Mike Smithy

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since Aug 13, 2018
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North Carolina
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Recent posts by Mike Smithy

Been a long time since we updated! Our last updated blog post is here, https://www.thepiedmonthomestead.com/week-97-2020/

We've started selling at a local farmer's market and things are going great!

4 months ago
About halfway between Lincolnton and Gastonia, in Gaston County. We were selling them for $6/dozen at another market before we switched. The same eggs would go for $8-9/dozen in the stores and out this way you can't find them in local stores. I'd also recommend Reedy Fork Organic Farm for feed, out in Elon, they have pickups in western NC.
4 months ago
We get $7/dozen here(Organic, Soy-free, gluten free, pasture raised, basically the best you can get), I know there is a local couple getting $8.50/dozen for similar practices.
4 months ago
Well, have not updated in awhile. We've been focusing on the vegetable growing portion of our place. Lots of lessons and successes, we are currently ready for fall/winter and have our crops in the ground. There is a ton to say and I dont want to muddy up this with pages of updates, if anyone is interested check out our blog here: https://www.thepiedmonthomestead.com/blog/

Right now we are looking at building a wash/pack shed for the veggies. We are going to market with them next year so we are planning and building the last bit of infrastructure we need.

Another project is thinning our woods out and moving the chickens through it, with hopes that the disturbance will be a good seed bed for pasture grasses (think silvopasture)

1 year ago
I feel like I have sticker shock, We had someone estimate building a pond at our place roughly 40x100'.  $10,000 for 5 days seems extreme. Anyone have any insight? I understand heavy machinery costs to run, but we've got quotes in the past for clearing an acre of land same 5 days for $4500.
1 year ago

Mike Barkley wrote:Howdy again. Sorry to hear about the pond but I would consider getting a second opinion or two. I live not too far from ya'll but on the other side of the mountains. That being said, I've found in my 3 years of gardening in TN that supplemental water is rarely needed for the garden. Again, being on the other side of the mountains could be the difference. Didn't see any mention of hugelkulturs. Have you considered that? They're great for water retention.

Shortly after your initial post I was offered more elderberry plants. So we now have about 20 more going. elderberry flu prevention



Elderberries are so easy to grow, we've been propagating them all over and the birds have done some too! You can root cuttings pretty easily in the spring, that is how we've been getting more from the 3 plants we initially purchased.

We were going to use the pond for irrigation on some pretty intensive gardens to avoid using the well for the house. I'm not a huge fan of pulling out that much water out of the ground that we rely on for ourselves. The problem with the pond appears to be the soil type is sandy clay down to about 3-4ft and we would have to have the pond excavated. Below that level is rock.  This information came from our county extension and their experience in our area. We were going to pretty much plan on bringing in clay anyway, so I'm not sure the basis for that. We'd like to get a second opinion but we cant get anyone to pose any interest! Maybe I'll just dig a 6ft hole and see what happens,...that should be easy, haha.

At a minimum we will be putting in some swales on the hill above the pond location if it does not work out, at least that way i feel a bit better about using the well and it can become our nut/berry forest. The other option was to add rain catchment to the house on a large scale(~10,000 gallons) and use that water. But that also poses its own problems and will definitely be something we look into later if needed.
1 year ago
No picture for this, but we've been recommended not to build a pond (sad). We have issues with soil and drainage downstream of the pond location. So we need to figure out another way to supplement water. We are thinking about rainwater catchment and a couple 5,000 gallon tanks, but that will be postponed later next year, until we can figure that out more.
1 year ago


A lot to update on, more detail is in an article we posted on our blog in the link below.

Pond - This has turned out to be a very difficult thing to find a contractor to dig a irrigation pond...would have had no idea. We've been trying to find someone for months now with no luck.  If anyone in our area has any leads please let us know.

Market Garden - We bought a used frame about a month ago and have been piecing things together since then. We leveled the ground roughly a few weeks ago and what seems like rain since that time. Right now we have all the parts for the metal frame, however much is not assembled(hardly anything). We have our ground posts in and put up one of the hoops last night and it is wayyyy to tall, so back to pounding the ground posts in another foot(wish us luck on that). Final dimensions will be 30' x60' with a height to be determined.

100yards of mulch - I do not know why we decided to but we had a 18-wheeler drop off a full load of mulch. It took us 3 months of manual labor to get it spread out!  This was part of our plan to grow less lawn.

Inside the home, we're going to build a fixture for above the dining table using a slab of pecan. We picked up the slab but have yet to start working on that project, but very excited about!

https://www.thepiedmonthomestead.com/piedmont-homestead-update-1/
2 years ago

Deb Stephens wrote:Are you doing this in wood and glass (or plexiglass/polycarbonate)? I'm asking because the materials you use will have a bearing on how much snow, ice, wind, etc. it can take. Also, have you ruled out a more conventional (these days anyway) pipe and plastic hoop-house in a Quonset hut shape? For wind and snow, rounded structures fare much better.




Plan is to use galvanized pipe and sheet greenhouse plastic this is going to be for mainly season extension for our veggies.  Most of what i've read is telling me not to use 1-3/8" for more than 24' hoops for the hoop house.  I haven't ruled the Quonset shape out, just most of the 30' width hoop houses i've seen are gothic styled.
2 years ago
What are the limits of 1-3/8" top rail?

Drawing up plans to DIY a 30' x 60' house.  Where we live rarely sees anything over 6" of snow at one time on the ground and it melts within a few days, should I be more concerned about ice accumulating? Wind is of some concern, we just had 90mph winds come through a few months back with a thunderstorm. Structure will be permanently installed.

Attached is a diagram of the hoops, 30' wide, 14' high, 6' walls. 3 purlins (top and midway down on the slope). The slope run is 17'.  Am I beyond a safe structure? What needs to change?
2 years ago