- It’s GREEN. Reduce the amount of waste you are sending to the landfill by instead sending your table scraps to the worm hotel.
- It’s FAST. Waste is converted into compost in days instead of months. If you have a traditional compost bin use this as your breeder to grow more worms to add to your composter.
- It’s ODORLESS. As long as you follow the directions the system is designed to be incredibly aerobic, this means it has lots of air, is very healthy, and smells earthy. Many of our customers keep their worm hotel indoors under a sink or in a closet.
- It’s MULTI-USE. The benefits do not just end at composting. 1) You are able to harvest out the castings to amend to your garden soil as an amazing fertilizer, or 2) even brew it into what the University of Arizona considers one of the best fertilizers on the planet known as ‘compost tea’. Five gallons of this concoction is powerful enough to spread over an entire acre... yet gentle enough to pour on a single plant without ANY fertilizer burn. 3) Use this to grow more worms to add to all your potted plants and garden soil. This is your very own WORM FACTORY & FERTILIZER FACTORY.
- It’s INEXPENSIVE. For the cost of a bottle or two of organic fertilizer you have already paid for the Starter Worm Hotel. Then for the cost of a few lattes, you are purchasing high-rise real estate to allow you to self-harvest the castings as you convert your Hotel into a Worm Tower.
- It’s FUN! Now you can brag to all your friends, “I got worms!” Your kids will love them, they can take them to school for show & tell, and much more.
Some gardeners and farmers know all about vermicomposting yet I still come across many you have never heard of vermicomposting or the incredible benefits of what worm casting and worm compost tea is or can do. Here are a few reasons why you should start a vermicomposting Worm Hotel:
We recently had part of an aquaponics system donated to the farm and we wanted to show you its current state. We will do update videos as time goes on and as the system evolves into an abundant food system!
We also are highlighting some baby chicks that Mrs. Black hatched out and some new bunnies that are a cross between a Rex doe and a Californian buck. Enjoy!
Mayfield Family Farm
North Dallas Area - Denton, TX
We recently lost a chicken that was like a pet. She was an amazing chicken and would follow us around. We figured either a hawk or coyote got her. I had built a few snares a couple weeks earlier and decided to place them around our property where animals could get in. We ended up trapping a coyote within lees than a week.
HERE is the video that taught me how to make this snare.
This post essentially is a SYSTEMS PRINCIPLE. The power of 'systems thinking' is very rewarding when you see the potential to leverage their outputs. I want to show one particular system with zero or almost zero input that has the potential to create a incredibly sustainable constant resource and income.
The power of 'systems' is a foundational element to our farm. It is through constant focus to systems that we can deliver on our goals of sustainagility, self-reliance, and community. This video and blog shows one particular system. In essence here it is:
While it is not raining we are always washing our clothes. We use all-natural organic soap nuts/soap berries (I will do a separate post on these in the coming future) and will also look into making our own soaps someday. While this water would normally be sent to the sewer or in our case our septic we can redirect it to be an input instead of a waste byproduct.
Comfrey is a one-time purchase, its a pretty plant and can even be used in an Agriscaping method of a elegant edible plant in normal landscaping. We can propagate it through root cuttings and create 1,000's of plants from the 8 plants we currently have. The comfrey could almost completely replace ALL feed for our rabbits, goats, pig, and chickens. The goats can also free-range to pick up any other needs they have in their diet. Chickens can still free range to get bugs and other plants, rabbits could also be fed random vegetation and scraps. We will still use our Fodder System, and with those two we can essentially feed all our animals. Without the Fodder System we can be 100% self-reliant. With the Fodder System we only need barley seed as an input. This means once we have enough Comfrey to fulfill the needs of our animals a $12 bag of barley per month and other on-property inputs creates enough feed for dozens of rabbits, a dozen or two chickens, 2-3 adult goats and their kids, and a pig or two. Their outputs is not only serviceable in way of compost, meat, eggs, milk, and fun for our family... it also adds another layer.
When you add the second layer of profit through selling and/or trading meat rabbits, eggs, chickens, goat milk, young goats, etc. this immediately moves into the profit portion of micro-farming/homesteading.
We only posted our Rabbit Dome Garden Spring 2016 Update video and blog a couple weeks ago, but already had this video filmed, just a little admin error. However, in just the couple weeks from filming this video the vines have exploded even more. Visit that post to read more detailed explanation of the plants in this garden space. Funny enough only a couple days ago I was managing some of the Malabar Spinach Vines and notice another vine growing that I quickly identified as a Chinese Long Bean. I picked a few beans and they tasted great. The funny thing is our Straw Bale Garden is a good 100' away and we grew this bean there last year but do not believe we could have gotten any seeds to this bed. We are stumped to it's origins but have never seen it on our property till this year. I may give a brief update on this plant growing on the dome in our next updated video but I also included a couple pictures below. Until then check out our newest video, we are very excited for its growth and know that the vines are covering 60% MORE of the wire mesh than in this video in just two weeks! Insane!!
I know it is two weeks into summer and this is a Spring update, sometimes things get overlooked, like uploading videos and blog posts. Well here is an update of some of the plants that are growing and some newer plants that we are adding. Watch the video to see the updates and read below for some great information on the plant selections.
