Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Archive for December, 2010

Year end wrapup

Posted by Nika On December - 30 - 2010


(Notice that the only plants with holes above are the weeds that have grown into the collard greens and nasturtiums)

I wish you all a wonderful and productive New Year!

My next podcast has been delayed due to lack of quiet space to record due to winter vacation and kid chaos. I should be recording again next Monday and hopefully will post the same day.

I dont know about you all but I am feeling very strongly compelled to read my seed catalogues and my gardening books and am dreaming dreams of my summer garden.

Right now it lays frozen under feet of snow which is where it should be this time of year.

I am going to put a few photos in this post of things going on around here the past few months.

I saved some seeds (tomatoes, garlic chives).

Humble Garden: Saving Seeds - red currants

Humble Garden: Saving Seeds - gold medal

Humble Garden: Saving Seeds - on to rot

Humble Garden 2010: bee & garlic chives

Humble Garden 2010: garlic chive seeds being harvested

Humble Garden 2010: garlic chive seeds being harvested

Humble Garden 2010: garlic chive seeds being harvested

Humble Garden 2010: garlic chive seeds being harvested

We harvested organic potatoes which I grew under peas all summer long.

Humble Garden 2010: potato harvest

Humble Garden 2010: potato harvest

My paw paw trees, started from seeds I nibbled on and saved, continue to grow.

Humble Garden 2010: paw paw starts

Humble Garden 2010: paw paw starts

Our mushroom logs flushed shiitakes

Humble Garden 2010: Homegrown shiitake!

Humble Garden 2010: Homegrown shiitake!

Humble Garden 2010: Homegrown shiitake!

Cleaning out the goat sheds, changing their set up and reaping great yields for next year’s fertility.

Humble Garden 2010: goat muck

Humble Garden 2010: goat muck

Humble Garden 2010: mucking out

Mucking Out: goat shed gets shoveled out

Mucking Out: goat shed gets shoveled out

Mucking Out: goat shed gets shoveled out

Making chickens angry with hen-sulation fashion (meant to help a molting chicken but has not been adopted gracefully by the poultry in question)

Humble Garden 2010: hen-sulation 2.0

Humble Garden 2010: hen-sulation 2.0

Happy New Year!

Humble Garden Podcast Episode 4

Posted by Nika On December - 15 - 2010


(our extremely humble goat shed – we cobble together what we can, we dont Martha Stewart it)

On today’s podcast I cover how we observe and more importantly, interact with our animals in ways to integrate them more tightly into our homestead.

Please take a few minutes to listen and also to give me feedback, comments, or share what you do or how you listen and interact with your animals!

I referred to the following photos.

Humble Garden podcast episode 3

Posted by Nika On December - 6 - 2010


(This graphic and much related information is found at this link)

Today’s podcast covers some basics of permaculture and begins to explore the 12 principles of permaculture using our homestead as a case study.

Some examples of space appropriate animal/plant/human permaculture systems:

Appropriate use of animals in permaculture

An apartment dweller with no outside space is not without choices. You could keep a single well loved rabbit. You would feel her well and have a cage for her that makes it easy for you to collect her droppings. Those droppings and possibly her fiber are her yield. Her input is the food you give her. Your job is three fold: figure out how much of your kitchen scraps are healthy for her and then key your scrap production to appropriate levels for her. If you have too much, get a composting system. If you have too little, supplement her diet. Your second task is to not waste her pellets but to use them in your windowsill food growing systems. Your third task, if this is a fiber producing rabbit, is to collect her fiber when the time is right and either sell it for a monetary yield or to barter. This is a small and tight loop. You can gain so much.

An owner of a small home in the urban or suburban environment with little outdoor space can duplicate the apartment strategy and also expand to the exterior. You can build a well fortified hen house with good sized run (fenced in outdoor space) for a couple of hens (never have a single chicken, they need a flock). You do not need a rooster unless you will be free ranging the girls, the rooster helps sound the alarm if there is danger. Your hens lay eggs quite well in the absence of those noisy roosters that can make your neighbors turn state’s evidence against you and rat you out to the authorities. More and more towns and cities are coming around to the backyard chicken side of the game. You can also have outdoor hutches with a good humane run for rabbits if you would like to add this to your system. Both of these animals will eat your kitchen scraps but the rabbits should not be getting your meat leftovers. Your chickens are amazing omnivores and will eat almost any leftover or scrap though you do not want to feed them raw potatoes or things that are moldy/rotten. All of the manure from the chickens and rabbits go into compost with organic yard waste until it is not so hot and then right into the garden to close the loop.

Owners of larger homes on larger plots of land in suburbs and exurbs will have more space but perhaps more restrictions imposed on them by zoning, homeowners associations and themselves/their upwardly mobile social class. These barriers can be easily surmounted if there is a will and some creativity. As any animal in a permaculture setting must be tightly controlled there should not be “unsightly” animal waste or animals themselves cruising about on the lawn. The homeowner would need to commit to fully organic lawncare so as to protect their animals and their food gardens. Animals such as chicken and rabbits can be held in attractive housing near and amongst food gardens made to look like part of the landscaping (easy to do!). This is not the setting for loud animals like goats. A third species, fish, can be easily integrated as aquaponics, especially if there is some greenhousing/protected garden space. Aquaponics is a wonderful permaculture activity that tightly links fish culture to growing plants (hydroponically or simply as liquid fertilizer) yielding delicious fish and fruits and vegetables.

The last example, house in a rural setting, is like the one I describe in the podcast, namely, our homestead. Listen to the podcast for more details!

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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