After 2 years into farming my yard, these are the things that helped me get closer to self-reliance and self-sustainability.
Currently I have...
Grace, Frankie, Ginger & Babs. They give me an egg each most every day, they love to run around the yard, they'll eat pretty much any food scrap I give them and their poop is like GOLD for adding nitrogen to my soil. Fact: Chicken manure is the highest form of nitrogen in any animal manure. Their shells can be washed dried and mixed with their feed as a calcium supplement, or crushed roughly and used as snail repellent.
One singular bee hive: *sigh* - this has been a steep learning curve and sadly, my natural aptitude to be good at whatever my I put my hand to hasn't extended to beekeeping... yet. Nevertheless, I have bees, just no honey.
At some point in October, the queen I'd purchased from a local breeder had died - I killed it somehow, maybe when doing an inspection, I don't know. Then in November 2021 I had 2 swarms in the span of 3 days and lost practically all my bees, rendering me void of honey in my first season.
So it's still a bit of a sore point. Hoping for more success next spring.
🪱 Worm farms
Red worms break down all our plant food scraps*, paper and cardboard in less than a week. *With the exception of citrus, onion and garlic scraps. The worm tea they produce (aka pee) is like a black liquid gold for my garden - I frequently apply to pot plants particularly.
The worm castings (aka poo) is what I mix in with soil that's become rocky or sandy. Worm tea & castings are generally pH neutral, so if you happen to have plants that require more acidic based soil, like blueberries or hydrangeas, you want to limit how much worm waste you apply.
🗑 Compost Bins
I have two 150litre compost bins and one compost tumbler which holds about 60litres. These are great for breaking down garden waste from my garden as opposed to sticking it in the council bin which goes into landfill.
I am particular about what I add to it though... like plants or grass from my garden which has gone to seed, I won't add it to my compost bin so that those seeds don't germinate in the compost bin, or after when I apply to my garden. I also don't add plants that are infected with fungus or diseased. Just common sense stuff.
I endeavour to have more hives for my bees and to be more proficient in understanding how to circumnavigate dying queens and swarming colonies. I might have to enlist use of some essential oils to do so. But I'll keep you posted.
Got questions or need help?
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're in need of support or have any questions.