Of all of the topics we have covered on Growing A Greener World, homesteading is among the most popular.
This doesn’t surprise us because our audience and our GGW team understand that modern homesteading is about a whole lot more than just growing food. And we love connecting with people who live as we do and share their stories with you.
In this episode, Joe and Theresa visit two women in Seattle, WA, who manage to raise eco-conscious families right along side organic crops and livestock, in the heart of an urban setting.
Jessi Bloom is one homesteader we have been following for a long time. She is a writer and speaker, and author of the best-selling book, Free-Range Chicken Gardens, and her new book, Practical Permaculture. Jessi shares some tricks on incorporating your garden with free-range chickens and how to passive compost using food digesters.
Then our resident canning and homesteading expert, Theresa Loe gives some quick tips on drying herbs. And even shows how to use an unexpected item as a solar dehydrator.
Not far from Jessi is another modern homesteader, Erica Strauss. Erica is a trained chef who initially started into homesteading to get the freshest organic produce for her kitchen. As she and her husband, Nick, started on a more natural lifestyle, she documented and shared her journey with an ever growing audience. You’ll learn about connecting your garden with your kitchen and tips for raising rare ducks. And Joe shares some cool design features of Erica’s chicken coop.
Even though Jessi and Erica have different homesteading styles, they are both going beyond raising organic crops and small livestock by sharing their journey with their children and their community.
NW Bloom – EcoLogical Landscaping – Jessi Bloom
Free Range Chicken Gardens & Practical Permaculture by Jessi Bloom
Food Digester PDF
Canning & Preserving with Theresa Loe
NW Edible Blog – Erica Strauss
Crazy Chicken Lady Denise says
And furthermore (sorry, I’m long winded), we stapled down vinyl on floor & vinyl on sand trays going up the wall a foot also & sand tray hole for clean out; for easy sand replacement when that is needed someday. Rechargeable/Battery operated white dimmable lights in a waterproof tube (like Christmas/yard lights) will soon be attached to the underside of the sand trays for day &/or night lighting in the darker Fall/Winter months to come; this will help with the chickens going to the floor under the sand trays (about 2 to 3 feet deep to the wall) to eat, get to the nests, etc. Happy “homesteading” everyone.
Crazy Chicken Lady Denise says
Wow, when I saw the young lady’s chicken coop in episode 523 with the sand tray under the inside roosts, I knew that would be great for my new coop when I moved. Have had a few different styles of coops over the years & always loved raising chickens messy or not, but now with a scoop-able litter tray for keeping a cleaner coop my life is easier & their environment is cleaner. Our new 8×6 walk in coop (in an old mini barn we moved on) is the best one ever because of the sand tray running (at my hip height) along 3 walls for under a roost on the left, across the window & chicken door middle wall coming in from the outside & the roost on the right; this leaves me a nice walk in area & the jump to the floor area for the chickens. Under this continuous “horseshoe shaped” tray, on the left is room for a hanging feeder & grit feeder, under the middle tray is room for stacked nest boxes & a wood ash/sand/DE dust bath on either side, & on the right there is room for another hanging feeder & oyster shell feeder. The chickens all easily jump down to the floor of sand & some straw to get to everything they need, under the trays give them a cleaner walking area that I can clean up or deep litter if desired. I come in every morning, quickly/easily use a kitty litter scoop to gather last nights droppings from the sand tray (containing mostly “play sand” from building supply store & I mix in some “dry stall” granules from local feed store; what I scoop up is clumped in the sand, goes into a small easy carry bucket, then dumped into the compost pile outside for next years garden uplift. Wow again! This is a perfect cleaning practice & the coop smells fresh daily right away. Also, the chicken’s door to the outside fully fenced yard is higher at the tray level to keep critters from getting inside to eat & dirty the chicken’s food. We live in a forest & have lots of pesky critters. The safest chicken yard that we came up with is a pole type carport ($99 from BiMart), (no canvas roof used because of wind & snow damage) but fully fenced (sides & top) with chicken wire & hot wired outside for bear, coyotes, birds of prey, etc. My talented hubby set it up for me with my designs in mind so all available space could be used wisely to give my chickens as much space as possible & make my maintenance easier. I’ve got pics. Thanks Joe & GAGW for the great tips from all of your wonderful shows, I tell everyone to check out your valuable website.
