Emerson White wrote:
When you break down the benefits of keeping animals into all of the little components you get a comparable amount of work between keeping them and not But the fact of the matter is that the cost of keeping them is a bill that comes just as seldom if you are doing 10 things with your animals as if you are just doing one. If you keep your chickens indoors and only give them food and take eggs that's a decent payout, but if you have them clearing your garden of insects and rooting through the soil, and laying eggs, and recycling waste calories (something plants can't do at all) and providing bedding, and flavoring and company you have a great payout. That is why every farmstead had them. It's not that they were too stupid to figure out that it was easier with out them, it's that they knew that the animals did more for them than it cost to raise them.
As for hunting I support it up and to a point, however fossil records show that uncontrolled hunting is probably more ecologically devastating than even modern day farm practices.
Travis Philp wrote:
I think they would do fine. I think in Gaia's Garden there's a page or two about gardening using woody debris and it mentions planting blueberries in a bed of buried wood.
I just recently ran across the term 'stock free' and realized we unintentionally ended up close. We are not vegan and not true vegetarians but mostly. Our compost has egg shells and the pee bucket added but not the humanure. Forty years ago we started with goats, rabbits, chickens and ducks but for the last twenty nothing but a dog and a cat and a bee hive and abundant wildlife. We deliberately use what is 'provided ' on this forty acres. I save all of our seed except I am buying more cover crop varieties lately that eventually will be self sustaining. We are seeing the results of cover crops that are chopped as mulch with the roots left to decompose. We use leaves, grass clippings, some wood ashes and our gardens and fruits are better than ever. For us the choice to give up livestock was to do with woodworking and weaving as our chosen work for creative satisfaction and of course money. Both homebased but we traveled to craft shows to sell which didn't work well with animals to maintain. This way of growing food has worked well for us for the twelve years we have been on this piece of land.
jmy McCoy wrote:Vegan-organic/stockfree organic broadly means any system of cultivation that excludes artificial chemicals, livestock manures, animal remains from slaughterhouses, genetically modified material and indeed anything of animal origin such as fishmeal.
Abe Connally wrote:
Its not so much about exclusion.Domestic animals take alot of effort and inclusion is not(IMO)the path of least resistance.Much of the hardwood forests of the east were cut to make barns and fences.Domesticated animals are made possible today largely through cheap oil(metal barns and fences).Take away that subsidy and it looks alot bleaker.Wild animals contribute to the system without all the ecological and energy costs.They meat their own needs and are thus more caloricaly efficient.Avoiding all animals in a system I disagree with.
My domesticated animals require less time than my garden. They tend to themselves just fine, if you let them. I don't have metal barns and very few fences. Every homestead 300+ years ago had animals. They didn't have cheap oil to make it possible, and that's why they had animals.
Travis Philp wrote:We had success growing peas, lettuce, and mustard, in a hugelkultur bed with no manure.
Paul Cereghino wrote:From less of a survivalist vein... I maintain a lawn like vegetation over my septic drainfield, and cuttings from that go onto the garden as mulch, and is dragged underground by worms pretty fast. I assume this is a passive N import from my own waste stream. The largest Nutrient import into my home system is through purchasing food off site.
Paul Cereghino wrote:The book learning suggests that nitrate sequestration is temporary... once a wood particle surface is encrusted with bacteria the rate of nitrogen consumption declines (that is why sawdust has a greater effect then a log -- more surface area to volume).
Travis Philp wrote:jmy, I posed this question earlier but I think it got lost in the shuffle. What did you do for bed preparation in the first year? I'm planning on establishing a whack of new vegetable and fruit gardens next year and would like to avoid manure if I can. I'm gonna go big on fresh eating and drying beans as a companion plant but that'll only get me so far
i think someone mentioned it before on a different, but eliot coleman uses only on site compost made from hay. so there is one.
Travis Philp wrote:
Yes, plants can go into areas and break up soil. Tap rooted plants are great for that, they don't wake me up at 4 in the morning, or raise my risk of cancer when I eat them. In fact many tap root plants fight cancer. I don't think you can't say that for any meat that I know of.