Home » Posts tagged 'animals'

Tag Archives: animals

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

The Polyculture Market Garden Study–Results From Year 4–2018

THE POLYCULTURE MARKET GARDEN STUDY – RESULTS FROM YEAR 4 – 2018

HERE ARE THE RESULTS FROM THE FOURTH YEAR OF OUR MARKET GARDEN POLYCULTURE STUDY. THIS STUDY LOOKS AT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GROWING ANNUAL VEGETABLES AND HERBS IN POLYCULTURES VS GROWING THEM IN  TRADITIONAL BLOCKS.

In this post you will find an overview of the trial garden and the polycultures we are growing, a description of what we record and the 4th year results from the trial. You can find results from previous seasons here.

First of all we’d like to say a huge thank you to the team of volunteers that joined us for the study this year and that make it possible for us to carry out our experiments and research. It was a pleasure to work together with you. Thank you Victoria Bezhitashvili, Angela Rice, Malcolm Cannon, Elise Bijl, Alex Camilleri, Daniel Stradner, Emilce Nonquepan, Ezekiel Orba and Chris Kirby Lambert.

It was a great a mix of people from all over the world including university students, a crypto fund manager, ex-nintendo web editor and market gardeners. Thank you all for your valuable input, it was our pleasure to host you and we look forward to seeing you again some day.

The Polyculture Study 2018 Team

GARDEN OVERVIEW

Location: Bulgaria, Shipka
​Climate: Temperate
Köppen Climate Classification – Dfc borderline Cfb
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5b – 7a
Latitude: 42°
Elevation: 565 m
Average Annual Rainfall: 588.5 mm
Prevailing Wind: NW & NE
Garden Name: Aponia – Polyculture Market Garden

 

The six longer beds in the left hand corner of the photo on the right (the Aceaes) are the trial beds, the focus of this study.You can find the location of the Polyculture Market Garden on google maps here (labelled as Aponia on our Project map)

Garden area: 256.8 m2
Cultivated beds area: 165.6 m2
Paths: 50 cm wide – 91.2 m2
Bed Dimensions – 23 m x 1.2 m  Area – 27.6 m2 per bed
Number of beds: 6

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of All Things, Part 3

BACKYARD CHICKENS, AND THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF ALL THINGS. PART 3

This article is Part 3 of a Series that is mostly about chickens. It’s not a how-to-care-for-chickens article, but a how-to-appreciate-the-specialness-of-chickens article.

If you are interested only in chickens and would like to read about the funny things one of our roosters gets up to, this article will be fine to read by itself.

But if you missed the earlier articles in the series, and you’re interested in what backyard chickens have to do with the interconnectedness of all things, you’ll need to go back to the beginning of Part 1.

ROOSTERS ARE A LOT OF FUN TO WATCH

Roosters are gentle, generous, and protective, particularly as they get older, feel they have their place well established, and don’t have to compete with other roosters for space or mates.

They show the hens all the good things to eat that they find, calling them and sharing the food in a similar way to how a mother hen shares with her chicks. And they come running to defend the hens when they hear one in distress.

Rooster and hens, midday siesta

In our flock of about 30 hens, there are currently three adult roosters. The oldest has his own family group of hens who go with him to forage in the same areas each day, to rest in the same shady spots, to dust bath in their designated dust baths.

The other two are younger, and very different. One, a large white rooster who stars in the stories I’ll share below, seems to be where-ever there is food to share with hens, or where-ever there are good spots for hens to lay eggs.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

WHAT ANIMALS AND A BARN OFFER TO PERMACULTURE DESIGN

WHAT ANIMALS AND A BARN OFFER TO PERMACULTURE DESIGN

THE IMPORTANCE OF ANIMALS IN PERMACULTURE LANDSCAPES

Our agrarian past reminds us that farming without animals is like trying to drive a car without gasoline. While crop rotations, cover crops and periodically maintaining the land fallow were some strategies our grandparents used for keeping the farm productive, the dairy cow, the flock of chickens, and the few hogs were the guarantee of the continued fertility of the fields.

When done on a correct scale, raising animals on a small piece of land offers balance and sustained fertility while also offering quality food products. Animals eat from pastures and other waste products from the land while offering fertility and numerous food products for us humans. The function of animals in an industrialized concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) is simply to produce protein as fast as possible. On a small, permaculture landscape, however, animals (as an element of the overall system) offer several functions, including:

– Food/Protein
– Fertility
– Natural Cultivation/Tilling of the Soil
– Weed Control
– Diversification
– Companionship

Raising small animals around the world is often listed as a primary cause of deforestation, erosion, and a whole host of other ecological problems. When designed correctly, animals do contribute to overall system health.

A good parallel from the natural world is the bison herds that once roamed the Great Plains. The Native American population lived in harmony with the buffalo population which was estimated to be several million strong. The buffalo provided the native peoples as their primary food source and a source of clothing and shelter. Buffalo bones were even commonly used as kitchen and cooking utensils.

The buffalo, however, didn´t only contribute to the health and well-being of the local human population but also were the principal caretakers of the ecological balance of the prairie ecosystem over which they roamed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Importance of Pasture: How to Take Advantage of What Animals Bring to the Farm

THE IMPORTANCE OF PASTURE: HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHAT ANIMALS BRING TO THE FARM

While barns are important on any farm, keeping animals on pasture is almost always the better option. Pasture raised animals are usually much healthier and the meat and other animal based food products they offer come with much more nutrients when those animals are raised in a natural setting.

From a humanist and ethical standpoint, animals that are allowed to live outside for the majority of their lives are much happier and live healthier lives. Instead of being pent up in tiny pens, they are allowed to roam and forage for their own food and create their own natural defenses instead of being pumped full of antibiotics and other medicines.

