Godless in the garden


Godless in the garden

Discussing all aspect of gardening.

Location: Planet Earth
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Comment by Joan Denoo on January 5, 2018 at 6:34pm

High Altitude Gardening

My children share me for part of the year; during the winter months, I expect to be gardening a thousand feet higher than Denver, CO. It seems I'm not too old to learn new things. I want to grow herbs inside, 

I am new to this altitude, are there other who grow things in winter at this elevation? 

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 3, 2018 at 4:42pm

Ruth, not everyone harvests black soldier flies, some just throw some raw meat in a bucket with holes bored in the bottom or as Jotham Timothy Bessey suggested, "with 1/4 hardware cloth for a bottom." It is necessary to hang it suspended in air, perhaps on a tripod or from a roost. The flies lay their eggs on the carcass underneath a gunny sack and when the maggots crawl, they fall through the holes into the chicken yard. What maggots survive and grow into black soldier flies, they continue the life-cycle. 

Bring On The Soldier Flies!

Comment by Jotham Timothy Bessey on January 2, 2018 at 10:16pm

I don't think you have to freeze them. Just let the maggots hatch and put the container in for the chickens to eat them.

A piece of meat in a container with 1/4 hardware cloth for a bottom, a lot of the maggots will fall through to a second container, then you have a container with just maggots. easy harvest.

Speaking of which, think I will try that come spring. Thanks for the idea.

Comment by Randall Smith on January 2, 2018 at 7:22am

I'm glad I've already eaten, Ruth!

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on January 1, 2018 at 1:03pm

The second comment to this article suggests using pigs or black soldier flies instead of composting wastes. I thought you might want to comment on the practicality of that. It sounds like a lot of work to harvest maggots, freeze and grind them, to feed chickens. But such methods might become important when our food supply collapses.

Vegetarian-ism is fine, but in a northern context, it is difficult to ignore the role of meat. On my farm, I used to compost residual vegetable matter to build the soil. It takes a lot of effort and skill to do this well. Instead of composting, I now use animals – specifically pigs. They will eat just about anything left over in the garden and produce organic fertilizer in the process. They have a habit of digging, and are the best roto-tiller that you can imagine – without using any fossil fuels. There is a very beneficial role for small scale animal use in the right settings, ignoring this, and mandating a vegetarian diet in all circumstances is foolish.
In a similar approach, I raise black soldier flies, in self contained rearing houses on the property too. The larvae (fondly called maggots) will eat just about any organic waste as well. I feed them garden residuals plus any waste I can get my hands on from local restaurants (ie table scraps). They are a great alternative to composting – they make organic fertilizer as well, and if you harvest the maggots at just the right point, they are very useful. The maggots can be frozen (humane, chemical free way to kill them), and dried. Dried maggots run through a hammer mill and combined with a bit of appropriate vegetable matter can be pulverized into a very high quality fish food or chicken feed. This allows sustainable production of other appealing animal products. I prefer to eat chicken over maggots , thank you very much haha. Point is, we can use natural processes to our benefit, but some do involve animals (and insects).
Comment by Patricia on December 28, 2017 at 5:49pm

Yes, & we definitely need a snow pack. Rather than beginning our snow in Nov., it didn't start until Dec 17th with a dusting, & then nothing much until just the last couple of days. The neighbours are very good to help with blowering it out.

Comment by Idaho Spud on December 28, 2017 at 5:46pm

Good winter scene Patricia.

Comment by Patricia on December 28, 2017 at 5:42pm

Dec. 28/17

Comment by Idaho Spud on December 28, 2017 at 10:48am

Daniel, that's interesting that your ducks are so shy.  Most animals that humans keep aren't nearly that shy are they?

Comment by Idaho Spud on December 28, 2017 at 10:44am

Drawings often have the advantage over photos in that they can show details of all parts of the plant, including inside structures that a photo could not usually get.

It reminds me of a discussion I had with my brother.  I almost always like photos of nature better than paintings, but he said a painter can include many interesting things from different places in one painting that a photo cannot.  

While that seems logical, I still like photos better most of the time because they're more realistic and detailed.  Also, no painting has exactly all the things I find most attractive.  I would have to paint it myself to get that, and learning to paint well would take more years than I've got.  A photo is much easier.


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