Growing microgreens indoors is a pretty simple task once you get all the items lined up. Some microgreens you can grow are actually sprouts. These are how you grow microgreens without dirt. In these times of uncertain food supply, having the tools to grow microgreens indoors might actually save your life and that of your families. I’m going to share with you a way to get lots of sprouting seeds for cheap. And there is an added benefit you can actually grow this plant to maturity and get more seeds for the next year.
Introducing – Sunflower Sprouts
Buy sunflower seeds in bulk – cleverly disguised as bird seed. I get the black sunflower seeds in 25lb bags. Yes they say not for human consumption. You know, seriously, I would not eat these right out of the bag. Because, yeah, gross things get mixed in with these from the way the seeds get processed. Rodents and insects come to mind. Send shivers down your spine? Yeah, mine too.
But anyway, we are going to wash and soak our seeds first so no more coodies on our microgreens. After all our plan is to eat the sprout not the seed right?
Don’t forget to pin this to your indoor gardening board for future reference.
The Steps To Growing Sunflower Seeds Indoors
You can get all fancy (and I’ll leave you affiliate links below in case you want to BE fancy) but I’m a simple kinda gals so I use old salad containers. I do have grow lights (I’ll get you a link for those too) they aren’t expensive and you don’t need more than may one or two unless you plan to make a business of this or have a huge family.
First we take about a half a cup of seed and wash them well. Why? Remember what we talked about above, please don’t make me go there again. Soak them in water, make sure to cover the seeds entirely, constitutes the next step. The next day sprinkle them on a thin layer of potting soil. I go for about an inch or two of dirt, cause we all know I’m not an exact type person.
(Have you seen my soap making recipe?) Put a thinner layer of dirt over the top of the seeds. It’s okay to see the shells poking out. Next water it well and cover your plastic container with plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band. Once you see the little seedlings popping up uncover the container and put them under the lights. Make sure they are still moist. In a couple days, maybe a week, you should have edible greens.
What Do They Taste Like?
They taste like sunflower seeds. Seriously they are nutritious and delicious. I like to add them to salads and ramine noodle soup. No, I don’t make ramine with the little package, I have my own special recipe. I’ll share that in a different article one of these days. They make a great addition to sandwiches too. Avocado, mayo and sunflower sprouts, served up between two slices of my artisan bread – so good. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. (reaches over to put avocado on the grocery list)
This artisan bread recipe requires only a few ingredients that go together quickly, yet produce the most amazing and delicious bread. The crust is crisp n chewy, while the crumb is soft, creamy and a bit sweet.
If you start this the night before and put it in the fridge to proof slowly, you can have warm bread for dinner. When I had lots of kids around I would make this in large batches that I kept in the fridge then baked as needed. But now we do single batches that last us most of the week.
Artisan Bread Recipe
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 tbs instant yeast (this is the kind you don’t have to proof)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup honey
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 – 2 cups very warm filtered water (I usually put the kettle on to boil, pour off 1 cup and make up the difference with room temperature water)
Putting it together
Mix the yeast and salt into the flour. I like to use this handy dandy Danish dough whisk for this part of the process. Then add the honey and olive oil to the hot water and give it a stir to get the honey to incorporate. Mix that into the flour. Stir the flour as you pour and don’t dump it all in at one time. You want a moist, shaggy dough. By shaggy I mean it is all the flour particles are wet and the dough has started to stick together.
At this point you can either stick it in the fridge till the next day or you can prepare it for baking.
Preparing for baking
Once the dough is back to room temperature if you have left it in the fridge, or after letting it rest for thirty minutes, you can start the stretching and folding process. This is how that is done:
Do this every 15 minutes for an hour. Wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking.
During this hour of stretching and folding you should be heating up your dutch oven in your oven to about 500 degrees (or as high as your oven will go if it won’t reach 500).
After the stretching and folding process, shape your loaf.
This video shows how to shape your dough. When I make this artisan bread recipe, I shape it, let it rest, then shape again and put it on parchment paper not in the basket. Though I have baskets, and do sometimes make sourdough artisan bread in them, with this every day bread recipe, I stick with easy, no fuss methods.
I let the bread rise for about 10 minutes after the second shaping, then I score the dough and put it in the dutch oven. The parchment paper serves as a carrying device too. When I bake the parchment paper comes out the sides of the dutch oven when the lid is on. That’s okay.