From a practical standpoint, a well-maintained pasture design allows us to take advantage of the innate tendencies that animals have to graze, forage, scratch, or root the land below them. Of course, animal manure spread out over the landscape is also an important source of nutrients for the land itself, reincorporating fertility to the land while improving overall soil quality in a natural process.

Unfortunately, overgrazing of the land has been the main cause of much land degradation over the years. This has mostly been due to keeping way too many animals on a small patch of land and also because of a lack of proper maintenance of pasture land. Rotating your farm animals through a carefully designed system of paddocks is one of the best strategies to sustainably maintain pasture while also offering your animals some of the best grazing land available.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Perks of Raising Chickens

THE PERKS OF RAISING CHICKENS

For many people who have grown interested in gaining a certain sense of autonomy through taking responsibility for growing a part of their own food, a simple backyard garden or even a container garden on your window will is considered a good place to start. Making the leap from growing tomatoes and peppers to raising a small flock of chickens, however, is a step that not everyone is ready to take.

For some reason, raising chickens (or other small farm animals) is considered to be something that farmers do, even though almost all of our grandparents kept a small flock wandering around the house, no matter where they lived. Whether you live on a 100-acre farm on in a crowded suburban neighborhood, raising chickens brings a number of important benefits.

Chickens should belong on every farm, every backyard, and every urban rooftop. Instead of caging chickens in pestilent CAFO housing where they´re pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics if every family would keep just a couple chickens, they would receive more than enough eggs and meat every year.

Chickens are a descendant of a jungle fowl that humans domesticated thousands of years ago. They are omnivores and traditionally survived by scratching the soil in search of insects, seeds, and other small animals. They also feed on the leaves and roots of certain plants. Chickens, when given the right conditions, can feed themselves on the land where they live.

While commercial chicken feed is made from grain that farmers dedicate millions of acres to growing, if every suburban family simply fenced in their backyards, they could raise a large flock of chicken without any sort of outside inputs. The current “organic” movement specializes in free-range chickens meaning chickens that instead of being caged are allowed to freely roam to gather a lot of their own nutrients.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Change Has Already Had a Negative Impact on Animals on Every Continent

Climate Change Has Already Had a Negative Impact on Animals on Every Continent feat

CLIMATE CHANGE HAS ALREADY HAD A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON ANIMALS ON EVERY CONTINENT

A new study has revealed that we have underestimated the impact climate change has had on endangered species around the world. These effects have been particularly traumatic for mammals and birds on the endangered species list – even species included on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s “red list.”

According to the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, global warming has already impacted approximately 700 species on the “red list” – about half of the mammals and nearly a quarter of the birds. This research shows that climate change isn’t a threat that may present itself at some point in the future, but a real issue that is having a negative impact on the earth today.

“It’s a scientific problem in that we are not thinking about climate change as a present-day problem, we’re always forecasting into the future,” said James Watson, a researcher at Australia’s University of Queensland. “When you look at the evidence, there is a massive amount of impact right now.”

Most climate studies that focus on biodiversity examine the potential impacts of global warming that could be seen in 50 to 100 years. However, the findings of a team of researchers who investigated more than 100 earlier studies showed that the range of animals that have now been impacted by global warming is already broad enough to include animals present on every continent.

“We have seriously underestimated the effects of climate change on the most well-known groups, which means those other groups, reptiles, amphibians, fish, plants, the story is going to be much, much worse in terms of what we think the threat is from climate change already,” Watson said.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Vermicomposting–A Great Way to Turn the Burdens Into Resources

Vermicomposting 01

VERMICOMPOSTING – A GREAT WAY TO TURN THE BURDENS INTO RESOURCES

VERMICOMPOSTING AND VERMICOMPOST

Latin word ‘Vermi’ means worm; thus ‘Vermicomposting’ refers to composting with worms. In vermicomposting, various organic waste materials are broken down by using worms, bacteria, and fungi. These organisms are nature’s vitally useful tools to decompose organic materials. So, vermicomposting is a process that boosts up nature’s process of decomposing organic waste materials and produces a very useful end product.

Vermicompost, the end product of vermicomposting process, is a heterogeneous mixture of decomposed organic wastes, bedding materials, worm castings, decomposed worms as well as other decomposer organisms, worm cocoons etc. The worm castings, one of the major components of vermicompost, contain lower levels of contaminants and higher levels of nutrients than the organic wastes do before vermicomposting. Vermicompost is rich in many water-soluble nutrients which makes it an excellent organic fertilizer.

PLANT NUTRITION WITH VERMICOMPOST

In optimum conditions worms consume huge amount of organic wastes in a day, as much as their own weight at least. After consumption, they take their nourishment from the micro-organisms residing in the wastes; and when they excrete their casts contain an increased number of micro-organisms.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Integrated Pest Management-The Smart Solution

Caterpillar

INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT-THE SMART SOLUTION

CHEMICAL PESTICIDES ARE POISONS

Indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides is highly hazardous to the environment and human health. When pesticides are applied to a field they don’t remain confined to their targeted field, rather travel to a vast area outside the targeted field by air, water, and soil. This widespread movement of applied pesticides brings surface and ground water contamination. Soil and air contaminations also take place from unwise pesticide use. These pollutions bring many complicated human diseases like – skin irritation, nausea, cardiovascular illness etc.

Besides humans, the toxic residues of chemical pesticides produce many harmful impacts on various animals (e. g., birds, fishes, amphibians etc.) and plants.

The above-mentioned problems are not all pesticides are responsible for, there is another terrible and irreparable problem that pesticides introduce that is ‘Making the Pests Resistant’. The indiscriminate application of pesticides has been making the pests resistant to pesticides and thus making them stronger and more damaging gradually by the following ways-

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase