News posts from admin's Archive


Last Chance: Farm and Garden Sale

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

This is it. Your last chance to soak up the savings with our Farm and Garden Sale – but hurry it’ll be gone soon!

Whether you are planting or planning your garden, homestead or backyard paradise —or want to nurture a budding garden obsession—we’ve got a book for you!

30% Off ALL Farm & Garden Books
Until March 31st

Say hello to spring with the tips and projects below for inspiration; from bombproof sheet mulching, to starting your seedlings, planning the best garden, and more!

Happy gardening from your friends at Chelsea Green Publishing.

P.S. Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Twitter.


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)


The Tao of Vegetable Gardening
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $17.47
Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97
Integrated Forest Gardening
Retail: $45.00
Sale: $31.50
Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
Retail: $150.00
Sale: $105.00
The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm
Retail: $40.00
Sale: $28.00
The Nourishing Homestead
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $20.97
Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97
The Holistic Orchard
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97
The Resilient Farm and Homestead
Retail: $40.00
Sale: $28.00
Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $17.47
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97
The Resilient Gardener
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $20.97


How to Plan the Best Garden Ever
How to Plan the Best Garden Ever
Share Like this on Facebook
The Seed Series: 3 Steps to Start Your Plants Off Right
The Seed Series: 3 Steps to Start Your Plants Off Right
Share Like this on Facebook

What is a Plant Guild?
What is a Plant Guild?
Share Like this on Facebook
Eliot Coleman’s Guide to Great Compost
Eliot Coleman’s Guide to Great Compost
Share Like this on Facebook

The Ultimate Raised Bed: How To Make An Herb Spiral
The Ultimate Raised Bed: How To Make An Herb Spiral
Share Like this on Facebook
Garden Planning: 48 of the Most Promising Veggies
Garden Planning: 48 of the Most Promising Veggies
Share Like this on Facebook

The Benefits of Perennial Vegetables
The Benefits of Perennial Vegetables
Share Like this on Facebook
Turn Barren Soil into Black Gold: 9 Simple Steps to Sheet Mulching
Turn Barren Soil into Black Gold: 9 Simple Steps to Sheet Mulching
Share Like this on Facebook

~ ~ New Releases and Coming Soon! ~ ~

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer The Seed Garden The New Livestock Farmer

Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)

Manage Your Chicken Manure: The Joys of Deep Litter

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Ever heard the phrase, “always follow your nose?” As it turns out, this is a good rule of thumb when it comes to chicken manure—but what is it that your nose is telling you, exactly?

In his book, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock, chicken expert Harvey Ussery gives us the low-down on not just what that classic manure-smell means, but how to eliminate it completely from your chicken coop through his innovative deep litter method. In the following excerpt, he teaches us what deep litter is, how it is particularly effective in a chicken coop, and how it keeps your manure healthy and (luckily for your sniffers) good-smelling.

Follow your nose to the excerpt below. And, if you are interested in other poultry-related topics including a pros and cons list from Carol Deppe on raising ducks vs. chickens and the wonders of receiving chicks in the mail, check out these posts:

Ducks Vs. Chicks by Carol Deppe
You’ve Got Mail. And it’s Chicks! by Ben Hewitt

*****

Manure Management in the Poultry House: The Joys of Deep Litter

“If you are around any livestock operation, regardless of species, and you smell manure—you are smelling mismanagement.” —Joel Salatin

Repugnance for what comes out the far end of an animal is not merely cultural conditioning—our senses are warning us of potential danger: Feces can be a vector for disease. Joel’s quote above implicitly advises us to trust that repugnance: If it smells bad, it could be dangerous. But it also implies that there are ways to manage manure so it doesn’t stink, giving us our most important hint that its threat has been neutralized. Properly handled manure, in other words, is not a danger.

Many readers of this book have already experienced the transformation of things yucky into not only something pleasant, but a valuable resource: the alchemy of the compost heap, which starts with manures and rotting vegetation and ends with compost, smelling as sweet as good earth, ready to fertilize the garden. The compost heap is our model for making the same transformation in the henhouse.

You assemble a compost heap from nitrogenous materials such as manures and spent crop plants, mixed with carbonaceous ones such as leaves and straw. Coarse materials will eventually compost, but if you make the effort to shred them more finely, the composting process speeds up considerably. Inconceivable numbers of microbes multiply in the pile, using the nitrogen in the manures and fresh green matter as a source of energy to break down the tough, fibrous high-carbon materials into simpler components. The ideal balance of carbon to nitrogen in the mix is 25 or 30 to 1. Too much nitrogen is signaled by the smell of ammonia, meaning that some of the nitrogen—a potential source of soil fertility— is being lost to the atmosphere. (Ammonia is a gas of nitrogen and hydrogen, NH3.) Moisture in the heap is essential to the microbes driving decomposition, though it must not be soaking wet—a condition that would inhibit decomposers while favoring pathogens. Oxygen is also essential for the decomposers, so you turn the heap over completely at least twice during decomposition, maybe more. Heat is a by-product of the composting process—a well-made compost heap becomes amazingly hot. The end result of this devoted effort is compost, one of the best possible fertility amendments the gardener can find.

It is possible to make the chicken coop in effect a slow-burn compost heap if you leave the earth itself as the floor, and keep it covered deeply with high-carbon organic litter. The sorts of decompositional microbes at work in the compost heap—and in the soil food web—migrate out of an earth floor into the deep litter; the slight wicking of moisture out of the earth helps them proliferate and thrive. (If you have an existing building with a wood or concrete floor to use for poultry housing, by all means avoid the effort and expense of building new. You can still use deep litter to keep the henhouse sweet, with a couple of tweaks discussed below.)

Oh, and all that laborious shredding and turning of the compost to assist its breakdown? Just leave that to the chooks.

