Sustainability in the garden

TreeChick

In the Brooder
Sep 22, 2020
8
28
31
Los Angeles
My Coop
I agree whole heartedly about the magic of compost! I use a lot of straw bedding, and am a lazy composter. Each year I make a pile and then in two years it is ready to go. Been doing it for ten years, so I have a new pile every year. I have the garden right next to the chicken run, and a small enclosed chicken tunnel that wraps around the inside of the garden fence. It connects to the chicken yard, so they spend a lot of time catching bugs and slugs and generally making a pest barrier around the garden. It has greatly reduced the slugs and aphids!
Chickens are also really good at weeding! If you have a grassy area or an overgrown garden you can put up a temporary run and leave the chickens to do their thing. If you put them on a patch in late winter and leave them there until late spring it will be weed free and ready to plant starts in. Just be sure to wash anything you harvest there because of uncomposted droppings.
Chicken run around the garden is SO smart! Plotting this addition in my own yard now 👍
 

Sally PB

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
572
1,312
153
Belding, MI
Grow what you like to eat. And what your chickens like to eat. Truer words were never posted!

I'm not a big kale fan, it's... ok. But the birds like it and so does a good friend of mine, so I plant a row. I've tried a few new things this year. So far one runaway hit, and one total flop. A few things that I threw the tops of the plants in the run, but I won't grow them again.

I like to preserve things as shelf stable as possible, as it is just about a given we will lose power during the year, and sometimes for 2-3 days. So I can what I can (ha ha) and dehydrate some things too. Potatoes, onions, garlic and squash sit at cool room temp.

Butternut squash is the only squash I grow. You get a LOT of squash with that big neck, and they get sweeter as they age. By Thanksgiving, they are better than sweet potatoes, to me. And the seeds are a good snack that now I have to share with the chickens. I toast mine. They have to eat theirs raw. :)

I'm thinking a chicken run around part of the garden work for me next season too. The garden is fenced, so it would have to be a lean to type of thing; too many aerial predators.
 

UnShelled

In the Brooder
Sep 21, 2020
12
34
36
Grow what you like to eat. And what your chickens like to eat. Truer words were never posted!

I'm not a big kale fan, it's... ok. But the birds like it and so does a good friend of mine, so I plant a row. I've tried a few new things this year. So far one runaway hit, and one total flop. A few things that I threw the tops of the plants in the run, but I won't grow them again.

I like to preserve things as shelf stable as possible, as it is just about a given we will lose power during the year, and sometimes for 2-3 days. So I can what I can (ha ha) and dehydrate some things too. Potatoes, onions, garlic and squash sit at cool room temp.

Butternut squash is the only squash I grow. You get a LOT of squash with that big neck, and they get sweeter as they age. By Thanksgiving, they are better than sweet potatoes, to me. And the seeds are a good snack that now I have to share with the chickens. I toast mine. They have to eat theirs raw. :)

I'm thinking a chicken run around part of the garden work for me next season too. The garden is fenced, so it would have to be a lean to type of thing; too many aerial predators.
That’s what my chickens have. It’s one piece of wire that attaches to the ground and the fence. It’s a triangle shaped tunnel. Mine is quite narrow, which works for my peaceful flock, but if I had any bullies it would need to be wider. I’ve never tried the butternut seeds! My chickens get them all. I’ll have to save some for myself next time.
 

21hens-incharge

Slightly nuts
Premium Feather Member
Mar 9, 2014
21,040
86,562
1,542
Northern Colorado
I am striving for 100% subsistence farming but the deeper I get into this the more I realize how much I rely on others. I grow in raised beds of 100% compost. Sure I can claim to produce my compost but am I really when I am buying chicken feed and not growing chicken feed?
It is a struggle to be truly self sufficient when as a society we live as a money based society and there are things/needs that must be met yet must be outsourced from our property/household.
 

ChocolateMouse

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jul 29, 2013
4,214
11,774
597
Cleveland OH
My friends and I have looked into the same things as a community where I live, but there are some things that can only be produced on certain scales even if you take "money" out of the equation and break it down into simple resource allocation. Like, most medications are something a community of 100 will never be able to produce for themselves. Sure we can probably do like willow bark extracts, but other stuff is right out.

Sustainability and self-reliance I think is less a definitive goal and more of a lifestyle that values developing reliability within a community and breaking down larger institutions into smaller, more local ones. The deeper you dig, the more you realize that while as individuals we can make small changes, as a world we require businesses and companies and structural changes to make a real difference, not just a few individual people.
 

UnShelled

In the Brooder
Sep 21, 2020
12
34
36
My friends and I have looked into the same things as a community where I live, but there are some things that can only be produced on certain scales even if you take "money" out of the equation and break it down into simple resource allocation. Like, most medications are something a community of 100 will never be able to produce for themselves. Sure we can probably do like willow bark extracts, but other stuff is right out.

Sustainability and self-reliance I think is less a definitive goal and more of a lifestyle that values developing reliability within a community and breaking down larger institutions into smaller, more local ones. The deeper you dig, the more you realize that while as individuals we can make small changes, as a world we require businesses and companies and structural changes to make a real difference, not just a few individual people.
I am so interested to hear more about your community! Would you feel comfortable sharing it’s name? I have visited communities and wanted to find one to join, but wasn’t able to. Now I hope community will one day grow where I live.
I agree so much with everything you wrote. As someone who is working on self reliance by myself time and energy are also huge constraints. So often when I take on a new project (like medicine) the practices I had developed sort of fall by the wayside (like growing grain). I’ve been trying to be mindful of seasonality and doing things in their time, but it’s been a struggle.
 

ChocolateMouse

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jul 29, 2013
4,214
11,774
597
Cleveland OH
I am so interested to hear more about your community! Would you feel comfortable sharing it’s name? I have visited communities and wanted to find one to join, but wasn’t able to. Now I hope community will one day grow where I live.
I agree so much with everything you wrote. As someone who is working on self reliance by myself time and energy are also huge constraints. So often when I take on a new project (like medicine) the practices I had developed sort of fall by the wayside (like growing grain). I’ve been trying to be mindful of seasonality and doing things in their time, but it’s been a struggle.
Ah, amusingly while we do have plans to create an intentional community, we're mostly just a loose coalition of friends and stuff with delusions of grandeur right now. XD So I was using the term "community" in a broad sense - friends and family just having hard discussions about the reality of our world.

But our IC group is called Western Reserve Ecovillage! :) And I'll PM you some off site links!
 

ChocolateMouse

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jul 29, 2013
4,214
11,774
597
Cleveland OH
It's a lot of work. ;) If you want I can send you some links as well. But I have no idea where you're located or if you wanna move to another location. But you can always have a look and see what's happening with us. Networking is good.
 

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