September Chick Chat
Eco Grid Chicken Pasture Project:
Chickens are a fun and rewarding way to provide your family with delicious, fresh eggs. Chickens are natural foragers. Their instincts to scratch and peck outdoors, eating insects and weeds, will help with your feed budget. In a large enough grazing area, the grass will love the aeration and fertilization that chickens provide. They’ll even eat weed seeds, and other insects that might damage your lawn. A healthy diet of leafy greens helps your chickens produce eggs with gorgeous dark yellow and even orange colored yolks. However, if they don’t have very much pasture space to forage, they’ll quickly turn their chicken run into a dust bowl. And, before long, you’re heading over to the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op for advice about dirt and mud control in the chicken run.
When you don’t have a large area for chickens to pasture, we have a project that’s easy to complete, and will help to ensure at least some of your chicken’s foraging area will provide leafy greens that your chickens will love.
Here’s what you’ll need for your project:
Eco Green Grid Panels
Eco Green Grid Stakes
Pasture Seed – any kind will do. Chickens are not picky. Dutch White Clover is a good choice because it’s easy to keep and grows really well in the Pacific Northwest.
Potting Soil, if needed
Straw – chopped straw or straw sweepings work best because the smaller pieces will fit between the edges of the grid
Water to promote seed germination
First, decide which area you’d like to grow your chicken pasture. Visit us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op and pick up a panel or two of Eco Green Grid. Eco Green Grid is a plastic erosion control form consisting of 12, interlocking 1-foot by 1-foot panels that can be arranged in the pattern that best fits your space. The Eco Grid will be your chicken pasture’s protection from excessive scratching that digs up plants’ roots.
Eco Green Grids have a smooth lower side that is meant to sit on the ground, with walls to fill in with gravel, rocks, or dirt. The walls keep ground material from washing away. For this project, place the Grid upside down, so it works more like a shallow cage. Mark on the ground the outline of the grid, so you know where to plant your pasture seed.
If the weather has been very dry and the soil is compacted, it helps to dampen the planting area first. This way the seeds won’t just wash away when they’re watered. Scatter your pasture seed, and gently rake into the soil. It helps to add a thin layer of potting soil over the top of the seeds. Press the seeds into place. Seeds need contact with moist soil to germinate.
Cover the planted area with a thin layer of straw to protect the seeds from being foraged by your chickens or other birds. Place your Eco Grid Panels upside down, over the straw and seeded area. We are using the Eco Grid to form a cage so that the chickens will only be able to pick at the grass once it’s grown tall enough, rather than being able to scratch and forage at root level.
Stake down your Eco Grid to keep it in place. Keep the area evenly moist until germination occurs, usually in 7 to 10 days. If you plant your pasture seed in late summer to early autumn when temperatures are still warm and we’re expecting a couple days to a week of rain, you won’t need to water the area. After a week or two, you’ll see new tufts of pasture grass sprouting. As your chickens nibble at the ends they can reach, the pasture roots will be stimulated to fill in thicken, just like a mowed lawn.
You shouldn’t need to fertilize your new patch of pasture. The chickens will do that for you. Scatter new seeds, or over-seed, the area once a year to promote healthy growth. You could even provide a few Eco Grid pasture plots by planting different types of seeds: plant a patch of kale, clover, carrot, or beet greens. As the chickens nibble the parts they can reach, the plants will sprout new growth. Annual vegetables will need to be reseeded in the spring, as many won’t survive a strong winter freeze, but kale might.
Not only will your Eco Grid chicken pasture provide your ladies with healthy greens to forage, it will also take care of stubborn muddy areas that arise when heavy rains set in. Visit us here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op for Eco Grid, grass, clover, and veggie seeds, and all of the supplies you’ll need to start your chicken pasture project today.
Electric Fencing from Gallagher:
September is a great month to get those fencing projects finished. If you’ve been meaning to upgrade to an electric fence, the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op have everything you need to make your plans a reality.
When you’re ready to install your electric fence, or simply need to repair or upgrade fencing already installed, trust Gallagher fencing to have high-quality insulators, strainers, wires, and energizers. Gallagher pioneered New Zealand's first electric fencing system in 1938, and has consistently led the way in quality animal management systems that are made to last.
Choosing the appropriate energizer for your individual property and electric fence needs is the first step to a successful electric fence system. Energizer needs vary by animal and length of fence needing to be charged. Goats, for example, need a heavy charge to get through their hooves and hollow hair. Gallagher’s products have a lot of useful information on their packaging to help find exactly what you need. If that isn’t enough, we can always connect you with a Gallagher expert who will help you find solutions, and generate a shopping list to bring to us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op.