Once the dough is in the oven I turn the temperature down to 425 degrees F and wait 15 minutes. After 15 minutes I take the lid off and let it bake another 30 minutes. Start checking at the 25 minute mark to make sure you don’t burn the bread. It should sound hollow when you tap on it.
Take the bread out of the oven and put it on a wire rack to cool. Let it rest for a couple hours. If you cut it too soon it will make the crumb mushy. And no likes mushy crumb right? Don’t forget to take pictures and post them on Pinterest!
Today was canning center day! I was so excited I woke up at 4am to be sure not to miss our 6am appointment even though the canning center is literally around the corner from where I live.
I have know about local canning centers for years, but for some reason always thought they only did number 10 cans and you had to be part of the local LDS Church to use them. So when my neighbor asked me if I would help her process her chicken and beans I was all over it.
Processing Beans at the Canning Center
The method for processing beans starts with buying your beans at the best price. We are having a case lot sale right now here locally. Case lot sales happen in the spring and fall around here. You can buy lots of canned items and staples in bulk. Generally it makes me laugh when I visit people who buy flour in 5lb bags. That’s like one loaf of bread! My neighbor bought a couple bags of red beans which she took over to the canning center last night to soak. The people who run the center turned on the heat early this morning. So by the time we got there to can them they were tender.
Preparing The Chicken For Canning
She bought her chicken for $50 ($1.38 a pound). These chicken breasts she then cut up into smaller chunks and put them in a couple plastic garbage bags. Then put the garbage bags in a cooler with ice over night. The cooler makes it easier to transport and keeps chicken juice from getting all over the place.
The Canning Center Step by Step
Once we arrived we checked in and got our number. Then we tried to guess how many of the two types of cans we were going to need. We used the smaller cans (#300 15oz) for the chicken and larger cans for the beans (401 28oz). We then collected some cafeteria trays and went and collected our cans off the pallet.
The next step was to write on the bottom of the can, the item, the date and our number. You need a sharpie pen for this step.
Then we got a basin of hot water and rinsed each can, putting them open end up on the trays.
Once that is completed we then filled the #300 cans with our chicken. Plastic gloves are a must. We filled the cans to 1/4 inch from the top and then took them over to the cooker. At this point they get commingle with other cans of chicken being canned. Water is added to cover the meat. Once the chicken is done cooking in the cans they get lids added.
On To The Beans Again
The beans once they are tender (she taste tested them) we drained a bit so that we could fish them out of the caldron. We used a small sauce pan for this effort and put the beans in the 401 cans, then added juice to get to the 1/4 inch fro the top mark.
We then moved them over to the lid application table and lids were applied.
We then needed to clean out the caldron and utensils we used. Supplies were provided to make this an easy process, but a spare kitchen rag or two should be part of your canning center kit. We used a five gallon bucket which included an apron – I wear overalls most of the time so didn’t need one – plastic gloves, sharpie pens, paper towels & nail polish remover.
You need the nail polish remover and paper towels to clean off the sharpie pen labeling of the cans you didn’t end up using. Once you get them cleaned off you return them to the pallet.
What Can You Can?
As far as I can tell you can can just about anything! From chili and soups to all kinds of meat, beans, potatoes & any veggies. The canning center people are a wealth of knowledge and can help guide you on what steps to take to prepare your food for canning. They also have a juicer! So bring those apples & tomatoes!
Tips For Cost Saving
Canning at the canning center isn’t cheap but there are a few things you can do to make it most cost effective. Buy your products on sale. We are in Idaho – potato country! We can get huge bags of potatoes for cheap this time of year. Potatoes can exceptionally well in my opinion. I’ve often canned them in jars, however, I did see lots of people canning them at the center.
Canning your harvest is another cost effective way to use the canning center. Grow a boat load of corn? Can it!
Things I learned For Next Time
Wear water resistant shoes and pants that don’t drag on the ground. The floor is wet almost everywhere. If you are canning beans try not to let too much of the water drain off before putting the beans in the can. We had to add more water and let it get up to temperature again.
Why should we talk about dehydrating potatoes? Well for one thing I’m from Idaho. We are potato people. Which reminds me of a short story involving my family and, well, potatoes.
There we were sitting in a local diner in Idaho that specialized in burgers & fries. We are placing our order for, yes, burgers & fries, when the waiter informs us . . .
THEY HAVE NO POTATOES!
