Holistic Gardening

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Permaculture

Permaculture is an agriculture that is focused on utilizing the natural design of ecosystems instead of focusing on individual elements.

 

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!

 

 


Using Natural Design

by David Proctor


 May 7, 2021

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture

 

Permaculture Zones 0-5

Permaculture Zones 0-5
Illustration: Felix Mulle License: CC-BYOSA 40

 

Permaculture 101 by Rodale’s Organic Life
“How to put natural landscaping practices to use in your own backyard.”
 
“Combining the best of natural landscaping and edible gardening, permaculture systems sustain both themselves and their caregivers.

The ultimate purpose of permaculture—a word coined in the mid-1970s by two Australians, Bill Mollison, and David Holmgren—is to develop a site until it meets all the needs of its inhabitants, from food and shelter to fuel and entertainment.

While it’s the rare home gardener who can follow permaculture principles to the ultimate degree, most can borrow ideas from the permaculture ethos with landscaping techniques based on production and usefulness.”

 

Permaculture Wall

Permaculture Wall
Saved from permaculture.co.uk

“Permaculture emphasizes the use of native plants or those that are well adapted to your locale.

The goal here is to plant things you like while making sure they have a purpose and benefit the landscape in some way.

Plants such as fruit trees provide food as well as shade; a patch of bamboo could provide stakes for supporting pole beans and other vining plants.

Permaculture gardeners grow many types of perennial food plants—such as arrowhead, sorrel, chicory, and asparagus—in addition to standard garden vegetables.”
 
“Like all gardeners, permaculture enthusiasts love plants for their beauty and fragrance, but they seek out plants that offer practical benefits along with aesthetic satisfaction. 

Instead of a border of flowering shrubs, for instance, a permaculture site would make use of a raspberry or blackberry border.”

Permaculture Guidelines
 
There is no set formula for developing this type of design, but there are best practices.
 
1. Copy nature’s blueprint and enhance it with useful plants and animals. Think of the structure of a forest and try to mimic it with your plantings.

A canopy of tall trees will give way to smaller ones, flanked by large and small shrubs, and finally, by the smallest plants.

Edge habitats, where trees border open areas, are perfect for fruiting shrubs, such as currants, and for a variety of useful native plants, such as beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), which is used for weaving baskets. Mimicking these natural patterns provides for the greatest diversity of plants.

2. Stack plants into guilds. A guild includes plants with compatible roots and canopies that might be layered to form an edge.

As you learn more about your site, you’ll discover groups of plants that work well together. For example, pines, dogwoods, and wild blueberries form a guild for acid soil.
 
3. Make use of native plants and others adapted to the site.
 
4. Divide your yard into zones based on use. Place heavily used features, such as an herb garden, in the most accessible zones.
 
5. Identify microclimates in your yard and use them appropriately. Cold, shady corners; windswept spots in full sun; and other microclimates present unique opportunities. For instance, try sun-loving herbs like creeping thyme on rocky outcroppings; plant elderberries in poorly drained areas.”

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/permaculture-101

I am still new to the concept of permaculture so I let others tell the story.

What I get out of this is to let nature take the lead and realize that we should observe nature’s self-sustaining and regenerative processes.

I plan to continue this approach in the future.


Check It Out!

David Holmgren explains how you can change the world with permaculture 5:43


Quick Tip

 

12 Permaculture Principles


Bibliography:

“Permaculture.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 7 May 2021.

“Permaculture 101.” Rodale’s Organic Life. N.p., 2 June 2015. Web. 7 May 2021.

“Permaculture Principles – Thinking Tools for an Era of Change.”Permaculture Principles. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 May 2021.




 

Posted in Health, Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: ,

Mobile Coop

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Chicken Coop Styles

You may have decided that you want to start raising chickens so you have your own healthy fresh eggs or maybe you gave chicks to your children for Easter.  Now, where do you put your chickens and how do you keep them corralled?

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!