If you don’t have good access to a power source, Gallagher makes high-quality solar charged energizers that work even on cloudy days in the Pacific Northwest. Available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, Gallagher’s solar charged energizers will continue to work for up to three weeks without sun. Quick to install, they can be easily set up in any location and moved around as required. Gallagher’s solar energizers come with a rechargeable battery, solar panel and post mount, as well as fence and ground leads. Super tough, drop resistant, waterproof casing with built-in lightning protection, Gallagher’s energizers are designed to be left outside in all weather conditions.
It’s important to use high-quality insulators, rather than just stapling your line directly to a wood post. Because our weather can be so variable, use insulators appropriate for your job. We sell a wide selection of insulators at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op suitable for t-posts, wood posts, electric tape, poly-wire, and all other forms of electric fence lines. Gallagher insulators are made from UV stabilized polyethylene plastic. They are tough, durable, and sun resistant.
When setting up your wire, let it have a little flexibility. Electric fence isn’t a barbed wire line. It doesn’t need to be super taut to be effective. A little bit of flex in your line will allow for unpredictable changes in the weather. You can always go back and tighten the line during the dry summer months if needed.
Make sure you have a proper grounding system for your electric fencing. Experts say that 80% of all electric fence problems stem from inadequate grounding. It is recommended to have at least three grounding posts made of galvanized steel. Here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op we have grounding rod kits available. You can find exactly what you need to maximize overall efficiency of your fence system.
If you’re looking for a simple solution for temporary, movable electric fencing for smaller animals like sheep, goats, and poultry, try our poultry and sheep netting kits. These kits have turbo braided wire providing superior shock, while allowing power to be carried along multiple lengths of wire. When connected to the proper energizer, these nets are strong enough to keep out most predators. Rotate your pasture grazing areas by setting up netting kits in different areas throughout the year. Find netting kits suitable for poultry at the Snohomish Co-Op. If you need more choices, visit us at the Monroe Co-Op where we have netting kits for poultry, sheep, and larger animals. Netting kits come complete with posts, and don’t require additional grounding rods. Just unfold the netting and connect it to a charger. You can even join multiple nets for a longer fence.
When you’re ready to install or upgrade your electric fence system, visit our friendly team at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op. We will help you find the high-quality insulators, wire tensioners, posts, and energizers that you need to get the job done.
Autumn Lawn Care:
Lawns love the cool weather of autumn in the Pacific Northwest. The grass returns to its bright green color and begins to grow in earnest again. Mowing to the correct length is important for your lawn’s health. A length of 2.5 to 3 inches is the ideal length for autumn lawns preparing for winter. Mowing too short will result in shallow roots, and your lawn won’t be able to cope with the stresses of freezing weather. Spare yourself the trouble of hauling and dumping bags of lawn clippings, and leave them where they land on the ground. Lawn clippings provide a natural mulch, and gentle fertilizer for your lawn. Leaving lawn clippings on your lawn throughout the mowing season can equal an entire treatment of fertilizer.
During the fall and winter, your lawn begins to store nutrients to make it through to the next spring growing season. Visit us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to pick up a bag of organic or conventional 16-16-16 (Triple 16) all-purpose fertilizer. The 16-16-16 formula will provide a boost of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to give your lawn the nutrients it needs for the next springtime to roll around. It will also help protect your lawn from disease when it’s at its most vulnerable state in the winter. Apply your first autumn-season fertilizer around mid-September. You can also use a compost top-dressing to provide nutrients to your lawn. Try bringing home a couple bags of G&B Organics Soil-Building Compost, available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op. This will add organic, gentle nutrients to your lawn without the risks of burning or chemical run-off.
Fall is a good time to aerate your lawn. Aeration will reduce thatch, clumping, and soil compaction, and it will improve fertilizer availability to the lawn. Make sure to use an aerator that removes plugs from the ground. The plugs can be left on the surface of the lawn to decompose, returning the nutrients to the soil.
If you have mossy patches in your lawn, the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op can help. Moss growth indicates conditions on the ground that are relatively difficult for other plants to grow. Soggy soil, shade from large trees, and poor soil quality from lack of nutrients are all conditions that mosses love. To get rid of moss quickly, an application of ferrous sulfate will burn the moss, turning it black, and will extremely weaken the plants. Remove the moss, fertilize the area and plant grass seed to cover over the bare spot. Regular mowing, fertilizing, and aeration will all contribute to soil conditions that favor grass, rather than moss.
