Grace Gierucki

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since Feb 07, 2016
Southern Michigan
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Recent posts by Grace Gierucki

Thank you!  I pulled them and salvaged what was left after the bugs were done. Not enough to eat but at least enough to retry a large patch next year. Thank you!
Hello, I finally managed to grow a few ears of corn  and would like to try and save the seed. Unfortunately they aren’t very dry yet and the pests are attacking. Caterpillars and raccoons are the two that showed up yesterday. I’d like to go ahead and pull the ears to dry indoors but I wasn’t sure if that was okay? I have a few makeshift drying racks with a 24 hr fan. The corn is starting to dry and the stalks are dying back but the kernels are still pretty soft. Is it too early to pull it? Thanks!
Thanks everyone! I’m still a bit overwhelmed and think I need to do some more research before my first round of trees arrive. What are your favorite books or websites for orchard planning?
1 year ago
Hello, my beloved fruit farmer has dropped the bomb- he’s not going to live forever and I better plant some trees if I want to continue to have my beloved plums and apples. I’m in a lack of fresh fruit induced panic and started trying to plan my little orchard. He’s going to order the trees for me for next year to save big bucks but I need a plan!
While he grows my most favorite varieties he’s an old school, commercial, spray a lot, straight rows kind of farmer and I’d rather create something more natural and I don’t want to mow anymore.
My best available site is our useless front yard giving me a space of up to 300’ wide and 35’ deep before the shadow of our decorative trees would start to infringe. One end of the strip (maybe 30’) is very wet in the spring and the other end is shaded in the afternoons.
For simplicity’s sake (and budget) I’ll have to have a long term plan that I can add to each year.
My ultimate goal is to feed my family and have enough to can for extended family and friends. I’m planning on 1 of each variety except my most critical (ginger gold apples for winter and Prune plums for canning) which I need to succession plant on different years to try and be sure I have one fruiting each year.
Between the plums, apples and possibly pears  with all their assorted pollinators I’m looking at eventually about 14- 18 trees (someday).
I know which main trees I want to focus on but after that my plan gets very hazy after that.

This is our front yard and needs to look what I think of as deliberate. It’s okay if it’s not ultra tidy but it can’t look weedy or insanely overgrown or my hubby will be totally stressed out.

Sorry this is so long, I suppose my ultimate question after all this rambling is “where do I start?”  
Free online resource recommendations? Books I might be able to get from the library?

PS- My farmer suggested I just start planting. Today. He’s braver than I am though.

2 years ago
I cannot take credit for this spreadsheet, I just stumbled across it on the internet and it has been SPECTACULAR! The website is Garden Betty I think this link will take you there.

As for sourcing non local ingredients (Norwegian kelp is definitely not local here in Michigan) I decided that being able to confidently feed my broilers and layers a homemade concoction of all local grains was worth sourcing a few distant ingredients. I buy Fertrell nutribalancer, kelp, fish meal,  oyster shell and grit that are not local. All together I’m going through about 240 lbs a year of these ingredients. This makes it so I am also able to buy more than 4,800 lbs a year of totally local grain. It feels so good to hand my farmer (who delivers and helps me unload for only $30) cold hard cash.

To be honest I’m working on reducing the non local imputs but I’m not trying too hard. I really enjoy helping to support the lovely Amish family who I buy my “exotic” ingredients from and I love the cause to chat with them while I shop. The ingredient that is most problematic for me is the fish meal, it simply isn’t sustainable or planet friendly but I haven’t figured it a replacement yet.

(We’re only on week 3 of the whole grain broiler experiment but holy crap are they thriving! My layers transitioned to whole grains about 6 weeks ago and my eggs have never been better, a minimum of 10 eggs with the avg of 13 per day for only 16 2 year old layers. I’m loving it. )
2 years ago
Good morning, I was just finishing up poultry chores and headed into the hoop house to water when I realized I forgot to fill my jugs last night. How cold is really too cold for the water to be on my seedlings? Until now I’ve used gallon jugs of room temperature water while the weather is still cold here (45 F high today with an overnight of 29). My space is heated with a thermocouple dependant heater so it never goes below about 36. How warm does it need to be before I can switch to the hose? This time of year our water is chilly but not icy cold, probably about 45-50? degrees. (My beloved children broke the last of my thermometers). Thanks everyone, it takes a lot of trips back to the house to water 32 trays of seedlings.  
Peter, someday I’d like an earth sheltered growing space but for now this is all I have available. It sure is fun to look for ideas.
2 years ago
Thank you! I’ll try all three and report back. I just got my new plastic installed and I think there is enough slack that I can slide the panels between the frame and the plastic and then I’ll backfill from the outside with the old junk straw that I’m breaking down.
I have an old tarp we used to use for the pool that should work well for keeping my blankets dry. Putting a pole on one side is a good idea, it should also help hold it down in the breeze.
 Thanks again, happy growing!  
2 years ago
Good morning all, I have a small hoop house 8’x14’x7’ at the peak. It’s relatively well sealed from air leaks but, naturally, the temperature drops ultra fast at night. I’m just trying to figure out how to keep it from dropping below about 40 degrees so my seedlings will be safe. The last 2 years I ran a space heater on freezing nights but it’s not a very good option.
 I have some stuff laying around that I’m wondering about using. I have lots of 2” rigid foam panels that I had to take out of the barn (the damn chickens started eating it). I am thinking about putting these on the north side of the structure but do I add them inside or outside?
I also have 2 55 gallon barrels I could fill and use to replace my current work bench area.
Another idea I had might be stupid- could I pull an old quilt over the whole structure?  It’s hoops are quite strong and I thought that might help stabilize temps.
Thanks for the ideas everyone!
2 years ago
Hello, I have a one year old pulse fence charger that had an unfortunate swim and stopped working.  Has anyone been able to get one fixed? I'm not going to try it myself and the only place I could find to fix it charges $35 just to diagnose and I'd have to send it in. If it's unfixable I don't want to pay that. Thanks everyone.
2 years ago