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#114592 - 12/03/07 03:16 AM Re: Growing your own food [Re: Susan]
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 1004
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
Blueberries also do well here. Again, fence them off next time so the dog doesn't do the harvesting. And the chickens will chase the dog off and then jump straight up and grab the berries. That explains why there were no berries less than three feet off the ground last year...

Try bird netting the whole bush instead of fencing. It will also keep out the assorted flying birds in addition to the chickens.

Investigate drip irrigation

Either that or use a movable yard sprinkler

Grow potatoes under soil next time.

Best way Granddad found to harvest potatoes was to plow the patch at the end of the season. Separate any that you cut from the rest & use them first.

#114596 - 12/03/07 03:55 AM Re: Growing your own food [Re: UTAlumnus]
GarlyDog Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
If you want to grow a garden, and space is limited, these techniques work well.


#114902 - 12/06/07 02:24 AM Re: Growing your own food [Re: Susan]
mark161 Offline

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 33
Loc: US

You mentioned poor soil. If you keep your chickens in one pen or close to it use their droppings, but make sure you compost it first or it will "burn" your plants. If you do that first though it is great for gardens mine produced like a champ this year.

Also watch where you plant pumpkins because mine grew every where this year and it was too close to the yellow squash and got a little cross breeding. Wierd and wasn't tasty at all frown

The Beatings will continue until morale improves!

#115429 - 12/11/07 03:00 AM Re: Growing your own food [Re: mark161]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Mark, I built a sturdy chicken tractor when I first got my hens. It is so sturdy that it is almost impossible to move. I got the materials to build a lightweight one for daytime use (nights = raccoons & opossums), but haven't done so yet. Then I intend to move it around with the girls in it, so they can eat the weeds, scratch for bugs, manure the soil, etc, and I can plant after them. It will also help to keep them out of all the stuff that they and their BIG SCRATCHING FEET get into.

Sue and "Attack of the Killer Chickens" (Henrietta, Agnes, Myrna, and Tallulah)

#115642 - 12/12/07 04:30 PM Re: Growing your own food [Re: Susan]
williamlatham Offline

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 259
Loc: Stafford, VA, USA

There was an article in Mother Earth News a couple of years ago about that very thing. Good going. How large is yours (or what is the approximate forrage area under the tractor?


#116120 - 12/16/07 06:31 AM Re: Growing your own food [Re: williamlatham]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
The pen is 4'x10'x3' tall, wrapped with 1/2" hardware cloth. The top lifts up (3 piano hinges), chicken wire covered that wavy fiberglass stuff. It has a plywood sleeve around one end that breaks the wind (that's where the perch is), and the nest box hangs on metal straps inside the other end. My brother put wheels on one end, but they don't work very well due to the weight. Since I don't move it much, I keep it about 6-8" deep in oat straw. I toss a handful of sunflower chips over the straw, and they fluff up the straw looking for the seeds. If it isn't raining or snowing, I usually let them run loose most of the day. They go back inside by themselves close to dusk, and I just close the small door and pin it closed.

The light one will be 4x8x2' tall, made from just 2x2s and chicken wire, with just an 18x18" door in the top of one corner for putting them in. To let them out, all I have to do is lift the pen.

When it rains, they come up on the deck and line up, staring in the glass door. Four hens looking in, four cats staring out.


#122391 - 02/02/08 09:21 PM Re: Growing your own food [Re: raydarkhorse]
NorCalDennis Offline

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 61
Loc: Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
I don't know if Handyman found this thread about 5 pages deep, but I gained a great deal of great information from this thread too.

Edited by NorCalDennis (02/02/08 09:22 PM)
While I have long believed that I will never get old, I have come to the realization that sooner or later there will be more people younger than me.

#122548 - 02/04/08 03:56 AM Re: Growing your own food [Re: Susan]
jaywalke Offline

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 172
Loc: Appalachian mountains
Originally Posted By: Susan
Well, growing your own food isn't as simple as it sounds.

Heeheehee. This sounds like a discussion that's been brewing at my house. My LS grew up in the suburbs, while I grew up on a farm. She wants a garden. I say, "Have a lovely time with that endeavor." I served my time in the fields from when I was old enough to walk until I escaped to college, and I won't do it again by choice.

Growing and preserving your own food is back-breaking work (during the best recreational time of the year) that only pays out at pennies per hour. I am a big fan of farmers' markets and co-operative growing agreements (i.e. buying a share in a farm, sharing the risk and being rewarded with a family-sized share of the harvest) instead.

If I had to plant a garden to survive, I could and would. Right now, I don't have to and I'd rather pay someone else, locally and directly, who wants to.

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