What? I thought we were in Idaho! My daughter leans in and suggests they might run across the road and grab some out of the field. Sigh that didn’t go over well.
Back to Why Dehydrating Potatoes
One can store potatoes in straw or sand or even wood shavings in a cool, dry, dark place. However, eventually, those potatoes are going to start growing. That tends to end up a big mess. To avoid the big mess, I like to dehydrate potatoes for long lasting yummy goodness. They do rehydrate quickly so you can do a lot with them. Of course one can can potatoes too, but that is a story for a different day.
The One Big Secret For Dehydrating Potatoes
The MUST BE PAR BOILED FIRST. The whole process goes like this. First you need to peel your potatoes (unless you want skins, in that case just wash them good) then thinly prepare them in the manner you wish them to be. I like slices, but shredding works too. Keep them in lightly salted water while you work.
Next you need to submerge the potatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds or so. If you miss this step you will end up with little black hockey pucks that work better out on the street than in anything you might want to eat. Just saying, cause we all know, I’ve done that.
Let The Drying Begin
Now that your potatoes are all nice and par boiled lay them out on the dehydrator trays. Let them hang out until they are dry and there is no mushiness about them at all. Read your dehydrator instructions to get the best results. As for me, my dehydrator is old, it has only one setting and I have to roll the trays around to get even heating.
Here are some good dehydrators for dehydrating potatoes.
Cooking With Dehydrated Potatoes
You can soak them in boiling water for a few minutes and they will then reconstitute. After that you can fry them or make scalloped potatoes (we call them funeral potatoes around here) or even add them to soups (don’t re hydrate them in this case). They are very handy if you over salt something too. Throw a couple chips in and as they re hydrate they will soak up the salt.
Once you get this fast sourdough starter recipe making bread, pancakes and biscuits will be a daily thing!
Making Your Fast Sourdough Starter Recipe
Making a sourdough starter can be as easy as adding equal parts of flour and water to a mason jar. Cover the mason jar with a coffee filter then put the ring on. For the first week every day add 2 tablespoons of flour and water. Mix well. Using a variety of flours, like flax or rye can speed up the process.
There are sourdough starters you can purchase on Amazon which include the fast sourdough starter recipe to get it started.
Keeping Your Sourdough Starter Going
Once you get a sourdough starter going, you can freeze a bit in case of disaster or if you are going on vacation and don’t want to take your pet starter with you.
Naming Your Sourdough Starter
I make a ginger bug with my sourdough. Fred (my sourdough starter’s name) and Ginger sit on my counter behind my coffee pot. It makes remembering to feed my yeasty pets easier.
Now that you have your sourdough starter going you need a few easy bread recipes.
Add the water last you are going for a wet looking dough but not soupy. Let this sit on the counter for a couple hours then put in the fridge overnight. The next day start folding your dough.
Folding dough in the process of wetting your hand, then lifting the dough up and folding it on itself. Do this 4 times. Once in each cardinal direction. Do this every hour or so for the next six hours.
After 6 or so turns you will need to shape your dough. This is the method I use.
Getting Ready to Bake
At this point I put my dutch oven in the oven and crank the heat up to 425. Leave the lid in the oven next to the dutch oven, not on it. Let this heat up for a good 30 to 45 minutes.
If you have left your dough sitting on the counter covered with a bowl you are going to need to tuck it under again. I do this all the time. Make sure you have flour under the loaf and just invert a glass or plastic bowl over the dough. When you get ready to put the dough in the oven you will want a piece of parchment paper.
Baking Tip For Beautiful Loaf
Put the dough on the parchment paper seem side down. Make sure it is tucked in good with a nice tight top of the dough. Dust the top lightly with flour. Put in a couple of slashes about a 1/2 in is good. Then put the whole thing including the parchment paper in the over. Cover with the lid and let cook for a good 20 minutes. No peaking!
After 20 minutes take the lid off. Slide the parchment paper out from under your bread and turn the over down to 375. Let the bread finish cooking for another 30 minutes or so. It will sound hollow and be golden brown when it is finished.
Let the bread sit on a rack for an hour or so to cool before cutting. I know, but resist the urge to cut it right away!
Can’t Wait For Your Starter?
To make a mock sourdough flavor to your bread while you are waiting for your fast sourdough starter recipe to develop, do this. Use 1/2 cup of butter milk combined with a half of a packet (for just one loaf) of INSTANT (also called rapid rise) yeast in the above recipe. Don’t use any starter and only go with 1 3/4 cup to 2 cups of water.
