Clifford Reinke wrote:
My coop is an open air design I modified from a 1919 book on chicken coops. This type of coop was used as far north as Alberta Canada with -20 degree weather. Chickens have nice down coats, and do not mind the cold. The large front windows are covered in 1/4 inch hardware cloth. I have a trap door that leads to the "daylight basement/dusting area". I lock them in every night because we have weasel problems. I use a four paddock system with the solar powered, 160 foot, electric poultry netting which I move once a week. There is no artificial light in the hen house (although I may add solar powered lights later). Food consumption does rise with colder weather, and if it freezes I change out the water more frequently so it does not ice over.
I replace the straw under the roost every week with the straw from the nesting boxes and the front of the coop. New straw is placed in the nesting boxes and the front of the coop. I use the pooped on straw as mulch around my fruit trees. My compost pile is on the border between two of my paddocks. So two weeks out of four, the chickens get to turn my compost pile for me eating bugs and worms. The other two weeks allow the bugs and worms to recover. The compost pile is on a slope, so we throw the new stuff on the top of the hill and shovel the good stuff from the bottom of the hill.
I have 13 Barred Rock chickens, two roosters and 11 hens. I'm averaging 9 eggs a day, even though it is winter. My chickens seem very happy and healthy, the coop does not smell bad, stays dry, takes five minutes to clean once a week. I think for me, I've finally found the right combination.
If you are looking for a sunroot that is slower to spread, try White Dwarf, Dwarf Sunray, or Supercluster as they are smaller, less invasive plants than the average sunroot cultivar. You can find them at Oikos.
Sarah Loy wrote:The amount of variability with transplants is, of course huge. I am really interested to see how this comes out but I hope folks give a lot of detail in their method. Good tomato transplants require full sun, should have bottom heat for fast germination and to stimulate root growth. The seeding mix should be well aerated and have good moisture retention. Pot size should be matched to the length of time that the plant will be growing before transplanting out so that roots are developed enough to hold together the potting mix at time of transplant but not to the point becoming root bound. Watering should be even so that the plants are not stressed by wilt. Good temperatures for tomatoes are in the 80's F day and 60's F night. Plants should be hardened off in a coldframe for a few days to a week before transplant. Once transplanted in, with as little root disturbance as possible, they should be watered in with a nutrient tea. The reason people started using transplants was to optimize the growing environment to get an earlier start or to prevent the loss of precious seeds. If someone's situation makes it difficult to produce a good healthy transplant then it is unlikely to out perform the direct seeded one. People with long growing seasons have a lot more room for variable conditions. In our short season we need season extension on both ends most years to get a decent crop of tomatoes and a lot of people now grow them in high tunnels for the whole season. It's actually a lot less work for me to raise a transplant in my greenhouse then it would be to be protecting the direct seeded one on a 20 degree F night in May. Tomatoes are some of the easiest things to transplant, luckily since they produce adventitious roots. Cucurbits are a whole different story. They really suffer from any root disturbance so I either direct seed if they don't need a long season, like pumpkins or squash, or seed into jiffy 7's if the seed is super expensive, or needs a little longer season, like melons. Happy growing everyone. Most of our snow is gone other then the shady spots now and I can hardly wait to see some green tree buds.