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New chicken books

Proof copies of chicken books

Do you have friends jumping on the chicken bandwagon this spring? Then I hope you’ll point them toward my Getting Started With Your Working Chicken, entirely free in ebook form and dirt cheap even as a (brand new!) paperback. I think of this title as a bit like the bare-basics books at pet stores intended for folks impulse buying a new type of animal. The goal is to bring new chicken keepers up to speed in half an hour so they don’t get overwhelmed by the deluge of options right off the bat.

Want to help me out by spreading the word about the paperback release (and possibly win a copy)? You can enter our rafflecopter giveaway here.

Building a DIY Chicken Waterer

Adding a clear roof over a planter boxMeanwhile, we’ve been hard at work coming up with a new ebook in the Permaculture Chicken series. Building a DIY Chicken Waterer will launch next month, and you can preorder the ebook for a buck off. (There will be a paperback too, but I’m still working on it. As you can likely tell, the font size needs increased. Stay tuned for a preorder announcement soon!)

And, finally, the third chicken book on my plate this year is an update to Thrifty Chicken Breeds. Want to share your wisdom and win a free copy of the ebook? Just comment below with your favorite breed(s), a photo (which can be emailed to anna@kitenet.net if it’s hard to leave in the comment), and a short writeup of why you prefer the one(s) you prefer. If I use your info, you’ll get a free copy of the revised ebook once it’s ready to go.

(Oh, and in case you’re curious what Mark’s up to this photo, it has nothing to do with chickens. He’s adding a clear roof to his newest porch planter box to prevent roof runoff from swamping our crops. I’m hoping this will also make for an even lower-blight situation for tomatoes this summer. Stay tuned to find out if it works!)

DIY chicken waterers

Update: Building a DIY Chicken Waterer is now live in print and available to preorder as an ebook!

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Agribon fabric protection

Another advantage to using a planter box is how easy it is to cover delicate plants in hopes of surviving a dip down to 20 degrees.

I made a rectangle the size we needed and attached just one layer of Agribon fabric. The literature says only use one layer for optimum results.

We are hoping this new method in the planter box will help the Snow Peas make it to our table a little faster than last year.

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Overwintering a garden under a solar pool cover

Using a solar pool cover on a garden

If you have a solar pool cover lying around unused, it might be worth using to preheat your garden soil. We had the pleasure of seeing one in action this past weekend…

Soil temperature under pool cover and in the regular garden

…and were impressed by the results. Under the pool cover, soil was 43 degrees on an overcast day. Outside, the soil in an otherwise-identical raised bed was 39 degrees.

Is that enough extra warmth to start your spring crops now? I’ve always tried to jump the gun using the absolutely minimum germination temperatures. Based on that, the soil under the pool cover is warm enough for most spring crops.

However, I generally get very spotty germination when I plant so early. No wonder since, I learned this week, peas planted at 42 degrees will take 36 days to germinate!

Speed of germination at various temperatures
Source: https://sacmg.ucanr.edu/files/164220.pdf

We’ve gotten into starting unconventional seedlings inside as a result, but more on that in a later post. For now, that old truism about planting peas on Valentine’s Day — we won’t.