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Chickens and cold frames

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Chickens and cold frames

Post  WJB on 11/10/2010, 12:21 am

Dear SFGers
I started summer with one 4x4 growing. I finished with three growing and more under construction. Now 10 4x4 and 2 2x6 (for vertical) awaiting spring planting.
All will be covered with Mel's chickenwire cages (except the verticals) due to wildlife. I have to come up with a plan for the verticals protection from wildlife, but I have all winter.
My biggest enemy, in number, is grasshoppers. I'm considering chickens for that reason alone. Do any of you have chickens? Good idea or notsomuch????

Second question for you. Is there a way (or a plan from Mel) to build a cold frame using an existing 4x4 box? Just something you could attach to the top? I have a simplistic plan in my head, but not sure it'll work. Wonder if you guys have any smart ideas...

Thanks.
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Re: Chickens and cold frames

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/10/2010, 1:00 am

WJB, we have forum members who have chickens and they should be able to give you some good feedback regarding chickens and grasshopper control.

Another member uses a lighweight row cover. Here is a link to her recent post regarding the row cover
Row Cover

There is a good string about cold frames, greenhouses and extending your season on the following link
cold frames

You will find the search feature really helpful in locating older posts on just about any subject.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Chickens and cold frames

Post  WJB on 11/10/2010, 8:15 am

Ahhhhh. The search feature.
Genius Sfg'ers.

Proving again I'm still a newbie to the forum.
Thanks Furbalsmom!!
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Re: Chickens and cold frames

Post  boffer on 11/10/2010, 12:29 pm

Chickens in an actively growing garden is usually not a good thing! But putting them around a garden can be good bug control. Think of a fence around your beds and then another larger fence around the first fence. It creates a run for the chickens, like a moat that the bugs have to cross to get to the veggies.

Several folks have made coops sized to fit directly on top of their sfg boxes. In the off-seson they leave it on top of an empty box for a few weeks to directly fertilize it, then move it to another box.
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Re: Chickens and cold frames

Post  WJB on 11/10/2010, 1:10 pm

Boffer
Even if I have chicken wire cages over my SFG, do you think I'd still be better off with a "chicken moat"? I have to put an electric fence up to keep other predators away from the chickens...suddenly ridding myself of grasshoppers is getting expensive..
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Re: Chickens and cold frames

Post  quiltbea on 11/10/2010, 1:16 pm

I can help with a simple coldframe which is in fact my A-frame.

I'm in my 60s with a bad back. I wasn't able to build a cold frame and this was something I'd have to do myself.

Supplies list:
Four 1x2s six feet long
One 1x2 Four ft long (an extra couple of inches would be better)
They cut these for you to size at Lowe's and Home Depot.
Two 4-yard lengths (they are 56" wide) thick clear vinyl plastic (I got from the fabric dept at Walmart)
Wire (to connect the tops of your teepee)
2 Dozen long tacks (to tack your vinyl along the poles)
8 Extra Large Binder Clips (from Staples or office supply co)

I made a photo tutorial which can be found on my quiltbeagardens blog listed below.
You form the long poles like a teepee right inside one of your 4x4 beds.
Cut wedge-shaped vinyl for the sides and tack them on, leaving a bit at the top that can be pulled down for air circulation on hot days.
Toss the other 4-yard long vinyl piece over like a tent.
Use 4 of your binder clips to clip the vinyl to the slanted poles about half-way down.
That excess width is helpful to turn over the poles to prevent cold air from entering.
Use the other 4 clips to clip the vinyl tent closed at the bottom.
You will have enuf at the bottoms to almost reach the ground, again a cold deterent.
You can remove the bottom clips ones to toss the vinyl over the top when you're working inside or when you want the tent open during the hot days of summer. You can close it at nite in the cold springs and cold fall nites.

Here's a view of my A-frame in progress. I buried the end of the poles as fas as they would go into the soil. I also braced them with bricks to add strength to the structure.

A view of the tacking on the sides.

Here's an inside view on last week (its Nov here in Maine) with my 4 varieties of lettuce growing inside the A-frame. I sowed carrots on the other side for spring harvest.

If I can make this, anyone can.
I grew a cherry tomato inside this, my first yr with it, and harvested them til last week when I had to pull the plant because it was finally depleted. I started spinach, lettuce, carrots and mesclun mix early this spring. I love having my A-frame.

You are welcome to check out the photo tutorial listed in my garden blog. As I said, its easy.

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Re: Chickens and cold frames

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/10/2010, 2:01 pm

Quiltbea
I checked out your tutorial at your blog and agree, this is a truly simple cold frame that anyone could do. Thanks so much for sharing.
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I Want One Of Those!

Post  bettyd_z7_va on 11/10/2010, 3:20 pm

Quiltbea,

When DH gets home, I'm showing him the A-Frame.

Did I understand right, that you can leave the plastic on all day and just vent the top sides?

That would be soooo much easier than putting plastic on at night - pulling plastic off in the morning over and over and over again!

Betty

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Re: Chickens and cold frames

Post  quiltbea on 11/10/2010, 7:36 pm

Betty.....You can vent on a hot day when its early spring and the sun gets too warm. The top vee sections are just pulled down so they are open.

In the summer I just throw the vinyl flaps over the top and clip them so they don't blow shut again. They stay open most of the time unless we're getting a rain storm and I don't want the plants to get overwatered.

The extra large binder clips fit perfectly over the 1" parts of the poles.

Edited to add: I never remove the vinyl plastic from the A-frame.
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DH loves it

Post  bettyd_z7_va on 11/10/2010, 11:39 pm

We will be making some of these VERY soon! Thanks so much for sharing.

These are going to make my life so much easier.

Betty

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Re: Chickens and cold frames

Post  Jay Bird on 11/12/2010, 11:27 am

Guineas, Guineas, Guineas
They are garden friendly, see the web and book called gardening with guineas they wont destroy your plants but will destroy all bugs
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Re: Chickens and cold frames

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/12/2010, 12:30 pm

My daughter in GA uses Guinea Fowl for insect control and also as guard/alarm birds. They are noisy, but she loves them. The following article states they are good type of insect management and usually will not cause much damage to a garden. Plus they are kind of pretty.

Here is a link about

GUINEA FOWL
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Re: Chickens and cold frames

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