Exciting News for Collingwood Farm!

Collingwood Farm

The United States Government thinks we’re cool!

I’m serious! We have just been selected as one of the recipients in Ohio to receive a grant, funded by the USDA National Resources Conservation Service, to build a 2,100 sq ft hoop house (or high tunnel)!! Woohoo! I just received the final contract today!

For those of you who aren’t hip to the farming lingo (don’t worry, until 12 months ago, I was in the dark…) a hoop house, a.k.a., high tunnel is a temporary structure made from PVC pipes, or metal, in a hoop shape, and covered in plastic. They come in all different sizes. High tunnels are not greenhouses. There’s no electrical, plumbing, cement, etc. It’s just a barrier, heated by the sun, protecting a particular area of the farm. Simply put, it’s a big piece of plastic protecting our plants from unwanted elements. Here’s an example:

Credit

So, what…

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Farming on a Shoestring Budget.

If you follow me often, you know that this year I’ve started a small suburban farm, Collingwood Farm. I love it. I tell people I am more content than I have ever been. And I am. But this year, things are a little slow going, as expected. I’m still working my “real” job, so I can afford to run the farm. Time is a little tight, and so is money. But, we expected the first year to be the investment year. Next year will be better.

But how are you making it work?” you ask. The answer is simple. RECYCLING!

One of the unspoken mission statements of the farm is to reduce waste, and utilize as much “trash” as we can. In turn, we end up saving on expenses. So, I wanted to share some of our more recent projects, because I think they’re pretty darn cool. 🙂

THE $50-ish CHICKEN COOP

My husband and I made this coop kind of on the fly, back in February. We inherited some chickens, (and then bought 3 more), but really didn’t have adequate housing for the poor girls. It houses the 6 girls comfortably, and they have plenty of space in the pen while we’re at work. And it all cost about $50 bucks!

The base of the coop is some shipping pallets I got free from craigslist. The frame and pen were made from lumbar we got free from a local business that just threw it away after using it for shipping materials. The inside was lined with pressed board that came free from craigslist, and given a good coat of paint from left-overs from painting some rooms in our house. The roof is pieces of plastic awning that shaded the windows on our house when we first moved in. We took them down when we replaced the windows, and my brilliant husband saved them! The fencing and other doo-dads were all things we already had acquired somewhere along the way.

The main investments were:

  1. (2) Plywood for the outside and roof- $16
  2. Hardware (screw, nails, brackets, hinges)- $25 **We got these from the Habitat for Humanity Restore, so they were also recycled!
  3. Red paint- $15 (The guy at the paint counter liked what we were doing so much, he gave us a discount!)

GRAND TOTAL: $56.00

 

There you have it! Check back soon for a “Part 2”!