Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Archive for October, 2007

Houston, we have a chicken house

Posted by Nika On October - 22 - 2007

The young chickens have moved into their new chicken house and are loving it. We are enjoying an indian summer here in central MA so they are doing fine with the transition (we also have some heat lamps for when it gets chilly at night and for the coming weeks when fall gets down to business).

Today we are looking at 83 F as a high so I am hoping they stay cool enough. We have yet to finish the outside enclosure but the husband is working as fast as he can to get it done.

Let me know if you cant see the slide show above!

What do you think?

Aquaculture dreaming

Posted by Nika On October - 5 - 2007

Mc Laughlin Hatchery, Belchertown, MA, USA

You may or may not remember from my earlier posts that I want to integrate a home-use aquaculture pool to grow our own fish (vary the types of protein we eat and we also really like fish).

One can spend a LOT of money on this sort of activity but I want to be as frugal but as productive as we can be. I also want to choose fish species that are native to this area so that they do not need out-of-region living requirements (high temperatures, long days, salt water).

One Massachusetts native species that I find very attractive is the stream trout. It has special needs, like any fish type (doesnt want to go above 70F for one and needs well aerated, running water for another) but its delicious and tolerant or even loving of the Massachusetts environment.

We visited the McLaughlin Trout Hatchery up in Belchertown, MA, right next to the Quabbin Reservoir to see how the “big guys” raise these fish (for stocking the streams of this state).

Here is a bit of a photo essay on what they have set up, its VERY nice.

I learned that fish released from the hatcheries in MA (some 1.3 million from this hatchery alone) last only 2 WEEKS before being caught.

All that you see here (and a whole lot more not shown) is not paid by general taxes but by fishing licenses!

Recent fall plantings yielding goodness

Posted by Nika On October - 3 - 2007

As I mentioned obliquely before, perhaps in the comments only, my vine crops were hit with a double whammy of powdery mildew and then 6 weeks of drought. No amount of spraying milk helped so I pulled out the spaghetti squash, the watermelons, the zucchinis, the scallopini squash, and then my poor little moon and stars which also got the mildew.

I just had to pull out the turnips because they started to mildew as well and they were also heavily fed on earlier by bugs.

This is what I got, tiny stunted things.

Garden Project: failed turnips, yummy tomatoes and dried cranberry beans

But you can see we are still getting tomatoes and now some of the cranberry beans are drying up very nicely! I am very much looking forward to those bean crops.

Garden Project: drying beans

I have planted spinach, beets, and green onions where the squash and zucchini once were.

Garden Project: fall spinach

I also planted some bibb lettuce some weeks ago.

Garden Project: fall bibb lettuces

Some delicious braising chards and such were planted some time ago but the baby bok choy have been eaten to bits.

Garden Project: woeful baby bok choy

I will grow the bok choy again but under row covers for certain!

A small harvest of straw potatoes

Posted by Nika On October - 1 - 2007

Here is a patch of straw potatoes that I wanted to dig up and see what was what.

Garden Project: patch right before I dug up some new potatoes

I pulled back the straw on some 4 or 5 plants and the yield is very low. This is because we didnt put enough straw on these to make a deep thatch.

Garden Project: KD with new potatoes

KD points out some of the potatoes.

Garden Project: new potatoes

A close up.

We have quite a few more patches that we will be letting go for some time to allow all the tiny potatoes to grow to adulthood.

I think I like this method but next year I will also be planting them in the ground.

Can’t have too many homegrown organic potatoes!

About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.



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