|Winchester, Virginia, United States
(projects i'm involved in)
Posted by Stephen Trauger over 11 years ago
3 Chickens now call Growing Wild home. What started out as an elaborate chicken tractor has become a fixed coop that is integrated into the back permaculture garden. The coop is constructed 2 x 4s and leftover sections of t 1-11 and some metal roof. Although heavier then I intended, the chicken tractor is strong enough to be dog proof so far. We are able to move the tractor, although the next one will be lighter. The coop currently sits parallel to the garden fence. A small section of the garden was fenced off and connected with a gate to the rest of the garden. dedicated as the chicken pen. The chickens are kept separate from the main garden, although I allow them in now as the fall harvest is in. When the chickens are in the garden proper, thier wastes are deposited freely throughout the garden. The close proximity also allows me to add all the chicken waste collected from the coop/tractor directly onto the raised beds in the garden. I am also hoping for good bug control through the seasons. I installed a small electric light on a timer in the bottom of the pen, as nightime temps are reaching freezing. I also added a electric heated dog water bowl that comes on below 40 degrees F. I plan to add a small PV panel to the chicken tractor to replace the electric power currently being used. I wanted to ensure that raising chickens is suscesful before I upgrade this system. I also plan to build more portable chicken tractors soon, using sustainably harvested bamboo and chicken wire.
The greenhouse, which is 16 ft by 8 ft and constructed of twin wall polycarbonate is doing well. I added a small heater to run between 2AM -6 AM. My efforts with the greenhouse are mostly experimental, waiting to see what kind of winter temps I will get. The north side of the greenhouse is attached to a large shed, shielding it from the cold north winds. The large concrete urbanite solar mass floor helps. i disconnected the PV exhaust fan, closing the opening with insulation to help retain heat. When the outside temps hit sixty degrees, and the sun is out, it will quickly get to be over 100 F. The recycled windows are then opened to bring the temps down during the day. Update 1/12/13 The greenhouse heat has beeen disconnected for several weeks, and all of the hardier cool weather plants like Kale, Spinch, and lettuces are doing well.
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|Permaculture Design Certificate
|Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
|Teacher: April Sampson-Kelly
|Location: Great Cacapon, WV
|Date: Mar 2010
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