Grass grows best in sunny, well-drained locations with a neutral soil pH of about 6.5 - 7. Because of generous amounts of rain, soils in the Pacific Northwest tend to be acidic and depleted of nutrients. Lime is a great product to control acidic soil conditions in your lawn and garden. However, spreading too much lime on your plants can cause damage and can even kill them. Make sure to pick up a soil testing kit at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to test your soil before applying lime. It you have a pH of 4 or 5, a September application of lime in addition to fertilizer or compost will help your lawn’s overall health. At the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op we sell relatively inexpensive bags of lime in powdered and granulated form. Because rectifying acidic soil in your lawn will help you grass grow stronger, this can also help deter moss from growing.
Mid-September to Mid-October are optimal times for over-seeding your lawn. The soil is still warm enough for germination, and we usually see a healthy amount of rain to keep newly spread seeds moist. The Snohomish and Monroe Co-Ops have a good selection of grass seed to suit any lawn. From Premium Lawn seed, to Playground area seed, and Sun and Shade mix, you can count on finding high-quality grass seed with an excellent germination rate. For best results when over-seeding in the fall, top dress your lawn with potting soil or topsoil at a rate of approximate ¼” to ½” deep. Over-seed at a rate of 2 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Lightly rake seed into the surface. If you can, go over the lawn with a roller. Grass seed must be in contact with soil to germinate. Make sure you keep the over-seeded surface moist but not soggy, until germination. Wait to mow your new grass until it’s about 1/3 taller than the normal height at mowing. If September turns out to be hot and dry, you can delay over-seeding up to Mid-October.
Visit us here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op for all the soil amendments, lawn seed, and fertilizers you’ll need to keep your lawn thick and healthy throughout the year. With a little bit of attention, your lawn will be strong enough to survive the winter freeze, coming back in full force in the spring. Don’t forget to treat your lawn mower engines to Ethanol-Free Gas, found at all of the gas pumps at the Snohomish location. We are here to help you and your lawn at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op.
Egg Production and Raising Chicks in the Fall:
Wednesday, September 22nd marks the fall equinox. Shortening daylight is especially more noticeable this time of year. One of the most common questions we get here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op is, “Why are my chickens laying fewer eggs?” The answer can be simple: There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Chickens are photosensitive. This means that they react to light, specifically white light. Most chickens, especially older hens, require twelve to fourteen hours of daylight to stimulate egg production. There are a few types of chickens that tend to keep laying eggs throughout the winter like Australorp, Buckeye, Delaware, Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, and Wyandotte. Younger hens also tend to keep laying through the darker days the year. Most hens, though, will require supplemental light to keep up egg production through the shorter autumn and winter days.
Many chicken keepers give their hens a rest for the winter, choosing not to add artificial lights. There are a few benefits to this practice: eggshells tend to be stronger in the spring, and hens’ bodies have a chance to recover from daily laying demands. Surplus spring and summer eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for many months to make sure you have at least some eggs through the wintertime when egg production levels are low.
If you decide to supplement your hens with light to keep up production during the shorter days, choose a white light. Strings of Christmas lights, and white LEDs are great choices. A heat bulb is not necessary, and not worth the risk of fire. The idea is to supply more light, not heat, for your hens. Put your lights on a timer so that they turn on for a few hours before dawn, and a few hours at dusk. You can begin supplementing light around the autumn equinox, when natural daylight lasts for twelve hours. The supplemental light should lengthen daylight hours inside the coop to up to fourteen hours.
With the added demands of winter laying, your hens will benefit from a higher protein chicken food. Available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, our house-brand Snoco Layer Pellets from Conway, along with a few handfuls of Cluckin’ Good Grubs from Scratch and Peck will help keep your girls supplied with that extra protein that they would normally forage from insects during the spring and summer. Our house-brand Snoco Layer Pellets provide a generous 17.5% protein content, compared to other formulas that only have a 16% protein. You could also switch to a chick-grower ration to provide that extra boost of protein. Just make sure you supply oyster shell on the side to help keep eggshells strong.
If you’re going to switch your hens to a grower feed for added protein, you might also consider raising a batch of chicks during the fall and winter. The Monroe Co-Op is receiving one last round of chicks this Friday, September 24th. Your chicks will spend the short fall and winter days growing, when egg production would naturally be low. Once Spring comes around and days lengthen, they’ll be old enough to start laying eggs right away.
Visit us here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op. We have everything you need to support your flock of chickens throughout the year.
Cover crops, also known as green manure, help cover and improve soils that aren’t being cultivated for production. Cover Crops also improve tilth. Tilth refers to the structure, or physical suitability for planting. Available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, explore our selection of cover crops like Field Peas, White Dutch Clover, Crimson Clover, Common Vetch, and a 5-Way Cover Crop.
