News posts from admin's Archive


Permaculture Sale: 30% Off through May 25th!

Monday, April 6th, 2015
The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm

Retail: $40.00

Sale: $28.00

Farming the Woods

Retail: $39.95

Sale: $27.97

Integrated Forest Gardening

Retail: $45.00

Sale: $31.50

The OAEC Cookbook

Retail: $40.00

Sale: $28.00

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation

Retail: $39.95

Sale: $27.97

The Resilient Farm and Homestead

Retail: $40.00

Sale: $28.00

Edible Forest Gardens: 2 Volume Set

Retail: $150.00

Sale: $105.00

Gaia's Garden

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts

Retail: $39.95

Sale: $27.97

Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist

Retail: $24.95

Sale: $17.47

Paradise Lot

Retail: $19.95

Sale: $13.97

Perennial Vegetables

Retail: $35.00

Sale: $24.50

Edible Perennial Gardening

Retail: $22.95

Sale: $16.07

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock

Retail: $39.95

Sale: $27.97

The Holistic Orchard

Retail: $39.95

Sale: $27.97

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

The Vagan Book of Permaculture

Retail: $24.95

Sale: $17.47

Food Not Lawns

Retail: $25.00

Sale: $17.50

Around The World in 80 Plants

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

Edible Cities

Retail: $22.95

Sale: $16.07

Edible Forest Gardens, Volume 1

Retail: $75.00

Sale: $52.50

Edible Forest Gardens, Volume 2

Retail: $75.00

Sale: $52.50

Getting Started In Your Own Wood

Retail: $19.95

Sale: $13.97

The Chelsea Green Reader

Retail: $15.00

Sale: $10.50

7 Ways to Think Differently

Retail: $10.00

Sale: $7.00

Earth User's Guide to Teaching Permaculture

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

Designing Ecological Habitats

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

Letting in the Wild Edges

Retail: $24.95

Sale: $17.47

Permaculture in Pots

Retail: $14.95

Sale: $10.47

The Woodland Way

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

Perennial Vegetables & Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier

Retail: $59.95

Sale: $41.97

Desert or Paradise

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

People & Permaculture

Retail: $34.95

Sale: $24.47

Compost, Vermicompost, and Compost Tea

Retail: $12.95

Sale: $9.07

Earth User's Guide to Permaculture, 2nd Edition

Retail: $37.95

Sale: $26.57

Permaculture Design

Retail: $24.95

Sale: $17.47

Dreaming the Future

Retail: $17.95

Sale: $12.57

Sowing Seeds in the Desert

Retail: $15.95

Sale: $11.17

Permaculture Pioneers

Retail: $24.95

Sale: $17.47

The Woodland House

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

Future Scenarios

Retail: $12.00

Sale: $8.40

The Woodland Year

Retail: $39.95

Sale: $27.97

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2

Retail: $39.95

Sale: $27.97

Getting Started in Permaculture

Retail: $14.95

Sale: $10.47

The Humanure Handbook

Retail: $25.00

Sale: $17.50

Permaculture Plants

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

The Permaculture Way

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

The Basics of Permaculture

Retail: $25.00

Sale: $17.50

The Earth Care Manual

Retail: $75.00

Sale: $52.50

The Permaculture Garden

Retail: $25.00

Sale: $17.50

Permaculture

Retail: $30.00

Sale: $21.00

How to Make a Forest Garden, 3rd Edition

Retail: $30.00

Sale: $21.00

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

Permaculture in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition

Retail: $12.95

Sale: $9.07

Books Coming Soon and Available for Pre-Order!

The Permaculture City

Retail: $24.95

Sale: $17.47

Trees for Gardens, Orchards, and Permaculture

Retail: $39.95

Sale: $27.97

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $20.97

The Forest Garden Greenhouse

Retail: $34.95

Sale: $24.47

Horse-Powered Farming for the 21st Century

Retail: $45.00

Sale: $31.50

Beyond the War on Invasive Species

Retail: $22.95

Sale: $16.07


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books already on sale for example. Free shipping (For US Orders Only) for orders $100 or more is applied after discount, if any, is applied. Sale runs through May 25, 2015.


Depressed about Climate Change? Good. Here’s How to Take Action

Monday, April 6th, 2015

The facts about climate change are settled. Mostly. In fact, the news seems to get worse, and more urgent, every day. Yet, the more the facts stack up, the less resolve many people seem to have about getting behind solutions that will stem, or turn, the tide. What gives?

