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Mega Chicken Tractor, Barndominium Upgrades, Planting, Homestead Hacks! How To Homesteading Builds

Mega Chicken Tractor, Barndominium Upgrades, Planting, Homestead Hacks! How To Homesteading Builds

Welcome to another exciting journey on our homestead! Today, we’re diving into a variety of projects that keep our rural life vibrant and fulfilling. From upgrading our chicken tractor to enhancing our barndominium and planting seeds, we’re embracing the challenges and joys of homesteading.

Checking On Covered Plants: Navigating Frosty Mornings

One of the challenges of early spring gardening is dealing with fluctuating temperatures, especially those chilly mornings that bring unexpected frost. To protect our tender seedlings, we’ve been diligently covering our plants at night.

As the sun rises and the frost begins to melt, it’s a critical time to check on our covered plants. The first step is to assess the overnight impact. Even with protection, frost can sometimes sneak through, so we carefully inspect each plant for signs of frostbite or wilting. It’s a relief to see that, more often than not, our efforts pay off and the plants have made it through the night unscathed.

Next, we focus on the soil. It’s important to ensure that the soil hasn’t frozen, as this can hinder root growth and nutrient uptake. A gentle touch reveals that the soil is still soft and moist, a good sign that our plants are in a healthy environment.

As we uncover the plants, we’re greeted by the vibrant greens and budding leaves of our resilient seedlings. It’s a beautiful sight that reinforces the importance of our protective measures. We take this opportunity to check for any pests or diseases that might have taken advantage of the covered environment. Thankfully, all seems well.

This daily ritual of covering and uncovering plants is a testament to the care and attention required in gardening. It’s a reminder that, with a little extra effort, we can protect our plants from the unpredictable elements and help them thrive in the early stages of growth.

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Planting and Gardening

With spring in full swing, our focus has shifted to planting and gardening. We’ve started with tea seeds and watermelons, carefully potting them and monitoring their growth. We’re experimenting with different potting techniques to find the best method for healthy root development.

We’ve also introduced a new labeling system using a thermal printer. This allows us to include more detailed information on the plant tags, such as optimal pH levels and planting dates. It’s a small change, but it’s already proving to be a valuable tool in keeping our garden organized and efficient.

One of the most exciting developments has been the splitting of our worm bucket. This is part of our ongoing effort to improve our soil quality through vermicomposting. By increasing our worm population, we’re able to produce more nutrient-rich castings, which are then used to enrich our garden beds. It’s a sustainable cycle that not only benefits our plants but also reduces waste.

Using a Thermal Printer: Streamlining Garden Organization

In our continuous quest to improve efficiency and organization in our garden, we’ve recently incorporated a thermal printer into our labeling system. This small but mighty tool has revolutionized the way we keep track of our plants.

Traditionally, labeling plants involved writing on plastic or wooden tags with a marker, which can fade over time or become illegible due to weather conditions. With the thermal printer, we can now print clear, durable labels that withstand the elements and provide a wealth of information.

The beauty of using a thermal printer lies in its versatility. We can customize the labels to include not just the plant name, but also additional details such as optimal pH levels, planting dates, and care instructions. This level of detail is invaluable as our garden grows and we juggle the needs of various plants.

The process is simple and efficient. We design the labels on a computer or smartphone, and the printer quickly produces them on heat-sensitive paper. The labels are then easily attached to plant stakes or pots. The thermal printing technology means there’s no ink to smudge or fade, ensuring that the labels remain legible for the entire growing season.

Integrating a thermal printer into our gardening routine has been a game-changer. It’s a small investment that pays off in saved time and improved accuracy, allowing us to focus more on the joys of gardening and less on the administrative tasks.

Planting Tea Seeds: A Journey into Herbal Cultivation

Embarking on the cultivation of tea plants is a new and exciting endeavor for our homestead. Tea, with its myriad of health benefits and soothing properties, is a wonderful addition to our garden.

The process begins with selecting high-quality tea seeds. We chose varieties known for their robust flavor and adaptability to our climate. Before planting, we soaked the seeds in water, a crucial step that helps to soften the outer shell and encourage germination.

