Phillip Swartz

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since Aug 04, 2014
Upper Midwest - Third Coast - USDA Zone 6a/b
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Recent posts by Phillip Swartz

I haven't the time to read through all of these great comments but I would like to add my opinion even if it is redundant.

The old farm stead where I grew up had a 'milk house' designed to keep cow's milk cool. I think the same principles could be applied in this situation.

A windmill pumped ground water at temperatures in the low to mid 50s F into the concrete block building where the water filled a concrete trough to a height predetermined by a simple drain pipe. When the water level was higher than the drain the top increment of water would drain outside. In this way the tank was constantly being filled by relatively cool water and the warmer surface water is draining constantly. This was good enough to store milk for some time.

Additionally, the windmill also turned a horizontal shaft that entered the building at eave height and extended inside where a belt drive spun a generator that charged glass batteries and supplied enough juice to run some lights in the home.
4 years ago
Thanks for all of the information.

We are looking to primarily heat water because we would like the system set up for multiple fuel sources. We would ideally like to heat the water using wood as the energy source because our location provides ample timber resources, sufficient for many, many years. We also are installing a large photovoltaic array to power an irrigation pump and the infrastructure is already in place for propane as an energy source for heating and electricity generation. Thus, we are looking for a system that uses a relatively universal method for transferring energy (this would be water) from our source of energy be it wood, propane, or electricity.

Initially the water will be heated with propane as we build the RMH. It is possible to build a mass within the greenhouse and I'm advocating for this but my boss may decide that he doesn't want to go that route.

I am also envisioning a stove with a batch box located outside the greenhouse and the heat riser located inside the greenhouse. This is basically one of the few mandatory features of the design.
4 years ago
We're looking to develop a rocket stove system to heat water that will then be circulated through pex tubing inside a custom fabricated bench where we will start our seedlings for a large organic vegetable farm. We may also desire to pipe the water through a heat exchanger with blower fan. Anybody have a proven system for heating water reliably with a rocket stove?

Greenhouse is roughly 20'x36' gothic style. Currently with single wall greenhouse film but we're preparing to replace that with some double layer of film. Located in Bangor, MI USDA Zone 6b about 15 miles west of Lake Michigan. Farm is 30 acres, completely off grid with solar, wind, and propane energy sources.

Also, I'm currently traveling from Northern California back to Michigan and would happily trade manual labor for the opportunity to view your system anywhere between here and home. Let us know if you're interested.
4 years ago
Experienced organic farmer seeking work experience on Grade A organic dairy, or fruit/nut/avocado orchard, or permaculture farm.
My dog and I will be traveling west this winter in order to avoid a Midwestern winter but also to expand our experiences of geography and culture.
She is a four year old, gentle and sweet Great Pyrenees known as Princess FuzzyBritches who plays well with all humans, dogs, cats, and barnyard fowl. She comes with her own mobile kennel (truck w/ AC) and portable electric net fencing outdoor run for segregation from your farm and animals if so desired.
I’m a thirty year old experienced organic farmer in great physical shape who is willing to work hard simply for the experience and knowledge gained and some food. I have a dream of owning my own farm that grows perennial crops almost exclusively, thus, I’m primarily looking for experience working on farms that raise dairy, forages, and perennial fruits and vegetables.
We will be traveling in our own accommodations and would need no special arrangements other than a relatively flat place to park our truck and possibly pitch a tent. However, we’re very flexible and would gladly accept other accommodations provided by our hosts. Looking for a 1-2 week commitment with the right farm. References and portfolio available upon request.

Skills

Organic Vegetable Production – Farm Manager and field hand experience on mixed vegetable farms both wholesale and direct marketing
Organic Free Range Livestock – mainly beef cattle and poultry in a rotational grazing system, also have experience with sheep and swine
Permaculture Design
Tractor and equipment operation – I have many years experience operating tractors, forklifts, large trucks and various other equipment
Also adept at using many hand and power tools. I’m a decent mechanic.
5 years ago
Hey Richie, I'm in a very similar situation - 31 year old single male journeyman farmer working in three oaks Michigan. I'm actually looking for a wingman for outings to local breweries and outdoor adventures. Maybe we can help each other meet women locally. Also, I'm looking for work on a different farm because this one is not a good fit. Please message me directly if you're interested in meeting or if your current farm needs additional labor for the summer season. Thanks!
5 years ago
The angle grinder attachment is definitely an easy way to speed up drilling but you may need to consider where else the project may bottleneck. You may find that you need an extra person filling and/or waxing.
5 years ago
A client I'm working with generates a large amount of spent coconut coir from a medium scale greenhouse operation growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and other produce in a hydroponic system. Their organic vegetable substrate would contain only coconut coir and composted laying hen litter while the conventional vegetables are grown with additional chemicals or non-organically certified products.

What mushroom varieties, if any, would be a viable candidate for inoculation of this substrate?

Could the coir be blended with other substrates to promote colonization?

Will residual plant nutrients be a problem?

The client also uses a large amount of fuel wood each season and has the potential to generate mixed species wood chips. Potential to generate single species wood chips would take a little more planning and organization.

Also available would be a large amount of green plant residues, the majority being pruned suckers from tomato plants, second being waste produce bound for the compost pile.

Strong possibility of acquiring spent coffee grounds or brewery grain as farm is located in a more populated area, makes regular deliveries in a very large city and has solid relationships in the local food environment.

Project can be conducted in heated greenhouse environment suitable for solanaceous crops or outside, in the shade, with or without protection such as clear plastic or row cover.

Inside greenhouse mushroom substrate could be located beneath a rack used for growing out seedlings where substrate would be shaded well and receive regular watering.

Currently coconut is contained in 3 gallon black plastic grow bags. Would mushroom inoculation and grow out be more convenient and/or more productive growing in the bags or in some other configuration?

Thank you for any questions or comments. I'm sure I'll post more comments here as I answer these questions and develop a plan.
5 years ago
My partner and I are currently traveling in Mexico with a planned return to the states by mid-March. Contact me soon if you're interested in getting a mushroom operation off the ground. Currently I'm most comfortable with producing Shiitake mushrooms on oak but would be open to other options depending upon your needs. I feel that the prices and terms in the original post are fair but as this is a start up venture I'm definitely open to negotiation. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. Contact by private message if you would like my email address or phone number. Thanks!
5 years ago
This PEP would include basic information for the care of common livestock such as:

  • Domestic
  • Dogs, cats
  • Poultry
  • Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys
  • Swine
  • Small Ruminants
  • Sheep, goats
  • Large Ruminants
  • Beef + Dairy
  • Horses


  • Any other livestock may need a specialized PEP. There could also be more in depth courses that focus on each particular group of livestock or what they're being raised for in terms of production.
    5 years ago
    pep