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Comments in the moderation queue: 7

View the most recent comments below. To join in the discussion (or see a comment thread in order), click on the title of a comment, then follow the directions on the subsequent page to add a comment of your own.

Darren --- Your blog post showed up on my RSS feed last week and I was really impressed by the lush garden you've developed with your system. I really appreciate you sharing and recommend anyone reading this go and check it out!
Comment by anna Mon Aug 13 16:09:38 2018

Hi Anna, I know this is an old post, but it's one that's stuck in my mind for a long time. I've always wanted to do something similar, but could never quite get the logistics to work out in my yard.

Instead of paddocks, I've seen people rotate chickens in a tractor over garden beds, and tried it briefly, but it was too much work, too hard to move the tractor, and I soon gave up. I liked Linda Woodrow's "chook dome" mandala garden system too, but it needed too much space and flat ground, and didn't give enough protection to the chickens (we get a lot of dogs and foxes).

My other problem is birds and possums eating everything I try to grow. I have a few friends in the area with caged gardens, which seemed a drastic but effective solution to that problem.

Then I hit upon the idea of dividing the cage up into bays, and rotating the chickens through those bays like the mandala system. It was a lot of effort to set up, but it's working really well so far. I've documented it here if you're interested:

I'd love to hear any feedback you can offer!

I do have the benefit of being able to grow year-round in my climate, we get no snow or frosts - not everyone has that luxury!

Comment by Darren (Green Change) Mon Aug 13 10:06:37 2018
My Dad was absolutely ruthless when pruning! He carried loppers on the lawn mower with him, and nipped constantly all summer long. He thinned so much you would think there never would be anything to pick. Of course, he had the biggest most beautiful fruit you've ever seen as the result. "Do you want to grow pits or peaches?" he would say. Meaning, more in number just means more energy goes to seed production with less fruit surrounding each pit. On pruning, "You can cut the limbs off yourself, or Mother Nature will break them off for you later on." Still, it is hard for me to cut on my little babies! Good luck.
Comment by Tim Inman Mon Aug 13 08:23:28 2018
I've eaten the parsley garnish on my plate since I was a kid (or taken it home to my parakeet). I feel sorry for folks that don't know how tasty it is.
Comment by Sue Sun Aug 12 14:03:59 2018

My Sony e-reader is OK-ish, I think. I have a lot of classics from and on it.

But personally, I still prefer real books. They don't need charging and are always on. One wall of my living room is covered in bookshelves. If I had an extra room, it would have bookcases all around and be my library. :-)

A lot of e-books (with the exection of those from abovementioned orgs) are encumbered with digital restrictions that I refuse to use.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Aug 12 12:34:52 2018
I like both. I have a Nook and love it but, I also like to read "real books" too. My Nook allows me access to books you cannot find in the library or book stores while an actual book allows me to read on my deck or the beach!
Comment by Pam Kaufman Sun Aug 12 09:55:15 2018

Hi Anna,

Both Kindle and 'real book' are bad. Books in html followed by pdf and text are pretty good. See LOTS of really good free books. Also, and

Good luck to you both, John

Comment by John Sun Aug 12 08:39:19 2018

The 1987 edition of A Field Guide to Mushrooms (Peterson Field Guides) refers to Amanita parcivolvata as "Flimsy Veil" and says that it is "Reported poisonous" but gives no source for this "report".

On the other hand, I found this comment made three years ago on a blog.

"I once cooked about 5 Amanita parcivolvata mushrooms in a large multi-mushroomed dish for about 5 or 6 friends of mine. I thought they were Amanita jacksonii. It was only after eating it that I realized my mistake, and my heart sank and I had to go around to everyone and apologize profusely. People looked at me blankly because they just didn't know how to react. How do you react to news like that?

"Anyone, none of us experienced even the least of symptoms. No gastric upset, no uncomfortability, nothing. So barring any long-term kidney or liver damage (which seems unlikely to me), Amanita parcivolvata seems perfectly safe."

Back to the field guide. It says that parcivolvata lacks the distinct volva of jacksonii, which is edible and delicious, and it also lacks the characteristic ring around the stem. So if you see those two features very distinctly, and it looks otherwise like the pictures you see on this webpage, you should be safe.

Comment by Peter Nyikos Sat Aug 11 17:33:17 2018
I've read that buck wheat can be used as a deer deterrent (Is it the smell? The taste?)You mentioned you planted buck wheat as a cover crop recently. I wonder if you'll notice any difference in the deer invaders' habits?
Comment by doc Sat Aug 11 12:12:14 2018
It always amuses me what people consider art. I expect that someone has painted an X or an L or any other letter of the alphabet on something and called it art!!!
Comment by Sheila Fri Aug 10 22:26:30 2018
It's been in the 90's for weeks here and I am just pining for fall, way too early for us to do any fall planting!
Comment by Eric Thu Aug 9 18:01:46 2018
We just made 12 jars of pear preserves with hard Kieffer pears, cooked with sugar, sliced lemon, vanilla bean, and star anise (and just a shake of cardamom). They are yummy delicious! Yes, the process is labor-intensive, but the results are well worth it, both for our pleasure and for sharing as gifts.
Comment by Anonymous Sat Aug 4 13:23:38 2018
Anna! These are beautiful! I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I had hoped :) Can't wait to see what other creations you make!
Comment by Kayla Sat Aug 4 12:14:57 2018
I wonder whether people don't like parsley, or if it's just used so often as a garnish that they are used to leaving it on the plate and don't realize how tasty it actually is.
Comment by Rae Sat Aug 4 11:47:24 2018
Try if you haven't yet.
Comment by Anonymous Sat Aug 4 10:26:33 2018
That was something that was very popular back in the 90s. I am guessing your using either craft paint, or some cheap acrylic to do the painting. In either case, I'd suggest that after the paint thoroughly dries, that you spray it with clear acrylic "varnish" (like Rustoleum that you can get at Lowes or Home Depot) to make sure that the paint doesn't suddenly wash off if the recipient puts it out in the garden and it gets rained on. A former art professor at ETSU here in JC, TN, suggested doing that with some acrylic paintings done by a student.
Comment by Nayan Sat Aug 4 00:05:30 2018
Seems to me that they would make wonderful birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc. gifts. Providing you can hand them to the recipient rather than mailing them, they would make inexpensive but wonderful gifts.
Comment by Sheila Fri Aug 3 22:44:26 2018

Wish there was a way to post a pic to show what I have done to reuse leftover materials. . .

We own an upholstery business. While cleaning & rearranging the shop, I found, we had so much leftover welt cord (the solid trim used around cushions, etc. . . some call it "piping"). . . and someone suggested it get tossed out. . .

NO Way!! I had the perfect idea to use it! Since we are temporary city dwellers (of sorts.. its living "in-town") . . . I had to conform to square foot gardening this year. . . Outside of our business' back door is a railing with top wood & 4 posts. Perfect place for my pickles & cucumbers! I used odd pieces of cement blocks to make planting bed, and used the Welt cord to tie a lattice work grid across the underside of the railing, on both sides! . . I used a few 2x4's to extend the front of the "fence" & planted 2 rows of pickles & cucumbers so it would be utilized on both sides. And it worked beautifully! I can see and pick cucumbers from both sides!

Comment by Lady Angel Fri Aug 3 15:03:02 2018
i would utilize an HHO electrolyzer (water for fuel!) system! water would be directed to separate ballast tanks( or bladders!) and could be either dumped or returned to holding tank(s)! this system would operate EVERYTHING! it would supply fuel (oxygen AND hydrogen) for engines and generator(s) as well as provide power to operate electric pumps, cooking, showers, lights, radio, etc.! use Nicola Tesla designed 'BIFILAR COILS' for both negative and positive (cathode-anode) electrolyzers -(wet type!), flash venting valves,and use stainless steel cables for current flow within wet system! also, think about utilizing magnets to trap iron (metallics) from dirty water sources for flushing system! MUCH SUCCESS ON YOUR VENTURE! hope to get to work on my own soon! (
Comment by jeffrey g. buchalco Fri Aug 3 12:45:26 2018

Love it, I think this is the nicest little momento for those not wanting all kinds of bric brack.. Just a little something to put a smile on your face in later years when you come upon them.

Comment by Rose Hamilton Fri Aug 3 08:47:08 2018
I have had a Fig tree here and I been trying to figure out what kind of Fig it is. I am in Western Pa USA. The Fig is in the ground. I have seen pea size fruit on the western side get to Pea size at the end of the growing season. I can post pics of the tree and leaves
Comment by Brad Meyer Thu Aug 2 18:45:40 2018
How much wood do you use per day and per season to heat the trailer?
Comment by Bree Thu Aug 2 17:31:29 2018

Hello Anna & Mark! Thank you for the reply, & apologies for not getting back to you sooner.

I am sending you an email, rather than make a long comment here.