 

 

 


Mobile Chicken Coop

by David Proctor


 April 29, 2021

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


Living in an urban environment can be challenging to keeping chickens or for that matter, most anything that you would consider from an agricultural standpoint.

Chickens can exist in a city environment and thrive quite well.

One of the keys to the chickens thriving is making sure that they are not a meal for the neighbor’s dog or other potential predators.
 
As much as we love chickens, so do many other animals that would love to make a meal out of them.  

To help prevent this a chicken coop needs to be placed where the chickens can be safe and have a place to roost away from harm.

Since chickens have become popular to raise in the city or urban areas, chicken coops have become more available in many different styles, shapes, and sizes.

I have had an interest in the mobile type of coops so the chickens can help with bugs in the yard and turn, the eggs will have that deep yellow yolk that tastes so good from ranged chickens.

This particular coop was purchased and modified to be mobile.

 

Chicken Coop - Rear

Chicken Coop – Rear

Chicken Coop - Front

Chicken Coop – Front

 

Handles were added and wheels to the back of the coop. 

Along the base, reinforcement was added to help keep the chicken coop from damage when moved.

 

 Chicken Coop - Side

Chicken Coop – Side

Chicken Coop - Side Entrance

Chicken Coop – Side Entrance

 

This is a good design and modification.  

One to two people can move this coop and provide the chickens with new grass and bugs to eat.  

We all know how quickly grass will disappear when a coop is stationary.

Another design that I have looked at is the chicken tractor used by Joel Salatin at Poly Face Farm.  

His chicken tractor holds numerous chickens which is great for an area that has room, but in an urban setting, that is not always the case.

This is more for a commercial operation.

 

Chicken Tractor

Chicken Tractor

Commercial Broiler Coop

Commercial Broiler Coop

 

Joel also has a lower-based coop used to raise broilers with potential for larger urban yards or acreage.

 

Smaller Coop - Has Potential

Smaller Coop – Has Potential

 

I use to have a pretty steep slope in my backyard.

I tried to figure out how to have a mobile chicken coop that can be stable and not tip over.

I have even thought about in my case using a stationary chicken coop but making the area where the chickens can range, mobile.  

I would have done this with electric poultry fencing. 
 
An example of a beautiful stationary chicken coop was my neighbors.

 

Stationary Chicken Coop

Stationary Chicken Coop

Stationary Chicken Coop Front

Stationary Chicken Coop Front

Stationary Chicken Coop Inside

Stationary Chicken  Coop Inside

Ramp

Ramp

 

Poultry fencing can be easily moved and can also help deter predators from killing and eating the chickens.  

This would require a bit of work to herd the chickens around to the established fenced area.

One idea might be to attach more than one fenced area so they can be moved between areas.

This is a work in progress and I am sure I will have a learning curve as to what will work and what will not work for my situation.


Check It Out!

 

How to Install an Electric Poultry Fence Video  6:27


Quick Tip

 

Once you move your birds to their permanent residence, make sure they are protected from predators, especially at night.

Even a latched door may not be secure enough to keep raccoons out.


Bibliography:

“6 Week Old Chicks.” Poultry 6 to 8 Weeks Old | Purina Animal Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2021




 

Posted in Animal Husbandry, Chickens, Magazine Issues Tagged with: ,

Safe Farm Pest Control

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Natural Pest Control

Get rid of fleas, ticks, bedbugs, ants, and any exoskeleton insect naturally with 100% food grade diatomaceous earth.

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!

 

 

 


Using Diatomaceous Earth For Pest Control

by David Proctor


 April 22, 2021

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


What is diatomaceous earth or DE? 

“Diatomaceous earth is a soft, powdery, porous, and silica-rich mineral that is found in fossilized deposits near dried up bodies of water.  This mineral is the result of the accumulation of dead diatoms found in marine sediments, which contain the remains of silica.”

