfire - where do you live?!!?? Your post is from Feb!! I live in West Central Florida and it gets bloody hot here too but you've got us beat. I have to chime in because keeping the chickens cool is a high priority here.
I ordered these cool flexible mister tube things from Amazon and while they don't sit under it like I hoped they would they do like the cool ground after I move it. I took the other one and pulled out the mister, twisted the flexible tube over the side of their waterer and I just leave it dribble all day long. Keeps it from getting algae build-up too. I have a well so the water is usually pretty cool.
I didn't realize that some chickens are just too stupid to come in out of the sun. I chose breeds that do well in the heat and so far it hasn't been an issue. They're all under the trees inside the run where it's dark and cool all day long. That's got to be heartbreaking, though. I'm very sorry you lost one of your girls.
I've been using the "automatic chicken coop door" for 3 years. I have a very long outdoor extension cord ran to the timer. I even expanded my coop and moved the door from the old to the new and it was a piece of cake.
I have to set the clock twice a year for daylight savings. I adjust the time about once a month or so to accommodate light changes. They're not out until I get up in the morning AND the sun has fully risen. I've seen foxes here at 7 am.
i often go out for supper at 6:30 and back around 8. I have the door set to close about 15-20 minutes after sundown. When I get home I double check and make sure it's closed, and that's a good habit when I've recently changed the timer. I've screwed up and found a hen or two sleeping under the ramp 🙄
I can't say enough how wonderful this thing is. Before I got it and the reason I got it it is that I would leave the coop door open for them and then go and close it at night. Except when I forgot and came out in my whole flock was dead. All it took was once.
Downside. A heavy string pulls the door up. I've had to replace it several times so to be able to get at the motor I've just put hinges on the cover so I don't have to unscrew the panel every time. I've found 100 pound test weight fishing line to be the best. It took a lot of experimenting and frustration and a bit of a learning curve to set the actuators because I kept snapping the line.
The guy that owns the company is really helpful and very nice and patient. And I'll be darned if the things aren't made in the US. Our very own Indiana.
"I feel like crap 50% of the time. I force myself to work when I don't feel well."
...Okey dokey, Ryan, slow down. I'm old, I've been through alot and sometimes tact is a waste of time. So here goes.
Admit to yourself the limitations on what you are going to be able to do homesteading-wise. You sound fairly accepting of your mental illness, but double check that. It sounds to me like you're looking for a work-around.
I am a recovering alcoholic. I have type 2 bipolar disorder and lots of other fun things. My best friend has dissociative disorder, anxiety, manic depression, PTSD, alcoholism, and drug addiction. She suffers terribly. Some days she can't get off the couch. Most days she can't take a shower. Medications that she has been on for 25 years have caused a tremendous amount of damage to her internal organs. She is grateful for an hour she can do anything.
Many recovering alcoholics remind ourselves every single morning that we are alcoholic, because our default setting is to forget that (that's a bad thing - shit goes south pretty quickly). Many of us have experienced trauma and have mental illness to manage in addition to addiction. We take life 24 hours at a time. That's all. We are not whiners, we are admitting to ourselves we are not like other people. Boy, people that don't live inside our heads hate to hear that.
90% of people don't understand. They come up with a lot of pablum and lighthearted hopeful advice but unless they walk in our shoes, God bless them, well, we just have to wait for them to stop talking.
There's no magic bullet answer. When you have a complicated mental and emotional life, it's important to design your life to accommodate that. Sure, you can make a check list and prioritize tasks, but when shit goes south smack in the middle of the day and you can't work anymore, that to-do list can become a source of shame. It doesn't mean a list is a bad thing, it just might be a bad thing for you. Pay attention to that. Walk out the door and do what you want to do.
And treasure the times that you feel good, for they are precious. Please try not to forget that (that's a tape it on your mirror thing).