Comment by Lady Angel Thu Aug 2 17:10:27 2018
Have you had problems with termites in the wooded much paths?
Comment by Nayan Wed Aug 1 13:54:09 2018
Call your power company, see where there crews are clearing power lines. Go and bribe them with whatever it takes to bring you a load. Otherwise the municipal folks will let you load it yourself on your truck.
Comment by wewally Wed Aug 1 12:52:48 2018
From what I've read, wood chips won't attract termites. They like to live in a sealed environment where they control light and humidity. They can't seal up all the gaps in a pile of wood chips. They much prefer nice solid trees, logs and houses.
Comment by Darren Collins Wed Aug 1 06:23:50 2018
Hi everyone! I came from vacation a few weeks ago and to my surprise one of my smaller tomato plants had been eaten bare to the branches. There was not one leaf but the culprit was hanging there like 10 fat green blobs. I found out that this was the hornworm. I killed every one of them with my Home Defense spray. So when I returned from another trip; my huge tomato plants looked skimpy and tomatoes that were growing and harvesting several every few days had trickled down to nothing. I look closely and found that the suckers had gotten into my tomato's so I just pulled all of my plants up. Does anyone know if these are predators of zucchini and yellow squash. My zucchini was growing and producing as usual and then suddenly the leaves and branches began to dry up and die. I pulled the remaining plants up because it had stopped producing anything. My squash was making very few and most were rotting from the tip and having black furry moldlike stuff on them. My garden this year has been a disaster. This is the first time in 3 years of gardening that pest have invaded my beautiful gardening. How do I avoid this with my fall and winter garden. Thanks y'all.
Comment by Alliee Tue Jul 31 00:03:45 2018
Most of our greens are in a partial/dappled shade area - spinach, cabbage, bok choi, chard, sorrel. For herbs, the basil (miniature and genovese) and oregano are doing pretty well in the mostly-shaded areas. The dill is fussy - it wants sun, but gets scalded so easily, so it's been going in the partial/dappled shade area too. Our honeyberries, red currants, and huckleberries are in a mostly shaded spot and while they grow slowly, seem to be happier than when they were in full sun.
Comment by WendP Sat Jul 28 11:04:26 2018
You can usually tell because if you hold it for a little bit they sometimes move, maybe put it in the earth just in case it is alive still. It will either hatch or not that way.
Comment by Jenny Sat Jul 28 07:51:03 2018
Good to see tom's hanging on your vines!
Comment by Maggie Sat Jul 28 07:35:13 2018

I found one just like this. But it's been at least a month now and hasn't hatched... I'm almost thinking of throwing it out, because I assume it's probably dead.

Comment by Cynthia Sat Jul 28 01:13:03 2018

Comfrey as medicine.

As stated above Comfrey is a very good bone knitter & used as a poultice is very effective & knitting the bone fibres. I also understand it to be like medicine for livestock, specifically chickens, so if they are feeling a bit off-colour they will enjoy access, not sure they need it all the time. One option is to grow it under a wire protection in the chicken coop along with other "salad" greens they can peck at it, without destroying the plant. Happy days!

Medicine Woman Kez Cares :>

Comment by Kerrianne McNamara Thu Jul 26 23:29:54 2018
WTG! on 75%. We had a five-year plan. That went out the window and rolled over into a ten-year plan towards being a 85% self sufficient homestead. Unexpected plumbing and electrical expenses and a flooded out driveway set us back a year and a half. I haven't done the comparison with the book yet to know how far we are.
Comment by cockeyedhomestead Tue Jul 24 09:03:50 2018
Hi--I'll look that up! I am so happy about your refreshing glimpse of Lake Erie, and of the tiny flowers:) thanks for your good summary, and I hope you do check out that other island, too!
Comment by adrianne Sun Jul 22 10:08:02 2018
I wonder if the Pelee you mentioned is part of Canada's Point Pelee National Park, which I visited the summer I turned 16.
Comment by Errol Sun Jul 22 09:17:26 2018

The 3 R's--re-duce re-cycle & re-use Good idea! Good for you!

Comment by doc Fri Jul 20 16:12:52 2018
Consider getting your own mini-horse. They're adorable, calm and easily trained. They don't eat much-- a small pasture 5 months a year and a small square bail will last 5-7 days the rest of the year. You'll get 10 b of future humus every day!
Comment by doc Fri Jul 20 16:08:39 2018
Hah, I'm the same! Gotta get over to the horse paddocks early on a Saturday morning to beat all the other gardeners!
Comment by Darren (Green Change) Fri Jul 20 06:27:33 2018
I'm a real fan of recycling or rather repurposing things. I did something similar with some left over fence wire. I found an old frame from a street hockey net and folded the fence wire over it and that's what my Wando peas grow on. Works great!
Comment by Nayan Thu Jul 19 20:09:59 2018
I just bought and then destroyed one of these hoses. Very light but there is no way to repair them. I hope yours lasts!
Comment by Christopher Milton Dixon Thu Jul 19 19:16:05 2018

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime