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

Nice rack

retail rack as drying rack

We got another one of those awesome retail racks. Thanks Mom and Jayne.

I think it took Anna all of about 15 minutes to put it together.

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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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I'm curious if you have a post talking about what you still find yourself buying for the homestead. Of course there will always be a need to purchase things but I guess I'm thinking specifically of things that relate directly to the homestead upkeep and maintenance, animal upkeep and groceries that you can't or don't produce yourself.


Comment by Melissa Thu Jun 26 20:42:10 2014

I'm curious why of you don't use oats as a cover crop. I find they are much more useful than rye, which can become invasive over time. After oat grains are harvested, they die off during the winter with roots keeping soil nice and tidy. In the spring oats make lovely straw over your beds which can be either easily raked off to use elsewhere, or left to plant right into it, creating a natural, soil-conditioning mulch. They do well here in the wetter, cooler Northeast, so maybe oats would really take to your moist soil conditions like a duck to water as well? The only drawback to growing oats is, you definitely need a scarecrow well before harvest time if you want to save seed for the next year!

All in all, oats, which bear... well, oats---yeah..., are a highly versatile crop. My second favorite cover crop is barley, another polite but highly versatile annual. I love everything about it other than the taste. Too gummy, but the birds love it, and have seeded it all over the neighborhood! Now I don't have to order it. How nice of them! Heh heh heh....

Comment by Carol Fri Jun 27 09:06:02 2014

Melissa --- That's a good question. I feel like I've answered it before, but can't seem to find the post.... I may make another one if I get inspired. :-)

Carol --- I agree --- I vastly prefer oats to rye. I usually use oats in this situation, and have had much better weed control with the oats. I decided to experiment with rye last year because it had the potential to be planted later in the year, and to keep the ground more fully covered later in the spring for areas where I planned to wait until after the last frost to plant. But the weed issue will probably push me back to oats (and oilseed radishes) for this year.

Comment by anna Fri Jun 27 12:40:19 2014

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