Grasses like Rye and Buckwheat are easy to germinate, high growing, and will suppress weeds. Clovers and vetch are low growing and provide lots of green manure to return nutrients to the soil. Legumes are nitrogen fixers, but need a little more care when planting. Mixes help utilize the benefits of all varieties of cover crops. Mixes also help us to learn how the different types of cover crop seed perform in our gardens.
The Pacific Northwest gets a lot of rain, which can deplete our soil of nutrients, and causes soil compaction. Planting a cover crop for the winter will replace organic matter. It will protect soil from rain and erosion, and help to break up compacted soil. Cover crops can suppress weeds, reduce runoff and water erosion, and can attract beneficial insects by providing pollen and nectar.
Legumes, like Austrian Winter Peas and Field Peas, have the ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. This is different from other plants, which can only absorb nitrogen available in the soil. Legumes have a symbiotic relationship with a bacteria called Rhizobia. These bacteria form nodules on legume roots, fixing nitrogen. When legumes are tilled under, and allowed to decompose, nitrogen is released into the soil to become available to future plants. Legumes generally need to be established earlier in the year, like mid-September, when temperatures are still warmer. Legumes don’t provide as much erosion control as cool weather grasses. They also don’t do as well in wet soggy soils with a low pH.
Common Vetch generally overwinters well in the Pacific Northwest. It has fewer tendrils than other types of vetch, making it easier to turn under. It is also less likely to become a weed. Common Vetch is a good choice where early spring crops will be planted the following year. However, it’s not as good as grasses at competing with other weeds. Common Vetch grows best when planted in the first half of September.
Crimson Clover is a low-growing cover crop. It is easier to turn under than Vetch, and is less likely to become a weed. It is a good option for areas where early crops will be planted the following year, but it does not compete well with weeds. Crimson Clover grows best when planted in the first half of September.
Dutch White Clover grows as a perennial in the Pacific Northwest and has a fantastic ability to add large amounts of nitrogen. White Dutch Clover also performs well as living cover for permanent pathways and is ideal in orchards and vineyards and as forage for non-ruminants. Dutch White Clover was once the preferred plant for lawns, and will stay small when mowed regularly. Proper management can provide blossoms throughout the season and serve as a pollinator attractant when other beneficial plantings have finished flowering.
Cover Crops planted earlier in the season recover more nutrients, cover the soil more quickly, and produce more organic matter. You can begin planting cover crops as soon as harvest is complete. To prepare your garden for fall cover crop seeding, make sure the soil is moist to allow for germination. Broadcast your seeds at a rate of two pounds per five-hundred square feet. After broadcasting, gently rake seeds into the soil. Cover your seeds with ¼ to ½ inches of soil mixed with an organic compost from G&B Organics, and press down. Seeds need to be in contact with damp soil to germinate. Make sure to plant your cover crop before night temperatures drop below 40 degrees. Because soils are cooler at this time of year, germination can take about two weeks to start.
Available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, find different cover crops like Dutch White Clover, Crimson Clover, Field Peas, and vetch. Or bring home a bag of our 5-Way Cover Crop mix, which provides a variety of cover crops. The mix includes Cereal Rye, Common Vetch, Buckwheat, Crimson Clover, and Austrian Peas. Austrian Peas, a legume, will add nitrogen to the soil. Grasses like Cereal rye, and Buckwheat will establish quickly to prevent erosion, and suppress weeds. Vetch and Clover will provide lots of green manure to till under in the spring.
Protect your gardens from soil compaction and winter weather erosion. Visit us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to get your cover crop seed and soil amendments. You’ll love the difference your garden grows in the spring after providing protection and nutrients from a generous planting of cover crops.
August Chick Chat
Switching to a Layer Feed:
A frequent question we get here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op is “When is it time to switch growing chickens over to a Layer Feed Ration.?” The answer is simple: “When your chickens start laying eggs.” The main difference between a Grower Feed and a Layer Feed is the protein content and the calcium content. Grower feeds have more protein to support growing birds. Layer feeds have less protein, and include a calcium supplement to support strong eggshells. If your flock has mixed ages, always feed to the youngest member of the flock. You can always provide a calcium supplement, like oyster shell, on the side for your laying hens.
If your birds are accustomed to the crumble of a grower/starter feed, they may not recognize that pelletized feed is something to eat. To introduce your new egg-laying flock to a pelletized feed, mix their crumbled ration with the pellets in the same feeder. It may take them a couple days, but your hens will quickly realize that layer pellets are just as tasty and satisfying as their crumbled grower feed. And don’t worry, if your chickens never become accustomed to pelletized feed, layer rations are available in crumbles to suit everybody’s preference.
Here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, we love our House Brand Snoco Layer pellets milled by Conway Feed. A pioneer in animal feed manufacturing, Conway feed is located in Conway, Washington. Locally and family owned, Conway mill has been supplying farmers with livestock feed since 1919.
Our Snoco Layer Pellets have a generous 18% protein content. The extra protein will do a lot of work to boost your chicken’s egg production. Milled to order, our Snoco Layer pellets are always fresh, and minimally processed with steam. They never have binders, artificial flavors, or preservatives. We are proud to offer our House Brand Snoco Layer Pellets milled by Conway Feed available at both the Snohomish and Monroe locations.
If all of your chickens aren’t laying eggs yet, bring home a bag of Snoco Chick Starter milled by Conway to keep your flock healthy and happy. Always freshly milled with a 20% protein content, and niacin supplement to support healthy leg growth, Snoco Chick Starter is suitable for many classes of poultry, including chickens, ducks and geese.
Find our entire line of our House Brand Snoco feeds, including Layer Pellets, Layer Crumble, and Chick Starter, milled by Conway at both our Snohomish and Monroe Locations. Don’t forget your supplements like oyster shell, grit, and kelp meal to keep your birds strong, healthy, and producing lots of delicious, farm-fresh eggs.
Feeding Goats & Snoco Hoffman Goat
When starting your herd of goats, it’s important to do a little bit of research to make sure you have everything you need to care for them. Once you have an idea of what you need, visit us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to explore options for feed, hay and minerals to support the health of your herd.
Goats are ruminants. They eat plants, and plant materials, which are digested in their four-part stomach. Their first stomach, and first step in digestion, is called the rumen. Rumens are rich in live, friendly bacteria. A healthy goat has a large rumen that feels spongy.
It is a common misconception that goats are good lawn-mowers, like sheep or cattle. In fact, goats should not eat a diet consisting entirely of fresh grass. Goats are related to deer and have a similar browsing eating habit. They like lots of options, nibbling here and there at tasty things within their reach. Because they are browsers, goats can be very happy living in a wide variety of terrains from pasture with lovely green grass, to scrubby woods where they will help to clear blackberries, and rough overgrown land.
When bringing home goats, it’s best to stick to what they are used to being fed, at least for a little while. If you want to make changes to their diet, do it gradually, and try to only change one element at a time. Bacteria in their rumen (their first stomach which begins digestion in goats) need time to adjust to new feed elements.
Available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, the main source of nutrition for goats should be hay. Goats need about two to four pounds of hay a day, minus what they forage outside. A goat’s rumen requires roughage from long fibers of hay to function properly. A local mix of hay, like those found at the Monroe Co-Op, or local orchard found at the Snohomish Co-Op, is an economical choice of hay for goats. Goats kept for fun or for pets don’t need the fanciest, most expensive hay. They need roughage more than heavy nutrition. Feed your goats hay freely, or keep it to twice a day routine in their hay-manger.
If you’re keeping goats for dairy, for meat production, or if you have a pregnant or lactating doe, choose Alfalfa hay for your goat’s supply of hay roughage. Available at both locations, in Snohomish and Monroe, Alfalfa provides more protein, nutrition, and additional calcium to support production goats.
Try feeding your goats Chaffhaye as a hay alternative. Chaffhaye is chopped alfalfa that has been fermented. Because of the fermentation process, Chaffhaye provides beneficial bacteria to support your goat’s rumens, and is more nutrient dense than dry hay. One 50-pound bag of Chaffhaye equals roughly 85 to 100 pounds of hay.
While foraging, browsing, and hay roughage should be the foundation of good goat nutrition, grains can be added to support your goat with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Grain feed is useful during times of bad weather, when your goats aren’t able to forage as much, or when does are raising multiple kids. Our House Brand Snoco Hoffman Goat feed from Conway mill is an excellent choice for goat grains. With an 18.5% protein content, Snoco Hoffman Goat is ideal to support growing and lactating goats. With the proper mix of vitamins and minerals, your goats will love the nutrition of Hoffman Goat feed, available at both the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op.
Don’t forget your goat minerals. Always offer clean, free choice minerals. At the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op we have a variety of mineral options available for goat, from loose minerals, to mineral blocks. Don’t forget a mineral feeding pan that can be mounted on a fence or wall.
Visit us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to find everything you need for your herd of goats: from feed storage containers with lids to keep out pests, to waterers, hay mangers, mineral feeders, and feed buckets. We also have a wide variety of goat grains to support your herd every step of the way. Our friendly team here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op can help you find everything you need to support the health and happiness of your goats.
Fermenting Scratch and Peck Organic Feed:
One of our favorite lines of organic feeds here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op is made by Scratch and Peck, milled locally in Burlington, Washington. Wanting to lead the sustainable food movement by example, all of Scratch and Peck feeds are non-GMO Project Verified, and Certified Organic. Find a variety of organic feeds from Scratch and Peck available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op like chick starter and grower, Broiler Grower for meat birds, Turkey Grower, and even organic Goat Feed.
Unlike pelletized feeds, all Scratch and Peck feeds are raw and unprocessed. Due to the whole grain formulation and natural enzymes, all of their feeds can be sprouted and fermented. Fermented feeds boost protein content, creates friendly bacteria for strong immune systems, increases vitamin and nutrient absorption, improves digestibility, reduces waste by integrating the powdered feed supplements, and requires less feed per serving.
Because of the whole grain nature of Scratch and Peck feeds, which includes supplements in powdered form, chickens can often leave behind the finer parts of the feed. One way to not lose out on the health benefits of the powdered supplements is to simply mix Scratch and Peck feeds with water. Once it’s an oatmeal consistency, feed it to your chickens in a feeding pan or trough-style feeder.
If you’ve already started mixing your Scratch and Peck poultry feed with water, it’s not too much more effort to ferment your feed. Fermenting feeds creates Lactic acid bacteria, like the probiotics you find in yogurt, to help make feed more digestible, increase protein and nutrient absorption, and stretch your feed dollar further. Follow these easy steps to ferment feeds from Scratch and Peck:
Measure out what your flock will eat in one day. Place the feed in a clean container like a mason jar, or a 5-gallong bucket with a loose-fitting lid.
Pour non-chlorinated water over the feed and mix thoroughly. You want about two parts water to one part feed.
Make sure the water is covering the feed completely. The feed needs to be submerged to prevent mold from developing.
Put the lid on the container, leaving it slightly loose. Leave enough room in the container for the fermented feed to expand.
Let your mixture sit at room temperature for one to three days. Stir the mixture at least once a day.
Bubbles will form when the ferment is ready, and there will be a slightly sour smell, similar to sourdough bread. The ferment can take one to four days to fully develop, depending on room temperature. The cooler the temperature, the slower the ferment.
Feed the fermented mash slightly wet, but not soupy, in a trough-style feeder, or feeding pan.
Continue to start a new batch every day to keep your flock supplied with fermented feed that has unlocked all the nutrition in whole grains, and provides natural probiotics to support overall health.
Fermenting poultry feeds is cost-effective and is one of the healthiest options for your birds. The grains absorb the water and increase the weight and volume of the feed. Your birds will take in more water because the feeds are soaked, helping to prevent dehydration. Fermented feeds will go further than dry feeds. Your birds will receive more nutrition and will eat less because of the efficiency of fermented feeds.
Visit us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op and bring home a bag of Scratch and Peck feeds today. With a few easy steps, you can unlock the nutritional benefits of fermented feeds.
Goat Hoof Care:
Keeping goats requires a bit of care when it comes to their hooves. Here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op we have all of the tools and products necessary to support healthy, trimmed hooves.
For first time goat keepers, trimming goat hooves can be intimidating. There is living tissue beneath hooves, and we never want to hurt our animals. But there’s always a risk of cutting too much. The best policy to avoid trimming off too much of the hoof is to trim regularly and gradually. Hoof trimming should happen about every other month. This way you will become familiar with the shape of the goat hoof, and not worry about needing to trim all at once, with the risk of cutting too much.
You’ll need some tools to get started with you goat’s hoof trimming:
Hoof Trimming Shears
Blood Stop Powder (often found in the dog grooming section) or Corn Starch
Milking Station or Stanchion to secure your goat.
Treats or Sweet Grain Feed for distraction
If you don’t have something on the list, visit us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op and we’ll help you find what you need.
To trim hooves, first secure your goat in a milking station or stanchion. Goats are not huge fans of hoof trimming activity. Place a favorite grain in the bucket of your stand for your goat to munch on. This will help it feel a bit happier about the whole situation. A sweet feed like our Snoco Hoffman Goat, Wet Cob, or Barnyard Blend are great choices for distracting your goat during hoof-trimming sessions. Providing yummy treats will help your goats associate hoof trimming sessions with good feelings.
Second, let your goat throw a fit about the hoof trimming process. You will be bending the leg you’re working on at the knee to get a good grip and position for trimming the hoof. Your goat will likely not be happy about this uncomfortable position and interruption to their treat. Give them time to stomp around and try to get you off their hoof before beginning the trimming process. If you give them time to get their protest out of the way before actually starting to trim, there’s less of a chance for you to make a mistake.
