Has anyone mentioned using pennies? I've read that slugs won't cross any kind of copper. So just make a penny barrier around plants/plant beds you want to protect.
And I'm using tons of sheet mulch, with no major slug problems so far. But I also water very very little, and we have had a pretty dry spring here in NY. When I do water its by hand, not with any kind of drip line or sprinkler. I also have my garden surrounded by trees, and its a bit of a hangout spot for birds, so I guess I just have a good situation for sheet mulching.
I just got back into doing these gardens and was wondering myself what to do exactly.
For my heat loving plants, I'll just mulch with some well composted horse manure, spread very thinly around the plant rows. About 2 inches away from the bed will be back to woodchips. And then the plan is that every other plant is completely surrounded wood chip.
I've lived in NY most my life. I went to college (waaaaay) upstate, taught high school by the city, student taught around albany, and lived in the finger lakes for about a year. So I think I have some decent knowledge about the state, but I'm no expert.
The Albany area is a pretty nice area in general (Schoharie, Schnectady, I'd also look into Columbia as well if you're looking in that area). There's a lot of available land, and enough of a city vibe from the Albany-Schenectay-Troy if you need some culture. Plus, Hawthorne Valley is a HUGE Biodynamic farm that's in the area, so there's a pretty strong biodynamic following in that area if you're into that sort of thing. That part of the country is starting to become a little hub for alternative growers, and I've heard a few people I've worked with talking about trying to get land in that area. There is some money in this area- Saratoga Springs, Lake George, so if you need to sell produce you don't have to drive to NYC to sell it (although some people still do!).
The area by Pennsylvania just South/South East of the finger lakes- Chemung, Delaware, Broome- is pretty rough. It used to be a rich area decades ago, judging by how nice all the houses are, but its been pretty economically depressed for awhile. Lots of the houses just look completely uncared for and lots of the towns have dwindling populations that were already small to begin with. I had an offer to start up a farm in the area, but just after driving around I decided I didn't want to be in an area like that. But if you like your solitude this might be the place for you. Another downside is that when the fracking issue was still on the table a few years ago, I saw tons of pro fracking signs everywhere in this region. If fracking ever does open back up, which I don't think it will, it would definitely start in this area first (also because its close to PA and they were already accepting PA's fracking water before the ban).
The northeastern corner of the state is also an up an coming organic farm hub. I think Essex and Warren counties are particular spots people are flocking to. This area is really defined by the Adirondack park, which I think is the largest STATE park in the nation. It became a state park because they wanted the area to be underdeveloped for environmental reasons, so this area is very very secluded and very pristine. Its very mountainous and there's great hikes and waterfalls to see every few miles or so. As for land prices, it actually might fluctuate a lot. Some areas I bet are pretty cheap, but then you have Lake Placid in there, which definitely effects prices. Lake Placid is actually really fun to be around in the winter- I'd had to drive through there to go to college, and its a great little ski town that foreigners flock to during ski season. There's very very little industry in this area. As for how most people make their living, there's a couple of colleges, a little bit of tourism, and lots of prisons. So I wouldn't call it economically depressed, but its just not ever going to be a "healthy" economic area, which might actually be what you're looking for.
I went to college in St. Lawrence county. This is actually ABOVE the adirondacks. Its the poorest county in the state, so the land prices were always cheap. Its very very flat land, with COLD winters. Very different from the rest of the state. Its one of the few flat areas I've seen in the state. It feels like you're in the midwest. Most of the farming is traditional monocrop stuff, but I know that there are a few people around there that are building cordwood homes and doing off grid stuff.
I've gotten lime twice while in NY. The southern counties in the state are pretty bad with it. I'd think in the colder areas it wouldn't be as bad, but I'm sure people still get it there as well. Lots of people get lime around here.
From what you wrote I'd look into the Adirondacks. I don't know about permits, but I think you'd be left alone. The only thing is that you have to really like the cold. Like, 7 months of winter weather.
Karen Layne wrote:I've been wondering, as someone who loves fishing, would deer stay away from the sound of braided fishing line? On the boat, whenever we have a rod in the holder that has braid on it, it makes a high pitched / low volume "singing" sound when the wind hits it. Maybe a strand could be added to my four strands of wire. I wouldn't put it on the top or bottom because I wouldn't want to decapitate anything running to jump or duck under.