So you can’t get a face mask these days right? What are you going to do? Well make one of course! After all aren’t American’s known for the “Can Do” motto? Let’s look at how to make a face mask with what you have available.
If you have a sewing machine that will make some of these easier. Some of these face mask options can be made without a sewing machine.
How To Make A Face Mask – Easy Sewing Machine Option
She uses 2 pieces of material. The piece closest to the face she is using flannel. If you don’t have scrap material around then you can use old tee shirts or even button down shirts and don’t forget about old sheets. Especially the old flannel sheets. In fact you can order then on Amazon still. Check out the selection of flannel sheets here
DIY Face Mask – Hartnana Style
This is the DIY face mask style we made at our house to get us through this crisis. They are fairly straight forward. We used left over fat square we had around from making hair bows. Really any old material will do for this project. And it doesn’t take much material to make these. We also used baggie ties for the wire.
We also did not find the elastic until later so we used string and in my daughters case she makes cord out of embroidery thread for making bracelets.
How To Make A Face Mask Without A Sewing Machine
Okay this is hands down the easiest way to make a face mask!!! All you need is a bandana and two big rubber bands.
It you don’t have a bandana you can cut up old shirts, sheets, towels, pants, what ever you have around. The best part about these homemade face masks, in my opinion, is that they are reusable! Throw them in the wash and the soap n water will make them safe.
While these are not going to keep you from getting a virus, they might keep you from getting a full on inoculation thereby giving you a little more time for your body to ramp up its defenses. Speaking of which, you might want to check out this article on preparing for corona virus
Yes, the Coronavirus is bad. There are some homestead hacks for surviving a pandemic that we will look at from a practical point of view. No reason to panic but there is a big difference between preparing as best you can with the information you have and deciding to ignore what is happening around you. In my world view it is better to be prepared and not need it then to need things and not be prepared. In the later case you are simply adding to the problem.
What We Know About The Coronavirus
We know that it is a virus and it is spread pretty easily. Could it be a bioweapon? Yeah, there is some evidence that supports that. Ultimately it is a flu virus that is pretty nasty. It can be spread before you know that you are sick. And it is still contagious after you feel better!
From what we see coming out of China, it looks like unless you require a respirator, you might have to weather this storm at home.
Surviving the Coronavirus Pandemic
Like most viruses one needs to ride it out. The single most effective thing one can do now is to get their immune system in the best shape possible. Get good sleep. In case you don’t know 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Pay attention to eating quality food and probiotics. Drink good water. Make sure you are getting vitamin D & K. This will help you sleep better. Try not to stress out about this. Stress only makes things worse. Most people do not die from this. Even if the death rate is 15% that means 85% survive!
Work on making sure you and your family are in the best position to make it through.
If Someone Gets Sick
If someone comes down with the Coronavirus , or any flu like symptoms. Such things as coughing, achy, upset stomach, diarrhea, are all symptoms. Isolate them right away. Put them in a room away from everyone else. If you can designate a bathroom just for them, do that too. If you have masks, have them wear the mask when you go into the room. Try to open windows, if it is practical, to get some circulation of outside air into the room. In the winter we like to close everything off, so we all end up breathing the stale air.
Natural Resources For Fighting Virus
There have been some suggestions that hydroxycloroquine in combination with a z-pack and zinc might be effective in fighting this disease. Medcram suggests that cloroquine drives zinc into the cells and disrupts the production of the RNA virus. Cloroquine is a drug designed to fight malaria. Tonic water has quinine in it. At our house we have been drinking tonic water and taking 100mg of zinc anytime we feel a cold or illness coming on. (Gin and Tonics we originally a malaria tonic invented by the British)
Diffusing the Situation
Put a diffuser in their room and diffuse , Breezy (which you can find here) and Spice -C You can find that here. I use Spice C on everyone else in the house. Designate one person who goes in and helps. If you are sharing a bathroom, the helper person must go in and disinfect the bathroom every time the sick person goes in there. Rubbing Alcohol, lysol wipes, bleach are all things that normally kill off virus germs. Make sure you have a descent stock of them.
