Rebecca Butler

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since Feb 12, 2016
Central IL, zone 6b
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Recent posts by Rebecca Butler

Thanks for your reply, Thomas! I put the pigs in yesterday. They are just little potbellies but WOW there are already deep trenches of overturned soil, AND the soil is nice and black and loamy, which I was not expecting. I guess the amendments I put in last year are working. Sometimes it all feels like magic and I don't expect it to actually work. Ha.

The thistle is so intense. Im pretty sure they're eating the roots. I'm going to leave them in there for as long as possible without causing too much compaction. I might even run them through again in the spring.
2 years ago
I have a pervasive pasture, completely overrun with thistles, that I would like to turn into a vegetable garden. I want to run some pigs through, followed by chickens, to clear it out and fertilize. Regarding pathogens in the manure and hot composting temps, how long do I need to wait to plant after moving the animals out? I am in central Illinois and I would like to put the pigs in soon, especially since this crazy weather means the ground is soft and muddy, not frozen like it should be in February! Will I be ok to plant in April or May, or this is a longer process?

Another vegetarian family here, using pigs as tools and pets, not food!
2 years ago
That's beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
2 years ago
I've seen several inexpensive sources for 2'-3' tall fruit trees and I'm thinking about purchasing a few apples, peaches and cherries for a total of 10-12 trees for planting this spring. My husband thinks it will be easier to set up a small area as a tree nursery. That way we can amend the nursery soil with good compost and tend to them all together while they're so small. It will be easier to keep them from being eaten too. We would let cover crops and mulch do the work on the trees' permanent spots for a year or so and then move the trees to their permanent spots next spring or fall.

Does this sound like a good plan, or would it be better to put them in their permanent spots right away to avoid transplanting them again? I read that to give them the best start, we should dig down 5' and fill the hole with compost and potash. Digging 10-12 5' deep holes sounds like a lot of work when I could just let a top layer of compost, mulch and cover crops do that work over the next year! Right now the land is all pasture so I know we will have to amend it.

Thanks!
2 years ago
Ok, thanks, Bryant! I'm ordering oyster mushroom spawn this week for food and I will order extra for this process.
2 years ago
Ah I see. Thanks for the replies!
2 years ago
Has anyone grown shiitakes in 5 gallon buckets? Could I use the same method for growing oysters but substitute wood chips for the straw? I can't find anything about it online and I'm still waiting for my copy of Mycelium Running to come in the mail!

This is my first time growing mushrooms. I'm going to try oysters on straw bales and in buckets. I'm sure I'll find some, but right now I'm having a hard time sourcing hardwoods branches to grow anything in logs so I'm looking for alternatives.

2 years ago
I'm interested, depending on how far away you are. Where in Indiana?
2 years ago
Thanks for the replies! I will definitely add some oyster spawn. That's a great idea.
2 years ago
My land is surrounded by conventional corn and bean fields. This fall we had record amounts of rainfall. Massive amounts of debris from the corn fields washed into my creek and piled against my fence line. My creek is 10' wide and it's almost dammed. There is a pile against my fence that is probably 4' tall, 2' wide and spans 100' or more. It's a lot. If it's was organic, I would have won the biomass lottery! Unfortunately, it's GMO and has been sprayed so I need to find a way to contain it.

I thought about designating a spot for wild flowers and using it all there, but we have bee hives. Will the flowers be contaminated and potentially harmful to the bees, or will it be ok since the chemicals will be taken up by roots and not sprayed on? i don't want to do anything that might harm the bees.

I also thought about using it in the grey water system, which we will be setting up in the next month or 2, but that will be right by our vegetable gardens. Will it leach into the garden beds? I thought the chemicals might be broken down more quickly within the grey water system. Is that accurate?

We'll be putting in swales next week. Is mulching them with this stuff a bad idea? I'll be growing fruit trees along the swales.

I also have to assume that I will be gifted with this runoff every year--hopefully in smaller quantities!--so I probably need to come up with a way to deal with it on an ongoing basis.

Any advice or other ideas? We are just starting out on 27 acres of pasture and woods so I have a lot of room to play around and I'm open to any ideas. Thanks!

(Edited to include question about Swales!)
2 years ago