Priscilla Stilwell wrote:My rabbit/chicken house is nearly finished, and I'll be doing something similar. I'm going to lay blocks around the inside of the dirt floor, and fill with local sand (which also has some clay in it). Then I'll put in a thin layer of sawdust and shavings along with a sprinkling of charcoal powder. Bunnies in suspended cages will shower poo, pee, and food scraps down to the chicks below them who will then scratch and poop and pee and do their chickeny thing. Whenever needed, I'll add more sawdust, and periodically, some more charcoal powder.
Hi Priscilla, what is the charcoal powder for?
The house is 16x12, and we're only starting with 2 or 3 buns and 4 hens. But assuming all works out, we will likely expand fairly quickly (if the bunnies have their say!). I assume at the beginning we will be able to go almost a year before cleaning it out. Once it's at capacity, it will fill much faster.
I live in West Central Florida and this summer has been mostly in the mid-90s up until two weeks ago when the rains came. It cooled down but humidity was 80-90%. All my work is outside and for most of the summer I've been very nearly out of my mind. Getting up early doesn't help because it's wretchedly humid and already in the 80's, and once the sun finally dries off the humidity it's 95°. The best time to work is in the evening and I will often work into dark with one of those little headlamps. It's finally stopped raining the last two days and the ground is mostly dried out. The house is raised up on blocks and had 6-10" of water underneath it. Talk about a perfect storm for mold. Half the house was built in 1942 and is what is known as a cracker house. The other half is an add-on. I rent the house, thank God. It has so many problems and would be a money pit. the old way of building these houses was using something that I think was called decorator board but is nothing more than lap and there's a gap for air flow. My landlord has sealed the gap with caulk thinking it was a bad thing and would let bugs in. It's Florida, and bugs will find their way in no matter what. But back in the forties, people knew what they were doing to keep a house cool and those attic fans that someone else mentioned, window shutters, and shading the house with trees were what you did. You can drive through rural parts of Florida and see a little shack of a house in the middle of a field with one gigantic tree shading it.
I have window air conditioners which I'm grateful for because I only need to run the one in the room I'm in. During the day all the windows are closed and the insulating shades are drawn. It's dark in here and feels wonderful like a little cave and is about 10-15° cooler. When I come in from outside I have a ferocious fan I blow right on me to dry off and cool down, then I drink something cold, turn off the fan and go back outside.
Like other people have said I like it cold to sleep so I close my bedroom door and run the AC. As some old boyfriend said it's like a meat locker in here LOL
I wish I could read through all the replies to make sure I'm not repeating something someone else said there's no time for that this morning.
I'm not going to get all God-y on you, but "something" is telling you to slow down. For now you can't have the life you've had up until your illness. We so desperately want to keep our lives the same, but change is always happening. And we always want to know what the future holds.
We don't always get to know.
You have so many skills and so much knowledge to be grateful for, and you're on the right track by combing through all of the variations of possibilities. And then the solution will be completely unrelated and pop up out of the blue.
If I haven't gone through this a hundred times I'd keep my mouth shut. But I have, and when I thought my life was over and the worst it's ever been something magnificent was right around the corner.
Lori, before great things can enter your life the old stuff has to go in order to make room. There's only so much life-space. I've learned a lot in my life about change. I've been dragged kicking and screaming and I've gone willingly. Trust me, going willingly was a lot easier. When things are about to change it usually doesn't sneak up on us all of a sudden and out of the blue, it's been brewing for a long time, like your situation. Honestly, Lori, no one should be in what I will call a painful situation for as long as you have been. I hate to be the kick in the pants, but it's time for something new. The biggest lesson I have learned about change is that the next unknown thing will be more magnificent than the last.
Kevin Schaible wrote: This year I just planted again and hope to have a well documented account of my garden again. Is anyone else doing this kind of stuff with chicken litter?
Hell no I'm not but I'm going to start!! Holy wow and muchas gracias for posting all that for us.