Randy Norton says
I am confused with the way homesteading is used. I always thought it was taking over a piece of property and living on it for a number of years then it became yours?
Thanks! I loved this episode. I also garden in the city on a third of an acre. Although I do not have any animals…yet. Keep up the informative episodes.
RE: Food Digester. We live in the country near a sizable natural fishing pond. My concern with this type of composting is keeping snakes away from the composter. I have great success with trench composting during the winter, burying at least 8 in deep. But especially with all the vegetable garden waste, I would like to compost in the summer. Last summer I used an open compost pile for non-garden waste compost. I refuse to turn it since it could be bedding for any forked tongue resident (if you catch my drift). Anything I “sneak” in the pile and cover up the deer would be certain to find. What can you recommend? Thanks!
Joe Lamp'l says
Hi Nora. I compost everything I can from outside and inside the house, and I have a lot of deer that pass by my composting area rather frequently. However, I’ve never found them to be a problem. In fact, I’ve never even seen a sign that they have visited my compost. Sounds like you’re worried that you might draw more deer in because of what you put there. I just haven’t found that to be the case for me.
Bobbie Hudson says
Where is this garden?
Barbara Mitchell says
I would like more information on the in ground compost method she uses. How far down does it go into the ground, does it work in the winter (live in NC) , would a plastic trash can work as well as a metal one, does anything have to added to it besides kitchen veggie scraps? Thank you for the info, this looks like the most practical and easiest method I have seen yet.
I just moved and can’t wait to start gardening! My dilemma is how to get started? I’m struggling with garden placement, soil and design. I know I want to grow vegetables, herbs and fruits. Living in New England with the long cold winters also presents it challenges as far as what fruits I can grow. Should I plant bushes or trees or both? If I can plant trees, how long does it take to produce fruit? Will I be able to get fruit from my bushes this year? I have 3/4 of an acre to plant on.
Joe Lamp'l says
Hi Mary. It sounds like you need to become very good friends with a local Master Gardener. Call your county extension office to inquire about some of your questions. They are typically staffed during the week with volunteer Master Gardeners that can get you pointed in the right direction. And just maybe, one of them would have time to come see your place to offer firsthand advice! Another option is to get to know the people at your local independent garden center. I’m not talking about Home Depot or Lowes. You need people that really know and love gardening and design. They can be found at your local nurseries. Share your challenges with them. At the very least, they can get you started. Good luck.
Jeff Reiland says
Great show, I especially LOVED this episode! Keep it up!
Nice and informative show. I love seeing urbanites get back to the soil.
Don Lober says
I would like more information about the pond filtration system used for the ducks; product, setup, ect..
Joe Lamp'l says
Hi Don. I passed your inquiry on to Nick who created the pond and filtration system. Here is his reply:
“It uses a small submersible pump with a mesh pre-filter (to keep leaves and what-not out) to pump water about ½ into a “fountain” that keeps the water aerated and about ½ goes up into the filter unit. The filter proper is a repurposed rain barrel…in general the whole project was done as much with stuff we had lying around as possible.
The pump pushes water into an inlet about ¼ the way up from the bottom of the barrel that is designed to push the water in sideways, so it “swirls” slowly around. This helps the heavy muck (think duck poop) settle into the center of the bottom of the rain barrel. More on this later… The water (with much of the heavy much settled out) now flows up through a series of progressively finer filter media, which traps the lighter contaminants out of the water. Above the top of the filter media is a sort of “settling space” and then the water finally flows out through a standpipe at the top of the filter, down through a return hose, and into the far end of the pond.
We don’t have a dedicated “biofilter” element because there’s enough microbial activity in the natural rock of the pond bottom and the coarse filter media that, together with the plants, it takes care of breaking down waste products.
There are a bunch of other fittings on the thing…one at the bottom that can connect to a garden hose so we can drain out the duck muck that is collected at the bottom of the filter and use it to fertigate the garden. There’s also valves that let me backflush pond water or fresh city water through the filter media, from the top down, to rise the accumulated waste off.
Don Lober says
I appreciate the help, we are planning a duck pond on our property and this will help.