Start with a front hoof, move to the back hooves, and finish on the other front hoof. The reason for this rhythm is rooted in goat psychology. In the wild, goats are prey animals. Large predators will often catch goats by their hind legs. Therefore, the instinct of your goat will be to fight you, especially during trimming of the back hooves. Starting at the front, and finishing at the front, with treats and soft words during the trimming of the back hooves, will help keep your goat in a cooperative mental state.
Once your goat is over their fit about their current situation, run your hand down a leg, towards the hoof and lift the lower leg, bending it at the knee joint. If necessary, wipe away mud and use the hoof pick to clear out excess mud and manure from the bottom of the foot. Be careful to not dig or scrape too hard as the center is softer tissue than the outer rim.
Examine the hoof for general good structure. Is there any odor, soft spots on the outer hoof, and rotting? Note any areas of tenderness and look for the cause. If the ground has been very wet, the goat may have early signs of hoof scald. Hoof rot has a particular smell and is caused by fungus and bacteria. You can find treatments for hoof rot like Dr. Naylor’s Hoof & Heel at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op.
Line the trimming shears up with the overgrown part of the hoof, called the hoof wall, and slowly start to cut that part off. Make smooth, shallow strokes to trim. This way you won’t cut too close. The hoof wall should be trimmed so that it’s even with the rest of the hoof, Trim the heel, also called the frog, gradually as well. It should be clipped down until it is even with the sole of the hoof.
If your goat has extreme overgrown goat hooves, you might need to work in slow, frequent trimmings to get the shape back to normal.
It will be obvious when you are getting close to the quick of the hoof. The quick is where blood flows into the goat’s food. When you are getting close, the hoof begins to turn pink. When you see any sign of pink on the hoof, you’ll know it’s been trimmed enough. Use your filing rasp to even out your cuts, and to create a smooth even footing for your goat.
If you do end up cutting too much and your goat starts to bleed, don’t panic. Sprinkle a healthy dose of blood stop powder or corn starch on the hoof. This should help the blood stop quickly. Monitor your goat to make sure no infection develops.
Work as quickly as you can on the back hooves to limit stress to your animal as much as possible. While your goat may never be completely comfortable during hoof trimming, a continued regular routine will reduce the anxiety.
Healthy hooves are integral to healthy goats. Visit us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op for all of the supplies you need to support the healthy and happiness of your goats.
July Chick Chat 7/1/2021
Bear Mountain BBQ Pellets:
If you love to grill and smoke meats and veggies, you’ll love the different flavors of all-natural hardwood barbecue pellets from Bear Mountain. Available in 20# bags at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, each bag will provide up to 20 hours of cook time in your pellet grill and smoker. Bear Mountain barbecue pellets have a low moisture content for the perfect smoke, and work well with any brand of grill and smoker like Traeger, Pit Boss, Weber, Louisiana Grills, and more.
One of the reasons that barbecued meats and veggies are so delicious is because of the type of wood used during preparation. Different types of wood have unique properties and flavors that are passed on during the grilling and smoking process. There are many different kinds of woods that can be used for barbecue. Bear Mountain Barbecue Pellets are made of choice hardwoods, free from fillers or binders. Add rich, smoky flavor with Bear Mountain’s all-natural wood barbecue pellets.
Visit the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op today to explore the variety of flavors available like Oak, Apple, Hickory, Cherry, Mesquite, and Gourmet Blend.
Hickory wood pellets provide an intense, well rounded smoky and spicy flavor to meat. Best used to cook beef, pork and poultry, hickory brings a robust smokiness. If you’re looking to try out a wood that provides a stronger flavory, hickory wood is a great choice.
Try apple wood pellets to add a sweet, subtle smokiness. Never heavy, use apple wood pellets to beautifully flavor ham, fish, poultry, and veggies. Because of the subtleness of apple wood’s smoke, it’s best to cook your meats “low and slow” to attain full flavor.
Not as intense as hickory, oak is a favorite for grilling and smoking. Oak pellets provide a balance of smooth, smoky flavor that blends well with all kinds of meats. With a medium, earthy flavor, use oak pellets alone or try combining with apple or cherry.
All-natural Cherry wood pellets add a sweet, fruity flavor to meats and veggies. If you’re unsure about which wood to choose, start with cherry. Cherry goes well with any kind of meat. Delicate, and not overpowering cherry wood also works well mixed with other woods like apple, oak, or hickory. Cherry wood produces a lovely, dark mahogany color on meats, making them look even more delicious.
Mesquite is a hardy wood, known for its strong, intense, earthy flavor. It works well for quick cooks like steak, or for smoking beef and pork to create a Texas-style barbecue flavor. Mesquite pellets also work well blended with milder flavors like apple or cherry. Mesquite is a great choice for the adventurous outdoor chef.