We carefully prepared planting cups, filling them with a mix of soil and perlite to ensure good drainage and aeration. The tea seeds were then gently placed on the surface of the soil, with just a light covering of soil on top. Tea seeds need light to germinate, so we made sure not to bury them too deeply.

Patience is key when growing tea from seed, as germination can take several weeks. We kept the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, and placed the cups in a warm, bright spot to provide the ideal conditions for germination.

As the seeds sprout and grow, we’ll monitor their progress, ensuring they receive the right balance of light, water, and nutrients. Eventually, these seedlings will be transplanted into larger pots and, in time, into our garden where they can flourish and contribute to our sustainable lifestyle.

Planting tea seeds is more than just adding another crop to our garden; it’s an exploration of new flavors, traditions, and the art of tea-making. We’re excited to watch these plants grow and look forward to the day we can harvest our own leaves to brew a cup of homegrown tea.

Worm Farming: A Key Component of Our Homestead

One of the most rewarding aspects of our homesteading journey has been our foray into worm farming. Not only do worms play a crucial role in soil health, but they also provide a sustainable way to manage organic waste.

Our worm buckets have become an integral part of our gardening routine. By splitting the worm buckets, we’ve effectively doubled our worm population. This increase is vital for producing more worm castings, which are a fantastic organic fertilizer. The process is simple: we feed the worms kitchen scraps and other organic materials, and in return, they produce nutrient-rich castings that we can use to enrich our garden beds.

Observing the growth and reproduction of the worms has been fascinating. We’ve noticed a significant increase in baby worms, indicating a healthy and thriving environment. This is a good sign that we’re providing the right balance of food and habitat for our worm population to flourish.

We’re also experimenting with different methods to protect the worms and their habitat. In our first worm bucket, we used silicone to secure the screens, but found that it didn’t stick well to the plastic. So, we switched to using pop rivets, which seem to be a more effective solution for keeping flies and moths out while allowing air to circulate.

As we continue to expand our worm farming operation, we’re looking forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our garden’s productivity. The worms are not only helping us reduce waste, but they’re also playing a crucial role in creating a more sustainable and self-sufficient homestead.

Sealing Roof Leaks: Ensuring the Integrity of Our Barndominium

Maintaining the integrity of our barndominium’s roof is crucial for protecting our home and possessions from water damage. Recently, we’ve encountered some challenges with roof leaks, particularly where the metal roofing panels overlap. To address this, we’ve embarked on a mission to seal these leaks and prevent future issues.

The first step in this process was to identify the source of the leaks. We noticed that water was wicking back under the overlapping metal panels during heavy rains. To combat this, we decided to install J-channel along the edges of the roof. The J-channel is designed to redirect water away from the seams and into the gutters, effectively preventing it from seeping underneath the panels.

In addition to the J-channel, we applied a high-quality sealant along the seams and edges of the roofing panels. This sealant forms a waterproof barrier that fills any gaps or cracks where water might penetrate. It’s important to choose a sealant that is compatible with the roofing material and can withstand the elements, ensuring a long-lasting solution.

We also made sure to inspect and clean the gutters and downspouts, as clogged gutters can contribute to roof leaks by causing water to back up and seep under the roofing material. Regular maintenance of the gutters is an essential part of preventing roof leaks.

Sealing roof leaks is a critical task that requires attention to detail and a proactive approach. By addressing these issues promptly, we can protect our barndominium from water damage and ensure its longevity. It’s a reminder that regular maintenance and vigilance are key to a well-functioning homestead.

Homestead Hacks and Tips

Homesteading is all about innovation and making the most of what you have. In that spirit, we’ve come up with a few hacks and tips that have made a big difference in our daily routines.

One of our recent projects was constructing a chicken run with raised beds. This dual-purpose setup not only provides our chickens with fresh grass and bugs to forage but also protects our vegetable beds from pests. It’s a win-win situation that enhances the productivity and health of our homestead.

