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Sarah Loy

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since Jan 28, 2014
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Recent posts by Sarah Loy

I agree that having a plan is a great idea and there is plenty to do and learn in the winter. The reality for many of us is that Seasonal Affective Disorder resulting from short daylength of low intensity light causes clinical depression. The dread and melancholy are real physical symptoms. We have to address that before there is any chance of using the rest of the time productively. Looking directly at a full spectrum light or the reflection of it off something like the pages of a book held close to the light allows the rays to enter the eye. On bright sunny days, sitting at the window in the sunshine and enjoying the view is a good choice. Studies show it is most affective if done early in the day. If you can muster the ambition to get outside and exercise as well as getting light it also helps. I started keeping chickens so that I had to rally enough to go out everyday to feed them. Increasing consumption of B vitamins helps as well. They are found in dark green leafy vegetables. By February, I sometimes have to do the light therapy for up to an hour and a half a day. All of this has to do with the production of serotonin triggered when light enters your eye. The nice way this fits in with your suggestions is that while you get your daily dose of full spectrum light you have time to read, sketch out plans, by introspective, etc. One of the important factors in dealing with depression is for everyone to be educated to know that it is not the result of someone being lazy or not tough enough. The exciting news with SAD is that the most effective treatment does not require drugs most of the time. I hope anyone who struggles with winter meloncholy will get the help and support they need and be able to take advantage of all the great ideas in your articles.
4 years ago
Thank you taking the time to share your knowledge and experience. I am wondering how much insurance is suggested if I start sharing my land with others in exchange for them helping with some of the land development projects. To start with I want to offer to let folks use space in my 30 x 48 foot greenhouse to get their plants started in the spring in exchange for helping me finish building and covering it. Is there a difference between that and paid employees for insurance? Thanks in advance.
5 years ago
I have just planted four apples trees this spring. I wonder how close to young trees I should plant support plants. I am wondering if it is better to use a legume ground cover rather then a legume tree in NH.
5 years ago
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.
5 years ago
It will be interesting to see how this varies by zone. I am in zone 4 in NH. I can start tomatoes in 8 inch pots in my greenhouse on April 10 and plants them out on June 1 when we have passed our last frost. They are nice really big plants. Ssems like the soil before that are usually so cold that any tomatoes planted out much before that just sit there and turn yellow from the cold roots. Our volunteers don't start sprouting til about the last week of May or early June. Good luck to the folks who try. I hope folks let us know where they live as well.
5 years ago
Hi Victoria,
Thank you for your response. You asked why I was thinking of using the chicken tractors. Years ago we had a few chickens that my kids hatched and raised. They were completely free range with no fences at all just a coop for nighttime. We have about a half acre of lawn, shrubs and trees around our house and a 6 acre field that we farm and have some in rotation with cover crops. With the freedom to go anywhere, the chickens rarely ventured into the field. They usually stayed closer to areas were they would have protection from aerial predators with trees or shrubs nearby. We are hoping this time around that we can take advantage of the manure and insect control that the chickens provide to improve our vegetable fields. The chicken tractors seemed like a good options to provide the protection they like and have them out in the otherwise open field. It also would allow us to get a more even distribution of nutrients I think. Maybe we could do the same thing with a movable coop and fences. I worry if we aren't home at night to close the coop door that they will get killed. We have all manner of wild critters in the woods nearby. Any suggestions on the best system would be great. Thank you again for sharing your thoughs here.
5 years ago
I want to get started with just a few chickens for eggs, I think about 6. I have been doing a lot of reading about meat birds and trying to decide if I could bring myself to process them. My question is, why do layers need roosts and broilers don't. That was mentioned in a couple things I read. I wanted to use chicken tractors and it seems like boilers would be easier for that if I really don't need roosts but I thought it might be stressful for the chickens to sleep on the ground.
5 years ago
If any NH or nearby folks are looking for training about raising goats, the Cooperative extention service in NH is about to offer a 5 class series. The instructor has been raising backyard goats for 35 years. You can take any or all of the classes as you like. I think they are $15 each and about 3 hours long. All the info is on the website for unh cooperative extension. Hopes that helps someone. While I was checking it out I found out they are offering some other permiculture stuff too. That one had a different link so you might have to call to get the details. In March there is an all day workshop for 25 dollars that includes breakfast and lunch. Maybe I'll meet some permies folks there.
I loved the discussion. I stumbled upon permies.com a few months ago. The concepts all seem pretty compatible with the sustainable systems I was taught as an undergradute and graduage student 35 years ago. I have been farming for all those years now and love to see how experience changes and improves how I do things. The conversation about 'who is in charge'was interesting. There is so much great research that has been done in agriculture, forestry, and animal husbandry over the last 200 years, it would be a shame to discredit anyone or try to prioritize who is in charge. I sheer numbers, I would guess that the extension agents in the US are having a huge impact. I certainly learned so much from my professors. I am always trying to glean information whereever I can. Thanks for being one of the sources of interesting info to add to the mix.
In response to Burra, I am pretty outdoorsy but as women in the other post said, letting my underwear soak up the extra pee is gross and if I use toilet paper outside disposal isn't convienient and then I need to find a place to wash my hands. I hike a lot and pee in the woods but it is not my first choice of the day to day, month to month way of life. I still pour my pee outside and nicely diluted to avoid the tolerence issue, use by the road issue etc. So for me this is the best of both worlds. Finding a system that is easy to do on a daily basis is what keeps me able to be susrtainable.
5 years ago