Michael Cranford

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since Sep 01, 2019
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chicken homestead
Steward of the newly founded Logres Farm (2019). Interested in all things livestock and clean food related.
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Recent posts by Michael Cranford

For your stationary, I'd say 5x12 should be plenty big enough for the primary structure (excluding the run).  Depending on your climate, you may only need a 3-sided enclosure with the closed end containing your nesting boxes.  I echo the sentiments of some others: you don't need 1 nesting box per bird.  Our last flock was 13 and they shared 6 boxes and really only used 3 of them.  Roosting space is more important. Oh and if you can keep your boxes low, it should cut down on the hens roosting in the boxes themselves.  High boxes that are easily accessed from a standing position are nice, but in my experience, the higher the box, the more likely the hens will be to roost in it.

Only note on the rooster is that I wouldn't get one unless you plan on hatching your own chicks.  A flock of 8 shouldn't be too unruly.  Enjoy!
1 month ago
Wow, what great responses.  TJ, I have thought about the soil issue a bit.  I'm in the southern Piedmont region just Northeast of Charlotte.  Most of the soil here is red clay and, I would imagine, needs amending.  Question for you: when you say "start planting for soil improvement," are you referring primarily to cover crops that I would sow among the orchard floor?  Also, since you're familiar with these various regions, any thoughts on varieties with good opportunity for success in the climate?  I'd like to plant Stayman, Mutsu, and Gala, but the Piedmont climate is quite different from the Western part of the state.  Great advice on the size question as well.  We are bringing in small livestock in the Spring, including pigs, so I'll likely opt for a larger tree and prune as you all have advised.

James and Jamin, thanks for the breadth of your counsel: lots of good advice, in particular on the time horizon for ordering as well as counsel around the bare root/container decision.  I reached out to a family-run tree farm here in NC that has been in operation for over 100 years, so I'm hoping for good success.

Watering is obviously a big deal.  I walked the orchard area today and I think my "Phase 1" tree count will be around 40.  So the question is, what's your watering strategy?  Time and frequency seem to be all over the place depending on who you ask, and method is a big question as well.  Are you using soaker hoses, broadcast sprinklers, large watering cans :)?  

Mike- the deer are definitely here.  We have around 3.5 acres tied up in a pre-existing lease with a local farmer that terminates early in the Spring, and the deer are quite fond of that space :).

Wishing you all the best, and super-appreciative of the help!
1 month ago
First time poster and new to the Permies community.  Hoping to glean wisdom from those of you ahead of me in the game (we just closed on our little farm in July 2019)!  My family and I are looking to add an orchard space to our 15 acre homestead.  We're thinking about dedicating between 0.5 - 1 acre of space to fruit trees, with a blend of apple and pear.  It's the beginning of September in Zone 7, so *I think* this is a good time for us to figure this tree thing out.  We're hoping to plant somewhere between 20-40 trees.  So with that brief context in mind, here are my questions:

1. Thoughts on ordering bare root vs. purchasing in person in containers?  We don't have any local growers but the drive out to most is only around 90 minutes.  My brother in-law did the whole bare-root thing and his trees didn't survive even 6 months.  Maybe just poor care or is there something to that?
2. Standard vs. dwarf: is the added expense of dwarf trees worth it?  It would seem like production would be reduced for the sake of convenience but maybe not?
3. Light: I have a few different areas to consider for the orchard, but I have a patch of pasture set apart from my livestock pasture and it makes sense to put trees there if the lighting is right.  The biggest problem I have there is that there are some tall trees in front of the area and having observed the space for a few weeks, it looks like the space isn't in full sun until around noon.  Do fruit trees need that morning sun to be productive, or would the later exposure be ok?  I could clear some of the tree line causing shade issues, but I would prefer to leave as much of my wooded intact as possible as it creates a natural boundary with the adjacent property.

Thanks so much!
1 month ago