I have had several articles about microholding published in Country Smallholding Magazine, Your Chickens Magazine and Permaculture Magazine since March 2011. Below are a couple of excerpts from my articles; if you want to receive a copy of the entire article please email me.
CHICKENS IN SMALL SPACES
By Kate Fox
When I decided to keep chickens there were several aims I wanted to achieve in addition to the obvious – a constant supply of freshly laid high quality eggs. I also wanted to achieve a high standard of animal welfare for the birds, low labour input to suit our busy lifestyle and integration into the rest of our system of home food production in our garden.
This led to me designing a system to meet these requirements, which differs slightly from the usual way people keep chickens, the main difference being not tied to locking up the hens at dusk every evening and opening the house up again early each morning as the whole run is totally fox proof. There is also minimal food waste and low risk of parasites (such as red mite) or disease as wild birds and rats are totally excluded…
BACKYARD POULTRY KEEPING – AN ALTERNATIVE TO CHICKENS?
THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF KEEPING QUAIL
By Kate Fox
If you aspire to keeping some poultry to provide your family with eggs (and maybe meat) but don’t think you can due to lack of space, or if you are just looking for an alternative to chickens, then quail keeping could be for you….
……I would say that the advantages of keeping quail far outweigh the disadvantages – all of which can be easily overcome with careful planning and good husbandry. They are delightful creatures to keep and I find them very easy to care for. I would encourage anyone interested to give it a go and once set up you could be enjoying delicious eggs and meat for very little effort.
SLUGS AND THEIR CONTROL
By Kate Fox
There are about 30 species of slug in Britain but only a few are the real pests so understanding a bit about them can lead to more effective control. Most species eat decaying vegetable matter, fungus and dead leaves and it could be argued that these could actually be good in the compost heap to speed up the breakdown of material. Some species are carnivorous and will eat other species of slug – for example the Leopard Slug (easy to recognise from its leopard markings) so to have a few of these knocking about could also be handy. The rest eat living plants and these are the real problem…
…….Unfortunately our climate in Britain creates ideal conditions for slugs by generally being mild and damp. Climate change causing milder winters and wetter summers will only make this worse. Slugs hate hot and dry conditions as they can easily dessicate and die.
There are many control methods, both natural and chemical, but their effectiveness varies greatly. Unfortunately slugs cannot realistically be eradicated so the aim should be to limit the damage they do and I find that the best way to do this is to use a combination of techniques to attain integrated control..
Problem solving and low tech solutions on smallholdings
by Kate Fox
I have been looking after other people’s smallholdings for over 10 years now and learnt a lot from how different people do things. However, one thing I see over and over again is time, effort and money being wasted tackling commonly encountered problems when a little common sense combined with a low technology approach can easily solve them.
I personally like to follow the principle of good planning and putting in most of the work initially to establish a low maintenance system which will save a huge amount of time (and possibly money) in the long run.
Good design goes a long way to preventing problems in the first place; for example placing things that need the most attention closest to the house or choosing crops or varieties that suit your soil and conditions.
I have outlined below some of the more common problems I have encountered and suggested simple ways of overcoming them….
Preparing for Floods – Permaculture Magazine
Full article can be viewed here:
Showering without electricity – Permaculture Magazine April 2014
full article can be viewed here: