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Cultivate Simple 2: Winter Is Coming

October 15th, 2012

Topic – Winter Is Coming

  • Use leaves as mulch
  • Wrap sensitive plants – Here’s a post about how I wrap my hydrangeas the same method could be used with other plants
  • Move pots to a sheltered place for winter protection
  • Planting cover crop – check out some of the books recommended below
  • Weed now so you don’t have to next year
  • Plant for a winter harvest

Book of the Week

Listener Questions

Rick Worden of Rise and Shine Rabbitry on Facebook


Books mentioned and recommended in the podcast:

Find Chiot’s Run Everywhere

48 Comments to “Cultivate Simple 2: Winter Is Coming”
  1. Erika on October 15, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Wow, great pod cast. Now I have to go back and listen to the first one. It’s great to hear about so many of the things we are also trying to do at our new house. I love mulching with shredded leaves and this year it will be even better with our 4 acres. My husband bought a used garden tractor to mow the lawn and then bought a yardvac. This vacuums up the shredded leaves/grass clippings into a covered wagon which then you can dump wherever you want the leaves. It also has a large hose to suck the leaves from the areas the tractor can’t get into.
    My chickens (Rhode Island hybrids, Dominiques and Mottled Javas) also enjoyed the podcast and have a few comments/questions:
    “we love to help with gardening, especially eating and scratching cover crops. Our favorite is dwarf white clover, but what is this old cover crop you mentioned? ”
    “Don’t be so quick to count us hybrids out when it comes to raising chicks. Our one sister sat for weeks and then hatched out 3 mottled javas and she was a fabulous and ferocious mom hen. We just haven’t figured out how she hatched those chicks since we had no rooster.” (note-the local feed mill had extra chicks for a dollar each and 3 were put into her nest which she happily accepted.)

    Can’t wait for your next pod cast.

    Reply to Erika's comment

  2. Kiskin on October 15, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I love your podcasts!
    It is rather amusing, that 10 years ago I was a total city chick, enjoying all the urban pleasures, while now, I am perfectly happy poking about in my tiny garden in suburbia and dreaming of a country life, just like yours… :)

    Reply to Kiskin's comment

  3. Melissa on October 15, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Another awesome job! Thanks so much for answering my questions. Going to be an interesting ride back to Maine with your duckies, they are reasonably quiet though. The ducklings make more noise than the adults and the drakes are the loudest but they are still reasonably quiet compared to other breeds of ducks. By the way, ducklings are voracious if you have any weedy areas that need to be eaten down. They got into one of my garden areas earlier this summer– mowed down a whole crop of poppy seedlings and lots of other stuff. They eat every green thing in sight!

    We should have a few more ducklings pretty soon, any day now I think! Small batch this time. We had 30 in one batch earlier in the summer. Are you raising them for meat? Let me know if you are and I’ll send you some recipes that I’ve been working on since we processed ours. Need to write them down anyways!

    So what was the new cover crop you discovered? you talked about it but never said the name!!

    Thanks for recording these, really enjoying them!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

    • Susy on October 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      I would LOVE some recipes for duck, oddly enough I have never cooked one. We will be raising these for meat and keeping a few for future ducklings.

      I will look up the new cover crop name and mention it in the next podcast, I wasn’t 100% positive on the pronunciation. I’ll also look up sources as it’s not found everywhere.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Melissa on October 16, 2012 at 8:05 am

        OK I’ll try to get to writing those recipes down. Maybe that’s the kick I need to start blogging some again! :)

        to Melissa's comment

  4. Jean Hermann on October 15, 2012 at 11:55 am

    We ordered two dozen Buff Orpington layers from Townline Hatchery last year. Several of the chickens went broody and we ended up with fifteen extra chicks. What to do with the roosters? We’re not looking forward to the butchering! Also, after purchasing some layer mash to feed this past winter and supplement free range dining this past summer, we found we were feeding our girls GMO feed!!! None GMO is very expensive so we’re going to experiment with our own mix.

