Sunday, June 13, 2010

Recent failure

My Japanese beetle trap was a bust. It does not work and I should have actually used a real trap before I tried to make my own. Milky spore and beneficial nematodes are in my future.

On a up note I did build something that works quite well.

It is a mini chicken tractor for between the rows in the garden.

These are some pullets that are too little to run free and too big to stay in the brooder. We have been feeding them the Japanese beetles that our traps aren't catching. We are catching them by hand again this year--a loosing battle. You can't see it here but they are decimating our pole beans.

Another success is our new garden fence.

It is chicken proof and mostly children proof.

I also drifted closer to my rain water catchment goal.

Here the cow stable steel roof sheds to her stock tank.

This pvc guttering is cheap. That is if you don't use their fittings or mounting hardware. A piece of gutter is around five dollars. While if you were to install it per recommendations you'd spend thirty or forty.

Another experiment is our sweet potato patch. We are using hillbilly mulch (aka old carpet) and cut holes in it for the slips.

I hope it works.

We also took delivery of some of our winters hay. Ten beautiful bales of wheat hay that Mike just put up with his new bailer.

Round bales are not our favorite but these were too beautiful to pass up.

The biggest success of the year is the black raspberry patch. Even having to share roughly half of our bounty with the Japanese beetles we are in berry heaven.

Kassi invented a desert. fresh raspberries still warm from the sun and vanilla ice cream.

Heaven on earth...

Every toy that Toly has been playing with of late has to have a trailer of one sort or another.

Kassi found a clam shell at the creek.


Ed said...

I'm not sure I understand the rain collection picture. Are those triangular sections of metal on top of the roof a form of leaf guards? Do they work?

Kassi's dessert is genius!

Kristin said...

Hey Karl. How is that snow/chicken fence held up? Fence posts? Or does it have its own built in posts? And your cow water looks very clear. How do you keep algae & mosquito larva out?

Homesteading Mommy said...

why are you using the carpeting for mulch around sweet potatoes? i thought you'd get a bigger harvest if you let them crawl along the ground and set down more roots. also, do you worry about chemicals in the carpeting running into your soil? we considered using carpeting as weed barrier for walkways, but after talking with a relative who is a chemical engineer for a carpet factory, we decided against it. may be overly cautious, but i figured the weeds were safer. :->

tabitha said...

Ed- I think I can answer for Karl by saying those are just extra trim pieces sitting up there, we plan to put them on the barn.

Kristin- The snow fence is amazing. It is just a roll of heavy duty wire and slats, so you need your own posts. We have used steel t posts, about one every 12 feet.

We have three $.28 goldfish in each of our large stock tanks, meaning there is not a mosquito to be found. Fish, plus algae, plus all the many seasonal waterbugs seems to equal a healthy ecosystem.

One great thing I have noticed is that the fish clean up all the dead bugs that fall into the tank. Also, when we find an errant bucket of water full of larvae, we get to pour it to the fish!

Homesteading Mommy- The 2 year old pig pen where we planted the sweets needs weed control, and the mass planting method (no rows) we have chosen prohibits cultivation or stepping amongst the vines. This is why we have mulched.

As to why we used carpet, we had access to very old carpet which has sat out in the rain for 3 years. We would not have used fresh carpeting by any means. Still, it is easy to get caught up in one, narrow idea. We might reject steel posts because of the contents of the powdercoat, or greenhouse plastic, or row cover. Everything has a cost, nothing is perfect. We try to aim for reusable, durable. we also hate to pass up a chance at reusing something that might go into a landfill.

Sweet potatoes can trail for 25 feet and more. They will definitely grow past our little pigpen to root elsewhere. Still, I have e=never found it to be true that multiple rootings make a better crop. Secondary rootings never make large potatoes by the end of our season. It is my opinion that with good, moist soil this system works great. Last year we used (re-purposed) black plastic mulch and we liked it. We just didn't have any more to re use this year, plus the carpet lets water through so we did not have to run hose.


Ron said...

Amen to the price of guttering if done with all the doo-hickies. :)

I like the mini-tractor... I think I just might do similar for chicks...

Looking great guys. Good luck with the pests... we're battling too.


tansy said...

milky spore by far has been the best solution for us against the japanese beetles.

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

We have just under 2 weeks before the jap beetles hit here. I am transplanting Borage throughout the garden so their hairs, which act as a "trap" will hold them long enough for us to come pick the beetles off into a hot water death and then chicken delight!
I believe it was you who recomended the all american pressure canner. I picked it up at lehmans yesterday & oh my goodness! That thing is impressive! Can not wait till i get to use it. The old one I had was so scary. It had to be maybe 25 yrs or older. Anyway, thanks for the recomendation.

sherri said...

I tend to forget that you can eliminate some invasions of an adult insect pests with a small cordless vacuum, or a regular canister type and empty that into the chicken tractor or vinegar or ammonia and water (which is nitrogen) which is a tiny bit faster than handpicking

sherri said...

I tend to forget that you can eliminate some invasions of an adult insect pests with a small cordless vacuum, or a regular canister type and empty that into the chicken tractor or vinegar or ammonia and water (which is nitrogen) which is a tiny bit faster than handpicking

Woody said...

Looking good Karl. I really like the mini-tractor. The extra trim pieces threw me too. I was thinking like Ed on that one.


mw said...

I've been subscribed for a while, sorry I haven't commented before! I was wondering if you could do a chicken-specific post? My husband and are are currently saving up to start our homestead, and have been talking about your chickens. Wondering things like where you get your chicks from, where you find the people that pre-order your broilers, whether they pay you in advance, how much they pay you for a broiler, how long you keep them before they're selling/eating size, whether you get eggs from them... So many questions! You guys seem so knowledgeable about these things, I thought you would be a great person to consult. Feel free to ignore me, though. I'll keep reading. :) Thanks so much!

Jason said...

something that worked for me last year with the beetles: I took a few old milk jugs and filled them half full with water then went through the garden for a few days catching japanese beetles and stuffing them into a X-slit cut into the jug. Then I hug/placed the jugs throughout my garden. I read somewhere that something about a lot of dead beetles starts to repel live ones. After about two weeks I couldnt find a live japanese beetle anywhere in my garden. Not true for squash bugs though.... :D maybe worth a try.

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

I will have to steal the small chicken tractor idea. How long do you leav it in one place?

Walter Jeffries said...

As a child I did a lot of Japanese beetle catching for my father. They were a terror on his rose bushes. My solution has been careful use of animals. In the spring we put the pigs into non-root crop gardens. They till up the soil and get grubs. Then we follow them with chickens who smooth the soil, weed and pick bugs for about two weeks. Then I fence out the chickens and plant. If I see the start of an insect problem I put in a few chickens or ducks. This works particularly well for corn, tomatoes, potatoes, berry bushes, apples, pears and some other veggies. This does not work for peas, lettuce and such.

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