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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

I'm not sure what to write about me. I live in Northern Michigan on a couple acres of land just outside of town. I work a ton (50+ hours a week) and I hate that during my free time my default is crashing on the couch with a glass of wine. I have always had a strong interest in homesteading (I raised a butchered my own chickens for a few years) but I don't have a clear idea where to start. I'd love suggestions for ways in which I can start small this winter. I have a full basement where I have been considering growing mushrooms. Does anyone else have any other recommendations or recommended reading I can start out with?

Thanks for reading! :)

-Sarah
 

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Hi Sara
There is a magazine in our part of the world thats
called rural delivery. (www.RuralLife.ca ) It deals for the most with
small scale farming and has tones of interesting articles every month
I know nothing about mushrooms but i am wondering about dampness
and mildew that might be created by them. May not be good for your home.
 

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Hunter63 Saying Hey and Welcome....From Wisconsin.
 
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Hi Sarah! Traverse City, MI is beautiful, the residents are wonderful, and I enjoy spending time in that area as often as I can!... Carla Emery's book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living has a section on growing mushrooms. That may be a good place to start and the book may come in handy in your homesteading interests.
 

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Hi Sara! I grew up in Boyne City and currently live just west of Alma.
 

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hello & welcome :)--id suggest gardening composting canning raising animals --you know the easy stuff :)
hehehe but make sure to do it with wine :)
 

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Welcome Sarah. Good to see another Michigan member. I didn't realize until seeing this how many Michigan people are on this forum (noticed the ones responding...!) I'm just south of Lansing.

We started small after buying our house. I built a chicken coop lean-to on the back of our barn and started raising chickens for eggs and meat. I raised a couple of hogs last year so added on an area for them which will get expanded before I raise hogs again. Each year we work on improving our garden a little bit, but this year we decided to go with raised beds because growing in the dirt (clay) just wasn't getting it done. I built a small greenhouse over the past year, now adding a second bigger hoophouse as well as low tunnels over all of the raised beds. Canning everything we can't keep up with from the garden.

Where do you want to start? Start small and see where it takes you.
 

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Welcome from SW Michigan!!!

+1 from above, beer and wine making in the basement is great, only thing that sucks is waiting about 1yr till the wine it's ready to drink. I do just beer now and make a mean Black IPA

I to started with chickens & gardening, then came ducks, rabbits, hay, corn, composting.... Next spring comes 2 feeder piglets though i won't do my own butchering on those, all why keeping a professional job in town. Co-workers call me the hillbilly with a briefcase
 

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Welcome to the forums! As to where to start, if you have experience doing chickens, it might be a good place to start. Once you have your own chicken manure you can start going some composting and composting will lead to a nice garden. It's interesting how all these cool activities lead to the next. Enjoy your time here.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Welcome Sarah. Good to see another Michigan member. I didn't realize until seeing this how many Michigan people are on this forum (noticed the ones responding...!) I'm just south of Lansing.

We started small after buying our house. I built a chicken coop lean-to on the back of our barn and started raising chickens for eggs and meat. I raised a couple of hogs last year so added on an area for them which will get expanded before I raise hogs again. Each year we work on improving our garden a little bit, but this year we decided to go with raised beds because growing in the dirt (clay) just wasn't getting it done. I built a small greenhouse over the past year, now adding a second bigger hoophouse as well as low tunnels over all of the raised beds. Canning everything we can't keep up with from the garden.

Where do you want to start? Start small and see where it takes you.
Hiya,

I decided my small start will be this winter trying to grow oyster mushrooms. If I can't hack that then I'll know to start very small this spring. After doing a bit of research and finding they do very well in coffee grounds and seeing as many solicit coffee grounds from local cafes I was wondering if it would be worth while to store excess grounds to use as part of a mulch compound in the garden this spring? Might give a big boost in nutrients over the run-of-the-mill soil you and I both seem to be working with.
 

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From what I've read soil amendment is not an overnight process. You can spend many years adding to the soil to overcome the clay, or you can decide to grow on top of the clay in better soil to begin with and then still add to it with the compost pile every year... so we went the quick route... bought 10 yards of top soil and then add to it from there. The garden did pretty well this year just with the top soil, but now I'm adding the compost as well as digging down and burying my fish guts in the bottom of the beds when I process the fish out of my aquaponic system (some people say not to because of disease, but I figure these fish were bred and raised in my tanks, no visible signs of disease, seem very healthy from my experience raising fish so went ahead and did it anyways...).

I don't drink coffee and my wife seems to prefer prepackaged coffee so we don't have too much in the way of coffee grounds to put in our compost, but have heard of others saying its a good adder. We do save egg shells and grind them with a mortar&pestle and then add that to our raised beds / compost because there is supposed to be a lot of calcium in egg shells... so might make a difference for tomatoes... the most common issue we've had with tomatoes is blight which sounds like the egg shells might help with.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
From what I've read soil amendment is not an overnight process. You can spend many years adding to the soil to overcome the clay, or you can decide to grow on top of the clay in better soil to begin with and then still add to it with the compost pile every year... so we went the quick route... bought 10 yards of top soil and then add to it from there. The garden did pretty well this year just with the top soil, but now I'm adding the compost as well as digging down and burying my fish guts in the bottom of the beds when I process the fish out of my aquaponic system (some people say not to because of disease, but I figure these fish were bred and raised in my tanks, no visible signs of disease, seem very healthy from my experience raising fish so went ahead and did it anyways...).

I don't drink coffee and my wife seems to prefer prepackaged coffee so we don't have too much in the way of coffee grounds to put in our compost, but have heard of others saying its a good adder. We do save egg shells and grind them with a mortar&pestle and then add that to our raised beds / compost because there is supposed to be a lot of calcium in egg shells... so might make a difference for tomatoes... the most common issue we've had with tomatoes is blight which sounds like the egg shells might help with.
I read a post earlier that suggested growing marigolds along side tomato plants it deter pests. I am definetely intrigued by the idea of pairing them together (if nothing else my garden will look pretty!). I had never thought about adding fish. Interesting idea :) ...
 

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I read a post earlier that suggested growing marigolds along side tomato plants it deter pests. I am definetely intrigued by the idea of pairing them together (if nothing else my garden will look pretty!). I had never thought about adding fish. Interesting idea :) ...
Last winter I raised 24 rainbow trout from about 4-5" to about 10-12" between September/October and about May-June this year... so we ate a few of those and put the rest in the freezer (they like cold water so had to harvest them before the water temps hit 70F in the summer or they die) then I bred and raised 120 blue tilapia (and gave away another 100+ that I didn't want to raise because they were born too late to grow them to decent size this season) in the system this summer that I just finished harvesting... we've ate quite a few of them and put some in the freezer (they like warm water so had to harvest them before the water hit 47F or they die). Now I have 25 hybrid bluegills and 25 channel catfish in the system that should be OK winter or summer to see how well they grow in a year, if the channel cats do good I will probably switch to raising them exclusively so I don't have to switch species from season to season.

We have a hydroponic / aquaponic forum on here... it's a pretty fun/addicting hobby/different way to grow food =)
 
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