Oystein Skjaeveland

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since Sep 21, 2010
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Recent posts by Oystein Skjaeveland

I live in Norway in northern Europe, on the south-western coast. The climate here is mild and wet. It rains a lot, frost can occur from October till May but is not dependable. Mulching here is associated with a problem: slugs. They live and lay eggs under the mulch. If I for example plant no-dig potatoes under mulch, many will be eaten (to some extent) by slugs. One year I had to resow the whole of my carrot planting, I suspect the slugs ate the seedlings. This was not mulched, but under fleece, and the slugs would have a hiding place nearby. I often mulch an overgrown part of the garden with cardboard and straw (discarded hay). But next year plants with stong roots come up through the mulch again. But the main problem is slugs. We are also infested with the brown iberian slug here.
2 days ago
We are considering having two pigs this summer. They will probably be here from 8 weeks of age in early summer until harvest time in October or thereabout. The will be outside and moved around in a field we want dug. Small pens moved almost daily, with electric fencing. Does anyone have recommendations or examples or plans or ideas for a small, lightweight, moveable, uncomplicated, inexpensive and not too ugly shelter for these pigs? It would be good if one person could move the shelter alone. The temperature will be 10-15 centigrades or more (we have a cold spring this year). The shelter does not need to be insulated. The pigs will only be brought outside when they can tolerate the temperature, otherwise we can use a heating lamp. Thank you for your input.
3 years ago
Here in Norway (north western Europe) ash,elm and willow were considered among the best fodder trees. Others were also used (birch, rowan). It was common to dry bundles of branches with leaves to store for winter fodder. My cows seemed to prefer the ash leaves over silage or hay in winter.
3 years ago
Just out of curiosity: Would anyone know if it is possible to run a vacuum milking machine on pressured air or built up vacuum made with a wind mill or similar? The question came to mind now because many places in my area have lost their electricity because of a storm, and people with cows have trouble milking.
4 years ago
Øystein Skjæveland frå Hordaland i Noreg.
4 years ago
Could it be Good King Henry (Chenopodium/Blitum bonus-henricus) you are thinking of?

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blitum_bonus-henricus

I have grown this once, when I was working in a museum garden. But I read now it yields little in the first year, so I was looking for alternatives. But I would still like to try it, and also its relative amaranth. Concerning quinoa, I was told by the person conducting the Norwegian trials that it sheds its leaves in the fall, which would be unfortunate if fodder is the aim.
4 years ago
Thank you for your answer. What kind of bamboo would grow to give a yield the first year?
4 years ago
Hello. I would like to ask advice for use of a small small area on our farm that we are not using for anything at the moment. It was partly cleared with machinery of some of the rocks about 5 years ago, but it is not level enough to be harvested by machine. A neighbor's sheep have been grazing, so what grows there now is wild grasses, no much that is larger. Exept for some holly and alder at the margins. Ideally I would have cleared the rocks and leveled the field and sown some mixture of grass and clovers that would be suitable for grazing and for making hay. This is the normal thing around here. Other plants like trees or bushes (fodder and fruit) would also be possible to plant. But the problem is that I will probably not have the time or opportunity to do this before spring this year (either). And we really should use the area, to save on winter feed, which we have had to buy until now. We have three jersey cows and a calf.

Some information about the land: The size of the plot is approximately 2-4 dekar (0,5 - 1 acre), it is sloping to the north. Possible frost from October to April, but this winter we have hardly had any frost or snow at all. Mild coastal climate, south west coast of Norway, northern Europe. About 70 meters above sea level, close to the fjord and just underneath the mountains. It is quite wet all year round here. I see a lot of people at Permies are concerned about keeping the water and making swales and things, but here it is normally more important to get rid of the water than to retain it. The soil is also quite shallow over the bedrock, so the water doesn't escape down in the ground. (Maybe a system of ponds would be useful.)

I was wondering, for the short term, if there was a fodder plant that could be sown or planted in the existing grass and that could be harvested reasonably easy by hand and dried for use in the cold season. I just read there are some trials of quinoa here in Norway, with seeds that are now adapted to our climate. Those plants are quite large, and could be harvested by hand (one plant at a time) easier than if the same area was sown with grasses, I imagine. But is quinoa usable as a fodder plant? I read it has saponins. It would not need threshing as long as it is for fodder, I believe. And its close relative amaranth, is that a possibility? What about peas or other legumes, or some bushing old grain varieties? Mixtures of the above? I am thinking annual plants now, but if I don't get around to cultivate the area next year either, maybe perennials may be the right thing.

I hope that in some years we find a long term use of this area. Maybe something along agroforestry lines with fruit or nuts in rows (apples, plums, hazelnuts, walnuts etc.) and grazing and haymaking in between. Fruit could be harvested in nets and collected at the bottom of the slope. The rest of our farm is about 28 daa (7 acres) pasture and 50 daa (12 acres) mixed forest that slopes up to the mountain. In addition to the cows we also have hens (although our neighbors the fox and the hawk visit from time to time and make the egg supply unstable). We have used pigs for clearing fields for new sowing, but now we want to take a break from having pigs. We make our living by making the products of the farm into organic ice cream.

I am grateful for all input both on short term and long term use of this fallow plot.

Kind regards
Øystein S.
4 years ago
Can trees help to suck up water from very wet pasture? We have dairy cows, and next year we want to divide the field into for example 14 different paddocks (so each can rest two weeks if they are grazed for one day). If this works out we can make them permanent, and make the divisions with trees (maybe hedgerows). I am wondering if it is possible to achieve many things at once: better pasture (rotational grazing), forage and fodder from the fence trees, and then maybe also some help with evaporating some of the water through the action of the trees. It is espoecially this last point I would like some opinions on. It is wet all year here. Possible frost from November till March. I know a growing tree drinks a lot of water in a day, but what about a tree in winter? We have only a shallow layer of soil on top of the bedrock. Orientation north and north-west, mostly sloping. Mild coastal climate, south western coast of Norway, northern Europe, altitude of Scotland. Thank you for all input.
6 years ago