Materials for Deep Litter

The poops laid down by the birds are rich in nitrogen, so naturally—as in the compost heap—we want a lot of carbonaceous material in the litter to balance it. In contrast to the ideal C:N ratio for a compost heap, however, the higher the carbon content of the deep litter, the better. That is, the more carbon in the mix, the more manure the litter can absorb before its nitrogen drives the C:N ratio out of balance, resulting in production of ammonia.

The high-carbon material chosen for the deep litter depends on what is cheapest and most readily available to you. It should ideally be somewhat coarse, so the scratching of the chickens fluffs it up and incorporates plenty of oxygen, assisting its breakdown by microbes and discouraging growth of pathogens. I prefer oak leaves, but that’s mostly because a close neighbor, who has half a dozen mature white oaks on her place, prefers to get rid of the accumulating leaves in the fall. She even hauls them over and dumps them in a big pile at my place. I say “God bless ’er!”

Kiln-dried wood shavings are excellent, with their extremely high carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (500:1), but are an additional expense if you have to purchase them. For example, I recently bought some shavings for $5 per 2½-cubic-foot bale (expands to 8 cubic feet) to use as brooder bedding. Buying enough to deep-bed the entire henhouse would be expensive indeed. Wood chips might serve—they too are extremely high in carbon and last a long time before they have to be replaced. Joel Salatin uses them as the litter in his Raken House—he cleans out only once a year, when even this coarse woody material has been reduced to compost by the microbes and the constant working of the chickens. Sawdust is satisfactory, though it doesn’t fluff up as much as other materials. Whether using sawdust, wood shavings, or wood chips, be sure to use either kiln-dried or aged material—“green” woody materials may support the growth of molds, whose spores could be bad for your birds’ respiratory systems—and yours.

Note that old hay and certain crop residues such as soybean vines are not appropriate as litter materials— with a significant nitrogen content of their own, they do not effectively balance the nitrogen in the poultry droppings and quickly heat up.

What about straw? Many flocksters avoid the use of straw because, especially in the presence of the slight dampness of an earth floor, it can support the growth of Aspergillus molds, whose spores can cause serious respiratory problems. I have corresponded with flocksters, however, who report that they use straw over an earth floor without problems. Though I have in the past avoided straw litter, I am now experimenting with it as an addition to litter with a much higher proportion of oak leaves—so far with no mold problems. Note that there is no problem using straw as the litter over a wooden floor—the drier conditions in such a litter prevent growth of Aspergillus.

Nearby processing of agricultural crops may furnish other litter materials. Milling of corn, cane, buckwheat, or peanuts, for example, may generate corncobs, chopped corn or cane stalks, or hulls that are available cheaply enough to be used as deep litter.

Alchemy

Over many years showing countless visitors through my poultry house, I have found that—if my visitor has previously been in a chicken house—at some point she will stop talking, sniff the air with a puzzled look, and ask, “Why doesn’t it stink in here?” When that happens, I know I’m on the right track with manure management.

But the transformation of “nasty” to “pleasant” is just part of the magic. Remember the comparison of the deep litter to an active compost heap—the process in deep litter is driven by the same busy, happy gang of microbes. And among the metabolites of the microbes—by-products of their life processes—are vitamins K and B12 in addition to other immune-enhancing compounds. The chickens actually ingest these beneficial substances as they find interesting things to eat in the litter. Don’t ask me what they’re eating, but chickens on a mature deep litter do little other than scratch and peck. This is alchemy indeed: What started as repugnant and a potential vector for disease has been transformed into a substrate for health.

Should you think I’m spinning fairy tales, know that scientific experiments have borne out the benefits of a bioactive deep litter. In 1949 a couple of researchers at the Ohio Experiment Station published research on deep litter. I urge you to read the full report, but to summarize: One experiment compared two groups of growing pullets, both on old built-up deep litter, one group receiving a complete ration, the other fed a severely deficient diet. Mortality and weight gain in the two groups were virtually identical. In another experiment comparing pullets fed a severely deficient diet, groups on old, thoroughly bioactive litter suffered far lower mortality (7 as opposed to 23 percent) and achieved much higher weight gain (at twelve weeks, 2.34 compared to 1.64 pounds) than those on fresh litter. Both these and further experiments demonstrated: “Obviously, the old built-up litter adequately supplemented the incomplete ration.”

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations confirms these observations: “Microorganisms thrive on the manure in the litter and break it down. This microflora produces growth factors, notably vitamin B12, and antibiotic substances which help control the level of pathogenic bacteria. Consequently, the growth rate and health are often superior in poultry raised on deep litter.”

Deep-Litter Management

Factor in the use of deep litter when designing housing for your flock—deeper litter absorbs more manure and supports more microbes, so allow plenty of space for it. Aim for a depth of 12 inches if possible. Happily, in winter you can factor in as well the role of that thick layer of organic duff in insulating the coop from the frozen ground outside—and the heat generated in an active deep litter. The temperature is nothing like that of a well-constructed compost heap; but the warmth rising out of the pack moderates air temperature in the winter house. Caroline Cooper of British Columbia, Canada sees temperatures of −13 degrees Fahrenheit for two weeks at a stretch in a typical winter but finds that the bedding, 12 to 18 inches deep, is warm to the touch a few inches below the surface.

The great thing about deep litter is that the birds do most of the work. But there are a few things requiring input and monitoring on your part as well.

Stocking Density

Joel Salatin makes this observation about stocking density on a deep litter: If you allow 5 square feet per adult chicken, the birds’ constant scratching will turn into the litter all the manure laid down, even in high-poop areas such as those under the roosts. At 4 square feet, there will be some capping of manure under the roosts—formation of a crusty layer impervious to the hens’ scratching. At 3 square feet, there will be extensive capping. If there is capping of the manure in your coop, turn it over with a spading fork from time to time, and the chickens will break it up from the cap’s underside.

Let It Mellow

You will see advice that the coop should periodically be thoroughly cleaned out. But as the Ohio experiments demonstrated, it is not fresh new litter that supports the health of the flock, but “old built-up”—that is, highly biologically active—litter. Thus an important implication: Never clean out the litter completely. Once beneficial levels of microbial activity are established, don’t get rid of them by a de rigueur “thorough clean-out.” Over time, the buildup of the litter—or the need for compost for the garden—requires removing part of the litter. Leave as much as you can in place, however, to retain the benefits of the already active microbes and to “inoculate” the fresh material you add.

The Whiff Test

The caveat to the above rule against cleaning out too much of the litter is that inevitably the addition of nitrogen by the incoming poops will overwhelm the carbon in the mix—resulting in the generation of ammonia. Be alert to that first characteristic whiff: It is telling you that an imbalance must be corrected— both because nitrogen for soil fertility is being lost to the atmosphere, and because ammonia damages the chickens’ delicate respiratory tissues. Reestablishing the necessary balance is simply a matter of generously topping off with your high-carbon litter material of choice.

Do note that ammonia’s deleterious effects begin below the concentration our nose can detect (25 to 30 ppm). With experience, you will learn to read the developing condition of the litter, so you can add fresh carbonaceous material before it starts generating ammonia.

Avoid Wet Litter

If you water inside, avoid wet litter. A soaked litter is anaerobic—deprived of oxygen—and more likely to support growth of pathogens. Wet litter also generates ammonia far more readily than drier litter.

Remember that a lot of airflow through the coop helps keep the litter from getting too damp. Wet litter is more likely around the waterer, so check conditions there often; scatter any wet litter out over the total litter surface, where the chickens’ scratching will help dry it. Waterfowl are especially likely to wet the litter. Remember as well, however, that the busy critters in the litter need water for their work—monitor the litter to ensure that it is not powder-dry. Caroline Cooper reports that the winter air in British Columbia is extremely dry, so from time to time her husband, Shaen, carefully adds water to the litter to keep it active. If I have a waterer inside the chicken house, I frequently empty the small amount of water in its lip directly into the litter when rinsing it out.

Using the Compost

The deep-litter approach to manure management enlists the flock in the great work of soil fertility. Over time—figure at least a year—the litter will be reduced by the action of chicken and microbe to a finished compost. Sniff a handful: Like any fine compost, it will smell of earth with not the slightest hint of raw manure. In my experience litter at this stage of decomposition is ready to use directly in the garden—it will not burn plants, will not inhibit seed germination, and visibly boosts the growth of crops.

I have found litter from a coop with a wooden floor too raw to apply directly in the garden. Such litter should be further broken down in a conventional compost heap before use in the garden.

Disadvantages of Deep Litter

In close to three decades of relying on deep litter for best manure management, I have encountered only two potential disadvantages. The slight wicking of moisture from the earth into the litter is as said actually a benefit. However, we once had a summer of record-breaking rains, resulting in increased moisture in the soil under the deep litter (remember, we use an earthen floor). The litter was not actually wet as a result but was considerably damper than usual—damp enough to encourage the growth of molds. We had a number of eye infections that season, and lost an entire batch of nineteen guinea keets. Once I recognized the problem, I helped decrease the moisture content of the litter by adding a lot of thoroughly dry leaves and kiln-dried shavings.

The other potential disadvantage of deep litter over an earth floor—assuming the henhouse is not on a block perimeter foundation—is the absence of a wood or concrete floor as a barrier against digging predators such as foxes, coyotes, and dogs. My solution was to dig a barrier about 18 inches into the earth—metal roof flashing, but half-inch hardware cloth would work as well—around the entire perimeter of the poultry house. That’s a lot of digging (oh, my aching back!), but it prevents a lot of digging (by four-legged neighbors intent on dinner in your chicken house).

A Win–Win Solution

I cannot overemphasize the importance of deep litter in the henhouse for the most natural and therefore the most rational manure management. A deep-litter house is more pleasant for both owner and fowl, with the chooks doing most of the necessary work for us. Microbial action in the litter turns what is potentially disease causing into a substrate for health—indeed, ripe litter as demonstrated in the Ohio studies has positive feeding benefits. Deep litter provides mental health as well—the entertainment of happily scratching an endlessly interesting deep litter, in lieu of the stress of boredom. A deep organic duff insulates the floor of the winter poultry house, while the warmth of its decomposition moderates the chill. Finally, this magic process captures the fertility in the poops for soil building, the key to food self-sufficiency. What better illustration of the integrating strategies at the heart of this book?

 

Perennial Gardening: Grow More Food with Less Work!

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Congratulations, you survived another long winter! It is officially spring and time to dig in. If you’re looking for some new crops to liven up your garden and your palate, give perennials a chance.

Perennial vegetables are a food gardener’s dream. Plant them once, treat them well, and they’ll keep feeding you year after year. You’ll have plants you never dreamed could be dinner. We’ve included some perennial inspired projects below to get you started!

Farm and Garden Sale: 30% off Until March 31st

If you have a garden obsession—or want to nurture a budding obsession—we’ve got a book for you!

P.S. Keep checking our website for the month of March with more posts as part of our “Garden Series”. In case you missed it take a look at a few planting tips and tricks: 9 Simple Steps to Sheet Mulching, How to Plan the Best Garden Ever, The Ultimate Raised Bed: How To Make An Herb Spiral and Eliot Coleman’s Guide to Great Compost


~ ~ All Farm & Garden Books: 30% Off ~ ~

Farming the Woods
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97
Edible Forest Gardens Vol. I
Retail: $75.00
Sale: $52.50
The Grafter's Handbook
Retail: $40.00
Sale: $28.00
The Holistic Orchard
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97
Perennial Vegetables
Retail: $35.00
Sale: $24.50
An Unlikely Vineyard
Retail: $35.00
Sale: $24.50
The Resilient Farm and Homestead
Retail: $40.00
Sale: $28.00
Edible Perennial Gardening
Retail: $22.95
Sale: $16.07
Around The World in 80 Plants
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $20.97
Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $17.47
Seed to Seed
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $17.47
The Resilient Gardener
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $20.97

View All Books on Sale


 

Low Maintenance Perennials for Your Garden
Low Maintenance Perennials for Your Garden
Share Like this on Facebook Pin it! Tweet it!
Food from the Forest
Food from the Forest: Fruits, Nuts, and More
Share Like this on Facebook Pin it! Tweet it!

Harvesting Garlic
Harvesting Garlic
Share Like this on Facebook Pin it! Tweet it!
How to Graft the Perfect Fruit Tree: Five Grafting Techniques
How to Graft the Perfect Tree
Share Like this on Facebook Pin it! Tweet it!

6 Reasons Why You Need to Plant Perennials…Like Now
6 Reasons Why Perennials are the Best Bang for Your Buck
Share Like this on Facebook Pin it! Tweet it!
Four Perennial Vegetables Perfect for Shady Spots
Four Perennial Vegetables Perfect for Shady Spots
Share Like this on Facebook Pin it! Tweet it!

Permaculture Q&A: Michael Judd’s Blueberry Soil Mix
Michael Judd’s Blueberry Soil Mix
Share Like this on Facebook Pin it! Tweet it!
The Six Pests Plaguing your Fruit Trees — and How to Control them Organically
Six Pests Plaguing Your Fruit Trees and How to Control Them Organically
Share Like this on Facebook Pin it! Tweet it!

View All Books on Sale

~ ~ Need More? Don’t Miss our New Releases   ~ ~

Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts

The Nourishing Homestead The Tao of Vegetable Gardening The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm

Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)

Building a Sustainable Community: The D Acres Model

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

If you were going to create a community-based homestead or farm from scratch, where would you start? What building materials would you use? What crops would you grow and what animals would you raise? How would you develop an organizational structure and connect with your community? And, how would you make sure all of this evolves in perpetuity and is truly sustainable?

For the past twenty years, Josh Trought, founder of D Acres of New Hampshire, has been asking himself these very same questions and has come up with a model to help others seeking practical alternatives to the current environmentally and economically destructive paradigm.

D Acres is an ecologically designed educational center located on the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains in northern New Hampshire. In addition to it being a fully operational farm, it serves multiple community functions including a hostel for travelers, a training center for everything from metal- and woodworking to cob building and seasonal cooking, a gathering place for music, poetry, joke-telling, potluck meals, and much more.

In his new book, The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm, Trought describes not only the history of the D Acres project, but its evolving principles and practices that are rooted in the land, its inhabitants, and the joy inherent in collective empowerment.

Booklist calls it, “An immensely useful guidebook for organic farmers, cohousing advocates, and anyone interested in learning about a place where sustainability is truly possible.” Trought hopes this book encourages more people to become involved in the land-based service movement. He writes,

While the book may be valuable to most anyone, my purpose in writing was to offer a compilation of information that I wish was available when I began farming. By providing a basis of understanding of the farm system, I hope that readers can use this model as a platform for their own innovation and creative living.

From working with oxen to working with a board of directors, this book contains a wealth of innovative ideas and ways to make your farm or homestead not only more sustainable, but more inclusive of, and beneficial to, the larger community.

For more insight into Josh Trought’s work building a sustainable community at D Acres, check out the author interview below.

*****

A conversation with Josh Trought— educator, farmer, author, builder, community organizer, dreamer

A key aspect of D Acres that comes across in this book is its flexibility, and that it evolves based on the changing needs and ideas of both the onsite members and the surrounding community. Is there a project or idea that has surprised you because at first it seemed unlikely to work, but has instead flourished? 

JT: Transforming the land with pigs has been an eye opening process that we are continuing to explore. Experimenting with the number of animals, age of the critters, what time of year, in what soil conditions as well as rotational opportunities allows for continual observation and ongoing evaluation. At first it seemed that the compaction pigs caused would limit subsequent annual production without mechanization, but we had heard about planting potatoes in thick mulching of wood chips on compacted soils so we just tried to build the soil from the ground level up. At this juncture it has proven effective beyond our expectations and continues to yield benefits throughout the process.

I am also amazed at the attraction of people to tree houses and the playground is a super element I would not have foreseen when we began this project.

This book covers a lot of ground, from alternative building techniques, renewable energy, and holistic forestry to hospitality management, organic gardening, and more. All of these specialties require skilled labor. What are your strongest skills and what are you most excited to learn more about right now?

JT: I am really humbled by this whole process. I feel like a novice in so many ways.  grew up in the suburbs and have learned a lot by both doing that which I am passionate about and that which is necessary. I am excited about being part of a cultural continuum that will span into the future. I am excited to be part of a permaculture movement that will enrich the ecology for the next thousands of years. I imagine a future record/book such as Farmers for Forty Centuries that documents the evolution as members of this vibrant ecology on Earth. I am excited to be a very small part of this immense movement towards an ecological society.

My strongest skills are probably in construction design building with an emphasis on natural and reclaimed materials improvisation. I am really excited to continue seasonally improving my skills in the garden and the woodshop. I am necessarily compelled to learn more about human nature and our relations to one another.

As a child, you spent many summers with your family on this property in northern New Hampshire and now you have been living on it full-time for the past 17 years. What do you love most about the D Acres landscape and is there anything new about it that you have recently learned even after all these years?

JT: Every year I try to get more in tune with the natural cycle and rhythm of the land. The farm is so seasonally dynamic.  I like to notice the seasonal shifts as they occur.  I have started documenting these changes using my senses as well as journal and videography to view not only the seasonal changes, but also those that differ year to year.

I like getting more in touch with the water resource. I enjoy swimming in our local rivers and appreciate the resource for its ecological value. I have been more focused on how the water works on the land and our role to clean and purify this resource.

What advice do you give people that want to start their own community-scale farm?

JT: While I encourage them to do so, there are several comments I like to share with them. I think while it is important to start and initiate projects of this nature everywhere, it is also important to nurture existing projects. It is a good idea to join an existing project to learn from models that are up and running as well as support the projects in place.  We are proud of the people who have participated in our project and then gone out to start their own family farms or projects unique to their locales. I also think it is important to recognize that the D Acres model is a response to a wide array of circumstances. Any new entity would naturally be a reflection of the surrounding variables including the individual personnel and their strengths, land base, and community needs.

We’re Hiring! Join the Team as Our Next Editorial Intern

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

For 30 years, Chelsea Green has been the go-to publisher for people seeking foundational books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, including organic gardening and agriculture, renewable energy, green building, eco-cuisine, and ethical business. In 2012, we decided to practice what we publish and became employee-owned. We are a founding member of the Green Press Initiative and have been printing books on recycled paper since 1985, when our first list of books went on sale. We print our books on paper that consists of a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer waste and aim for 100 percent whenever possible. We also don’t print our books overseas, but rather use domestic printers to keep our shipping costs (and impact on the environment) at a minimum.

We are currently hiring for the position of Editorial Intern to be based in our White River Junction office. This is a three-month internship with the potential to turn into a full-time, Editorial Assistant position. Please send resumé and cover letter to Michael Metivier, Associate Editor: [email protected]. No phone calls, please.

General Description
The Editorial Intern is responsible for assisting the editors in handling administrative, database, and clerical responsibilities for the Chelsea Green editorial department as needed and assisting the Subrights Manager in handling the administrative, database, clerical, and other responsibilities for the Chelsea Green Subrights Department as needed.

Responsibilities

  • Support editors with tasks including, but not limited to those listed below. Position will have opportunity to improve and expand skills/knowledge in day-to-day operations of an editorial department, and its function within a small independent publishing company.
  • Determine, under the guidance of the Assistant Editor or other editors within the department, the appropriate response to unsolicited submissions (slush), i.e. passing them on for further review or preparing a letter of rejection.
  • Assist editors with maintaining and updating book specs, blurber copy requests and other mailings, and other information on Quickbase.
  • Handle permissions inquiries and requests in a timely, organized manner under the supervision of the Associate Editor.
  • Maintain Awards database in Quickbase and review it regularly, deleting awards that no longer exist or are inappropriate for our titles. Make award submission recommendations to the editors and handle all aspects of submissions and awards won.
  • Handle timely mailing of all complimentary copies on receipt of bound books.
  • General administrative tasks, including: conducting mailings (either from here or in concert with Sales Assistant and the warehouse), various editorial projects (manuscript organization, fact checking, research as requested); taking notes at editorial meetings and then distributing them to participants for review.
  • Assist Subrights Manager with administrative tasks related to: mailings; sending out and tracking review copy requests; pitching titles; tracking payments; maintaining Quickbase systems and other duties related to Subrights, as requested.
  • Provide general clerical support as requested.

Position Details: Full-time for 3 months, paid $10/hour, based in White River Junction, Vermont, with potential to turn into full-time, Editorial Assistant position at the end of internship.

Reports to: Associate Editor and Subrights Manager

Qualifications: This is an entry-level position for a motivated self-starter with a demonstrated interest in sustainability issues and publishing. Duties combine administrative and editorial functions and require the ability to work within a team environment as well as work independently. Must have: strong communication, writing, and interpersonal skills; ability to work in fast-paced, deadline-driven environment; strong computer skills and proficiency in Word and Excel; comfort with administrative tasks.

You’ve Got Mail. And it’s Chicks!

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

There’s nothing quite like having a box of cute, fluffy chicks arrive in the mail. It’s miraculous, notes author and homesteader Ben Hewitt, that a newly hatched chick can survive without food and water for exactly the amount of time it takes to mail a package from anywhere in the United States to anywhere else in the United States.

If you’re considering purchasing some mail-order chicks, read the following excerpt from Hewitt’s recently released The Nourishing Homestead for tips on housing, fencing, feed, and more.

Or, if you think ducks might be more your speed, here’s a comparison of ducks vs chickens from Carol Deppe’s The Resilient Gardener.

Cheep! Cheep!

Chickens and Other Poultry

The crazy thing about chickens is that you can order them through the mail. Actually, this is not entirely true, because you don’t order chickens through the mail; you order chicks. Day-old chicks, to be exact, and it shouldn’t be possible but it is, because chicks hatch with just enough energy in their tiny bodies to live for two or three days without food or water. As it turns out, this is precisely long enough for them to be shipped via mail from pretty much anywhere in the United States to pretty much anywhere else in the United States.

Although I have become
 accustomed to it by now, it 
would be hard to overstate just
 how extraordinary and delightful it is to walk into our post 
office each spring and hear the
 cheeping of our freshly hatched 
birds from behind the counter.
 The notion that something so
 fragile and alive can be sent
 through the mail seems to me 
to border on the miraculous. I
 mean, is it merely coincidence
 that just-hatched chicks can survive without food and water for precisely the amount of time it takes them to traverse America by train, plane, and automobile? Surely it is. Surely there could not have been some sort of grand plan in place since the days of the Red junglefowl, the Asian bird from which all modern chickens have evolved over the past 5,000 years. But still: How many other newborn creatures can survive being enclosed in a cardboard box and then sent on a dark, hurtling journey across thousands of miles?

Every year, there comes a day in late May or early June when the boys and I drive home from the post office with a box of chicks on the passenger seat, filling the car with the smell of wood shavings and something that’s harder to identify, and which is perhaps best described as the smell of chick. It is a warm smell, and if it is possible for a smell to have a tactile sensation, it is the smell of soft. The boys always want to pull “just one or two” out of the box to hold on their laps for the ride home; imagining the chaos that would inevitably result, I always prevail upon them to wait for the three or four minutes it takes us to get home.
At home, we carry the box gingerly to our brooder setup, which consists of an open-floored “box” of screwed-together boards, about 12 feet by 12 feet. We assemble our brooder in one of the small greenhouses, although doing so requires constant monitoring, as only a short period of sun on an otherwise cool and cloudy day can fry the birds if the sides aren’t raised. A heat lamp dangles from overhead, low enough that the heat is directed into the box, but high enough that there’s no danger of fire. We make a crude “peak” with two-by-fours, over which we drape plastic to retain heat. This allows us to run the 250-watt heat lamp intermittently, saving electricity, and we can even swap the high-watt bulb for a 100-watt incandescent bulb on warmer days. For the next three weeks, until their feathers come in enough to insulate them from the cool nights of late spring and early summer, this is their home. We bring them clippings of grass and other organic material every day, along with whatever waste milk the pigs aren’t consuming.

Chickens are simple creatures. And while fast-growing meat birds seem to be particularly lacking in charisma, the same cannot be said of layers. Perhaps I should not be so quick to admit this, for it may reveal something unflattering about our general level of sophistication, but this family has passed many hours doing little more than watching our birds. This was particularly true in the early years of our homestead, when we allowed our small flock of layers to roam in the yard, close to the house. Owing to the preponderance of vegetables in this area today, and chickens’ fondness for perfectly formed green peppers, we no longer allow them to range near the house. But I won’t soon forget the times Penny and I sat on the front stoop of the house, watching those curious birds do their little dance.

Pasture Requirements

Again we have a creature that is well adapted to a wide variety of landscapes and ecosystems. Like pigs, chickens do very well in forested areas; after all, every single chicken alive today evolved from jungle fowl. But so long as they have some shelter and shade, chickens also do very well on established pasture, and there’s nothing like a good dose of chicken shit to turn grass a shade of green so vibrant it looks digitally enhanced.

The surprising thing about chickens, particularly given how small and light they are, is their capacity to do tremendous damage to the soil via compaction. In remarkably short order, they can turn a small, fenced-in pen into a barren wasteland of stone-hard soil. Not only does this ensure they’re extracting few nutrients and calories from the ground, but it also does damage that can be remedied only over long periods of time or via mechanical intervention.

It’s hard to prescribe a fixed amount of pasture per chicken; what I can say is that we keep our flock of about 20 layers enclosed in a single length of flexnet for perhaps two weeks before moving them. We move our meat birds much more frequently, mostly because there are 500 percent more of them, but also because they are much larger than our layers.

Fencing

We utilize the same flexnet for our chickens as we do for the goats and sheep. It’s important to move their shelter regularly within the flexnet, or they’ll quickly “burn” the ground under the shelter with nitrogen-rich manure. How often you have to move it depends entirely on how many birds and at what stage of growth they’re at; when we have 100 mature meat birds, we move it at least twice per day. When we have a dozen layers, maybe only every other week.

Housing

There are innumerable designs for portable chicken coops, and if none of those ring your bell, you can always buy a $1,500 unit from Williams-Sonoma that comes with “white glove delivery” including on-site assembly. Or you can do like we do and knock together simple structures from materials on hand. We have constructed a variety of mobile structures over the years and have come to rely on a very light “chicken tractor” built on skids and covered by a tarp for our meat birds. The lack of weight is critical, since we’re often moving it twice per day and because the nature of our land means that many of these moves are in an uphill direction.

For the layers, we prefer a somewhat sturdier structure that of course accommodates nest boxes and roost poles. In general, the simpler and lighter the design, the better it’s worked for us. We prefer structures that offer plentiful headroom for those times we need to enter the coop and that feature at least one clear roof panel to provide more natural light for the birds. We’re also extremely fond of having nest box access from outside the coop.

By winter, the meat birds’ home is the freezer (with a last move to the oven or pot of bubbling lard) and the layers usually move into the tomato greenhouse, which has been outfitted with nest boxes, roost poles, and copious amounts of bedding to reduce compaction.

We also maintain a permanent, fenced-in run with an old coop that we semi-jokingly refer to as the “Problem Poultry Pen.” The PPP becomes home to any birds with a propensity to escape their portable coops, until we can either determine how they’re escaping or eat them. In keeping with our theory of building flexibility into our animal housing, the PPP has also served as a winter home for pigs.

Summer/Winter Feed

Both our layers and meat birds receive organic grain, table scraps, and, if there’s more than the pigs can consume, waste milk. The milk is particularly helpful in curbing the meat birds’ enormous appetite for grain. We are constantly scheming ways to reduce the grain inputs to this small farm, but we have not yet evolved to the place where our birds do not require grain. This summer, we are planning to incorporate Harvey Ussery’s maggot feeding system (sticking the carcass of a small animal into a bucket with lots of holes and letting the maggots that form drop to the ground for the birds), as well as cultivate a plot of comfrey for chicken feed.

I know some homesteads that simply allow their layers to have run of the place, and the hens seem to find plenty to eat without supplemental feed, at least during the warmer months. But they also seem to find places to lay their eggs that are never seen by the human eye. Never mind what a flock of hungry hens can do to a row of almost-ripe green peppers.

In a further attempt to curtail our grain habit, we are also experimenting with ducks again, in the hope that their proclivity for foraging will reduce our dependence on purchased grain. During the brooding stage for all our poultry, we bring clippings of grass and other greenery. Another trick we learned from Harvey Ussery is to feed hard-boiled eggs. Of course, this only works when we have an excess of eggs.

Minerals

In the winter, we mix a couple of cups of kelp with every 50-pound bag of grain. In addition to supporting the health of the birds, the kelp helps to keep the yolks dark yellow when there is a lack of other greenery to eat.