 

Diatomaceous Earth

 

I have found that quite a few people take the 100% food grade internally and according to Dr. Axe has these benefits:
 

  • Detoxify the body by cleansing the digestive tract, boosting liver function, helps eliminate heavy metals in the body such as aluminum, and acts as a detoxifier for the blood since it carries a negative charge that attaches to free radicals and other harmful toxins.

 

  • Helps purify water by killing viruses and filtering out heavy metals

 

  • Fights parasites by adding to the feed given to pets and farm animals.

 

  • It can be used as a natural insecticide since it absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, which causes them to dehydrate and die.  DE can be used to eliminate bed bugs, house dust mites, cockroaches, ants, and fleas, without the use of toxic chemicals.

 

pexels-egor-kamelev-1086891_650x476

pexels-egor-kamelev-1086891

  • Beneficial for joints and bones and can help prevent low bone mass.

 

  • It helps clean and protect skin, nails, and teeth.

 

  • The use that I thought was interesting was for ants and fleas.  These are two very hardy insects and hard to get rid of once they make their way into your home.

 

Diatomaceous earth is a really inexpensive way to control external and internal parasites in your dog and cat.
 
The microscopically sharp edges contact the insect or parasite and pierce their protective coating, so they soon dehydrate and die.  

The larvae are affected in the same way.

But DE is completely harmless to animals.
 
The only thing that you should be very careful about is not inhaling a lot into your lungs.  

It is easy to do, so if need be, wear a mask if you think you might inhale a lot while working with your pet.
 
DE can be placed on your pet, cat, or dog and the powder rubbed through the fur to the skin.

When the fleas come in contact with the DE, it will help eliminate them.  
 
I would really like to try this out on chickens.  

It appears that DE can really help chickens with egg production.
 
The Food and Drug Administration lists Food Grade diatomaceous earth as “Generally Recognized as Safe”, which means it’s legally allowed to be added to many different types of foods, beverages, and supplements.

How To Use DE

In summary, it is my belief that Diatomaceous Earth can be a very useful product for eliminating pests naturally and safely.  


Check It Out!

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth on Dogs for Fleas 4:07
ProTerra – The Diatomaceous Earth Guys


Quick Tip

 

Natural Pest Control

CAUTION: DO NOT USE POOL GRADE DE!!


Bibliography:

Web. 25 June 2020.

“The Most Versatile Detoxifier Around.” Dr. Axe. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 April 2021.

“Before You Go…” DiatomaceousEarth.com Official Site to Learn About Diatomaceous Earth. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 April 2021.

Winger, Jill “How to Use Diatomaceous Earth.” The Prairie Homestead. N.p., 26 Sept. 2016. Web. 22 April 2021.




Posted in Animal Husbandry, Chickens, Health, Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: ,

Fewer Weeds In Garden

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Garden Without Weeds

Weeds do not have to be part of the equation when gardening.  I will tell you about three easy ways to have a no-till garden.

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!

 

 

 


Fewer Weeds In Garden

by David Proctor


 April 15, 2021

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


We always have in the back of our mind, hours of being bent over, pulling and tugging at weeds to try and achieve that perfect weed-free garden. 

This is of course after the tiller has been run to till under the weeds and loosen the soil. But what is really happening is that you are planting weeds when you till the soil. 

The best way is to not till or at least limit tilling by establishing permanent paths and areas for plant beds in the garden. This way the area that you have your plants in does not become compacted.

The next thing is to use good organic mulch so the weeds do not see the light of day. This will also feed your plants and help maintain moisture in the garden for your plants.

This first type of no-till gardening will be discussed by Dr. Lee Reich, a former plant and soil researcher for the USDA and professor of horticulture, author, and longtime avid gardener.
 

“Weedless gardening! That’s an oxymoron, an impossibility, right? Well, my gardens may not be 100 percent weed-free, but they are 100 percent free of weed problems.