Things To Pick Up Now While They Are Available
Get germ killing stuff such as bleach, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, vodka, Lysol spray, colloidal silver, gloves and some type of mask (here is an article about how to make face masks with what you have on hand) and lots of tissues and toilet paper. (and paper towels) and laundry soap. If you can’t find masks, I suspect that a bandana doubled over with a layer of cotton between would be better than nothing and is washable. Get a few. Make sure the person going in to help the sick, has goggles that are left at the door or put into disinfectant bucket before going into the house and the gloves should be by the door also, and your shoes, there should be sick person shoes. The shoes you only wear into the room.
Also get the normal flu stuff to make you feel better. Ibuprofen, NyQuil, (if you chose to use that). Get a humidifier. and stock up on chicken soup.
Treating the Sick
Everything that comes out of the room needs to be sterilized. Use plastic silverware and paper dishes that can be thrown out or better yet, burned. Wear one shirt over your clothes and a pair of overalls or baggy pants over your normal clothes to go into the room. If you want to get super anal about it your could put up a plastic barrier to go through inside the actual door. Keep the cleaning and entering supplies just outside the door in a “clean” area take the clothes off that you wore into the room with your gloves on and then those clothes go directly to the washing machine for a wash n dry. spray off the shoes with Lysol. Use hand sanitizer before and after putting on the gloves. And don’t forget to spay the googles.
When Should You See The Doctor
Providing this doesn’t overwhelm our medical system, it would be prudent to see the doctor only if the disease becomes an emergency. An emergency in my book is anything that is life threatening. Shortness of breath, disorientation because of fever, heart problems, things like this are medical emergencies. Seek out professional help.
When Should You Hunker Down
While as I write this, the chances of getting sick with Coronavirus are low according to CDC. Personally, if I see this starting to spiral out of control, meaning we start seeing communities of people getting sick, I will pull my family home. Even now, I think it is prudent to not venture out as much as possible.
Food – Do I Need Freeze Dried Food?
Normal people don’t do a whole bunch of freeze dried food in their every day diet. Personally I think you are better off finding a sale on soups, a couple big bags of rice, load up on pasta and potatoes. Soup poured over a bowl of rice is amazingly filling. It also makes the can of soup go much further. Most soups have meat and veggies in them. I like coffee, but if you are a big tea drinker, then make sure you have several extra boxes. (Tea is wonderful when you don’t feel well too). Don’t buy stuff you don’t normally use. And don’t forget your pets.
Grab some microgreens seeds while you’re at it and then you can have nutrient dense food anytime. We talk about how to grow microgreens here.
Final Thoughts on Surviving the Coronavirus
Prayer and positive thinking go a long way towards helping an individual survive just about anything. The single biggest recommendation I can give is DON’T PANIC – PLAN.
Grow microgreens indoors without soil, or with very little soil, to boost your families winter nutrition. During the dead of winter, when the thoughts wonder towards next years garden, growing an indoor micro garden could chase some of those blues away.
You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to have a winter microgreens garden. Mostly you need some seeds, a colander or other tray with holes, a base to catch the water and artificial lights (in some cases).
My Favorite Winter Microgreens to Grow Indoors
My favorite microgreens to grow indoors are; sunflower sprouts, mung beans and pea sprouts. All of these grow fast and are packed with flavor. Of these I simply adore sunflower sprouts.
Sunflower sprouts remind me of summer. They have a full sunflower seed flavor. Yet they are a green veggie! Personally I have a 50 pound bag of sunflower seeds that I bought last year. It is actually bird food, but hey, it sprouts and tastes GREAT.
Pea shoots are my second favorite microgreen. They too are packed with sweet goodness. And they grow fast.
Mung Beans – Bean Sprouts
Mung bean sprouts are the only microgreen that I truly grow without any soil. They grow FAST. In three to five days you can have more mung beans than you know what to do with. Kids love growing these.
Now that you know which microgreens we are focusing on growing indoors, let’s get down to specifics of how to do it.
How to Grow Sunflower Sprouts and Pea Shoot Microgreens Indoors
While you can spend a bunch of money to grow microgreens indoors, you don’t have to. The thing is, I’m cheap, and I like to recycle. So with that in mind, I like to re use old things I have around the house. You will need a container that holds about an inch of dirt. I don’t put drain holes in mine.
For this batch of sunflower sprouts I used an old “greens” container.
