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Thomas Partridge

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since Dec 04, 2014
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Recent posts by Thomas Partridge

Thanks for the great replies! I am just interested in hearing about experiments involving directly applying stropharia directly to soil and not to mulch or newspaper. I am curious to see if it will work with my garden as it is without having to significantly change my garden (I use sawdust not mulch in my garden and not a deep layer) so that I don't have to increase the amount of watering I do.
7 months ago
I emailed a vendor who sells the big sawdust spawn blocks but I thought I would also ask you folks, can you just rake/till in sawdust spawn into the soil of your garden and have any chance of these types of mushrooms colonizing the soil?

We have had terrible luck trying to grow mushrooms which we think is mostly our fault (neglecting in keeping them moist constantly) and we are hoping that by putting it in our raised beds where we are going to grow tomatoes and carrots that we can help them and give them a place where they will get sufficient moisture and nutrients themselves.

Is this just a case of us wishing instead of reasoning? If this doesn't work I may try another log spawn attempt (third time is the charm) and covering it with leaves to keep it from drying out since we can't really water our non-garden areas.
7 months ago

Justin Peck wrote:We have a Great Pyrenees and she does a wonderful job protecting our flock, though she does cost us about $90 a month in dog food. She get's the good stuff (4Health grain free). I agree with Bryant that it's more about the size of your enemy than the size of you farm. And most small dogs are more likely to go after your chickens. An alternative may be for you to get a guard goose. I know Joel Salatin keeps one with his chickens and they keep predators away. Just don't get more than one or they'll care about each other and not protect your chickens.



I like that! I had considered guard geese but I didn't know you could only keep one for that effect. Maybe I will see about getting a single gosling and see how that goes.

The problem with Pyrenees and other medium to large dogs is that they cost more to feed than a dog that weighs about 20lbs
7 months ago

Even a LGD alone is not a match for more than one coyote at a time, but they will deter the coyotes from wanting to come around.



We don't really have coyotes, the worst we get is foxes and small ones at that (house cat size). I am also not desiring a fox fighting dog - I want one that will bark enough to startle it and to give it something else to worry about. Fighting the fox means vet bills that will probably cost a lot more than the chickens would cost to replace (only birds we have that have predator problems).
7 months ago
We are planning to make the switch from electric net fencing to permanent welded wire fencing in the next year and one thing we wanted to do was to get a poultry guard dog. Most of the time when people talk about livestock guard dogs they are talking about the large breeds that can watch sheep and goats, but we are a small farm and do not want to feed such a large creature unnecessarily? Are there any really good small breeds that will drive off a fox or opossum but not harm chicks?

We got a Beagle/Husky mix and while she was the right size and loud like we wanted but she did not do well with poultry so now she is an indoor dog (though to be fair when we had an outdoor rat problem she was a great help and made up for it). We want to make sure before we get another dog that we are getting one with the highest chance of working out because we really don't want yet another indoor dog.
7 months ago
We have also been using the wood pellets for our cats for years now. For composting we are pretty lazy so all year long we pile it in a three sided bin made of pallets and then when it is time to plant our spring garden we shovel off the top half into another such bin and use the significantly older stuff below. By that stage it is at least six months old and has an almost pleasant earthy smell. I doubt it adds much in the way of nitrogen to our garden, but with our heavy clay soil we have noticed that each year are garden soil ends up being a bit looser without us having to till much more than the top three or four inches.
7 months ago
You know, I always wondered what would happen if people grew vining beans and other things out of their windows in skyscrapers. A vining bean might grow twenty feat high and need no more than a 5 gallon bucket.
7 months ago
GIS is a great tool, depending on the county you are interested in you can use it to look for large tracks of land on big plots and see who the owner is. There are a lot of older people who have huge tracks of land and it hasn't even occurred to them to rent it out because they don't think anyone would want it. A little work and you can work out a pretty good deal (might even let you do it for free)>
7 months ago
Honestly you will have a hard time competing with the large growers when it comes to bulk produce and meat - they are just set up to do it better.

I would recommend trying a bunch of different species of livestock and finding the one you most enjoy to raise, then get into breeding and selling. You make a lot more selling a chick than you do an egg and there really isn't a significant difference in the amount of work one takes to sell over the other. Another thing that seems to work well is finished products. You could try selling honey or nuts, or you could sell honey glazed nuts for more than you could sell them for separately for. Classes are another option, if while raising livestock you get pretty good at certain things (such as cutting pigs or butchering chickens) you can teach classes on those to new homesteaders. Watching a video or reading a book is just not the same.
7 months ago
So for the last few years we have been companion planting our annuals when we noticed something. For one reason or another, the yields were always better when we planted only two varieties than when we tried to do three or more. I would try growing tomatoes, carrots, and basil and they never really did much until I dropped the basil one year and BAM - tomatoes and carrots like we had never had at our property. The same was true for our three sisters garden, this year we did not bother to put much effort into the cucurbits (which never do much due to squash bugs) and we have had our best corn and bean harvest to date at the property. We didn't even try a third companion for our potatoes and peas and you would think that our soil had magic powers based on how well they did.

I am starting to think that when time and resources are limited and you are looking for the biggest bang for your buck from annuals (i.e. canning 20 quarts of each variety) that it is better to focus on a "buddy system" than to go with a team of companions - anyone else experience this when trying to do polycultures?