We have three types of plants that we have planted. Comfrey, Salsa Jasmine, and Malabar Spinach. There are also a couple varieties of native vines that have popped up along the garden bed that we are allowing to grow on the dome as well. I highly encourage you to consider growing Malabar Spinach and Comfrey in your garden, homestead, farm, or general landscaping! Below is a little more information on each.
Malabar Spinach - We have about a dozen Red-stemmed Malabar Spinach plants growing. We grew these all from seeds. I used 1-2 seeds per jiffy pod and had a 100% sprout and growth rate. Malabar Spinach is not a true spinach variety. This is from Wikipedia, 'Basella alba is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed vine, reaching 10 metres (33 ft) in length. Its thick, semi-succulent, heart-shaped leaves have a mild flavour and mucilaginous texture. The stem of the cultivar Basella alba 'Rubra' is reddish-purple. Typical of leaf vegetables, Malabar spinach is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. It is low in calories by volume, but high in protein per calorie. The succulent mucilage is a particularly rich source of soluble fiber. Among many other possibilities, Malabar spinach may be used to thicken soups or stir-fries with garlic and chili peppers.'
Comfrey - We have 5 Comfrey plants growing. One is a 3-4 year old plant, two are 1-2 year old plants, and two are root cuttings. Our goal is to use root cuttings over the next few years to propagate a hundred or two hundred of these plants throughout our farm. As you read the brief description below you will see why we can not have enough of these plants on our farm.
The information below was taken directly from Coe's Comfrey website.
Since I bought my 1971 Chevy C10 back in September 2015 I knew it would be slated as a 'shop truck' and used as a farm truck, not only was it an excuse to buy it... it also will become a tax write off at least once that logo is painted on. If you are unfamiliar with what a shop truck is you can click HERE as well as see some pictures below. Basically it is an old truck that is lowered, old patina paint with a cool logo that typically says something like, 'Johnny's Oil and Lube Shop'. In keeping with our farm theme we will sport our farm logo. So after lowering my truck 2.5" in the front and 5" in the back this past weekend I digitally put our farm logo on the truck to show you what it might look like. Eventually it will get a paint job and logo artwork painted on, but here is what it looks like today... with our farm logo.
We finally made a much needed upgrade to the farm. We moved our outdoor kitchen that was up by our house to an area near the garden and animals which made it much more useable. I plumbed the sink drainage into a swale so now the grey water will water some future plants.
Seems simple enough, but why stop there? While making this upgrade I was thinking how awesome it would be to have an outdoor urinal for MEn. I noticed I had a piece of 4" sewer drain and thought, 'I have an idea!' Next thing you know we had installed a working men's urinal. Sorry/not sorry ladies!
Just finished making our homemade 'hopper/cocker popper' and 'hopper/cocker hanger' for dispatching rabbits and chickens and then hanging them for skinning & dressing the carcasses. Had a great neighbor help with the welding. The popper uses a method called cervical dislocation that is the most humane way of dispatching rabbits or chickens by dislocating/breaking the neck and spinal cord so that they feel no pain and have an instant death. Then they can be hung by their back feet in the hanger to skin and dress. We may provide video instruction/demonstration at some point to show that process. #growyourown #makeyourown #selfreliance #youcandoit
This is used to dislocate the cervix and break the spinal cord causing instant and painless death. This is by far one of the best dispatching methods. The left side is larger for rabbits and the left side is for chickens.
The hopper hanger allows you to place the back feet in the V's to lock in the rabbit so you can skin them and clean their carcass.
We have always loved the look of stacked firewood on the front porch especially since moving from AZ where you never needed firewood, however it can be difficult to move, I also do not like that wood is sitting directly on our wood deck knowing that it can harbor moisture which is an enemy to wood, dirt, and pests. So we needed something different!
This firewood cart design came loosely from an article on Pinterest that was for indoors. I saved that article because I plan on building it someday for inside. When I make it for inside I will mimic this one I built for consistency based on some of the modifications I made. I built this cart much more shorter (2') and wider (4') than the inside version so that if we have it on the edge of our porch facing the street we can still see over it if we are sitting on our rocking chair or bench. When I build it for inside it will be a 2' square & 6' tall.
It was simple to make, took about an hour or so to complete although that was interrupted by a plum sized hail storm as you can see in the picture and had to wait a day to chemically age the zinc coating on the wheels. The drawings and finished pictures are below, and the instructions are at the bottom.
The aging process for zinc or galvanized metal is simple, I brush on toilet bowl cleaner and let it sit for a day or more. While it is setting I sprinkle salt on it and the keep it moist with vinegar. These chemicals quickly take the shine off and will begin to rust in parts. I was too impatient to wait for the rust and figured since this is an outdoor piece rust will happen over time. I have done wheels like these before for our coffee table that is a converted old trunk and the caster rusted up perfect. It took 2-3 days. NOTE: Do not get the chemicals (cleaner, salt, or vinegar) in the bearings!
Refer to drawings and pictures above. If you have any questions leave them in the comments section below.