leanna jones

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since Jul 08, 2012
Pennines, northern England, zone 7b, avg annual rainfall 50"
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Recent posts by leanna jones

just wanted to say thank you for all your posts, please keep it up

i'm also market gardening with a short growing season, but with opposite conditions: very, very wet and cool, little sun. i'm inspired by your work to try to develop some landraces here, i feel drawn to trying tomatoes or squash - with conventional seed i'm getting very sad little yields in a polytunnel and they are impossible to grow outside.

i will be studying all the info you've put out and will make at least a small start in 2016.
3 years ago
creeping buttercup indicates not only acid soil, but wet, fertile, acid soil. that's exactly the soil i have and so it's my #1 weed. it's not that hard to deal with. chickens eat it, yes. mulching will kill it within a few months. you can trowel it out by hand - it won't grow back from the white roots but it will grow back if you leave the little flat 'seat' from which the stems grow - you'll see what i mean.
3 years ago
would love to hear this idea expanded on (from the 'no more coop & run article http://www.richsoil.com/raising-chickens.jsp ) as i'm planning to bury the fence around my first chicken run. once i've learned the basics of chicken keeping i will develop better systems but i'm starting with a fixed coop and run.
3 years ago

It is said that nettles will make brassicas sweeter - and I have found this to be true.



in what way? growing nettles in among brassicas? mulching with them? or what?

4 years ago
finally, they are good for people. traditionally a spring tonic in the form of tea or soup. or you can wilt them into food as you would spinach. detoxifying, diuretic, full of minerals and remarkably high in protein for a green veg (14% i think).
4 years ago
most animals will leave them alone while they are growing (they can be enjoyed as fodder usually only if they are dried first).

in UK chicken runs you will often see nettles growing. so the nettles are using the fresh chicken manure immediately and the chickens won't eat them fresh. i don't think cows or sheep eat them. not sure about goats.
4 years ago
here in the UK nettles are one of the most common weeds. here nettles are found for years (decades?) on sites that were previously muck heaps or household middens. they will quickly dominate a fresh muck heap so yes absolutely they can be used to deal with excess nitrogen due to livestock etc. perhaps around a compost toilet too, if any fear of runoff?

from a UK perspective it seems crazy to carry manure to a nettle patch. if you have livestock, grow nettles where their muck already is. or if you import muck, grow nettles on (the edges of?) where you store it. the nettles will continue to make use of the nitrogen that remains in the soil after you move the muck elsewhere for other purposes.

i find they create the loose drier earth you find around their roots. i use manure mulch in my no-dig/no-till veg garden and where i've put less well-rotted manure on top of nettle patches and not weeded the nettles out very thoroughly, the manure has broken down quickly to loose drier compost compared to nearby areas with no nettle roots where the manure stays wetter and takes longer to break down.

my neighbour has a cow barn on some wet land and i'm going to transplant nettle roots to the edges of the ditch that carries mucky water away from the barn area. i will regularly cut the nettles for my compost heap and now perhaps to dry/powder as a soil amendment thanks to reading that really detailed post.
4 years ago
can you get grass clippings or anything like that? or nettles or any other green weeds? if not, i would pee on it! (or collect my pee at home and discreetly pour it on the heap)

i don't think the commercial fertilizer would bind to the organic stuff, i think it would just wash out and be wasted. and why buy nitrogen in a bottle when your own body makes it?
5 years ago
my understanding is that inorganic fertilisers wash out of soil and compost easily, so there'd be little point in doing this. whereas nutrients in decomposing plant matter and soils are much less liable to washing out. i have read scientific explanations for this but cannot repeat it accurately.

if it's loss of Nitrogen that you're worried about - well that's not a problem as so long as you have green sappy plant matter to put on your heap you will be adding plenty of N. if you really can't get any and you only have dry woody matter in your compost heap you could pee on it instead to add lots of N. one thing that can take N out of compost piles is turning it - some N gas will escape. so you could not turn it if you are worried about that.

there will be some weeds in your area that are rich in Potassium, probably, look them up and throw them on.

i think it's a shame to use inorganic fertilisers which have been extracted from other parts of the world when we have most nutrients we need all around us.
5 years ago
hi, love the design, it's helping me clarify as i want to do something similar

i will use branches in the rafters of a lean-to cow shed, also at about 7ft height. does anyone have tips on how to incorporate hens into this cow shed? floorspace is 32x16ft. roof will slope from 13ft > 7ft. will contain 4 cows with calves at feet. i will start with 10 chickens.

the main issue is that the shed would not be predator-proof. the two predators we have are foxes and stoats. if you know about foxes and stoats please tell me if my ideas are crazy.

i am planning to let the chickens let themselves in and out as they please. i would not be clipping their wings so they can get up and away from foxes. but stoats are more of a threat, as far as i understand. stoats can climb high, and they can stretch themselves and balance well so i can imagine them being able to get up any pegs that are put in to help the chickens get up to their roost. but it must be possible to design something that chickens can jump/flap up which stoats can't? any ideas? the uprights of the shed will be wooden telegraph poles and the sides plywood sheeting (i'm not designing or building it but i get to put my chickens in it). i fear stoats might find this easy to climb. i'd like to try and somehow cover the wood with plastic sheeting or something that stoats can't get a grip on!

i would not be able to have nest boxes on the floor, was planning to have them as high as possible - how high would the chickens accept? i know they have to be lower than the roosts.

also are there any issues i should be aware of in terms of mixing cattle and chickens?
5 years ago