    Reply to Jean Hermann's comment

    • Susy on October 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      I know what you mean about the GMO feed. The book mentioned in the podcast talks all about mixing your own feed. I think I may have found farm here that grows GMO free organic corn. Might use this until we can start growing more food here for the chooks.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Josie on October 15, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Another wonderful podcast with a timely topic. I have a question for you that perhaps you can throw on a list of “things to discuss when all else fails?” : ) I would love to hear more about your thoughts on sourdough bread, the methods you find useful for making it and the types of flour you like (store bought or ground and why ect.) We have been changing our diets one catagory at a time to more local and sustainable and healthy. Right now we are making a transition from grocery store baked goods to all homemade and I agree with you about sourdough being our main (or only) bread. However as I am in the trenches of this particular change. Any advice or encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply to Josie's comment

    • Susy on October 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      We have that on our list of topics to discuss, along with other food.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Tammey on October 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      That is what I want to hear more about also!!!

      Reply to Tammey's comment

  6. Melissa on October 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I am really loving your podcasts! My husband and I are currently planning for our first hens in the spring, so I am interested to see how you manage your new flocks. The poultry book you have looks fantastic since some of the other books I own probably aren’t as in-depth. We are also considering rabbits, primarily for their fertilizer rather than meat. I guess it seems easier for us to cull a chicken than a rabbit, though I am sure this will change. We have also started collecting leaves from neighbors who gladly give us free mulch.

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  7. Josie on October 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    P.S. I like the term “dear readers” I think it is charming. So for a term for “listeners” that would be my vote.

    Reply to Josie's comment

  8. angie h on October 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Susy has become my go-to chick for all things nourishing foods, gardening, natural living, and more! I’m loving this new layer of info I get each week!

    We have talked about chickens for a while and decided to do the bees first. Chickens are next! Especially since switching the way we eat, I go through more eggs than ever and when we transition the dogs to raw this will be an even bigger issue.

    Reply to angie h's comment

  9. Mich on October 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Loved podcast no2…great!
    Muscovies are great eating ducks almost gamely in taste :) yum.

    I use green manure Phacelia, its not an nitrogen fixer but fits in anywhere in the garden rotation…let some flower the honey bees love it.
    I had to chuckle listening to the pod as I was eating a coxs pippin & sadly muttering to myself about the lack of apple crop in my orchard.. The deer ate my dessert & cookers but left my cider apples.
    I have venison recipe plans this winter!!

    Reply to Mich's comment

  10. Rocky Top Farm on October 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    loved the podcast once again!!! great information. i have a variety of chickens in my flock and most are heirloom breeds. thus why i feel i have the very good mother hens bringing home 16+ chicks at a time!! i currently have 30+ chicks meandering with their mothers due to this. i could start a very small chick business. i have wanted to learn more about making my own food. my chickens are happy, healthy critters because they are free range. their yolks are deep yellow and i am sure it is because of all the great things they get in their diet as they roam. but, as i learn more about GMO i have thought much of figuring out my own food to feed. so any new tips you learn, i would appreciate hearing them! thanks again for the great podcast! truly one of my Monday highlights!

    Reply to Rocky Top Farm's comment

  11. Rebecca on October 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Very well-rounded podcast. When wrapping plants for the winter, I hang a bird feeder nearby. Then on a frost morning I can look out and see chick-adees perched on the pollos that hold the burlap.

    Reply to Rebecca's comment

  12. Becky on October 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks for trying out these pod casts! I am really enjoying the free range of topics you cover and can’t wait to hear more. I think I’ve even figured out how to subscribe on iTunes to make sure I keep up. Despite being a young chick, when it comes to technology, you would think I’m an old biddy. The mulching and cover crop suggestions you shared this week makes be want to run out and do some yard work despite the rains and fowl weather up here in the pacific northwest. I’ve also been enjoying your chicken stories… everything from the mysterious disappearance of your rooster, to the cure of your broody hen. I almost feel like one of the flock, learning along with you. Maybe one day I’ll be prepared to take the plunge and finally get some pullets of my own!

    Reply to Becky's comment

  13. Sue on October 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Great podcast! We’re “Not allowed” to have chickens here in our neck of the woods, or, eh, “suburbia”. I already asked the mayor down at borough hall. Funny, the land this development sits on used to be a pig farm! Someday we’ll have our little piece of heaven.

    Really enjoyed the info about cover crops and winter row covering. Here in southern NJ, we have lettuce, kale and spinach growing but the rest of our garden is done. We’ll be planting our garlic soon, and some winter hoop gardens with more lettuce and spinach. One question, when you cut down your cover crop in the spring, do you turn it under, or just leave to die on top of the ground?

