Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Archive for December, 2009

Greenhouse with poultry

Posted by Nika On December - 27 - 2009

Permaculture: draft sketch for chicken-greenhouse

This fall and this winter I have been thinking about a greenhouse I would love to build. It integrates the heat of slowly decomposing hay bales, chickens, and two 2 foot deep, 16 foot long raised beds. I have to admit that for now, its a dream as I do not have the financial means to put this together for now.

A greenhouse that integrates the heat produced by chickens is something much talked about in permaculture thought. If you google a bit, there seems to be some doubt that people are able to make this happen. As I have not built and tested my concept, I can not make any claims. I think, though, that a lot of the doubt comes from arm-chair gardener types who do not know much about gardening or chickens.

The hay bales are seen in the diagram, making up the north facing wall. There is a gap between the bale wall and the first raised bed. This gap, 16 feet long and 2 feet deep, 3 feet wide perhaps, will be covered by chicken wire, forming a chicken run between the two ends of the greenhouse.

Garden Project: raised beds

(Raised beds I am referring to)

On either end of the greenhouse will be housing for chickens (perches, areas to run, areas for feeding and watering) separated from growing areas by chicken wire. The growing area above two raised beds will be under the sloping roof of the green house. My vision is for this greenhouse to supply us with lettuces and nutritious greens through out the cold cold winter here.

I thought I would share some of what little is going on here, in the depths of winter. I have also been snuggling on the couch with seed catalogs and generally trying to stay warm without feeling too pouty that the garden is out of commission for the season.

We are also watching our 9 pregnant goats, some of them are quite large now with child. I continue to mentally prepare for labor and delivery.

A tighter knit local food economy

Posted by Nika On December - 13 - 2009

Goats

I recently made an arrangement with a local grocery store (owned in MA but a BIG chain) to get some of their produce scraps for our chickens and goats.

The majority of their scraps go to pig farmers who drop off big oil barrels for the lettuce remnants that the pig food trader/merchant/dude picks them up later.

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

I love that we can take something considered waste and give it to our animals.

They LOVE these fresh greens!

I love it all because it fits in with the permacultural ethic by using a resource effectively and in a humane holistic way – Free inputs.

In the case of the goats – the yields are manure, growing babies (9 does are pregnant) and later fresh raw goats milk!

Witness the goat-silly feeding frenzy.

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Chickens LOVE the greens a whole lot too.

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Permaculture Inputs: Free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

In the case of the chickens, the yield is manure, bug-eating, meat and eggs! Free range and very yellow yolked eggs!

Permaculture Yield: free range eggs from backyard flock fed on free "waste" lettuce from grocery store

Another reason I like this is that it knits our food production tighter into the local fabric. It also brings vitamins to our animals that they would not usually get in the winter. During the summer our animals eat tremendous amounts of leaves and trees in the case of the goats and endless bugs and grasses and weeds (and MY GARDEN) in the case of the chickens.

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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