I'm in Florida and all we have is sand so I feel your pain. I'm always looking for anything and everything that I can use to build soil, but so far I've only had mediocre results. I want my efforts to matter and yield healthy strong plants. I work way too hard for average results.
We have a lot of rain here, and plugging leaks and keeping the coop dry takes a lot of my attention. Consequently I use pelleted bedding and cat litter clay which keeps it dry and stink free. The problem is that this particular cat litter is nothing but clumped up diatomaceous earth and it kills every living thing, like worms. The litter has its own area because I can't compost it. It decomposes pretty quickly but I haven't tried throwing a plant or two in it to see if anything survives without worms and such. I sacrifice having compost for having a dry stink free coop I only have to clean every 3 months or so.
I've experienced alot of death in my life, and certainly one day it will be my own. Without getting into the whole thing, I'll just say I've learned a lot about it. Most of it amusing.
My sister and I took my dad's ashes up in a Cessna 172 that I was flying at the time and sprinkled him (yeah, illegal) over Green Bay, Wisconsin, his favorite place. I'm the funeral singer so I sang Amazing Grace and flew the plane. If that weren't funny enough, as we passed the bag back and forth sprinkling a little out at a time, the wind sucked the bag out of my sister's hand with the last quarter cup remaining and she was quite sure he'd be trapped in there forever. She was devastated. I was howling.
The really hilarious bit came after we landed and gathered our things, and found a nice dusting of dad all over the back seat and all down the fuselage in a long gray streak. He would have loved it, and it remains one of the funniest moments in my life.
I have 3 carts. One I only use if my other two are occupied with stuff. I don't like it because my shins hit the bar across the bottom so I can't walk with a normal gait. For body weight/strength comparison purposes I'm female, 60 years old, about 5'8" 140#'s and very strong for my age. When it comes to picking the right cart, it's got to be right for your body.
The one I use most is the gorilla poly dump cart. I like it because the tires go over my lumpy uneven ground and it turns in a tight circle. It's never tipped over, and the pneumatic tires inflate easily with a bike. pump. My heaviest load is about 160#'s stacked pretty high and if the tires are inflated right it rolls over the ground easily. When I bought it I put it to work right away and I've loved it ever since.
The other cart that I have is the gorilla steel heavy duty cart. I almost never use the sides, and for my purposes it's perfect. I often need to haul lumber so I needed something that would do that. I don't use it as much as the other one so when I need it, I need it.
These photos all came from amazon but I bought the carts from home depot. Sorry they're so gigantic :/
Good luck in your search! You're getting alot of good advice.
This is the best thread EVER! Ok, maybe not, but I got some good ideas on what to do. Having an extra old cell phone nearby is something I never would have thought of in a million years. I've been using a mobile phone since 1986 and my first phone was a bag phone😱 I have a box of old cell phones (go figure), and I do know if the battery's charged you can call 911. What I wasn't sure about was whether or not it has to have a SIM card so if course I searched it and posted a photo of the result below in case you're curious.
As for carrying my own phone, I will work on a way to attach it to me it doesn't drive me nuts. Lord knows I couldn't hang it around my neck - I'd bend over and catch it on something and strangle myself. Some kind of fanny pack would work...Do they still make those? LOL
So the whole reason that I posed this question is that I am a 60 year old woman who is fit as a fiddle and often takes on jobs that I should probably get help doing. My friends are constantly on me about that, but that just isn't going to happen. I live on 5 acres and really only work one of them since I'm by myself. Everything I need I can pretty much get on an acre. But I'm invisible back here and it's not like someone would drive by and see me bleeding to death in the backyard. I use a lot of power tools, saws and such, I was grinding concrete earlier in the week, and I just bought a chipper shredder. I'm very careful and safe, but that's what we think right before we get injured.
Thank you everyone for your ideas! It was sure fun reading them.
I am alone here on a small farm, and it has been brought to my attention that I could be injured out in the back field and no one would know. my phone is somewhere nearby most of the time but I don't keep it on me all the time because I might break it or get it wet.