Does anyone around here have a lot of experience with propagating plants via cutting? I feel like if you can make this work, this skill would be one of the biggest money savers on a startup farm. Unfortunately, from what I've seen, it seems like very few people actually employ this technique. I'm not really sure why, but I don't think I've run into one person that uses cuttings or grafts trees on their farm. Maybe because of the fear of failure? Or is there some other reason that people shy away from this technique that I'm not aware of?
I could buy a few books on the matter, but I'm learning to not trust everything I read in books about farming. I'd love to hear some first hand accounts of people trying this out, if we have anyone who does this on the board.
At the last farm I worked on, we would keep a few pigs in a forested section about the size of an acre or so for a couple of months at a time. By the end, the pigs really clean up the land to make it easier to move around. Lots of small brushy stuff gets uprooted, and you can move around a lot faster. Plus all the food the pigs get from the land means you don't have to feed them as much.
Sepp Holzer does a lot of this kind of stuff. Since you guys are in similar climates, I would study his work closely.
So I saw this guy on youtube claiming to make a rocket stove with just 4 cinder blocks. I wanted to see if it actually worked myself, and its great! This is a good little post-apocalyptic cook stove, or just a super cheap introduction to seeing some rocket stove concepts in action.
I might play around with adding more blocks to make a J tube.
I intended this to be more about the intentions of powerful organizations and how they do things. This was not some 'gotchya' journalist bombshell I found and had to release to the public through permies.com. I merely have seen this on a couple of other sites and thought it would be good to share here.
I completely understand the need for sound evidence. Paraphrasing Chris Hitchens- what's claimed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. To a degree that's definitely true. But what do you do when you don't have much evidence of any kind? I rely on my intuition. Sadly, I think we are being trained to be dismissive of our intuition. This makes us solely reliant on others to understand the world, which makes us more easily manipulated.
I've heard Paul talk on podcasts about how he feels that there are companies that engage in these kinds of tactics on forums to dissuade people from rethinking the use of pesticides. This was a podcast from years ago. The more I look at any kind of website/youtube video with any kind of 'alternative' message, the more I see a flood of comments yelling out "FAKE!" and trying to tear down the person asserting said alternative message. The more I see this, the more I think that this is NOT coincidential, but that there are people who do work full time for companies and/or the government whose job it is to sway public opinion through sleazy tactics that are seen on any kind of public discussion section online.
I mean, it makes sense, right? If you are a giant company, what would be a more effective way to sway public opinion these days? From an effectiveness standpoint, would you pay the same amount of money to run nationwide commercials, or would you pay some people to influence online forums?
Knowing that my opinions on issues are influenced WAY more by forums than commercials, I personally would choose to infiltrate forums over running commercials. But that's just me.
So, I think that, even if I can't verify the article, that there is a ton of truth contained in it. And yes, I'm basing that on my intuition. If you disagree, that's fine! I guess I just wanted to start a conversation on the topic.
This is a really long article, so I'll only post the first section here.
This is a pretty important read if we want to use the internet to make things better. Otherwise the internet will easily just turn into another source of disinformation...
1. COINTELPRO Techniques for dilution, misdirection and control of a internet forum
2. Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation
3. Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist
4. How to Spot a Spy (Cointelpro Agent)
5. Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression
COINTELPRO Techniques for dilution, misdirection and control of a internet forum..
There are several techniques for the control and manipulation of a internet forum no matter what, or who is on it. We will go over each technique and demonstrate that only a minimal number of operatives can be used to eventually and effectively gain a control of a 'uncontrolled forum.'
Technique #1 - 'FORUM SLIDING'
If a very sensitive posting of a critical nature has been posted on a forum - it can be quickly removed from public view by 'forum sliding.' In this technique a number of unrelated posts are quietly prepositioned on the forum and allowed to 'age.' Each of these misdirectional forum postings can then be called upon at will to trigger a 'forum slide.' The second requirement is that several fake accounts exist, which can be called upon, to ensure that this technique is not exposed to the public. To trigger a 'forum slide' and 'flush' the critical post out of public view it is simply a matter of logging into each account both real and fake and then 'replying' to prepositined postings with a simple 1 or 2 line comment. This brings the unrelated postings to the top of the forum list, and the critical posting 'slides' down the front page, and quickly out of public view. Although it is difficult or impossible to censor the posting it is now lost in a sea of unrelated and unuseful postings. By this means it becomes effective to keep the readers of the forum reading unrelated and non-issue items.
Technique #2 - 'CONSENSUS CRACKING'
A second highly effective technique (which you can see in operation all the time at www.abovetopsecret.com) is 'consensus cracking.' To develop a consensus crack, the following technique is used. Under the guise of a fake account a posting is made which looks legitimate and is towards the truth is made - but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. Once this is done then under alternative fake accounts a very strong position in your favour is slowly introduced over the life of the posting. It is IMPERATIVE that both sides are initially presented, so the uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger 'evidence' or disinformation in your favour is slowly 'seeded in.' Thus the uninformed reader will most like develop the same position as you, and if their position is against you their opposition to your posting will be most likely dropped. However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then 'abort' the consensus cracking by initiating a 'forum slide.'
Technique #3 - 'TOPIC DILUTION'
Topic dilution is not only effective in forum sliding it is also very useful in keeping the forum readers on unrelated and non-productive issues. This is a critical and useful technique to cause a 'RESOURCE BURN.' By implementing continual and non-related postings that distract and disrupt (trolling ) the forum readers they are more effectively stopped from anything of any real productivity. If the intensity of gradual dilution is intense enough, the readers will effectively stop researching and simply slip into a 'gossip mode.' In this state they can be more easily misdirected away from facts towards uninformed conjecture and opinion. The less informed they are the more effective and easy it becomes to control the entire group in the direction that you would desire the group to go in. It must be stressed that a proper assessment of the psychological capabilities and levels of education is first determined of the group to determine at what level to 'drive in the wedge.' By being too far off topic too quickly it may trigger censorship by a forum moderator.
Technique #4 - 'INFORMATION COLLECTION'
Information collection is also a very effective method to determine the psychological level of the forum members, and to gather intelligence that can be used against them. In this technique in a light and positive environment a 'show you mine so me yours' posting is initiated. From the number of replies and the answers that are provided much statistical information can be gathered. An example is to post your 'favourite weapon' and then encourage other members of the forum to showcase what they have. In this matter it can be determined by reverse proration what percentage of the forum community owns a firearm, and or a illegal weapon. This same method can be used by posing as one of the form members and posting your favourite 'technique of operation.' From the replies various methods that the group utilizes can be studied and effective methods developed to stop them from their activities.
Technique #5 - 'ANGER TROLLING'
Statistically, there is always a percentage of the forum posters who are more inclined to violence. In order to determine who these individuals are, it is a requirement to present a image to the forum to deliberately incite a strong psychological reaction. From this the most violent in the group can be effectively singled out for reverse IP location and possibly local enforcement tracking. To accomplish this only requires posting a link to a video depicting a local police officer massively abusing his power against a very innocent individual. Statistically of the million or so police officers in America there is always one or two being caught abusing there powers and the taping of the activity can be then used for intelligence gathering purposes - without the requirement to 'stage' a fake abuse video. This method is extremely effective, and the more so the more abusive the video can be made to look. Sometimes it is useful to 'lead' the forum by replying to your own posting with your own statement of violent intent, and that you 'do not care what the authorities think!!' inflammation. By doing this and showing no fear it may be more effective in getting the more silent and self-disciplined violent intent members of the forum to slip and post their real intentions. This can be used later in a court of law during prosecution.
Technique #6 - 'GAINING FULL CONTROL'
It is important to also be harvesting and continually maneuvering for a forum moderator position. Once this position is obtained, the forum can then be effectively and quietly controlled by deleting unfavourable postings - and one can eventually steer the forum into complete failure and lack of interest by the general public. This is the 'ultimate victory' as the forum is no longer participated with by the general public and no longer useful in maintaining their freedoms. Depending on the level of control you can obtain, you can deliberately steer a forum into defeat by censoring postings, deleting memberships, flooding, and or accidentally taking the forum offline. By this method the forum can be quickly killed. However it is not always in the interest to kill a forum as it can be converted into a 'honey pot' gathering center to collect and misdirect newcomers and from this point be completely used for your control for your agenda purposes.
Remember these techniques are only effective if the forum participants DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THEM. Once they are aware of these techniques the operation can completely fail, and the forum can become uncontrolled. At this point other avenues must be considered such as initiating a false legal precidence to simply have the forum shut down and taken offline. This is not desirable as it then leaves the enforcement agencies unable to track the percentage of those in the population who always resist attempts for control against them. Many other techniques can be utilized and developed by the individual and as you develop further techniques of infiltration and control it is imperative to share then with HQ.
Make a trolley that will slide under a unit so they are easy to move but you only need one trolley so expense is low.
Fence the undersides with chicken wire, the chickens can peck at anything on the ground but predators can't get in.
Owls are major predator's of skunks and won't bother your chickens in the cages, do you have owl boxes and nesting sites?
We use a trolley. It doesn't really help much once the grasses get high enough. Everything likes to just stick and get stuck together. The grasses will get caught around the wheels and bind them up. I'd compare it to trying to remove a large amount of stickerbushes all day.
I don't like the idea of netting the underside. Its more work, more stuff that can break, more material to create friction and stick to things, and at a certain point of overbuilding these things, you may as well just keep them in a spare bedroom in your house.
In general I think the field pen idea is just not great. Concerning Paul talking about an eco scale, its like going from a 0 to a 3 or a 4. And when it comes to doing 'feel good' farming, it is just hollow to me. The birds are trapped, they're not well protected, and they don't have enough space to really be chickens. If that's all you can do, I don't blame you. I would even do it if I were starting up a farm and really needed to make some quick money for other operations, but I doubt most people would want it to be a permanent part of their farm if they had the choice.
Using owl boxes is a good idea. I'll have to remember that for next season.
And as for the field pens- we have gone about a month now without losing a chicken. I think if you can just wait until the chickens are big enough, for some reason that solves some predator problems. Although I'm assuming bigger weasel-y animals wouldn't be as selective as our skunks are being this season, and would try and kill a chicken of any size.
pros- can hold many more birds, time needed for feeding and caring of chickens is much smaller per bird relative to pens, can easily collect large amounts of manure for use elsewhere, animals are more protected AND have more access to vegetation simultaneously
cons- initial startup cost, some carpentry skill required if you’re going to build it yourself, tractors are needed to move homes
For our egg layers at the farm we use two large chicken mobile houses. The 2 houses are moved around the farm in a typical pasture rotation style. Altogether we have about 200 to 250 egg laying birds in our operation at any given time, meaning 125 birds per house. This produces about 12-16 carton of eggs every day that we sell for I believe $4.50 a carton. The houses are built on frames used for hay wagons, and I’d say the frames are about 15’x10’ or so. Each house has 20 nest boxes built into one length of the mobile, and also contains roosts for the birds inside.
The chickens have 2 sources of protection 1-their house, and 2- the electric netting that we surround the houses with. During the day, the chickens can move freely in and out of the chicken houses by means of a little staircase that leads to a ‘doggy door’ built into each chicken house. This allows them to be free to graze on all the grass inside of the electric netting we give them. This usually is about 40’x40’. What is nice about this system is that you can be very flexible with the space you give your chickens. We usually just give them flat pasture to eat down, but we are going to experiment with fencing them by other areas so they can do some work for us, i.e. cleaning areas alongside stone walls. You could never do this with the field pen system.
In the months I’ve seen this system, I’ve never seen us lose one chicken to predation with this method. Compared to the pen system, the egg mobile chickens are seemingly less protected during the daytime. The chickens in the pen are completely enclosed at all times, while the egg mobile birds are much more exposed during the entire day. And we do have many hawks in the area, so keeping the chickens outside without some kind of overhead barrier can be a giant problem. However the reason why the egg mobile chickens never get eaten is that they are given enough protection by the houses themselves when the chickens do need protection. Whenever I do see a hawk get close enough to be a danger, enough of the chickens will start freaking out, and all of the chickens will either quickly run into the house, or even run under the belly of the egg mobile and roost on one of the axles. Its pretty fun to see. At around sunset, all the chickens will walk back into the egg mobile and one of us goes out and locks the doggy door to make sure no predators can get in.
