Scott May

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since Aug 19, 2013
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Recent posts by Scott May

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that I work for a company that sells manufactured homes.  (Single wides, double wides, and modulars).  If any of you are considering the purchase of a factory built home and you have any questions,  feel free to contact me.   I am not looking to make a sale here.  This is Permies.  We share information for free.  I am just offering to answer questions and share expertise.   FYI. ...several factories offer R40 and R50 as an option in the attic.  200-400 bucks.

1 year ago
Hello Victoria,

I live in central Indiana. My youngest son has severe food allergies. If he eats a "humanely raised", " 100% vegetarian diet" egg, he has an allergic reaction. He can only eat pasture eggs. I have never raised chickens. But, I have been a chicken sitter a few times for some friends. They have about a dozen layers. (1 rooster) They use store bought feed and a 10 ft x 10 ft tractor.

I am planning to build a coop and few paddocks this year. I am going to start small. So, my chicken to forage area ratio is great (more acres than chickens). It seems that I will need some feed. Mainly to control and train the birds. I would like to use this first year to grow the feed that I will use next year. I am already planning to design as "permie" as possible (mulberry trees, etc.)

What should I plant this year that I can harvest this year to feed the birds next year? I do not trust store bought feed.

I would like to have everything set up (shelter, fencing, food and water) before I get the chickens. I don't think I can use corn because I am concerned about GMO contamination from the surrounding farms.

Thank you for the free advice! I WILL pay it forward!


5 years ago
Hi Victoria,

Welcome to Permies. You are going to love it here.

5 years ago
Thanks A J,

Before I purchased seed, I got prices from 3 sources. 2 of the sources were written on a piece of paper that listed total price as well as poundage and mix ratio. I assume they thought I wanted to plant hay for horses. But, the breakdown for each source was similar (pounds of seed per acre). Both lists had prices for soil amendments as well. A neighbor farmer had asked for pricing for me. So, I didn't actually talk to the sources myself.

The 3rd choice, (which I used), is a grain and feed company. I had purchase bird seed and grass seed from them in the past. They are always very helpful. After explaining my goals to them, they suggested their "wildlife mix". 15 acres = 225 pounds. Sold.

They sell all sorts of stuff. So, as I waited for my seed to be mixed, I asked questions about various seeds that were on display. The wildlife mix was already going on the entire field, so all the other seeds that I purchased just went down in patches. Each seed type has a different spread ratio/rate. Many sources recommended that I add sand to the seed before spreading because the seed is so fine. I did not.

Bottom line.... I would call the place that sold you the seed. They are really the best source for the info you desire. Remember that it is only a suggestion. Each piece of ground is different.

Best of luck to you.

5 years ago
Hi Everyone,

Just thought I would give you an update. No pictures yet...sorry.

My wife and I purchased the property about 2 months ago. (All 40 acres, not 35).

With a little help from my kids, I planted cover crops on the 15 acre field (last week of August, first week of September). I sat on the tailgate of my truck with a hand spreader while my 9 year old son drove the truck! It was a little scary at first, but he did okay.

The main seed mix was timothy, red clover, white clover, and alfalfa. (225 pounds)
50 pounds of orchard grass was added to the main mix at random (1 red solo cup at a time).

In "clumps" or "patches" I planted...
250 pounds of oats (about 2 acres worth if mono-cropping).
5 pounds of deer turnips
5 pounds purple tops
5 pounds of groundhog turnips
1 pound trefoil
1 pound chicory
(2) 250 square feet wildflower seed packets

I threw about half a bucket of shag-bark and pig-nut hickory nuts with a few red oak acorns (did not bury them).

I did dig holes to plant about 10 persimmon seeds and 40 pawpaw seeds. (mainly in shade)

The old timers (farmers) said I was crazy. MULTIPLE people told me that the seed would not grow unless I added lime and fertilizer.

We drove by the field tonight after dinner. It is a green carpet. There were 10 deer enjoying the poly-culture buffet.

I am in the heart of corn and soybean country. Some of the nearby fields have already been harvested. They should all be cleared in the next month. If things go according to my plan, I should have a green oasis all winter long. The deer seem to appreciate the non-GMO options. The deer really leave a LOT of poop. This is great because I am not raising any animals at this time.

The land has been in my wife's family for 150 years. My 3 sons, (ages 5, 8, & 9) love to visit the land. Specifically, they like to squeeze clumps of dirt with there bare hands and watch the dust blow in the wind. I have explained to them that they are the 6th generation on this land. It has been neglected and depleted for a LONG time. I am glad they helped me plant the field. It is nice that they can see the growth with their own eyes. Before we planted the first seed, we gave the land the most important input possible......LOVE.