I’ve achieved this happy state in four ways:”

To read more, Click this link  >>>

 

Weed Free Gardening At Monticello

Weed Free Gardening At Monticello

The next method of no-till gardening is dubbed “Lasagne Gardening” because it is done in layers like lasagna.

Start with newspapers or cardboard and place that on the ground where you would like to garden. 

Next start alternating layers of straw and manure or compost. 

This will break down, giving your plants nutrients and at the same time controlling the weeds. 

Once your plants get some height to them, top the lasagna off with compost and straw. 

To read more about this article that Teri wrote, click here >>>

Lasagne Gardening

Lasagne Gardening

The third method is the well-known gardening method by Mel Bartholomew, the square foot garden. 

The concept is to lay out a weed barrier, build a frame that is 4×4 and place a grid on top that has 1-foot squares. 

This is a very efficient method of gardening, as developed by an engineer. 

To read more about Mel’s method click this link >>>

Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot Gardening

These methods do not mean that you never have to pull a weed again, but the pulling of weeds will be reduced or almost eliminated. 

It sure beats using a till method to turn the soil plus these methods will give the earthworms and other microorganisms a chance to do their thing.

This is the time of year to prepare and plant your garden. 
Libby & Grandpa
Libby & Grandpa

I believe that having our own gardens will come back now that we are supposed to “Social Distance” ourselves with CV-19.

We may realize that the cure for what ails us doesn’t always come out of a bottle or syringe.

Let’s get out and get our hands back in the soil instead of Lysol wipes!

Maybe we should wipe our hands in the soil before we shake hands, instead of fist or elbow bump!


Check It Out!

Mel Bartholomew – Introducing Square Foot Gardening


Quick Tip

1. Use organic material to keep weeds from sprouting.
2. Establish a permanent path in your garden to keep from compacting the soil.
3. Water using the drip method.
4. Use compost for fertilizing.
5. Sell the tiller.


Bibliography:

“No-Till & Compost, and Still Problems.” Lee Reich. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2021.

“Maintain a Weedless Organic Garden.” Mother Earth News. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2021.

“Create an Instant Garden with Sheet Mulching or Lasagna Gardening.” N.p., Web 15 Apr. 2021.

“What Is Square Foot Gardening?” Mel Bartholomew. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2021.




 

Posted in Health, Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: , ,

Bee Re-Release

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Bee Release 2017

After the cumulation of weeks and months of preparations in 2017 for the release of bees, a little over 50 mason bees and approximately 40,000 honey bees were released in my Apiary in Fredericksburg, VA.

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!

 

 

 


Mason & Honey Bee Release

by David Proctor


 April 8, 2021

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


I wanted to revisit this bee release from 2017. 

It was not the largest amount of bees that I have released, but it does represent the most released into Warre top bar hives.

This was my second year of beekeeping.

============================ 2017 ==================

Last year I started my bee-keeping endeavor with mason bees.

I placed a bee house with tubes for the mason bees to lay their eggs.

The house gives them a nesting place for the females to lay eggs and larva to spin cocoons.

Later the cocoons can be harvested for next year.

 

 Mason Bee House

 Mason Bee House

I didn’t think I had any cocoons till I opened up the container to clean it for the bees I had ordered for this year and discovered over thirty cocoons.

I placed them in the bee house and watched as four came out of the cocoons that they had wintered in. 

 Emerging Mason Bee

Emerging Mason Bee

Previously they had been placed in a Humdibee in the refrigerator to keep them content till the weather warmed up. 

The Humidibee keeps them cool and moist if placed in the refrigerator and with water added occasionally.

 Humidibee

Humidibee

I placed some dirt in a container and added water to form mud for the bees to use to seal up the tube as they lay eggs. 

They should be all set to pollinate now.

 Mason Bee

Mason Bee

I also had one colony of honey bees last year that I kept in a Warre hive. 

I thought they were doing alright till I noticed the numbers decreasing. 

At the end of July, they had absconded.

 I decided I might do better with increased numbers.

 Warre Hives

Warre Hives

I decided to order extra hives and bees for this year.
 
