Katie Shank

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since Dec 12, 2012
Southwest Michigan
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Recent posts by Katie Shank

Hello Permies! We live in the suburbs and have six hens (no roosters allowed!). Our girls free range in the backyard often but we've also created a smaller paddock area for them (two paddocks). Last year we were busy just getting the coop in place and doing other things (we operated a CSA last year in addition to being first-time chicken owners) so we didn't have a chance to do much in the way of planting in/near the paddocks. This spring I plan to incorporate tons of chicken (and people!) food into the 20' x 30' area fenced in around the coop.

I was wondering if you would be willing to take a look at our plan and provide me with some feedback? What do you think will work well? Anything you'd change?

Please be gentle... I'm new to this.

http://www.arcadia-farms.net/chicken-paddock-planting-plan/
5 years ago
A few more pictures...
5 years ago
art
Love this post! I really enjoyed seeing everyone's pictures (as well as hearing their descriptions)! Seeing all of this green is an excellent antidote to the giant mounds of white surrounding me in Southwest Michigan! I'm inspired so I wanted to share some pictures of my own... turns out I don't have many good wide-shot pictures of the garden - mostly closeups. Here's what I have as far as wider shots go...

We have two main garden spaces. One is a raised bed that is 100' x 2.5' and runs along a property line fence. The other is comprised of raised beds (mostly 12' x 4') inside a 6' fence to keep deer away. Two seasons ago the fenced garden contained 576 square feet of growing space. Last spring we expanded the garden with 576 more square feet of hugelkultur beds. (http://www.arcadia-farms.net/hugelkultur-on-a-micro-farm). I took better pictures the year that the garden was smaller but there are a couple of hugel pics with the expanded garden in here as well.
5 years ago
art
Hello Fellow Permies:

We're giving stuff away again. This time we’re giving away a FREE, fully-customized garden plan including seeds ($80 value)! This would make an awesome Christmas gift for someone who is new to gardening and doesn’t have a clue where to begin.

I respect and love that the rules for posting here essentially amount to "be nice" and I don't want to get overly spammy in a setting meant for the sharing of help and ideas. I do think, however, that the customized garden plan we're giving away could be a great help to someone who wants to get started but needs a little hand-holding to get there. Here's the link in case you're interested: http://www.arcadia-farms.net/custom-garden-plan-giveaway/

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Katie
Chief Veggie Whisperer
Arcadia Farms
Thank you both so much! Mystery Weed #1 is definitely Garlic Mustard. I pulled up about a half bushel of them today and also my husband drove over some with the truck and I kept thinking "Why do I smell onions? Are there chives hiding around here somewhere?". Also the photos I found online of Garlic Mustard look exactly like what I have. Cool! Now to find some tips on how to use/cook with them!

And Miles, you're right. They ARE serving a purpose already... I almost amended my original post to state as much but decided not to. All the same, I'd like to figure out what they are for numerous reasons I won't go into for the sake of brevity. (They are growing under conifers - not sure what exact kind of pine tree - with limited shade and soil that hasn't been tested but is undoubtedly somewhat acidic.)

If anyone knows what the other "weeds" are I'd love the help!

Thanks again.
5 years ago
We have a very lightly wooded section to our 1 acre micro-farm where the weed population is starting to get out of control. I'd like to remove these before they start encroaching on our garden, but first I need help identifying them so I don't accidentally get rid of something that actually has a beneficial purpose. Also, once I pull the weeds, I'd like to plant some type of purposeful groundcover to take their place. Any suggestions? I'd love for it to be something edible. I'm in southwest Michigan, zone 6a.

Pictures are here: http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2013/05/03/calling-all-weed-experts/

Thanks as always!
5 years ago
Howdy Peeps. I'm not sure if this is the best forum for this question or if I should pop over to the "Plants" forum - thanks for your patience if I'm in the wrong place.

This past fall I planted parsnips and scallions. After they germinated I covered them with a layer of shredded leaf mulch (between 2 and 4 inches) and they've been that wall all winter (I'm in SW Michigan). Today I pulled back some of the mulch to find teeny tiny, not too healthy looking parsnip starts (in some cases they are no longer there when I know for sure they had germinated) and to find good-looking scallion starts. My question is - should I leave the mulch there and just let the plants grow through it, or should I remove it so they can get some sun? The parsnips especially are looking a bit sickly/pale.

Thanks for your thoughts!
5 years ago
One more newbie question: I'm a little nervous about the right timing for putting my chicks outside. I'm in Southwest Michigan so April weather can be unpredictable (70's one day and snowing literally the next). I've read that the chicks can/should go outside somewhere around 4-6 weeks. They'll be five weeks old on April 1. If they go out to their coop at that age and it gets really cold and snowy, will they be ok? Thanks for your patience and answers!
6 years ago
I showed up to ask similar newbie questions. Thanks for letting me tag along... and for the great info! We're getting our first chicks this week (6 of them). We live in a suburban neighborhood on one acre. We would love to let the chickens free range (paddocks) in one section of our property (around half an acre) that has berry-producing ground cover and several existing mulberry trees. (We would also plant other things like sunflowers, sunchokes, more berries, etc.). Buuuuttttt.... we're struggling with the balance of needing things to be aesthetically pleasing (want to keep the neighbors happy!) and very low-cost. And to be honest, that part of the yard has a very 'park-like' feel to it and my husband isn't keen on breaking it up with fences. If anyone has ideas for this newbie on fencing that would be inexpensive but 'suburb approved' I would appreciate it! Meanwhile, we're planning on a coop and run. Carla - I hope you'll come back during the season and let us know how your experience is going!
6 years ago
Karin. I'm so excited for you! You're embarking on what I have found to be a very rewarding journey. I've been gardening on the southwest side of Michigan for nearly 4 years now. Last year I was able to leave my full-time job and started a micro-farm right here in our suburban yard (Portage). In my experience, moving forward with sustainable living can be a slow process, but as long as it is deliberate (I make lasting changes and stick with them) the progress feels great! I have a website where I'm chronicling my own experience of doing exactly what you're talking about - changing my lifestyle to a sustainable one, and starting with very little knowledge of what the heck I'm doing! Feel free to call or email me any time and I would be happy to share info on what I've experienced and learned.

As far as where to get non-GMO seeds, I see that someone has already directed you to Annie's Heirloom Seeds. I buy seeds from them and am very pleased. In fact, they have partnered with our farm to giveaway (FREE!) heirloom, non-GMO seeds ($25-worth)! I have found them to be very friendly and I'm sure they'd be happy to help you with selecting good beginner crops that grow well in your area of Michigan. You can enter the giveaway here: http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2013/02/01/win-25-in-heirloom-non-gmo-seeds. (Giveaway ends 2/15/13)

I think you might also find these articles helpful:
http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2012/11/20/what-is-sustainable-living/
http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2013/02/06/2013-seed-starting-plan/
http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2013/01/30/seed-sources/
http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2013/02/06/optimum-transplanting-age/
http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2012/12/04/hugelkultur-on-a-micro-farm/
http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2013/01/07/olla-irrigation-for-a-market-garden/
http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2012/12/11/square-foot-gardening-plant-spacing/

Best wishes to you!!
6 years ago