In the near term, we don't plan to "harvest" anything. We are just building soil. I am going to add a few brush piles (oriental honeysuckle) to decompose and add carbon to the soil.

Unless they change their minds, each son get his own acre to grow whatever he wants. The property is on a pretty busy road. They are [planning to grow produce and flowers to sell on Saturday mornings next summer. They will grow, harvest, and sell what THEY choose. Should be real fun to watch it all. I can't wait to see them "sell" the customers....How much would you pay over "Wal-Mart" prices for healthy, organic, local food that was produced by a little kid?

Thanks for reading. suggestions are always welcome.

What an exciting time to be on this planet!!!

Peace and Love,
5 years ago
Hello Everyone,

I spent a few hours Wednesday visiting a nearby orchard. It was several acres devoted to persimmons and pawpaws. I was blown away. Totally amazing.

The owner of the orchard told me a story about when he visited Purdue University. They had planted several hundred pawpaws in 6 inches of mulch with a built-in irrigation system. All the trees were in full sun. He told them that pawpaws require shade for the first two years. Their response was, "that's just an old wives' tale". About 80% of the trees died in the first two years. He ended the story, "Purdue University shades all of their pawpaw seedlings now"

He uses milk jugs or plastic tubes to shade his trees. He believes full sun is best after two years.

I am going to plant my seeds in shade (from existing trees). If they grow, they will never get full sun because they will be deliberately placed in the under-story. Only time will tell if the pawpaws will thrive in shade as mature trees.

I hope someone benefits from this tip.

5 years ago

My idea was to move the container by the tree while it was still empty. Then fill it with the cold well water using a hose. Not sure how small the hole in the bottom would need to be. Just small enough to allow enough time for the sun to warm the well water to an acceptable temperature. I don't realize the area you are dealing with was so large.

I hope you get relief soon.

5 years ago

How about using a trash can (or something similar) and drilling a 1/4 inch hole in the bottom of it? The sun should warm the well water before it drains from the can. You can experiment to determine the correct set-up. A dark can with a dark lid should help absorb the solar radiation.

When I fill the kiddie pool for my kids, they always wanted to jump right in. (Shivering and purple lips did not deter them).

The best solution was to fill the pool a couple hours before swim time without telling the kids. That doesn't help you.
However, I found a nice trick was to turn the water on at the spigot but have the spray nozzle off. I would zig-zag 200 feet of black garden hose on my black driveway. In full sun, the water temperature inside the hose rose quickly. within about 30 minutes the water was hot enough to burn a person. I would then start filling the kiddie pool. I keep filling the pool until the hose water gets down to its lowest temperature. This actually takes a little while because the new water is heated by the hot hose and driveway.

This will work. Just make sure the trash can is in the correct spot before you fill it up. Actually, I think you should use approximately a 30 gallon can and only put 10 gallons in it at a time. Or 5 gallon buckets might work.

A couple of years ago, I figured out my city water was killing my garden. To solve this problem, I filled 5 gallon buckets and let them sit out for at least a day. This allowed the chlorine to evaporate. Every time I watered, I would refill the buckets so they would be ready for the next time. On hot days I would have to wait until after sundown so the water was not too hot for the plants.

Hope this helps.
5 years ago

Miles Flansburg wrote:Howdy Scott, sounds like you have a solid plan to start with and a wonderful piece of land. Pictures would be great !
What types of wild foods/herbs have you identified so far?

Hi Miles,

Thanks for the comment. I will try to post pictures when I get a chance to take a few.

I do not live on the property. So, I have not been able to identify much. I know there was a ton of wild onion that came up this spring. There are a few persimmon trees. I'm told that morel mushrooms are decent. (I'm colorblind). I have not located any elm or ash trees yet. ( I think elm and ash trees have a symbiotic relationship with morels). Lots of oak and hickory trees.
There is a research orchard about 1 mile away. They specialize in persimmons and pawpaws.

Do you consider whitetail deer and turkeys "wild foods"? The deer are overpopulated. No deer hunting for the last 10 years.

I have harvested a few squirrels the last couple of years. My kids liked it, but my wife wanted no part of it!

5 years ago
We went through a horrible drought last year. Something to can you use the drought to your advantage? Examples would be roof repair and invasive removal. The DNR in my state is great. But, somebody, somewhere, missed a great opportunity to knock out the asian carp problem last year. Perhaps now is a good time to install some thing(s) to catch and harvest a large amount of water when the rains return? Observe, adapt. Follow your intuition.

5 years ago