    Reply to Sue's comment

    • Susy on October 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      Let it die on top of the ground. I often us it as mulch around the plants I’m planting.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. daisy on October 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Wow! Susy was one chatty chick tonight! I thought you were an introvert? Thanks again for all the great information! Continued blessings…

    Reply to daisy's comment

    • Susy on October 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      Get an introvert talking about something they’re interested in and watch out!

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Tammey on October 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm

        You did a very good job! I loved the podcast!!

        to Tammey's comment

      • Susy on October 18, 2012 at 5:34 am

        Thanks Tammy!

        to Susy's comment

  15. Troy R. on October 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I woke up in such a /fowl/ mood this morning. I’ve been /hatching/ a plan to woo this /chick/ at the /co-op/ for a few weeks now, but things just haven’t fallen into place. Last night, I was feeling pretty /hen-some/ and decided I was going to make my move in hopes of getting /laid/, but her friend started /cock-blocking/ me, and my /wingman/ /chickened/ out and /flew the coop/. Without a ride, I had to /car-poulet/ back home then fell asleep watching some old /Chick Norris/ movie. I woke up this morning, my mind totally /scrambled/, and was /eggcited/ to see a new Brian & Susy podcast. A little /poultry/ reading may be just what I need to get my mind off this /chick/!

    Reply to Troy R.'s comment

    • Susy on October 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      Well played!

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Mr. Chiots on October 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Subtlety is not your strong suit.

      Reply to Mr. Chiots's comment

    • DeeDee on October 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm

      Hilarious! I just got a chance to listen today…. Fun reading comments!

      Reply to DeeDee's comment

  16. Jason on October 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Hey thanks for the link. I’m exploring your site now. Love it!


    Reply to Jason's comment

  17. Misti on October 15, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Loved your podcast! I think it will be something I look forward to on Monday evenings.

    I’m wishing I could be in Maine, but not so sure about those winters! I am thinking about trying the corn salad soon, but since we don’t have our garden fenced off yet and the deer are already enjoying little snacks I’m hesitant.

    Keep up the good work! :)

    Reply to Misti's comment

  18. Ronda on October 16, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Another great podcast! We are in the midst of a move but still hope chickens are in our future. Once we find a property, we will have a better idea about that. It’s so fun to hear both of you and your interaction with one another. :) Better than a “chick” flick! ;)

    Reply to Ronda's comment

  19. Johanna on October 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I’m SO stoked you guys are now on iTunes! I can just download the podcasts to my phone and listen to them throughout the day. One question that I had for a podcast (or blog post) down the road was if you had any other recommendations for natural/sustainable gardening podcasts? I’m in my first full year of having my own garden, and I tend to be pretty chicken about trying something if I haven’t first heard how it worked for other down-to-earth folks. I love hearing about the experiences of others (which is why I love your blog so much!)

    Reply to Johanna's comment

  20. Brenda on October 16, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Loved podcast #2! I subscribed and left (my first ever) review but the review disappeared. As a previous commenter noted, it is a tough business being an old biddie in technology land :)
    We’ve split flocks this summer. One will stay near our home (had to fight for them) and one lucky rooster will get to live with a dozen or so hens at our country estate (well, our rural acres anyway). We need to do some butchering of the rest of the young roosters and likely some older gals. Feed is costly though I was amazed at how much less our country gals ate. Does your resource book have chicken plants ideas? While listening to last week’s sermon I suddenly remembered that I wanted to think about planting amaranth. I wrote that on a scrap of paper so that I could get back to paying attention. I find that I have many brain channels actively considering aspects of gardening/livestock/healthy living.
    I am curious to see how the “simple” part of the title fits in :) I can definitely verify “fulfilling” and my soul feels peace in the pursuit.

    Reply to Brenda's comment

  21. Brenda on October 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

    eh, just read the fine print that comments will not be viewable immediately. So, now you have about 5 identical reviews from this crazy chicken lady. embarrassing.

    Reply to Brenda's comment

  22. anotherkindofdrew on October 16, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Very interesting the things of which you speak.

    You know, in 2010 British scientists decided there is, in fact, an answer to the age-old riddle that has perplexed generations: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    It seems that an extensive study has proven that it is, indeed, the chicken. You can only imagine the squawking that ensued in the house when this announcement was made. Brooder everywhere were confused. They even questioned their own existence; a bizarre form of fowl existentialism.

    The scientific and philosophical mystery was purportedly unraveled by researchers at Sheffield and Warwick universities, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

    The scientists found that a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries is necessary for the formation of the egg. The egg can therefore only exist if it has been created inside a chicken.