The Steps to growing sunflower sprouts and pea shoots;
Soak your seeds overnight – or about 24 hours
Put about an inch of dirt in your container of choice
Drain your seeds
Dump them on top of the dirt
Mix them into the dirt
Cover them with a layer of foil or paper towels
Put a bit of weight on them – dry beans in a plastic bag works fine
Wait a couple days
Take the foil or towels off
Wait until you have a couple leaves on your sprouts
Cut them close to the soil to harvest
Store in the fridge wrapped in a moist paper towel – you can put them in a baggie but don’t seal it. Plants need to breath.
How To Grow Mung Bean Sprout Microgreens Indoors Without Soil
Mung beans aren’t technically microgreens – though you can grow them to the leaf stage if you want.
Put a second, wet paper towel on top of the seeds.
Place a plate on top of the second, top paper towel.
Use a can on the plate as a weight.
Cover the whole shebang with a towel- they like it dark.
Keep this near the kitchen sink as you need to run water over the seeds three or four times a day for the next four or five days.
As the sprouts grow you can remove the top paper towel.
Keep them in the fridge in a paper towel in an open plastic bag.
Be sure to rinse the seed covers off of them before using.
Notes on Growing Mung Bean Sprouts
Mung bean sprouts are prolific. You only need a couple of tablespoons of seeds to get a HUGE crop. In the video they use about 2/3 cups of seeds – unless your family LOVES bean sprouts, start with couple tablespoons. You can always sprout more often.
She also is meticulous about putting the seeds in the colander, just dump them in, it will be okay.
Incorporating Microgreens Into Your Life
Growing microgreens is a lifestyle in the winter for some of us. We just incorporate it into our weekly chores. You can add these bits of deliciousness into soups, salads, meatloaf. It is a great way to get added nutrition to your families diet while the garden pickins are slim.
Get the kids involved. I find if the kids are part of the process they are more likely to eat the sprouts too.
This cattle raising beginners guide to keeping cows for beef will cover how to find a calf and raise it to butchering size. We will look at what types of cattle make the best choice to raise. And we will look at what it takes to raise cattle on a small farm or homestead.
I have raised a couple of steers to maturity on less than an acre. They lived with the rest of the critters in the pen. Not being one who cares what people think, I also staked them out on the trampoline so they could eat the grass. Cows like grass, goats, not so much.
Cattle Raising Beginners Guide – Basics
Raising cattle requires only a few basic things for success. Mainly those things are proper fencing for containment, a source of water and food. Of course you need the animal or animals too.
Because where we live is dairy country there are always lots of inexpensive calves available. When they are little you can even transport them in a minivan. Their main source of nourishment will be from the bottles you will feed them a couple times a day. If you keep goats too, this is simple. Just give the goat’s milk to the calves. You can purchase cow milk replacer to start your calf out.
Having two people to accomplish this task makes success much more probable. In my experience, you should go ahead and get the electrolyte solution and tube when you pick up your milk replacer. Questioning the people who sell you the calf about colostrum feeding is also important. Don’t purchase calves that have not been given colostrum.
For the first two weeks you need to feed them 1 calf bottle full of milk or replacer 3 times a day. From two weeks to eight weeks you need to feed them twice a day.
This short sweet video will show you how to feed them if you need a holder. Personally I just held the bottle.
Sheltering The Calf
In the beginning your calf will need some shelter. If you have a barn like structure that will work or you can purchase a calf house. If your plan is to raise cattle regularly then the houses might be a good investment. You can also use them for your goats when you don’t have baby calves hanging around.
How much space to cows need
How much space cows need is partly dependent on whether you are going to purchase hay to feed them or graze them off your land. In order for them to feed off the land you need about an acre a calf per year. It will take at least two years for the calf to reach maturity. You also need more than one calf if you don’t have sheep or goats to keep it company.
I raised my cows as singles but had many goats and sheep around for company. We even had a llama for a bit. We also kept them in a smaller pen but staked the cow out to graze around the yard. We only had an acre total. It does increase the cost substantially when you are feeding your livestock from hay you have to purchase.
Cows eat mainly grasses and alfalfa. Usually farmers who raise cattle also farm alfalfa fields to winter the cattle over once the snow falls. Of course in our area, the deer also feast on the alfalfa and hay left out for the cattle. This might go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Straw and hay are not the same thing.
Straw is the stalks from grain and hay is alfalfa plants. Straw is great for bedding as it has wonderful insulating properties. Just not so much in the nutrition category. Quality hay is important for growing quality beef. You will also supplement with grains.
