The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Greens for the critters

Frosted comfrey

More frequent deep freezes are starting to nip back uncovered growth. Time to put some of those extra garden greens to use before it's too late.

I always overplant winter greens because all kinds of things can go wrong with this final garden of the year. If it's a warm fall, aphids can move in and make the older plants unusable. A wet fall can promote blights. A cold fall means the late plantings are stunted and fail. It's tough to deal with all of these potential issues, so I just plant about four times as much as we need and figure we'll almost certainly be swimming in greens.

Talking goat

"If you need any help with that little problem, just let me know," Abigail says.

Greens for tractored hens

How about we start with the chickens first, hmmm, Abigail?

Anyway, as I was saying.... The tatsoi isn't long for this world, so I don't mind pulling up whole plants for the critters. That makes it easy to drape the greenery from the top of the chicken tractor so our cooped up flock can enjoy a bit of fresh chlorophyll.

Goat bouquet

The herd instead got a goat bouquet...or rather two bouquets since Abigail won't let her little sister dine within a five-foot radius of her horns.

Goats eating kale

I pulled a little bit of everything for our capricious buddies, but they were only interested in the brussels sprouts tops and kale leaves. Perhaps the story would have been different if they hadn't been gorging on butternut squash, sweet potatoes, alfalfa pellets, hay, and fresh honeysuckle leaves earlier in the day. But what can I say? Our goats live high on the hog and know what they like. Swiss chard and frost-damaged lettuce are not it.

I guess the non-kale greens will go to the chickens. (Or to my mother!)

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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