Thursday, November 29, 2012

Forest Garden Update 11/29/2012


I managed to make a little more progress with the warm weather over the long holiday weekend getting the first section of forest garden layed out.  I used my 300' reel tape to make sure the 164' poultry netting would fit on the mowed paths.  The fence posts mark the corners of the garden and will support a snow fence to keep the chickens inside to destroy the turf this Spring.

Updated Seed List for Spring sewing

Seeds that need light (no seedball)

Astilbe  Astilbe sp.
Yarrow Achillea sp.
Black Eyed Susan Rudbeckia sp.

Seeds that need stratification before seedballs

Apple Malus sp.
Black Eyed Susan Rudbeckia sp.
Blueberry Vaccinium sp.
Cherry Prunus avium
Columbine, Alpina deep blue Aquilegia alpina
Echinacea Echinacea sp.
Goumi Berry Elaegnaceae multiflora
Lupine Lupinus sp.
Pear Pyrus sp.
Peach Prunus persica

Seeds that need Scarification before seedballs

Black Locust Tree Robinia pseudoacacia
Nasturtium, dwarf Tropaeolum minus

The rest of the seeds in seedballs

Asperagus Asperagus officinalis
Beans (various bush and pole)
Broccoli Brassica Oleracea
Butternut Squash Cucurbita moschata
Cabbage Brassica Oleracea
Chamomile Chamaelum mobile
Chicory Chichorium intybus
Cucumber Cucumis sativus
Daikon Radish Raphanus sativus
Delicata Squash Cucurbita pepo
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare
Goji Berry Lycium barbarium
Ground Cherries, Aunt Molly's Physalias pubescens
Hairy Vetch Vicia villosa
Kale Brassica oleracea
Lettuce Lactuca sativa
Marigold, Harlequin Tagetes patula
Parsley, Italian Petroselinum crispum v. neapolitanum
Parsley, Darki Petroselinum crispum
Pea Pisum sativum
Rhubarb Rheum rhabarbarum
Safflower Carthamus tinctorius
Strawberry Spinach Chenopodium capitatum
Siberian Pea Shrub Caragana arborescens
Spilanthes Achmella oleracea
Swiss Chard Beta vulgaris
Sunflower Helianthus sp.
White Clover Trifolium repens
Yarrow Achillea sp.

Plants to allow or add later

Almond Prunus glandulosa
Chestnut, American Castanea dentata
Comfrey Symphytum officinale
Crocus Crocus sp.
Currant Ribes sp.
Daffodils Narcissus sp.
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale
Elderberry Sambucus sp.
Gooseberry Ribes sp.
Hyacinth Hyacinthus sp.
Iris Iris sp.
Jerusalem artichoke Helianthus tuberosus
Lambs Quarters Chenopodium album
Nectarine Prunus persica v. nectarina
Plantain Plantago sp.
Plum Prunus sp.
Purslane Portulaca oleracea
Raspberry Rubus strigosus
Strawberry Fragaria x ananassa
Tulip Tulipa sp.
Valerian Valeriana officinalis

Mushroom logs

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chicken update 11/16/2012

The Chickens are doing well.  The hawks haven't been around too much and we still have all 20 birds.  We have "Winterized" the hoop coop, taking the wheels and the hitch off and surrounding it with straw bales and another tarp.  I kept the front open to the South to let some light in and ventilate.  The barn should protect it from the cold North winds.  I'm not thrilled with the setup, but I think it will get us through the Winter.  The chickens seem to like it.


We have switched over to the deep litter method, using straw and dried leaves for bedding.  Frosty mornings have  made keeping them watered more of a chore, but the hens always make me laugh, and I love catching the sunrise on a brisk fall morning before work.
I need to get some nest boxes installed soon.  I am thinking I will try ones made from 5 gallon buckets and maybe a milk crate or two.  We expect them to start laying pullet eggs around January, but with the short days they'll likely be few and far between until Spring.  So far the three roosters are behaving themselves, though there have been some scuffles for roost space in the evening.

I let them out for a while when I get home from work, though the days are very short now, and forage is pretty limeted.  We are feeding them layer crumbles and providing grit.  I am very anxious to get the forest garden going and provide them with better forage and shelter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Saving Seeds

I really got into saving and growing heirloom seeds three years ago, and have been reading and practicing ever since.  As my confidence grows, and I have a chance to grow out varieties to test isolation techniques, I plan to offer seeds for trade or sale within the US. 

Above is a shot of my current collection, both saved and purchased.  Below is a list of vegetable, herb, Tree, and flower seed I currently have in excess.  Email me a if you are interested.  I charge $3 for the first packet and $2 for each additional.  This includes shipping, quantities vary depending on variety. 

Asparagus (unk local variety)
Ground Cherry, Aunt Molly's
Hairy Vetch
Hollyhock, Antique White
Marigold, Harlequin
White Clover

That's it for now, but I hope to add more varieties next season.  We'll see, I'm struggling with how I am going to maintain genetic isolation as I convert the gardens into a polyculture forest garden.  Oh well, I guess there is no "best" way; just the best we can do.