Do you all have any suggestions? A few friends have suggested that emergency thing that hangs around your neck lol "I've fallen and I can't get up!"
Benton Lewis wrote:I have some 24 percent protein feed mix for baby birds. I would like to get to at least 25% protein. I might need to add a little calcium too. What should I do. It's for quail and I don't see a quail section on here.
Hi Benton, I saw your post doesn't have any replies so I thought I would ask if you have thought about raising black soldier fly larvae.
Tj Jefferson wrote:Leslie, we did quite a lot of reading, on here especially, to work in the poultry. The idea is that they are not a stand-alone, they are a part of the progression of the soil from degraded to full of life. It has been really really good for the field. We are significantly increasing our acreage in silvopasture, and this will necessitate other birds. We may do guineas or turkeys, but there is a niche here that benefits from ground birds.
As a part of that, the idea from the start, was to have them be more or less making their own ecosystem, like browsers in a maintenance of their own habitat. They have been exceptional at making topsoil out of wood chips, inoculating the soil, and making different depths of soil as they dig and bathe. They will be a good complement to sheep in the next buildout. What we wanted to do was to make something more sustainable. We could have just fed them in the coop and collected eggs as is common here. We could have had a mobile paddock to spread the poop and keep the bugs down. But the idea has been to make modular paddock spaces that will have their total requirements contained within. There will be paddocks for the summer that teem with bugs and are places of high manuring, fall paddock spaces under the trees dropping fruit and seeds, and spring paddocks with berries. They get moved once a week except for the middle of winter they stay in a few mulch piles and back to eden gardens. The fox predator pressure here is intense, and we can't free range them. We could, for a couple weeks. They would get cleaned out. Winter has been the problem.
Soldier fly larvae are only active in 50F+ weather as we have discussed on prior threads. We already are pretty well set in those temperatures. I am not going to raise them in the house! We do as I mentioned compost the animal parts in wood chips which probably turns into nice yield of bugs, and will occur deep into the winter. In large windrows there are bugs pretty much all year. The chickens then work to shred the chips to get their meal. It hastens the composting of the chips. Beyond that it seems to keep other birds fed over the winter. We have bluebirds all year. This makes me happy!
So not everyone's system will look the same. In Florida BSF seems like something that could provide year-round food. We used to live there! Unfortunately it most beneficial here when we have a surplus anyway. We are working toward out deficiencies. IF we were doing some meat birds raised over the summer it might be really great, but we really haven't gotten into that yet.
Ty, I'm envious of your energy and thoroughly through planning. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants and problem solve along the way. The bsf just showed up in my worm bin. But they sure vanish when the temperature drops below 60° or so. And if I don't put in something dry for them to eat I can't get them clean enough to throw to the girls. I throw the occasional dead thing in there and I worry about transferring any bad bacteria to the hens. And it just seems gross to fling a scoopful of wet slop over the fence for them to pick through. Am I wrong to worry about that?
Today I put a cup of catfood in a colander and they worked their way through the holes and I just threw them and the few remaining kibbles to the chickens. I'm trying to find the easiest way to separate the larvae from the compost. Right now it's a nasty wet sloppy black sludgey mess in there and thousands of wiggling larvae munching away. You can hear it. Wonderful, but ugh.
Tj, it sounds like you've really thought this through. I have 17 hens in a large fenced area on grass that's becoming dirt as they scratch for bugs. I'm getting ready to move the fencing to green ground. I do buy feed; they have dry feed in the coop and get wet fermented feed outside. I go through a 40# bag in about 4 weeks.
Of course they get select kitchen scraps, but here's my big protein source: bsfl. If you haven't considered this, I think it might be a great addition and less effort than cultivating enough good ground for worms, etc to appear.
I've got a compost bin someone gave me that's about 2x2x3' square. It sits in a shaded treeline at the edge of my property, where I dump the coop litter when I clean it out. Because I use DE in the coop I can't put it in the bin because the DE will kill the larvae.
Everything the chickens don't get goes in the bin. Bsfl eat meat too, they'll clean Thanksgiving turkey carcass in a day. I scoop them up and feed them to the chickens. People build elaborate bsfl bins, making a simple operation very complicated. They need to be fed, like anything else, and one of the tricks is to never let them get hungry. Make sure they've always got something to eat and they will multiplying like nobody's business. One of the important factors is to make sure there's something dry in there for them to eat so that you can just scoop them out without having to do any rinsing because they get really buried into anything wet and then it's gross and then you don't want to feed it to the girls without cleaning off yada yada yada. If I don't have anything dry to put in there, cheap catfood is awesome. I found that out when somebody gave me a leftover bag just throw in there and they went wild. I'm not crazy about feeding my chickens dyed commercial yucky cat food but the larvae eat it so fast that there are only a few kibbles left that get scooped up and thrown into the run.
Once you figure out the few caveats in your particular system to make it easy on yourself this is probably the best free and most nutritious feed available. Variety is key of course, but if you can get this going it's the best form of free protein you can find.
A note on the cat food; at first I thought buying a bag of cat food was the stupidest thing in the world because I was buying it to put directly in my compost bin. But then I realized I was feeding the living creatures that I feed to my chickens for incredibly high quality protein and then it made total sense. I really like that it's dry so I can scoop up the larvae because like I said when they get ahold of watermelon rind and old carrots, old tomatoes (you get the idea) they are incredibly wet and really gross. Giving them something dry to eat was something brilliant I just fell across by accident. And like I said a bag of cat food is stupidly cheap.
Tj Jefferson wrote:I tried feeding the chickens fish parts, but they wouldn't eat them and it drew in vultures, like into th chicken pen. I tried making a solar cooker to cook them and it worked, but they still wouldn't eat it. I think they would if it was all cut up, but I ended up just putting it int the compost and letting them dig the compost up. I've tried with deer carcasses too. I had chickens that were pretty carnivorous, this bunch is not!
My big winner for chicken fodder is goumi berries. I sun dried a bunch on the driveway and they worked out great. I should be able to generate a hundred kilos per year in a week or so per summer. I can pick about ten pounds or five kilos an hour and have them laid out on the driveway, so a couple days spent for most of the chickens feed requirements over our brief winter, stored in hung burlap bags (actually old grass seed bags with excellent ventilation). They dry in a couple days in the sun. It is on a very slight slope, so even though we had rain one of the days they still dried out fine. It did look ridiculous and I need to make sure they dont get driven over. I am still looking for calories for them over the winter but the protein was a major issue last winter.
My winter calorie search continues. I am doing sorghum sunflower and millet this year. and plan to leave some standing and see if that will last.
Tj I'm curious. How many chickens do you have? How long is your winter?
I wanted to update my posts on this forum to report that after going great guns and being delighted how easy and well the fodder project went, summer came, it got hot and humid and that was the end of that.
No matter how little seed I put in the trays, how often I rinsed, they went sour. The little roots, if it even got that far, got nasty, slimey and brown and smelled like rotten beer LOL
I tried various tricks to adjust for the issue to no avail. I briefly (like 2 seconds) considered bringing the project indoors where it's drier.
Any other ideas I'd love to hear them!
Leslie Russell wrote: That stuff is a lifesaver around here. So far so good!
Oh, and I had to attach the new roof with the old one there at the peak. I thought I had it but when I saw it from the house I saw that hump... it only makes me crazy once in awhile 🙄
For a Coop that's pretty nice. What do you have under the tin? Metal roofs radiate heat too well and you don't want to cook your birds. Go the extra step and add a gutter at the lower end and catch all that run off and feed it to the birds.