We’ve also been experimenting with different planting methods. For example, we’ve tried soaking some of our seeds before planting to encourage faster germination. It’s been encouraging to see some of these seeds sprout and begin to develop their first taproot. These small experiments help us learn and adapt, ensuring that we’re always improving our gardening techniques.

Another tip we’ve found useful is using scrap materials to create functional homestead equipment. For example, we used scrap rebar to make an axle for the back of our chicken tractor. This simple addition has made it much easier to move the tractor around our property, demonstrating that you don’t always need to buy new materials to solve a problem.

Canoe Garden Fixes: Addressing Drainage Challenges

Our canoe garden, a unique and aesthetic addition to our homestead, recently faced some drainage challenges. After a series of torrential downpours, we noticed that the drainage holes in the canoe were clogged, causing water to accumulate and stress the plants.

To address this issue, we decided to add more drainage holes to the sides of the canoe. While we initially hesitated to make these modifications, the health of our plants took precedence. Using a drill, we carefully added new holes above the existing waterline, ensuring that any excess water could escape more effectively.

We also inspected the base of the canoe to assess the drainage situation. Despite having a layer of rocks at the bottom for this purpose, it became clear that the arrangement was insufficient for heavy rains. We realized that a more porous material or a better configuration might be needed to improve drainage.

The smell of the water was another concern. A foul odor can indicate anaerobic conditions, which are harmful to plant roots. Fortunately, we caught the issue in time and were able to aerate the water by adding more drainage holes, preventing further damage to the plants.

Fixing the drainage in our canoe garden was a learning experience. It reminded us of the importance of regular maintenance and the need to adapt our gardening strategies to the whims of the weather. With these fixes in place, we’re hopeful that our canoe garden will continue to thrive and bring beauty to our homestead.

Creating a Raised Bed Chicken Run: Innovation in Action

One of our recent projects has been the creation of a raised bed chicken run. This innovative setup serves multiple purposes, providing our chickens with a safe and enriching environment while also protecting our vegetable beds from pests.

The concept is simple yet effective. We constructed raised beds for our vegetable garden and then built a chicken run around them. The chickens have access to the area between the beds, where they can forage for insects and enjoy fresh grass. This not only keeps them happy and healthy but also helps control pests naturally.

The raised beds are designed to be high enough to prevent the chickens from jumping into them, protecting our vegetables from being pecked at or trampled. At the same time, the proximity of the chickens to the beds means they can still contribute to the garden’s ecosystem by providing natural fertilizer through their droppings.

Building the raised bed chicken run required some planning and effort, but the results have been incredibly rewarding. It’s a sustainable solution that aligns with our goals of creating a productive and harmonious homestead. The chickens enjoy their spacious run, and we enjoy the peace of mind knowing our garden is protected.

This project is a testament to the creativity and innovation that homesteading demands. It’s about finding solutions that benefit both us and our animals, creating a balanced and thriving environment for all.

Converting the Chicken Coop to a Chicken Tractor: A Mobile Solution

Our journey in enhancing the functionality of our homestead led us to convert an existing chicken coop into a mobile chicken tractor. This transformation was driven by the desire to provide our chickens with fresh foraging opportunities while naturally fertilizing different areas of our land.

Step 1: Assessing the Existing Structure

The first step in this conversion was to thoroughly assess the existing chicken coop. We evaluated its size, weight, and overall condition to determine if it was suitable for conversion. The coop needed to be sturdy enough to withstand movement but light enough to be easily transported.

Step 2: Adding Mobility

The key to converting the coop into a tractor was to add mobility. We decided to use scrap rebar to create an axle for the back of the coop. This axle would support solid rubber tires, chosen for their durability and ease of maintenance. The tires were positioned to provide enough clearance for the coop to move smoothly over uneven ground.

Step 3: Constructing a Bumper System

To ensure the stability of the axle and to protect the coop during movement, we constructed a bumper system. This involved attaching wooden beams to the back of the coop, which would hold the axle in place and act as a buffer in case of any collisions.

