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Archive for December, 2011

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Last week, Steve and I took a trip with Marty Michener to visit Dorn Cox at his farm in Lee, NH. Dorn has developed his own mobile biodiesel refinery, and he is planning to publish his design so anyone can build one. By Dorn’s calculations, farmers in New England could produce all the fuel for their operations by setting aside about 10% of their land for growing vegetable oil crops such as sunflowers.

The mobile refinery is pretty cool, but we were even more impressed with Dorn’s radishes. He plants daikon radishes in the fall as part of his cover crop. The radishes grow a deep tap-root and then die over the winter. The root decomposes in the spring, leaving behind a deep vertical tube of compost. This breaks up compaction of the soil, allowing crops to grow better and improving water drainage. The radishes also capture nitrogen in the fall and release it in the spring when needed, reducing the need for added fertilizer. PLUS—if you harvest a few radishes in the fall, you can make a killer kimchi.

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Spring Chickens

Since we have to brood a batch of chicks to replace our own laying hens, we decided to double our order and open a new line of business: certified Organic, ready-to-lay pullets for sale. These Rhode Island Reds will start laying eggs in April, and we are now taking reservations for April delivery at $16 apiece. If you are interested in reserving some, please shoot me an email.

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Molt

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If you have stopped by the farm recently, you may have been disappointed to find the egg supply very low. And, if you know the farm well, you may have noticed that our laying hens are looking very spiffy. These two things have the same cause: our chickens are going through their annual molt. When chickens molt, they drop their old feathers and grow a new set. The pretty much stop laying eggs for the duration, focusing their body’s energy on making feathers. The new outfits look very nice, but we would frankly rather have the eggs.

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