Summer Work and Wondering

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A bouquet symbolizing my love for Melissa: I'm stuck on her and our love will spread like the Dickens.

Lots of work today! Well, not lots, but I did things. First we took the van to the shop and I finally had my follow-up appointment. We're trying an inhaler to see if the mask is bringing on some latent asthma. Super dumb.

When we got home, I started picking stickers. I got four big bouquets and threw em straight in the trash, those things are just plain nasty. This area here is where I'm thinking about growing grain this year. I stepped it off and I'll be going for 750-1000 square feet. Melissa and I did some mental math, and we can grow wheat for a year of bread in 300-400 square feet (according to ideal numbers [which are historically never true] from podcasts I've heard, which doesn't mean a whole lot at this point). Around triple that would grow our bread and some grain for the chickens as well as enough seed to plant the next year's crop.

I forget the exact number, but the average individual grain burden in the US is something like 1,700 pounds, with 1,500 of that being grain fed to the animals they eat. Eating grass fed animals (like rabbits or pastured beef, lamb, goat, etc.) helps a lot with that industrial burden, but not all food animals are vegans. Chickens for example, make excellent quality food with a little grain and meat input. If I can sustainably grow part of their food here, all the better!

As far as chickens are concerned, I'm thinking sorghum. For us, maybe Russian beardless. I found a local grower with locally adapted seeds, just two hours away! I sent her an email with about ninety questions, but I'll probably need to just make the drive and go say hi and have a conversation over some beers or something.

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Leaves for mulch. Die, grass, die!

To start preparing, I'm mulching like a madman. That's a good way to start preparing for things. I don't know how much a sod cutter would cost to rent, but I might look into it. A good bit of this area is being grown at the moment with squash, corn, and beans as part of the sharing garden. I've got half a mind to just go back and get more of the same compost and put it down here again on top of some leaves as a weed barrier. IDK though, I've never prepped a place for growing grain. Much to learn.

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Cathedral of the oaks. AKA, trees over the front yard. One of my favorite views.

Much to learn. Much to apply.

Love from Texas

Nate 💚

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I've been contemplating muchly how to feed my chookies cheaper.

Well, if you're back home you've got all that space! How's the garden look?

Ours in the past have loved goji. They freely forage it right off the vines. I saw them once hopping to get the berries higher up, that was a cute treat to see. You might plant a few canes of goji for them. 💚

I love watching chickens leap for berries. They do it on the elder trees.

For that size garden, a sod cutter would be worth it. Just have to figure out what to do with the sod....

I've got places I could put some sod. Some bare patches in the back yard that are still under a lot of acorn mulch from this fall. Melissa would like that actually... Hmmmm :)

It's amazing what you can grow on an urban lot!
Have you ever thought of laying down cardboard over the grass then building your beds over top of that?
That will smother the grass and eventually it all breaks down into compost. I used that method on a lasagna gardening bed.

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Weed matting is an easy way to get the weeds down to start preparing land for planting - let the sun kill it off. Here in Thailand often done with black plastic weighted down for a few weeks. The pull out the dead weeds by the roots and THEN mulch.

Most Thai chooks eat leftover people food. Like NO ONE buys special chicken food here. 🤣

Lucky chooks!

When we have chooks, they often enjoy leftovers. Actually, I'm thinking much more of our chickens' diet will be homestead grown this year. Lots of abundance is rolling in lately.

Good idea about the weed matting. I'd be afraid it might affect the soil biology by cooking it though, has that been your observation? I've got tarps I could use for that purpose...

Tarps or even old cardboard boxes that are unprinted... I personally don't like the toxic inks from newspaper or printed boxes going into the soil. The specific reason to use black plastic is to kill the weeds & their seeds so yes, some of the natural soil microbes will be killed, or simply move deeper down where it's cooler. 50 - 50 each way bet. Tarps will work sort-of but not very effectively.

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A friend of mine got about 160 kg clean grain + about 20 spoil/lost due to ineffective process. The plot was about 2000 sqm, but not quite. It was seeded by hand, never fertilised, reaped by hand and just the threshing was done with an old modified combine.

The main point however is that the grain is "limets" (лимец in Bulgarian). Einkorn, or Triticum monococcum. Emmer, Triticum dicoccum, is also grown here in small scale and for artisan baking. Those two grains have been gaining popularity in the recent years, especially the einkorn, due to the fact they have only 14 chromosomes and are more easily absorbed by us humans, as compared to hard wheat with 42 chromosomes. I know several people with Celiac disease and/or gluten sensitivity that can safely eat einkorn bread.

Yeah, I think with grain agriculture and it's super rapid advancement, we've bred and adapted our food crops faster than we have adapted to make use of them.

Kind of a theory that I've been toying with.