Godless in the garden


Godless in the garden

Discussing all aspect of gardening.

Location: Planet Earth
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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.

Comment by Randall Smith on December 28, 2017 at 7:28am

My garden looks pretty bleak right now, covered in snow. Only a couple of B. sprouts plants are poking out. Snow cover is good in protecting strawberry plants. I didn't get them covered with straw this year--only leaves and pine needles. Carrots are now buried.

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 27, 2017 at 10:51pm

The drawing is so precise, it looks like a photograph would. I like these kinds of drawings to help me identify plants. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 27, 2017 at 2:59pm

Moving chickens from yard to yard will require a coop, food protection, and fencing.

One option is to create separate fenced yards or use electric chicken fencing. It is light and easily moved. I am sure I would not be able to do it, but a younger person may or a stronger 80-something person might be able.  

Also, chicken electric fencing would not keep out deer, although there is deer electric fencing, I think, or I can imagine other styles of fencing.

One option would be to place permanent poles where vegetables and fruits will be grown and put portable fencing and wires strung from poles high enough to keep out the deer.

I see a lot of gardens in Newport with a high electric wire for deer, a lower electric wire to keep out rabbits, and a chicken fence below that to keep out snakes, mice, and other predators. I don't know how well it works. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 27, 2017 at 2:46pm

Deer fencing left in place makes good sense, especially since Daniel plans to put in a vegetable garden. Another advantage is the birds can be returned to the yard and clean up the summer left-overs. 


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