Planning a Garden for Maine’s Climate

The featured photograph at the top is of my grandparents’ farm in Winterport, Maine. They are at the very heart of my love for raising animals and growing plants. This is a work in progress and will be updated as the seasons come and go like tides in Maine forever morphing seasonal landscape. Below is an outline for planning a complete working homestead garden for Maine’s climate. Each centered header breaks the seasons down. Under each season are mini-sections with best practices, common tasks, projects and tips in each section. For me, planning a garden for Maine’s climate never starts or ends—it is a cycle. But this post has to {read more}

Raising Chickens

Incubating Chicken Eggs for Beginners

Want to hatch your own chickens but aren’t sure how to begin incubating chicken eggs? This was me a few years ago and I’ve learned a lot since hatching four batches of chickens. In This Article: Marking eggs Purchasing and setting up equipment Turning eggs daily Candling and development marking Preparing for hatch day Brooder box essentials Purchasing and Setting up Equipment Get a quality incubator Start it two-days prior Mark them on each side Keep them moist Turn eggs daily Mark either side Buy a REAL incubator for incubating chicken eggs, not one of those cheap plastic dome things. I use {read more}

Raising Chickens

Raising Chickens: Laying, Breeding, Hatching Prep

Hen Maturity and Mating Hens usually begin laying eggs between 18 to 22 weeks old which means raising chickens for half a year before you even get any eggs. At about 8 months hens reach thier optimal egg output of  6-7 days a week depending on health and daylight. Hens will stay at or near this level of egg production for a few years when kept happy and healthy. When collecting eggs from your own, or a friend’s coop, with incubating chicken eggs as your main goal, wait until hens have been laying for several weeks. Only collect eggs that are of an average size. Often when {read more}

Manual Egg Turner: inside incubator

Manual Egg Turner: 30 min. DIY Project

Winter Project: Manual Egg Turner Tool is by Mandy Pelletier Find eight plastic coat hangers and two wire hangers. Grab a wire cutter and some light rust-proof wire. This is literally all you need to make a manual egg turner to fit a Hover-Bator brand square styrofoam incubator. Why did I invent this? I was spending about 15 minutes a day to turn my eggs 3 times a day (this is once more than recommended, but it leaves the overnight period on an opposite side one night to the next). Now it takes a second to reach in, pull over the turner and {read more}

Raised Bed Gardening Plans

Raised Bed Gardening: Winter Planning

Maine has a short growing season and there are many methods gardeners can use to extend the days to get the most of your hard gardening work. As a long-time small gardener and grandchild of Maine small farmers I have taken all these methods into consideration. With an eye on budget and ease of construction and use I have decided to construct a complex raised bed gardening system this spring. Winter Planning Tips How much room do you have that is in full sun? The answer to this question is the key to what plants to choose, how large your beds will be and bed {read more}