The past few weeks have been filled with projects. Besides the normal farm and home projects (which are progressing at their usual glacial pace) I've been asked to consult on several micro-farm projects other people are working on. Diana, Garden Master for the Providence Zen Center, asked about deer control, garden fertility, and garden planning issues. We have worked through some of the deer control options and are ready to take on fertility and planning. The Patio Farm is progressing. Most of it is down on paper. We will be discussing it this weekend, after which I should have something ready to post. Solving the fertility and protein issues have been the biggest challenge. My friends with the City Chickens have made lots of progress. They are planning on converting an existing shed into a coop and adding a yard for the chickens to get outside with plenty of space and plenty of safety. We will be exploring some mobile housing and fencing options for the summer when the hens are older (they are coming as day old chicks so we have some time) and the grass is greener. They are also exploring ways to move their garden from a few flowers and veggies to a micro-farm food production system. We have a ways to go on that one.
For all these projects I have had to hit the books. I have found my self going back to the same few books over and over again. One of them has really stood out, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in home food production. It is The Self-Sufficient Suburban Garden by Jeff Ball, and it is great. It is NOT filled with interesting new "techniques" like Spaghetti Gardening, or The Triangle Method, or Year-Round Growing. Instead it offers a step by step plan to move from beginning gardener with a back lawn all the way to self-sufficiency. The steps are small, logical, and anyone who follows his advice will have a high chance of success. The back of the book is filled with useful charts and tables covering things like plant spacing, successions, expected harvest, germination, canning, etc. I highly recommend it for anyone starting on the home grown food path.