What Are The Different Types Of Beef Cattle
Around here we focus on two types of cattle. Angus, a bit more pricey but has more in the meat to bone ration than the other type, Holsteins. The Holsteins are the most common cattle found around here for individuals interested in raising beef. You can tell them by looking for the black and white markings. Angus are mostly dark in color. Personally we just raised Holsteins as they are cheap and easy to acquire in these here parts.
But there are plenty of other cattle breeds out there. Along with Angus and Holstein, there are Herefords, Galloways, Jerseys, and even a few dual-purpose breeds such as Dexters and Shorthorns. Each individual cow will have its own temperament, environment requirements, and needs, so do your research and figure out which breed will be best for you and your family. To learn more about a variety of different cattle breeds, check out this article from Insteading.com
Best Fencing For Raising Cattle
Cattle are pretty satisfied with electric fencing or even woven wire fences. If they are raised in an area where they can test the fence and it gives them negative feed back you don’t have to worry too much about them escaping. However if you have a gate and they can get out, they will find it. Mine used to escape. Being the barrier of food my cows would RUN at me. Talk about terrifying! I used to have to get my son, who is fearless, to go round them up.
How Long Does It Take To Raise Cattle
Usually it takes at least 2 years to raise a beef to maturity. The last three months or so you want to up the grain ration to make sure you get some good marbling. In the future I plan to work with a friend who also wants home grown beef. We will get 1 calf each year. That way every year we can butcher a steer to split while still having a cow coming up for the next year. We plan to do this with sheep too.
How Do You Get A Cow Butchered
The last part of our cattle raising beginners guide has to do with getting it to the table. How do you get a cow butchered? You can butcher a cow yourself. Or you can take it to your local butcher and have them do it. I opt for the taking them to a butcher option. If you are hard core you can follow these directions and do it yourself. Personally dressing out a deer is a big project for me. The idea of processing a whole steer is WAY to daunting.
How To Slaughter A Steer Humanly
You need to be signed into youtube in order to watch this video. The taking of any animals life is pretty traumatic. I believe if we all processed our own meat we would eat WAY less of it. Notice at the end that he has a tractor. Once that 1300 pound animal is dead you aren’t moving it very far without help. The easiest way to butcher an animal is if it is hanging.
Once you have slaughtered your beef this video will show you how to make cuts of meat you recognize.
There you have it! Your cattle raising beginners guide to keep cows for beef.
Recently the fodder feeding system for backyard chickens has come under my radar. Since this system is pro ported to save money while still producing quality eggs I thought I MUST try this!
A few months ago I started sprouting grains for my family’s consumption so when I discovered that the fodder feeding system for backyard chickens was so similar it seemed like a no brainer to implement.
Having only 9 chickens at the moment and the fact that it is February as I write this tutorial this fodder feeding system for backyard chickens is going to be a cheap nutritious way to feed chickens. It won’t take much time daily either.
>How To Set Up A Fodder Feeding System For Backyard Chickens
Starting with 8 buckets. I drilled holes in 6 of them. About 10 to 12 holes in the bottom of each. My buckets are dollar tree specials so don’t try to drill a hole in the very center as they tend to break. Having some left over screen material from creating dehydrator trays I just used to that to cover the hole I made learning that one should drill the center of cheap buckets.
Having 2 buckets that don’t have holes allows for one to catch the water as it drains and one to soak the seeds for 24 hours.
Here is the whole process. Get your 8 buckets. Drill holes in 6 of the buckets to allow for drainage. Day one add a cup or two of grains to one of the 2 buckets without holes. In my case I added oats, wheat and a few sunflower seeds. Cover grain with water.
Day two, drain the day one bucket into a bucket with holes. That bucket needs to be stacked in the other bucket without holes. Repeat the day one soaking process. Keep repeating this process until all of your buckets are full. Once you reach day 7 your day 1 fodder should be ready to feed.
>Keeping The Mold Down Naturally For Fodder Feeding System
Many people put Clorox bleach in their soak water, but I have found that food grade hydrogen peroxide keeps the mold down and is not adding chloride to the feed system. The 3% solution in a spray bottle works great. (This is exactly what I use)
It takes about 6 days for my sprouts to be ready to feed, which works out great because on the 7th day I run out of buckets. For now I am feeding sprouted wheat and oats and a few sunflower seeds. I would like to find some peas that haven’t been treated for more protein to add to the mix.
This simple fodder feeding system for backyard chickens works great. Because of the cold, my fodder feeding system sits around me in my basement office/grow room.
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