Wether you are in the city or out in the country, waste is inevitable. Farmers have an uncanny ability to use what they have on hand and make do which uses less and waste little. Around here we find a use for anything we can. Here are a few of our usuals:
Nests need some cushiony material. If we use our dryer, we save all the lint from the lint trap in a bag and once a week when we muck (clean out) the chicken coops we place the lint into the nests. Paper comes and goes no matter how careful you are. Any and all junk mail which is not on glossy paper is shredded and used also for duck and chicken nests, when they have soiled it, it goes to the compost pile and in a few months it ends up in our veggie beds. Newspaper is a wonderful way to block weeds where you don’t want them. I open up entire sections a few layers thick and place them where I need them. Then cover with mulch. No weeds.
Animal wastes are great fertilizers but most of them need to be composted first. We built a wooden box which goes right underneath the rabbit hutch to hold our earth worms. Chicken poops are also thrown in there. When the worms are done composting it, it goes into the veggie beds. The veggie wastes go right back to the rabbits and chickens and sometimes the earthworms go to the chickens and catfish. When we clean the catfish, anything we don’t eat goes to the chickens and then the whole process starts over again. It’s the circle of farm life.
We never throw food into the trash…we have a “food bucket” under the sink, and any and all food is dumped in there, though we separate any meat for the dog. The chickens eat most of it. Whatever they don’t eat we rake up later and throw into a compost pile.
All barn waste, old hay, grass clippings, shreaded bark, is thrown into the garden. We have also put newspaper down on top of a grass area we wanted to turn into garden, covered it with a layer of mulch, then laid seed potatoes right on top. Covered them again with more mulch, dirt, compost, manure, whatever we could find, and kept adding to it through the summer. In the fall, we had the nicest, cleanest, biggest potatoes we’ve ever had, and the next year had wonderful soil for a different crop!
Excellent account of the circle of farming! We try to reduce our waste, too. I love my worm bins–even though I have reduced our junk mail, a few pieces still get through, along with bills. I tear up the parts appropriate for the worm bins and toss it in. The same with toilet paper rolls. I have also been thinking of decorative uses for scraps, such as making topiaries out of leftover scraps of chicken wire. I hate to throw anything out if I can think of another purpose!
Great tips! Do you grow your catfish in a controlled aquaculture-type environment or do you have a natural pond?