This means that at night, while predator concerns are the biggest, we not only have electric fencing up, but we also have all of our chickens enclosed in a house sitting a couple of feet off of the ground.
As for feeding the chickens, we give them about 2 or 3 5 gallon buckets of grain per day. They are also eating whatever they can get to in the pasture. It takes very little time to feed the chickens. We feed them once in the morning when we open up the doors to let them out, and a second time mid day when we collect eggs. The reason why feeding these chickens is so easy is because we are keeping them all together in one location, meaning it only takes one action to feed all of them at once. With the field pens we use, we use up to 8 different pens at a time, which means we have to fill up 8 different feeders. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the extra time it takes to feed animals really builds up when you think about all the time being wasted over the course of a season.
Giving them water works similarly. We have a hose that fills up a trough that we keep by the egg mobiles. The hose has a timer hooked up to it, so every time we are at the egg mobiles we turn the timer on to fill the trough for about 15 minutes. Again, this requires one action and takes care of all of the egg mobile chickens. This is much better compared to the field pens, which requires us to check each individual water bucket attached to each pen multiple times a day. Again, it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the time really adds up.
Another benefit I’ve noticed is being able to catch chicken manure. The chickens do most of their pooping inside the egg mobiles. This means over the course of a few weeks, a substantial amount of chicken manure can be collected from the mobile and moved to other parts of the farm where it can be put to good use. This is not an option with free range systems or field pen systems, because the chickens cannot concentrate their poop in any one area. We however do not take advantage of this at the farm. We really just let the mobile fill up with poop and dump wood chips down every few weeks or so. I’m actually shocked at how the mobile does not smell at all when you do go inside of it. Its a little musty, but its not what I expected.
As for collecting eggs, the nest boxes can be accessed from the outside. The boxes are built so they are just about head height, depending on your size, so the egg retrieving is as simple as opening the nest box door, and collecting the eggs. There’s no daily easter egg hunt necessary. It takes 1 person 15 minutes to collect all of the eggs for a day.
Depending on the area we give them, the chickens will eat down the grasses they’re confined to in around 5-6 days. Once the area the are on needs a rest, we simply get up in the morning, take down the electric netting, hitch the tractor to the mobiles, move the water system down, reset the netting for the new pasture, and let the chickens out. This process would take 1 person a 25 minutes, or 20 minutes if they’re really fast and/or the stars align that day.
All in all, this system is GREAT. Its very easy to use, and I think it makes the farm a good amount of money. The only downsides I see are the startup costs. The infrastructure needed in order to do this is way more than most other small chicken operations I’ve seen out there, but if I had the money to try this, I would do this in a heartbeat.
I tried to write this in a rush, so I’m sorry if everything is not too well explained. I’ll try and post more pictures if people need some clarifications on things.
Rose Pinder wrote:thanks for this write up, very interesting.
I'm not a great fan of keeping birds in cages (although in your photos the amount of space doesn't look too bad), but one thought is can you have a wide spaced chicken wire floor like people do with rabbits, to keep chooks in and predators out?
What's the reason for using a cage system like this rather than the free range/moblie homes system that people use for eggs?
I think the wire cages on the floor would make the pen even harder to move in medium/high grass. However that shouldn't be a problem if you're mowing the pasture down, which you might want to do anyway with these pens.
As for the reasoning of using this system, the only thing I see is a much lower startup cost. Everything else is better with the big mobile homes/eggmobile we have on the farm. I'll try and do a writeup of the ones we have here the next time I can. As for free range, I've never seen it implemented in a way that doesn't create a disaster.
I'd actually be really really interested in trying the setup that Geoff Lawton shows on the Zaytuna farm youtube video he put up.
So I've been working on a Joel Salatin and Alan Savory inspired farm for a few months now, so I have a pretty good understanding of some of these mobile chicken designs now. Here's my take on them.
1st- movable chicken pens. What you do is build a pen about 10 feet long by 6 feet wide, and keep 50 broilers (chickens for meat) in them. The birds initially go into the pens when they are 2-3 weeks old and stay until they're ready to slaughter, about 9-10 weeks old.
We currently use up to 8 pens in the field at all times, so with 50 birds in each pen we have 400 out in the field total.
Pros- very cheap to build, very easy to use, no equipment needed for any moving.
Cons- does not provide adequate protection, the chickens do not get to really move about, food and water takes a lot of work for relatively small batch of animals, chickens get out all the time, cannot use pens on all types of fields.
So in one of Salatin's books he raves about how great these mobile pens are. He says that you can move each pen in 4 minutes, and that they are super easy to use. That is kind of true. In a perfect scenario, these pens are great. My issue with them is that it doesn't take much to have this setup go horribly wrong. We have lots of sets of animals on the farm currently (meat pigs, sows, milk cows, dry cows, calves, sheep, egg laying chickens, these guys) and without a doubt these pens have given us as much trouble as the rest of the other animals combined.
You move the pens by inserting a dolly onto one end of the pen (this props up the frame of the pen slightly off the ground, reducing friction), and then pull the other side of the pen across the field with a chain. You pull the pen every morning exactly one pen length down your pasture so they have access to fresh grass. However what I am finding out is that the pen has to be put on a VERY level plane every day, otherwise problems arise. If you move the pen onto a part of the field that has a ridge or is undulating in any way, this creates gaps for chickens to escape. It's not uncommon to find that when you come back to check on them in the afternoon, you'll have about 15 chicks out of the pen, frantically circling the pen trying to get back in. This leads to you having to try and catch 15 birds in the middle of the day. It is hard to perform this task without feeling really stupid. What we do to alleviate this problem is to bring 2x4s out into the field in order to cover up any gaps we might see between the bottom of the pen and the ground. This helps the problem but if the chicks are really wanting to get out, say on a hot day, they will get out anyway.
Another problem with these pens is that they do not provide adequate protection. We will have 800 broilers go through this system this season, and we might bring 650 to slaughter, if we're lucky. We have had lots of skunks burrow under the pen at night and kill 2 chickens or so each night. They never eat the whole chicken, so what they leave for you are chicken parts that you have to clean up the next morning. We also have electric netting surrounding all of our pens, but even when the netting is carrying a hot charge, it doesn't seem to deter predators for too long.
With both of these issues- chickens getting out and predators getting in- I will say that these problems are much worse for your really young chicks. Once the chickens are around 2 months old, they almost never get out and their predator problems are not bad. So you could just wait 2 months before using these pens and they should work relatively well, as long as you have flat pasture. However my feeling is that if you have to wait that long to use the pens, you probably shouldn't use the pens at all.
Also, we have to bring food and water to each pen by hand. We have a drip waterer thingy that is attached to a 5 gallon bucket on the ceiling of the pen. This means that you have to take out a hose to the pen and fill the 5 gallon bucket up each morning. This is not that bad of a hassle, but you have to do this for each pen. Compare that to our Egg Layer Chicken Mobile, whose water system is on an automatic timer. It takes us one motion to make sure our mobile egg layers have water for the day, where with our broilers, we have to fill up a bucket for each pen (we have 8 pens going at the peak of the season) twice a day.
Its not a terrible system all in all, however I don't particularly enjoy it either. I do think its an upgrade from coop and run, but for all the extra effort you put in every day, I really don't think you get much in return at all. That being said, if someone is desperate to get into farming on a small scale with no budget, this could be a nice start.
I'll put up a review of the chicken mobile later on.
My Greenwood table is finally done. I've been putting nights and weekends into it off and on for about a month. This was my first experiment with mortis and tenon joinery. Working with roundwood is way more time consuming than dimensional lumber, but it was a fun project for the most part.
1st pic is the tools used for virtually the whole project. I also used a screwgun here and there for some joints that didn't seal well enough, but that was the only power tool involved.
