Mar 28, 2011

"Compost City" - How to compost

Today was a FULL outside work day!  Me and my brother built a 4-in -1 compost bin out of old pallets.  We also started compost in all four of the bins, using the resources we have on the farm, including goat, rabbit and chicken poop, old hay and pine shavings, food scraps and dead leaves.  Take a look below to see what we built!
Front of the bin
Back of the bin
Middle of "compost city"
Now we have 8 compost bins (including the ones I built a few months ago).  I stir each compost bin every Monday (or try to ;), that way it gets enough oxygen to break down the components of the organic material.  I'm hoping to get enough compost to fill all of our beds, and keep them going all year long.

Wanna know how to make compost?  Here's how (not promising that it'll work for you, but it has for me)
Start out with a fresh, bare bin.
Put a layer of old hay or grass clippings, preferably if it's peed and pooped on by chickens, rabbits and goats.  This layer should be fairly thick.
Add some food scraps (not too thick & too big)
Add a layer of dead leaves on top of the scraps
Add a small dousing of water to the bin

Do this kind of layering over and over until you have your bin at the fullness you want it.  Make sure that you stir it at least once a week, and add stuff to it throughout the week.  My bins usually take about 6 weeks (most of the time, composting takes longer than this, but I think mine compost faster because of the chickens scratching around and pooping in it every day...and the kind manure I'm using tends to compost faster) to completely compost into rich dirt.  It's better if you have some earthworms in there, as they help break the compost material into rich soil...but don't worry if there isn't.
Me adding scraps to a bin
Thanks for reading!

Goodnight everyone!

This post is linked to the Homestead Revival Barn Hop #6

Mar 26, 2011

Spring Is Here!

Take a look at the lush, green sprouts!  The 20th was the "official" day of spring...although it's been getting green ever-since March 1st  :)
The other day, the whole herd got the runs and milk production dropped drastically!  How and why did this happen?  Us not having a steady schedule and too much green thrown at them at once.

Lesson from this...never just throw your goats out on fresh green pasture after they've been hibernating all winter and ALWAYS have a schedule, ie.  7 am - 7 pm.  Since we've started on our new early morning schedule, the goat's milk production has raised and no more runs!

We recently got in with a local grocery store to take all the produce that they would throw out otherwise.  I encourage ALL farmers and livestock owners to approach your local grocery store and find out if you can have access to the produce that they throw out!  I hate seeing food go to waste, when it could be used to feed other living things.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Mar 14, 2011

How to prune a blackberry patch gone WILD...

If you live in NE Oklahoma and have a good piece of property, you most likely have a few wild Blackberry bushes!  We have one pretty big patch of them,, when and why do we weed and prune them?  Keep reading...

The reason for pruning our patch was for ease of gathering and to produce more berries (since we have some friends that like to come over and pig out on them too ;)!  If you don't prune them, this is what happens...
Yep, it gets all overgrown with weeds and the bushes themselves go WILD!  The best time to prune them is late winter/early spring.  This is the first time I've ever pruned Blackberries before, so I'll update in the Summer to see how the production is going.  If you're getting the proper amount of rain, don't even worry about watering or fertilizing them.

Where do you start on such an overwhelming task as this?  I just start out by picking a spot, sized to my liking in the patch and kinda "eyeball" the parimeters.  I call these little spots in the patch "mini-patches", separated by skinny walkways that run in and out of the patch.

As you can imagine, it's super fun crawling through thorns, NOT!  Make sure you wear thick leather gloves and jeans!

Here's what the front of the Blackberry patch looks like after I pruned it...
First "mini-patch"
So, that's what I've been doing every Sunday and Monday for the past 3 weeks...and believe me, it is NOT an easy job!  Be careful not to cut down live Blackberry vines, even if they look dead...they're probably just dormant.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps someone!


This post was shared on Barn Hop #4