Step 4: Testing and Adjustments

With the mobility features in place, it was time to test the newly converted chicken tractor. We attached it to a three-point hitch on our tractor to see if it could be lifted and moved easily. The initial test revealed that while the coop was mobile, some adjustments were needed to ensure smooth movement and stability. We fine-tuned the positioning of the tires and reinforced the bumper system.

Step 5: Final Touches

The final step was to add some practical features to the chicken tractor. We installed a new latch door for easy access and built a perch-style walkway for the chickens to enjoy. We also planned to add a rainwater collection system to provide a sustainable water source for the chickens.

Conclusion

Converting our chicken coop into a tractor was a rewarding project that aligned with our goals of sustainability and efficiency. The mobile coop allows us to rotate the chickens’ grazing areas, reducing the need for commercial fertilizers and providing the chickens with a varied and natural diet. It’s a win-win situation that enhances the health of our land and our flock.

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Early Season Gardening: Navigating Freeze Dangers & Planting Crops | Homestead Chronicles

Early Season Gardening: Navigating Freeze Dangers & Planting Crops | Homestead Chronicles

Hello, fellow homesteaders and gardening enthusiasts! It’s Ryan here from Backroads Homesteading. In today’s episode, I’m excited to take you through the early stages of planting on our homestead. With the risk of freezing temperatures looming, it’s a bit of a gamble, but I’m hopeful that our early crops will pull through.

Planting Day on the Homestead: Corn, Potatoes, and More! Freeze Risk! Planting Early Crops – Will They Survive? | Making Rows #planting #homestead #garden Join us on Backroads Homesteading as we dive into a busy planting day on our homestead! From wiring up the tractor with tech to planting corn and potatoes, we’re covering it all. Watch as we share our methods, trials, and the beautiful results of a day’s hard work in the field.

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The day kicks off with me getting our trusty tractor ready for the task at hand. I’ve equipped it with a GMRS radio for communication, a boom box for some tunes, and a 360 camera to capture all the action. I’ve also mounted my phone on one side for easy access. It’s important to note that when working in dusty conditions, it’s crucial to protect your electronic devices. Dust can wreak havoc on your connections in no time, so be sure to cover them up if you’re kicking up a lot of dirt.

Our main focus today is planting corn. I’ve got several trials of corn seeds that I’m eager to test out. But, in a bit of a spontaneous decision, I’ve also decided to plant some wheatgrass. Originally, I intended to juice it, but since it’s past its prime for juicing, I figured, why not plant it as hard winter wheat for the summer? If it doesn’t work out, it can always serve as a treat for our chickens.

As we move out into the field, I show you how we planted the corn last night. We created raised rows, planted the seeds, and then covered them with wood chips. The wood chips will act as mulch, helping with weed suppression and moisture retention. For the corn, I’ve kept the rows shallow, as corn typically doesn’t require deep rows. I just wanted to add a bit of extra drainage if possible.

Fast forward to the next day, and it’s all about potatoes. I’m adopting a “Back to Eden” style of planting, where we cover the potatoes with wood chips after planting them in the soil. We’re planting a variety of potatoes, including Georges whites, reds, and Yukon Golds. I must admit, I’ve never planted this many potatoes in one go before. My previous garden was a fraction of this size, so it’s quite the undertaking for one person.

One of the key messages I want to share with you all is the importance of just starting your planting, even if your soil isn’t perfect. Too often, we get caught up in analysis paralysis, worrying that our conditions aren’t ideal. But the truth is, it’s better to start and learn from the experience, even if your yield is a bit lower. With all the uncertainties that 2024 is bringing, it’s crucial to be self-sufficient in some way, whether it’s through planting food, securing water sources, or having a means of communication.

As the sun sets, I reflect on the day’s work. We’ve got four rows of potatoes in, and it’s been a long process with our small tractor. But there’s something incredibly satisfying about working the land and watching your crops grow. It’s a beautiful evening, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this journey with all of you.

Before I sign off, I want to invite you to join our online community at BackroadsHomesteading.com and subscribe to our free e-newsletter. Your support means the world to us, so don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe to our channel. Until next time, happy homesteading!