Breeds

We’ve been all over the map with chicken breeds, from heritage to commonplace. In all the years we’ve kept poultry for eggs and meat, the only breed that’s really stuck is the Kosher King. Kosher Kings are relatively fast-growing meat birds that in our experience, are vigorous, prone to foraging, and still capable of producing 6- to 7-pound roasters at 10 weeks. They are also exceptionally tasty, producing a large quantity of the dark meat we covet. We purchase cockerels from a small hatchery in Pennsylvania called Clearview Hatchery. There is no website, and the owner always answers the phone himself, which might be part of the reason his prices are so reasonable.

Interestingly, Kosher Kings are the very breed permaculturist Ben Falk discusses in his book The Resilient Farm and Homestead as being difficult to contain and
 generally unsuited to his
 farm. Our divergent experi
ences with the exact same 
breed are yet another
 reminder that the powers of
 observation should always
 trump the dogma of concept.

For layers, we have experimented widely, looking for catchphrases like great forager, exceptionally cold hardy, and consistent layer. We’ve been quite satisfied with Golden Comets, Rhode Island Reds, and Lace Winged Wyandottes, but we’re always experimenting. This year, we’re getting Black Javas, mostly because we have a local source for chicks.

Here comes Spring: Get Your Garden Started!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Spring has sprung! Okay, not quite yet but we’ve come a long way from winter wind chills. We’re itching to grab some pruners and get outdoors. We bet you are too!

Whether you are planting or planning your garden, homestead or backyard paradise we’re here to help you get an early start with our gardening and homesteading books.

30% Off ALL Farm & Garden Books until March 31st

Learn tried and true techniques from our expert authors so you can reap a plentiful harvest. Don’t miss some tips and projects below; from bombproof sheet mulching, to starting your own seed bank, how to use lambsquarter, beekeeping for beginners, and more!

Happy gardening from your friends at Chelsea Green Publishing.

P.S. Keep checking our website for the month of March with more posts as part of our “Garden Series” for planting tips and tricks for the coming gardening season.


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)


 

~ ~ All Farm & Garden Books: 30% Off  ~ ~

 

Gaia's Garden
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $20.97
The Nourishing Homestead
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $20.97
The Resilient Farm and Homestead
Retail: $40.00
Sale: $28.00
Community Scale Permaculture Farm
Retail: $40.00
Sale: $28.00
The Tao of Vegetable Gardening
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $17.47
Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97
Natural Beekeeping
Retail: $34.95
Sale: $24.47
Edible Forest Gardens Set
Retail: $150.00
Sale: $105.00
Grass, Soil, Hope
Retail: $19.95
Sale: $13.97
The Organic Grain Grower
Retail: $45.00
Sale: $31.50
Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97


Sheet Mulching
Turn Barren Soil into Black Gold: 9 Simple Steps to Sheet Mulching
Share Like this on Facebook
Comfrey, the Miracle Plant
Comfrey, The Miracle Plant
Share Like this on Facebook

Permaculture Q&A: Ben Falk Talks Nutrient Cycling
Permaculture Q&A: Ben Falk Talks Nutrient Cycling
Share Like this on Facebook
How to Use Lambsquarter from Root to Plant to Seed
How to Use Lambsquarter from Root to Plant to Seed
Share Like this on Facebook

The Seed Series: A DIY Seed Bank
The Seed Series: A DIY Seed Bank
Share Like this on Facebook
Indoor Oyster Mushrooms: Big Yield, Small Spaces
Indoor Oyster Mushrooms: Big Yield, Small Spaces
Share Like this on Facebook

Un-Coop your Poop: Everything you Need to Know about Chicken Tractors
Un-Coop your Poop: Everything you Need to Know about Chicken Tractors
Share Like this on Facebook
The Buzz: Beekeeping for Beginners
The Buzz: Beekeeping for Beginners
Share Like this on Facebook

~ ~ Coming Soon! Available for Pre-Order  ~ ~

The Seed Garden

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer Trees for Gardens, Orchards, and Peramculture Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)

Get More from Your Mission: The Social Profit Handbook

Monday, March 16th, 2015

For-profit institutions measure their success primarily by monetary gains. But nonprofit institutions are different; they aim for social profit, or improving the well-being of people, place, and planet.

The Social Profit Handbook draws from author David Grant’s decades of leadership in the education, foundation, and nonprofit worlds, and provides  leaders of social profit institutions with the tools they need to measure their success in entirely new ways, help clarify their visions, and better achieve their goals. Grant explains how organizations can reclaim impact assessment, making it an exercise for improving future work rather than merely judging past performance.

Written for those who lead, govern, and support mission-driven organizations—including for-profit, socially responsible businesses—The Social Profit Handbook tackles fundamental challenges facing these important change-makers.

“I think we are all aware of a big problem—a world awash in financial profit, or at least the pursuit of it, when what it needs is social profit,” writes Grant in the book’s introduction.”Yet my approach to the problem involves a relatively small change in the way staffs and boards of social sector organizations—and the new breed of socially conscious businesses—define and assess their successes in creating social profit.”

With fewer people believing that government — state, federal, or even local — can be trusted to solve problems, that trust is being placed in the cash-strapped “third sector” or “civic sector.”

“The sector is fragmented and cash-strapped, but collectively it can have enormous influence on the other sectors not only through its good work but also through its influence on voters and consumers. In short, I believe that social sector organizations can elevate the concept of social profit through the ways they define, pursue, and achieve the social benefits implicit in their missions. ”

You can read Grant’s complete introduction (including his elevator pitch speech to a prospective reader), along with Susan Kenny Stevens’ Foreword here.

Grant offers concrete strategies for achieving what matters most in the social sector: more benefits to society and stronger, more unified, more effective organizations prepared to make the world a better place. He does this by helping organizations implement “backwards planning” or starting from where you see your actions taking you, and working backward to determine the steps along the way that will help make that happen, and how to assess your progress along the way.

As you can see in this video clip below, Grant notes that most of us use this backwards planning technique on a regular basis. How? When we go on vacation. We don’t just pack our bags, show up at the airport and ask if there’s a plane leaving soon. We make a plan, an itinerary that we follow up to, and during, the vacation. Likewise, organizations need to set their sights into the future, and then define how best to reach those goals and achieve true, lasting, social benefits for society.

Buy your copy of The Social Profit Handbook today, get planning, and change the future.

New Audiobook—Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

If you’ve ever yearned to slow down, let life’s winds wobble you, and devote yourself to the act of anticipation rather than immediacy, then learn to ride a unicycle. Or, you could follow the thoughtful and guiding principles of  author, homesteader, and unicyclist Mark Schimmoeller in his latest book Slowspoke.

Now available as an audiobook, listen along as the author reads from this inspiring, and engrossing, tale that blends cross-country unicyclying, finding one’s true love, and learning how to fight for what is truly important in your life, and that of your family.

Even for those of us who have never experienced the peculiar pleasure of seeing the world from atop a unicycle, Schimmoeller’s book and the life lessons it contains are relatable no matter how many wheels get you from place to place. His memoir is about more than a cross-country trip on a unicycle; it’s a meditation on a way of life that Americans find increasingly rare: one that practices a playful, recalcitrant slowness.

See what we mean by listening to the following sample of the audiobook that is now available at Audible. Narrated by Schimmoeller himself, he describes setting off on his journey and what he packed—books, food, and money for along the way. Enjoy the ride, the slow, slow ride.

Peppered throughout the book are what Schimmoeller considers his “guiding principles”—moments of often humorous, pithy advice on how unicycling is inherently connected with the nature of slowness and the art of getting there, no matter where “there” exists. Fifteen of these principles from Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America are listed below.

In Schimmoeller’s characteristically unassuming way, these best practices appear to be for fellow unicyclists, but truthfully he is reminding us that it isn’t the means of transportation that matters. These ruminations on the importance of mindfulness end up speaking to each of us, if not as literal unicyclists, then as travelers traversing often rocky terrain without stopping to enjoy the view.

15 Life Lessons from a Unicyclist

(adapted from Slowspoke: A Unicyclists Guide to America by Mark Schimmoeller)

  1. Relax the emphasis on arrival.
  2. In squandering time you demonstrate its availability.
  3. Unicyclists must become devotees of anticipation.
  4. If you find yourself looking up at the sky instead of at the terrain in front of your wheel, it’s likely you have fallen.
  5. Don’t go on a straight road unless you can curb your desire to get someplace.
  6. Adventure begins only from a feeling of security.
  7. Motion without consideration of beginnings and endings can shelter a unicyclist from time and speed and progress.
  8. The art of unicycling is knowing, in part, when to give in to desire.
  9. It doesn’t make a difference one way or the other if a unicyclist takes a break.
  10. The act of falling partway plus corrections equals movement.
  11. The simple act of reducing your velocity…could eliminate a significant number of sharp turns in the world.
  12. It’s conceivable that someone could study wobbliness long enough to discover a corollary of strength.
  13. When it comes to attracting the opposite sex, don’t compete with bicyclists.
  14. There are limits, too, to slowness on a unicycle…The pace should inch just ahead of sorrow.
  15. A unicycle is who you are. For whatever reason, you are not any other form of transportation. You are a unicycle. Please love yourself.

Get Garden Reading! 30% Off Gardening Books

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Want a great garden? It all starts with a good plan. You’ll find growing is easier than you ever imagined.

30% Off Gardening Books
Until March 31st

To help jump-start your garden planning we’ve included some tips and inspiration from our expert authors; from planning the best garden, to starting your seedlings right and how to pick the best crop for your garden.

Keep an eye out for the month of March and more of our “Garden Series” with planting tips and tricks for the coming gardening season.

Happy gardening from your friends at Chelsea Green Publishing.

P.S. Need a suggestion? We’re here to help. Email us at [email protected]


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)

How to Plan the Best Garden Ever
How to Plan the Best Garden Ever
Share Like this on Facebook
Garden Planning: 48 of the most Promising Veggies
Garden Planning: 48 of the Most Promising Veggies
Share Like this on Facebook

Build an Herb Spiral: The Ultimate Raised Bed
Build an Herb Spiral: The Ultimate Raised Bed
Share Like this on Facebook
3 Steps to Start Your Plants off Right
3 Steps to Start Your Plants off Right
Share Like this on Facebook

Fertile Soil for an Abundant Garden
Fertile Soil for an Abundant Garden
Share Like this on Facebook
The Eat-All Greens Garden
The Eat-All Greens Garden
Share Like this on Facebook

What is a Plant Guild
Permaculture 101: What is a Plant Guild
Share Like this on Facebook
Choosing the Right Seed Crop
Choosing the Right Seed Crop
Share Like this on Facebook

 

~ ~ Garden Books: 30% Off  ~ ~
The Tao of Vegetable Gardening
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $17.47
Integrated Forest Gardening
Retail: $45.00
Sale: $31.50
The Organic Seed Grower
Retail: $49.95
Sale: $34.97
The Four-Season Harvest
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $17.47
Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $17.47
The New Organic Grower
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $17.47
The Resilient Gardener
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $20.97
Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97
Gaia's Garden
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $20.97
Farming the Woods
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $27.97
The Organic Grain Grower
Retail: $45.00
Sale: $31.50
Paradise Lot
Retail: $19.95
Sale: $13.97

~ ~ Need More? Don’t Miss our New Releases   ~ ~

The Nourishing Homestead

The Nourishing Homestead The Social Profit Handbook A Man Apart

Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)

Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com