I'm sorry, John, I wandered away from this forum and got engaged in sheet mulching...lol
Under the tin are foamcore insulation sheets with the foil on the outside facing up to radiate heat away. I really thought this through because heat is huge here. If it wasn't enough insulation I was prepared to insulate the walls too but I'd have to have a thin lumber sheet over the insulation because chickens LOVE Styrofoam. :\
It's always 10+ degrees cooler in there.
Leslie Russell wrote:I have so much wood around here that I could use if only I had a chipper. Does anyone have one or used one? Are they difficult to use and how dangerous are they?
Howdy neighbor! Since the wood chips usually decompose fairly quickly here and the chop and drop became too tedious for my carpal tunnel hands, I decided I wanted a wood chipper. So, for my birthday present last year my husband purchased a PowerSmart Electric Chipper (model PS10). (He's a keeper for certain.) It can handle branches up to 1 5/8" across which is all we need. I chop up banana leaves in it too. I use eye and ear protection. Anything larger than 1 5/8" I use for path markers in my food forest, or save for my raised bed Hugelkultur. I also will lay short logs in my food forest to decompose and give shelter to the soil dwelling critters.
I've been poking around trying to get the very best price on a chipper and because I have a little sun joe pressure washer that's pretty awesome I opted for one of theirs. Their customer service is very good, too. Right now they've got a sitewide 25% off any order and shipping is always free on orders over $75. I ended up paying $104!!
I've got big logs (most go into hugel beds) and a lot of smaller stuff, and being on 5 mostly wild acres I'll have enough for beds AND mulch. Yippee! I'm going to love this puppy.
It does help, quite a bit. I can look at the areas of concern now and analyze the way the water collects or runs off and use your suggestions to help mitigate the extremes of the wet season. In a perfect world the ground would slope where it needs to and in one direction but on my property you've got yer swales over here and yer runoff over there... I'll get to work on it. Rain is a'comin, of that I can be certain. Maybe. 😏
Thank you, Daron! What great ideas.
I'm in west central Florida (yes, that's a thing) and we're already in the mid-90's. When we get rain it's usually of the slamming down ALOT of water in a short time type. Some rainy seasons are mild and some are torrential and we don't know how much rain we're going to get in any given year. Sometimes the predictions are spot on, sometimes way off. I've learned to prepare as if there's going to be alot of water.
But. Because it's so bloody hot, we can go from too much water to a drought in a day. Right now it's dry even though we had rain a few days ago. Sometimes I water (I have a well) and a few hours later a storm moves in. Great, now my plants are drowning.
What advice do you have for that situation? All my beds are raised, because the "soil" here is sand. (I've actually considered growing in the woods where it's shaded and there's real soil!) 2 beds are new hugelkultur and the logs are starting to rot well. Hot summer crops are limited so there's not much in there but strawberry plants.
Dawna Janda wrote:I use cardboard and newspaper as that is what I have access to. On top of that, it's 8 to 12 inches of wood chips. In central Florida (semi-tropical), it takes a few months for the cardboard to break down and the grasses and dollar weed to start peeking through. When I first started sheet mulching, I thought Geoff Lawton's recommendations of how thick to sheet mulch were a bit much.....but now I know better...LOL....Geoff is right. It keeps things at bay for a longer period of time.
Hi Dawna, I'm in west central Florida and I've got the same grass and weed problems. It takes an act of God to kill them. Mostly I just manage to suffocate them for a little while. If any light gets through and I don't catch it they're up and running again. Grrrr.
Denise Kersting wrote:That's a great resource! Here's another one that some cities use, https://solutions.recyclecoach.com/. My city has signed up with them so the app works in my area, but not all cities are connected with them.
What a great app! I kinda sorta live in a city just the rural part. We don't have anything very sophisticated at all. I hope others see the link and check it out.
I noticed this little emblem on a plastic bag lined with bubble wrap I got from Amazon. I'd never seen it before and went to their website and was gobsmacked! We are limited on what we can put in our recycling bins and I always feel bad when I have to throw out any kind of plastic that isn't the "right kind". I try hard to keep plastic to a minimum, but it can't be avoided altogether.