    The protein speeds up the development of the hard shell, which is essential in protecting the delicate yolk and fluids while the chick grows inside the egg, the report said.

    “It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,” said Dr. Colin Cluckvorkian, from Sheffield University’s Department of Engineering Materials.

    Reply to anotherkindofdrew's comment

  23. DebbieB on October 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Loved listening to the podcast this morning. So many interesting topics! Here in New Orleans, I see so few apple varieties – I’d love to try some new ones. Very cool to get all the mulching info, too. I started a compost bin in the spring using your information – now I’ll be mulching, too. I’ve been too “chicken” in the past to ask my neighbors for their leaves, but I’m going to stir up some courage and do it (or maybe just stealthily take them in the middle of the night!)

    I also was glad to learn of your Flickr page (didn’t think to look for it before) so now I’ve added you as a contact so I can see all the great farm pictures.

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

  24. John on October 16, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I’ll definitely be listening to these again. Great podcasts and a great addition to the blog. Have you checked the Podsafe Music Network for jingles? Adam is always saying No Agenda is open source, not sure if that means you would use some of their more appropriate jingles. In the Morning!

    Reply to John's comment

    • Mr. Chiots on October 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

      In the morning to you John. I did check out the PMN. I am not sure if there are jingles on the site or not. I just need in my pocket. Unfortunately we don’t have the budget (or a budget) to pay him. I just need to spend the time finding some quality jingles or begging our listeners to produce some for us.

      Thanks for listening.

      Reply to Mr. Chiots's comment

  25. Lona on October 17, 2012 at 12:52 am

    At 1:22:38 into the podcast…this chick is still listening! Such great info. Thanks for the little nudge I needed to dig further into cover crops.

    Reply to Lona's comment

  26. Melissa on October 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Have you ever used pine needles as mulch in your flower beds? We have a giant white pine that drops tons of needles this time of year. Down in the south, I’ve seen people mulch with pine needles so decided to try it on our beds this year up north in Wisconsin. An older neighbor stopped by this morning and said the needles will kill all our flowers. I know they are acidic, but what little I’ve read says they work great as mulch because they don’t break down easily. Thanks for your great blog!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

    • Susy on October 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      Yes, I have used pine needles, especially on my strawberries and around my blueberries. You probably don’t have to worry about. Maybe check your pH every now and then to make sure they’re not increasing it too much. If you work in compost underneath then you should be OK. You can also counterbalance with lime or wood ash.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  27. Alyse on October 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    My parents have a Rhode Island Red chicky-baby who is 4 years old and still laying an egg a day. She (Harriet) reminded me of the 6 year old hen you mentioned outlaying one year-olds.

    Reply to Alyse's comment

  28. cynthialeigh on October 18, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I don’t comment very often because I’m a big chicken!

    Reply to cynthialeigh's comment

  29. Julia@Throwback Road on October 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Another great podcast! I just ordered some of the green manure a couple of days ago. Can’t wait to hear next weeks topics. I will leave you with a great line from a classic songwriter….”the sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken” -Bob Dylan :)

    Reply to Julia@Throwback Road's comment

  30. Jessica on October 19, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I promise this isn’t the only thing I took away from this week’s podcast, but I have to say I HATE leaf blowers with a passion. Totally with ya, girlfriend.

    Reply to Jessica's comment

  31. Quinn on October 20, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    All the wintery chat makes me want to pick up a skein & some needles and knit a scarf for a chilly naked neck. :)

    Enjoying your new audio endeavor and am so excited for your future in Maine!

    Reply to Quinn's comment

  32. Karen on October 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I have been enjoying listening to these podcasts. I feel like I know you guys even more than I did just reading the blog. Susy’s blog is my favorite blog. Truly, it is always informative and the pictures are beautiful. Oh by the way, the comfrey you sent me several years ago is still growing and thriving and my chickens like to eat on it as well. I would love to know more about what to feed them vs. the local feed store chicken feed. I know my chooks will appreciate if I could learn to feed them healthy and more natural. I plan to wrap my hydrangea today so that it will hopefully bloom next year. Thanks so much for the info!!!!

    Reply to Karen's comment

  33. Maggy on November 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    LOVE your blog. LOVE your podcast! Thank you!!

    Reply to Maggy's comment

  34. KimP on November 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Thoroughly enjoying and gaining inspiration from The Small-Scale Poultry Flock. Thanks for recommending it!

    Reply to KimP's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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