2nd is a side view where you can see lots of the bracing, as well as little fish I put in the middle of the two lengthwise braces. The table looked "fishy" to me as I made it- turns out crooked logs don't want to be made plum or level, so everything looks a little... off. I wanted to celebrate how the table came out so I looked for a place to install a fish. And now I call it my fishy table.
The meals are super simple- A couple of eggs on one skillet and some water boiling for coffee is pretty typical. I'm cooking with propane right now.
I also think its going well for the first year! Its hard to cook two meals a day in the wofati, because there are so many projects going on at base camp right now. I probably spend more time on base camp that up at the lab at this point. I definitely do notice that if I do cook in the wofati twice a day, and spend a ton of time in there, that the temperature does go up.
2- The temperatures are fine. I noticed the last couple of nights I've started to sleep with a second blanket. I'm assuming that the temperatures will plateau pretty soon, or at the very least the wofati will cool off at a slower rate.
Since last Saturday I have been living in .7 without firing up the rocket mass heater. I've been recording the indoor and outdoor temperatures each day for morning and night. The only source of heat generated inside is from me cooking a meal inside, which usually happens once a day, and my body heat.
January King Cabbage
Flash Broccoli (F1)
I found a great site for this exact thing if anyone is looking for more resources- myfolia.
Lots of the recommendations I saw here would seemingly do better in the fall, so they hit the cold weather when they're already developed.
We're trying to get away from using things like windtunnels to extend the growing season. But we will be using the hugelbeds and various types of mulches and windbreaks to extend our growing season. I'm sure you guys will see lots of updates along the way.
Thanks again for all the help! I hope this gave some of you guys new ideas for the upcoming growing season
Looks like I spoke to soon about the smokeback problems. I've been running it less the last few days for a few reasons 1- its been really warm outside 2- I haven't been around .7 much during the day and 3- the house AND the system's mass were already so warm that it was barely any effort to get .7 up to 80 degrees inside (our goal for the past week and a half).
Because of this, the system's mass has been cooling off a little bit day by day. Yesterday I noticed that the mass and the surrounding ground were the same temperature. And not to my surprise, the system started to misbehave as well. The smokeback problems that started yesterday were not as bad as when I initially moved in, but I do have to now spend a lot of time babying the system, as well as heating the vertical chimney with a propane torch.
Frankly, its kind of nice that the mass cooled because when it was warm .7 was TOO HOT. The house would get up to 87 degrees! And I don't mean that it would get to 87 and then drop down into the 70s, I mean that it would stay in the 85-90 degree range for HOURS. On some days just an hour and a half of fire would get the temperatures this high. Maybe this is evidence of how well the Wofati can trap heat? It was impressive to see that the wofati could hold something like a 55 degree temperature difference for hours.
I'm supposed to keep the wofati extra warm this week, so I'm burning extra wood. But I'm surprised at how little wood I'm actually burning to get the temperatures this high. I'd guess that I'm burning 12-15 pieces of wood a day to get these temperatures. I think I'll start logging how much I'm burning as well.
As for the 'mass', the horizontal run is now very warm, and the diagonal is noticeably warmer than the surrounding ground. It seems like the batchbox will need to keep running warmly for weeks in order for the diagonal to really heat up well.
rosemary schmidt wrote:ok well,
I know you said 90 days or less so it kind of throws out potatoes with the bathwater sort of thing.
what if you planted potatoes anyway and just let them go while you reaped what you sewed 90 days ago?
Potatoes are always good and they will be there for when your next 90 day crop comes along and uh, well, they are yummy!
That's the plan! We'll plant a ton of stuff, but we want a list of stuff that'll specifically be able to help out with the food bill by the time the busy season rolls around here. So if we plant sometime early march, that'll mean by early june we should be harvesting lots of food, which also is around the time college students usually come out for WWOOFing.
Other people brought this up, and I agree: It'll be hard to grow stuff within 90 days that has lots of calories. However, what does grow that quickly are things that are very expensive per calorie- Leafy greens, lettuce, herbs for example. So I think our focus will be on those pricier guys, and hopefully more of the 'staple' crops will come in later on in the season.
Again, thanks for all the help! I'm looking into all of your suggestions