In What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, economist and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes offers a refreshing take on why we’re avoiding the obvious, and inevitable, and how climate change believers can better talk to, and support, people who are having a hard time making sense of just what it is they are supposed to be doing—eat better, buy different light bulbs, drive less, walk more, all of the above?

For Further Reading

In his book, Stoknes masterfully identifies the five main psychological barriers to climate action, but he then offers up five new strategies that are social, positive, and simple, and lead to making climate-friendly behaviors easy and convenient. He also examines how the consistent doom-and-gloom messages from some climate activists have only reinforced those barriers to action, and how we can turn that around.

We posed a few questions to Stoknes about his new book and how he believes we can take steps to move beyond the “Great Grief” of climate change and move toward actions that are meaningful, and improve our future.

 A Conversation with Per Espen Stoknes

There are many surprises in your book, including your explanation of what really keeps people from taking action on climate change. It’s not always what people might expect. So, what keeps us from doing the right thing?

There are at least five main defenses—the five D’s as I call them—that keep us from acknowledging the need for change: We distance ourselves from the climate issue; we avoid doom and sacrifice messengers; we experience cognitive dissonance; we get rid of fear and guilt through denial mechanisms; and, automatically resist criticisms of my identity, job, and lifestyle.

And, I should be clear: It’s not that people don’t care. The problem is that people can’t see there are any effective solutions. Then they feel helpless, start distancing themselves from the issue, and give little priority to it. Our limited pool of what we most often worry about is often filled with concerns closer to us— our job, family, health, and education.

 

A key difference in your book, as compared to other recent climate books, is that you reveal how simple it can be to change behavior if we approach the topic differently. What should we be doing differently, and how are these new approaches proving effective?

For too long we’ve relied solely on a highly rational double push: More scientific facts will finally convince the wayward about climate change. And there must be a global price on carbon emissions. But neither is rooted in our messy, social reality or guided by how our brains actually think. Oddly enough, more facts and more taxes don’t build policy support among people.

It’s time for a different approach: Finding ways of engaging that go with the evolutionary flow of the human mind, rather than push against it. One starting point is to use the power of social networks. Most of us imitate others. If I believe everyone else is driving big cars and using more energy than me, then I’ll do the same—or more! Research has shown that if people believe their neighbors are conserving more energy and water than themselves, then they’ll start doing it, too—or more!

When working with social networks, we should avoid framing climate change as catastrophe, cost, and sacrifice. Rather, we should employ supportive framings by positioning climate change as opportunities for smarter growth solutions for our cities and companies, or as a national insurance issue, or as a public health concern.

 

SONY DSCYou point out that people often change their behaviors before they change their beliefs. So is it really possible to get a denier to make behavioral changes—to live a more climate-friendly life or back more climate change-friendly policies? And will that really lead to him or her accepting the facts, eventually, on climate change?

In reality, behavior nudges are also methods of climate communication. They help us get around the five main barriers that hinder support for climate policy: They work around the distance barrier by making the climate issue feel near and relevant to personal behavior. They nudge us out of the cost and sacrifice framing that haunts the climate issue and creates the doom barrier. They promote behavior that influences attitudes, helping us reduce the dissonance and denial barriers.

It is easier to behave consistently with our beliefs when nudged. Research shows that giving money or time to a cause strengthens our positive attitudes about that cause. So nudges that combine thinking and doing can turn cognitive dissonance around for the good: If I do all these things—insulate my house, go solar, have high-quality and efficient appliances, recycle—then the cause must be important, and therefore the science behind it right. This seems to be the way our minds work—more psychological than logical.

 

You define the feeling that many climate change activists and scientists have around the gloom and doom of global warming as the “Great Grief.” Are we working through the five stages of grief as the notion of a dying planet takes hold? Explain how we can move from depression to action.

Climate depression is … well, depressing! Despair, anger, sorrow, loss, and exasperation … all these types of feelings are creeping up on people who get into the reality of global warming. It feels devastating, looks inevitable and terribly destructive to the beautiful landscapes we love. Most want to move out of this darkness, and into hope and action immediately. Scientists in particular are trained to take their feelings out of the equations. But, maybe we should not discard the despair and depression so fast. That our individual grief and emotional loss can actually be a broadly shared reaction to the decline of nature is an idea that rarely appears in conversation or the popular media. This more-than-personal sadness is what I call the Great Grief, a feeling rising in us, in our psyche, as if from the earth itself at this time.

The challenge is to not shut ourselves out from this Great Grief when it comes to awareness. By entering more fully into the Grief, we may move through denial and bargaining, despair, and grief to a fuller acceptance of the mess we’re in. Paradoxically, as we travel through it – shaping it, expressing it – we may find a renewed way of caring for the land, air, ourselves, and others. Contact with the pain of the world can also open the heart to reach out to all things still living. Through this mourning we may gradually shift from helpless depression to a heartfelt appreciation and re-engagement. Going more fully down to the depths of despair can also bring healing. It cracks the stressed-out, numbed heart open to a deeper reconnection with the more-than-human world. Painful, yes, and potentially transformative.

Our Spring Sale Just Got BIGGER!

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

This is it. Today is your last chance to save with our Spring Cleaning Sale. But hurry – it’ll be gone tomorrow.

We are cleaning out our warehouse to make room for our new spring releases with select books on sale for $1.99 – $9.99. Plus save 10% off all books* with the discount code SPRG10.

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

Remember we offer free shipping on orders of $100 or more!


*Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books already on sale for example.
Free shipping (For US Orders Only) for orders $100 or more is applied after discount, if any, is applied.
Sale runs through May 3, 2015


The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat (with CD)

Desert or Paradise

A Sanctuary of Trees

The Natural Building Companion
Wild Flavors

Food Not Lawns

The Revolution will not be Microwaved

Cooking Close to Home

Select Books $1.99 – $9.99 + 10% off Everything with Discount Code SPRG10

Good Morning, Beautiful Business

What Then Must We Do?

Sex and the River Styx

Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares

Organic Dairy Production

Crop Rotation and Cover Cropping

Growing Healthy Vegetable Crops

Humane and Healthy Poultry Production

 

View all 9.99 Books View all 4.99 Books View all 1.99 Books

Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books already on sale for example.
Free shipping (For US Orders Only) for orders $100 or more is applied after discount, if any, is applied.
Sale runs through May 3, 2015


New Cookbook Offers Hundreds of Garden-to-Plate Recipes

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Are you a gardener interested in finding new ways to cook with your vegetables or a farmers’ market shopper looking to expand your repertoire? Maybe you are a home cook who wants to prepare healthy meals for your family and friends or a professional chef looking for inspired recipes using wild edibles? Or are you a member of a community-based organization who cooks for crowds on a regular basis?

If you nodded your head to any of these questions, then The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook is for you.

This unique cookbook is a beautifully illustrated collection of 200 inspired vegetarian recipes using fresh-from-the-garden seasonal ingredients from the OAEC, a renowned farm, educational retreat center, eco-thinktank and home of the Mother Garden—one of California’s first certified organic farms.

You’ll learn how to incorporate a diverse array of ingredients including weeds, flowers, herbs, nuts, fruits, mushrooms, and other forages, into your family’s everyday meals. The recipes also provide the quantities and measurements necessary to cook for a crowd—making each dish perfect to cook at home, or to share at parties, potlucks, and community events.

The OAEC has a passionate ethos about eating seasonally, and their book shows readers how to cook based on what is available in the garden at any given time of the year. Nothing illustrates this concept better than their signature dish, the Biodiversity Salad Mix, which frequently features more than 60 varieties of greens and wild edibles.

Acclaimed chef and author Alice Waters writes in her foreword, “It is a testament to the remarkable biodiversity of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center that something as ostensibly simple as a green salad can be such a revelation. But a revelation it is.” Pretty impressive for a bowl of greens.

Most likely you don’t have the resources to incorporate 60 ingredients into a salad, but lead author Olivia Rathbone encourages us to experiment with the biodiversity available in our own regions.

“We are not seeking out rare and endangered food crops of the world in order to ‘discover’ and profit from the next exotic ingredient to be marketed and consumed by the industrial food system,” writes Rathbone in her introduction. “Through trial-and-error research, we are taking full advantage of our regional growing conditions to find what works, and we encourage you to do the same kind of experimentation in your own backyard.”

And, for those less adventurous eaters, fear not, a reviewer from Booklist points out that many of the recipes “demonstrate simple techniques that work with many different vegetables.”

In The OAEC Cookbook you’ll find seasonal menus that offer a wide range of dishes such as: Carrot and Chamomile Soup and Pepita-Encrusted Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Mint. There are a variety of delicious salad dressing recipes, sauces, and pestos for garden-fresh greens. There are comfort foods like pots of savory Biodiversity Beans and Winter Sourdough Pizza and crowd pleasing desserts like Fresh Fruit Fools and Cardamom-Rose-Plum Bars.

Is your mouth watering yet? Check out the sample recipes below and start planning your next dinner party. Can we come?

Sample Recipes from The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook

We’re Hiring! Join Our Team as Assistant to the Production Director

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

The Assistant to the Production Director is a part-time in-house employee reporting to the Production Director. This position is based out of the White River Junction office and could become full-time in the future.

The Assistant to the Production Director provides general assistance in all aspects of editorial production from manuscript to bound book and eBooks. Working independently and in support of the Production Director, the ideal candidate will be able to focus on details of projects in a fast-paced work environment.

Responsibilities of the Position Include:

General/Administrative
• Provide general production assistance (scanning, file transmission, photocopying, filing, mailing, etc.).
• Copyedit and proofread miscellaneous front matter, back matter, and cover and jacket copy.
• Proofread corrections to pages and revised pages.
• Traffic manuscripts and associated materials to freelancers, compositors, and printers.
• Review and reconcile author and editorial changes in manuscript and page proofs.
• Upload files to printers and e-book distributors.
• Format/tag manuscripts for submission to typesetter.
• Archive and maintain production files on the server.
• Participate in weekly project schedule meetings.
• Participate in front-list planning meetings.
• Develop project management skills for full-color illustrated books

Position Requirements
• Bachelor’s or associate’s degree
• Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
• Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously on time and on budget
• Excellent writing and editing skills
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications Word, Excel, and Outlook
• Competence with Adobe Acrobat and other graphic-arts programs
• Must work out of the White River Junction, VT office of Chelsea Green
• Publishing and/or graphic arts experience a plus
• Digital file management experience a plus

To Apply: Send cover letter and resume to Patricia Stone, [email protected], by Friday May 1, 2015. No phone calls, please.

Chelsea Green to Revolutionize Industry with Edible Books

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Move over Gutenberg: In advance of Earth Day 2015, environmental publishing leader Chelsea Green Publishing is announcing the introduction of an entirely new type of book – the completely biodegradable, and in certain instances edible, book.

While some publishers tout the recycled content of their papers, or use of soy-based inks, Chelsea Green, which turned 30 in 2014, is embarking on a new type of book that promises to revolutionize how we think of books as objects. These books are designed to nourish the mind, and the body. Literally.

Using all-natural and organic ingredients as their base, similar to the methods used in a new line of plantable coffee cups by a California entrepreneur, and these coffee cup makers in North Dakota, our limited line of biodegradable books will allow readers to use their books to:

  • Make healing bone broth;
  • Grow mushrooms;
  • Plant heirloom squash and other select varietals;
  • Reforest areas degraded by those “other” book publishers, and much more.

Each of these limited-edition books will come with a free, companion eBook, to allow you to return to those pages you’ve now planted, or eaten. These books are designed to help do more than just put seeds of knowledge into people’s hands, but the seeds themselves.

The broth-brewing books, based on the recent top-selling book The Heal Your Gut Cookbook, will come in three flavors —Beef, Chicken or Fish. Why stand in line at Brodo waiting for a cup of broth, when you can simply make it yourself in the comfort of your kitchen.

How does it work? For the bone broth book, it’s simple: Since each page is made from a combination of finely ground bones, marrow, and a vegetable seasoning powder, when you’re done reading a section of the book, simply tear out the book’s pages at its perforated edge and drop into boiling water. Within minutes you’ll have a delicious steaming hot bone broth. The more pages you use, the stronger the broth!

Other titles to be released in our new biodegradable series include:

  • Organic Mushroom Farming: Pages from this book are inoculated with mushroom mycelium. Just place the pages on top of a growing substrate—some cardboard or an old pair of jeans— and it’ll start growing fungi! You can use those mushrooms for food, or as author Tradd Cotter points out in his book, for a variety of health and environmental mycoremediation projects.
  • The Tao of Vegetable Gardening: Grow some of Carol Deppe’s amazing heirloom varietals, including squash and corn by planting pages from her book. Select pages will help you seed an “Eat-All Greens Garden,” her revolutionary way of growing greens that can raise enough fresh, leafy greens for a small family for a year.
  • Farming the Woods: Pages from this book will help you reforest deforested northern woodlands by planting a mix of deciduous and conifer trees. Techniques in the book laid out by authors Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel will show you how to then add plantings of wild garlic, ginseng, and more to augment the production of food from your forest.
  • Holy Shit: With the subtitle of “Managing Manure to Save Mankind,” need we say more? This treatise on all things bowel-related and how we can harness its richness to fertilize the land—including the use of humanure. This book is edible enough to become compost after you chomp it, yet biodegradable enough for the less adventurous who merely want to toss it on the compost pile when they’re done. If neither appeals, it does make for a great bathroom read.

Unlike the creator of the K-Cup, we have no regrets about bringing books into the world, and want to ensure that no one makes a viral video accusing us of “Killing the Planet” with our hefty how-to tomes because people may have concerns about their environmental impact.

For more information about this revolutionary publishing technology, visit www.eat-this-book.com.

And … Happy April 1st!

March Roundup: News, Views & Stuff You Can Use

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Check out the latest news and opinions from Chelsea Green and our authors, as well as tips and techniques about how you can bring our books to life in your kitchen, backyard, or community. Don’t miss the special sales and new releases!

 


Building a Sustainable Community: The D Acres Model
Building a Sustainable Community: The D Acres Model
 
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? And, how would you make sure all of this evolves in perpetuity and is truly sustainable? Read »»

Here Comes Spring: Get Your Garden Ready
Here Comes Spring: Get Your Garden Ready
Spring has sprung! 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. Get Ready »»

Book Exposes Scientific Fraud, Collusion on GMOs
Book Exposes Scientific Fraud, Collusion on GMOs
Altered Genes, Twisted Truth is an important book that is long overdue in the United States, and Chelsea Green Publishing is proud to distribute this book to consumers who need to read the whole story behind how government officials and chemical companies have colluded to mislead the public about GM crops and foods. Learn More »»

Get Garden Reading! 30% Off Gardening Books
Get Garden Reading! 30% Off Gardening Books
Want a great garden? It all starts with a good plan. You’ll find growing is easier than you ever imagined. To help jump-start your garden planning we’ve included some tips and inspiration from our expert authors. Plan »»

Perennial Gardening: Grow More Food with Less Work!
Perennial Gardening: Grow More Food with Less Work!
Congratulations, you survived another long winter! It is officially spring and time to dig in.
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. Plant »»

Ducks Vs. Chickens
Duck vs. Chickens
Thinking about adding a laying flock to your backyard, but having trouble deciding between ducks and chickens? Agonize no more. Carol Deppe has the lowdown on which type of poultry might be right for you. Quack or Cluck? »»

You’ve Got Mail. And it’s Chicks!
You’ve Got Mail. And it’s Chicks
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.Get Ready »»

Manage Your Chicken Manure: The Joys of Deep Litter
Manage Your Chicken Manure: The Joys of Deep Litter
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? Find Out »»

Gardening Tips from Eliot Coleman: How to Start Seedlings in a Cold Frame
How to Start Seedlings in a Cold Frame
Are you ready to get a start on the gardening season? With a cold frame you can jump in now. cold frame, essentially a garden bed surrounded by an angled frame and covered with glass, is a simple way to harness the heating power of the sun to get seedlings going before it’s warm enough to plant them outside unprotected. Make »»

Get More from Your Mission: The Social Profit Handbook
Get More from Your Mission: The Social Profit Handbook
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. Learn More »»

New Audiobook—Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America
New Audiobook – Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America
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. Listen »»

We’re Hiring! Join the Team as Our Next Editorial Intern
We’re Hiring! Join the Team as Our Next Editorial Intern
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. Learn More »»

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

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm The Social Profit Handbook

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming


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)
 

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
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The Seed Series: 3 Steps to Start Your Plants Off Right
The Seed Series: 3 Steps to Start Your Plants Off Right
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What is a Plant Guild?
What is a Plant Guild?
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Eliot Coleman’s Guide to Great Compost
Eliot Coleman’s Guide to Great Compost
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The Ultimate Raised Bed: How To Make An Herb Spiral
The Ultimate Raised Bed: How To Make An Herb Spiral
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Garden Planning: 48 of the Most Promising Veggies
Garden Planning: 48 of the Most Promising Veggies
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The Benefits of Perennial Vegetables
The Benefits of Perennial Vegetables
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Turn Barren Soil into Black Gold: 9 Simple Steps to Sheet Mulching
Turn Barren Soil into Black Gold: 9 Simple Steps to Sheet Mulching
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~ ~ 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


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Low Maintenance Perennials for Your Garden
Low Maintenance Perennials for Your Garden
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Food from the Forest
Food from the Forest: Fruits, Nuts, and More
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Harvesting Garlic
Harvesting Garlic
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How to Graft the Perfect Fruit Tree: Five Grafting Techniques
How to Graft the Perfect Tree
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6 Reasons Why You Need to Plant Perennials…Like Now
6 Reasons Why Perennials are the Best Bang for Your Buck
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Four Perennial Vegetables Perfect for Shady Spots
Four Perennial Vegetables Perfect for Shady Spots
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Permaculture Q&A: Michael Judd’s Blueberry Soil Mix
Michael Judd’s Blueberry Soil Mix
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The Six Pests Plaguing your Fruit Trees — and How to Control them Organically
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