Go here and type in your zipcode to find one of their bins in your area. They have a chart you can print out of what you can put in there even though the bin says "recycle your plastic bags here" and doesn't mention all this other stuff.
There's a ton, guys. Bubble wrap, bread bags, produce bags, ziplocs (!!), plastic wrap toilet paper comes in... please check it out.
Ed Bradley wrote:I have two questions. I am in South Carolina zone 8a.
1. We have a running type of grass that invades everything. I runs deep and if you don't pull it out of the wood chips is will take over quickly. Any suggestions to win the war to eliminate it?
I feel your pain, Ed. I'm in Florida and we're have it too. I let my 4x12 raised bed get overrun while I was finishing a chicken coop addition and kept looking at the grass and tickseed taking over and I'd say to myself "you're gonna pay for that" and pay I did.
I pull it out as far down as I can get it, repeat, repeat, repeat. I've been jamming dead palm stalks around the walls where it's the worst and that's helping alot.
I'm a cardboard fan. I too let it get soaked by the rain so the tape and any staples pull off easily. It stays in place better if you soak it with a garden hose - I'm in a windy area so that's important for me or I'm sprinting across the field!
After that I throw on chicken coop litter and leaves and whatever else I can get my hands on and it sits for months before I turn it into a garden bed.
I found this website for free cardboard but alot of it might have ink and other nasty stuff. I don't use colored boxes either, like most everybody else.
You guys are all really knowledgable and intimidating so I wasn't going to chime in and show what I did with my chicken coop but I did it but myself so please be kind
I had to consider heat and hurricanes so I positioned the coop and roof to deflect the afternoon sun. I laid down a 1" thick sheet of that foam insulation with the foil on one side with t facing up, on the rafters, and put the corrugated sheets over that, using trex roofing screws with the little rubber washer. Screwing down too much and squishing the rubber is bad so don't do that...and I'm sure I used way too many.
When I was done off course we had a bad storm and I only had one pin leak! I used a clear caulk you can apply wet to seal it. That stuff is a lifesaver around here. So far so good!
Oh, and I had to attach the new roof with the old one there at the peak. I thought I had it but when I saw it from the house I saw that hump... it only makes me crazy once in awhile 🙄
F Agricola wrote:'I'm interested to know what other permies have done successfully to grow feed for their chickens or other poultry.'
I always plant more vegetables than we use, particularly leafy greens: some for us, some for the chooks. The 'cut and come again' varieties are great for that.
My chooks love fresh coriander, mint and parsley, which is a bugger because in our warm/hot climate those plants tend to bolt to seed far too readily even in the cooler months.
Two great ideas I saw on one of our TV gardening shows:
A. punch holes in a large tin (about the size of a 4 litre olive oil tin), hang it by a wire in the chook yard a few feet off the ground above the reach of the chickens, and place scraps of meat in it. Flies lay eggs on the rotting meat, maggots develop and fall through the holes to feed the chooks a nutritious snack.
B. Construct a small garden bed in the chook yard, plant it out with a variety of greens, then cover it with the smaller grade of bird wire mesh. As the plants grow through the mesh the chickens can peck it at their leisure - low maintenance too.
That's hilarious! Me: on the side of the road shooing the vultures away from a dead opossum, peeling it off the ground and throwing it in the back of my car
My neighbors: all Mexican families "Todos ven rápido a nuestro loco vecino!" 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤪🤪🤪
(everybody come quick look at our crazy neighbor)
Yupper, they needed to be warm which is why I suggested creating a room where you could raise them and grow trays of fodder at the same time and use it as your chicken feed room. You won't be able to raise them unless it's summertime otherwise. Did you watch the video? She has a room designated for growing fodder and if you figured out how to do the same thing and keep it warm you could raise your bsfl in there as well.