Dan Scheltema

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since Oct 26, 2019
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trees chicken homestead
Chipley, FL
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Recent posts by Dan Scheltema

I want to do something similar... but need to dig the ponds first.  They are on the projects list. :)

I have a bit of wetland (designated as such by the Feds) and the water table is not far down, but a couple of weeks of drought and there's no surface water at all, so having year-round water will be challenging.

I would love to see some pics of your small ponds, Steve.
3 hours ago
Yesterday was watermelons, two kinds of pumpkins and cantaloupes. Today I put in  my sweet potato slips.  And then I went nuts and ordered more berry plants and fruit trees: blueberries (4, 1 each of different varieties), white currants, red currants and jostaberries (2 each), one paw paw, two different loquat varieties, a kiwi and a pomegranate.  And a couple catalpas.
Tomorrow gonna try to get my plum tomatoes transplanted out.  Storm front on the way though.

First nasturtium bloom today!

I seem to have the opposite problem.  Dewberries everywhere!  Between late evening yesterday and again today, 3.5 pints so far.  All wild.  Trying to decide what to do with them now.

1 month ago
I have flour corn past knee high as one of my trials.  Also have some buckwheat growing.  

Chickens planted some regular oats which are partly ready to harvest, but they get to eat that. Want to try some hull-less variety come fall.  Did see some smut on what the chickens planted, but not too bad.  Since I will hand harvest, I can eliminate that.

The rye I put in last winter isn't doing so well.  May get a bit, but looks pretty sad.  Chickens will get any I decide to harvest.  That was about 2500 sq feet in rows I planted with my Earthway seeder on ground leveled by the dozer clearing for my house. Hoping it at least put roots down far enough to start improving that plot for a more "real" crop of something.

Have amaranth seed, but not in ground yet.  Same with some millet.  Testing a lot of things.  Want to see what grows easy and that I like as a staple flour crop.  Have some grain sorghum seed too, and some rice.  Soil probably not yet in shape to try rice though.

Buckwheat all flowering nicely now.  Hoping to see seeds before too much longer.  Main issue so far has been wind (get some real gusts that knock over corn and buckwheat), but I think as it heats up that too will be a problem.  But as fast as buckwheat grows, should be able to do at least one spring crop and another fall one before first frost.  Maybe more.

I did buy some amaranth online and cooked some up.  Not bad as a mush/porridge.  Haven't tried anything fancy, but I have no issue using it in place of rice or polenta.

S. Bard wrote:Thanks for your reply, Dan Scheltema!
The plastic idea could be worth a try since I don’t have chickens yet. How long do you leave the plastic on before moving it to the next spot?

Depends on weather.  In summer with some hot sun, 2-3 weeks might be enough to kill off most things.  Enough to give seeds a decent chance.
3 months ago
I'm in a similar situation, except level ground.  I just put out a 50'x3' strip of plastic this week to kill off a plot of weeds/grass that I will seed with some wildflower mix.  Decided to just try to do a strip at a time.

My chickens are working areas for garden beds, but they will contribute also once they are done with the beds.

Mowing MIGHT help you too. It can encourage some things and discourage or even kill off others.  And if you let the clippings drop, they should speed up the soil improvement a bit, which should start shifting the vegetation to things that do better in better soil.  
3 months ago
I check my local feed & seed stores too.  Prices appear slightly higher at times, but the savings in shipping costs more than covers it.  I've learned to compare the final (including shipping and taxes) costs.  Some of the online sources look cheaper... until those shipping costs get added in, plus I have to wait for the delivery vs just picking things up on the spot.

That said, along with the sources mentioned https://www.greencoverseed.com/ has done me well... aside from the shipping costs.  I like their seeds and mixes.

A side note on daikons, my chickens really love their greens.  I am grabbing a few leaves here and there out in the field and tossing them in the chicken tractor whenever I take a walk.  The only think they prefer to those greens so far are fruit cores.

Another note, I have bought a couple 50# bags of oat seed sold as feed (and my chicken do get a share) and not germination tested.  Cheap at just over $12 a bag and they sprout nicely.  Just using them for cover until last frost for now.  Local extension guy says oats not recommended here.  Yeah, yeah... testing a few to see how they do anyway.

Oh, I took a pic today: some rows of those oats with rows of field peas between. They were planted about 10 days ago.

3 months ago
How wet can elderberries handle their feet?  I have a few acres of wetland and am thinking the edge of that area might be a good place for some elderberries.  If we get a storm like the one we just had, and it floods higher than normal, is that a problem?
3 months ago
Heh, strong, gusty winds, tornado watches, flood warnings... all right now.

Yeah, stalled for the moment.  Need to go see if my chicks got blown away.

Everything probably too wet to do much bed prep for a couple days, but the rain is good.  Was low on water in my catch totes.

Need a well!  And this weather has probably delaying the queue I'm in to get one drilled.

Weather!  Can't live with it, can't live without it...
3 months ago
Was just considering whether I should prune the trees I just put in.  Think I am convinced to give them a year to settle in.

Did prune my two figs, which were a bit messy, but they have been in the ground a few months.  Have two starts showing roots from those trimmings too.
3 months ago