I picked up four packages of Italian honey bees that had just been brought up from Georgia. 

Each package has a queen in her own queen cage, a can of syrup for the bees to eat from and about three pounds of bees which is about nine to ten thousand bees.

Bee Package

Bee Package

It helps to have everything in order and ready for the bees to be placed in the hive. 

I did wear a bee jacket and veil.  First thing is to make sure the queen is active. 

The bee colony will not do well without a good strong queen.

Queen Cage

Queen Cage

Once the queen was removed from the package, a hole is punched in one end of a piece of candy that is used to seal her escape.

The cage is then placed in the beehive and then all the rest of the bees are poured in, literally. 
 
The bees will see the hole in the candy and enlarge the hole so the queen can escape the cage. 

The queen is already bred so she is ready to start laying eggs, up to two thousand a day. 

The worker bees are now ready to start building comb so the queen will have a place to lay eggs.
 
Forager bees have to find nectar and pollen to help sustain the colony and give the worker bees the food needed to build comb.

This process all started last fall with ordering the honey bees and mason bees. 

The hives wear also ordered last year but I didn’t get them assembled until this year. 

That put some pressure on me that was unneeded but my fault.  

Everything worked out well and all the hives were assembled long before the bee pickup.

Warre Hive Ready For Assembly

Warre Hive Ready For Assembly

I also had to get a bee permit from the City of Fredericksburg. 

The ordinance allows two beehives and colonies per lot, in the city. 

Fortunately, my neighbor has an interest in bees so there was a place to put the other two hives I have and packages that I had ordered.

 Repurposed Swing Set

 Repurposed Swing Set

I decided that one of the best things I could do was to take a beekeeping class. 

The class starts in February and ended last week. 

I was really happy about taking the class, I met really nice people and learned a tremendous amount. 

Our instructor was very knowledgeable and experienced. 

I would highly recommend taking a course if you want to keep bees.

Bradford Pear In Bloom

Bradford Pear In Bloom

That about sums up what led up to this last weekend’s bee release. 

Now to manage the bees so they are not in need of food or water and to be sure they stay healthy. 

This year will only have honey for the bees. 

Maybe next year if all goes well they will produce a little extra for me.


Check It Out!

 

I assembled Warre hives and one regular top bar hive. 

Right now, I am using the Warre hives. 

They take less maintenance than a Langstroth hive and a regular top bar hive (Kenya style).

 

Top Bar Hive

Top Bar Hive

Top Bar Edge

Top Bar Edge

Hives

Hives


Quick Tip

 

  • Assemble beehives during the winter to allow plenty of time for the process and for any paint or wood sealer to cure.
  • Do not paint or treat the inside of the hive where the bees will reside.
  • Order bees early.  It takes time to have the bees and packages ready for the spring. Don’t just show up and say I want to buy some bees.  This isn’t something you run to Walmart to get.
  • Make sure your queen that comes with the packages is alive, moving, and healthy.
  • When you select a package, be sure the bees are formed around the queen in a “V” shape, this indicates they have accepted her.
  • Have extra food for the bees to help them get started.  It is hard for the bees to collect their food in rainy, overcast, and windy weather. Feed sugar water on a 1:1 ratio.  This is what nectar will be like and will promote comb and brood production.
  • Have protective clothing for working with the bees.  Most of the time the bees are pretty docile.  But you do want your face protected.  They will go for the eyes if given enough reason.  Being poured out of a box after traveling several hundred miles is a good reason.
  • Manage your bees for healthy bees. Take note of varroa mites and any other pest and do what you feel is proper and timely.
  • Try to refrain from using herbicides and pesticides.

Installing 8 honey bee packages in 10 minutes. 11:51
Burnley Farm Apiary, LLC


Bibliography:  Experience




 

Posted in Apiary, Magazine Issues Tagged with: , , ,

Sign Up To Receive The Free Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine

Archives

Categories