You can also try Bear Mountain’s Gourmet Barbecue Blend: their combination of all-natural Oak, Hickory, Maple, and Cherry will create a great flavor you’re sure to love.
Smoking meats with Bear Mountain Barbecue Pellets isn’t just about adding flavor. Smoking meats is also about adding a dark, rich mahogany hue. Hickory, oak, and cherry woods are especially popular because of their tendency to add appealing color. Just like blending spices, try different blends of woods from Bear Mountain Barbecue pellets in your grill and smoker to produce delicious and beautiful results on your meats and veggies. Pick up a bag of two today of barbecue pellets available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op.
7/8/2021 Watering Your Lawn and Garden:
We are lucky in the Pacific Northwest to receive a good amount of sun and rain during the growing seasons. However, to keep our lawns and gardens green and growing throughout dry summer stretches, some attention will need to be given to irrigation. Here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, we have a good selection of tools and products to help with your watering needs.
For overhead watering, which reliable sprinklers provide, it’s best to water lawns and gardens in the morning. If you water in the hottest parts of the afternoon, much of the water will evaporate rather than soak into the roots and soil. Watering in the morning also give your plants’ leaves time to dry out before the evening. Damp leaves at night can encourage fungus, like powdery mildew, to grow.
Visit us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to find different styles of sprinklers, and lots of options for garden hoses to deliver water wherever you need it. We have rectangular sprinklers that can water up to 3,600 square feet of lawn and garden, as well as pulsating sprinklers that cover up to a 60-foot diameter. To simplify your watering chore, add a Gilmour Manual Sprinkler Timer. Simply set the amount of time you want your hose or sprinkler to run, switch to “On” and let the mechanical watering timer take care of the rest. It will automatically shut the water off when you want it to, no batteries required.
Lawns need about 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week to stay lovely and green throughout the summer. To maintain deeper roots, it’s best to give your lawn a deep soak every other day, rather than shorter daily watering sessions. To determine how long to keep your sprinkler on, place an empty pan, or an empty tuna can under your sprinkler and find out how long it takes to fill up to a half-inch of water. Set your sprinkler to run for that amount of time every other day to enjoy a beautiful green lawn all summer long. Find the right sprinkler for your yard, and the attachments needed to get your irrigation job done at both locations in Snohomish and Monroe.
Sometimes, with all of our daily engagements, we just don’t have enough time to properly water gardens in the morning. If you can’t water in the morning, late afternoon is the second-best time of day to soak your garden. Just make sure it’s early enough for the leaves of the plants to dry. It can be beneficial for vegetable gardens especially to be watered later in the day. A good soaking at the end of the day gives plants all night to absorb water without the sun drying everything out. To minimize water landing on leaves, bring home soaker hoses from the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op. Set up soaker hoses and leave them in place all season long to simplify watering your garden. Soaker hoses deliver water to your plants at soil level, preventing wet leaves at night that can lead to fungus and disease. Use Gilmour’s Manual Sprinkler Timer to automatically turn water off when you need it to.
Our friendly team here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op can help you find the products you need to set up lawn and garden watering systems. Find sprinklers, garden hoses, adapters, water times, and soaking hoses at both locations. Don’t let your lawn and garden dry out. Visit the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op today.
7/15/2021 Automatic Watering Solutions for Pets, Poultry and Livestock:
Hauling enough water every day to keep your animals properly hydrated can be a daunting task. Water troughs can dry up or spill, creating a situation where your animals do not have the water they need. With a little bit of infrastructure, you can set up an automatic watering system for your livestock. Here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, we sell a number of solutions to help make watering your pets and livestock one of the easiest jobs on the homestead.
Suitable for outdoor watering of horses, goats, pets and all other livestock, Little Giant’s Automatic Waterers will provide a continuous supply of water for your animals. Constructed from heavy-gauge, prime-quality steel, they are available in galvanized steel, and non-toxic, black epoxy-coated steel. With mounting plates included, Little Giant’s Automatic Waterers can be mounted on fences or walls at any height to create easy access for your animals to reach water. This dependable, all-purpose waterer is easy to connect to a hose to with a ½” pipe adapter. Little Giant’s Automatic Waterers measure 10” long, 10.75” wide, and 5.5” high. The float will automatically turn water on to fill the bowl and will turn off when the water reaches the perfect level for drinking.
Another automatic watering solution available at the Snohomish Co-Op, Hudson Valves are designed to maintain a constant level of water in your trough. Once attached to a water source, Hudson Valves will turn the water on and off as needed. This valve will take the place of daily manual watering. Just hook it up and never worry about your animals running out of water again.
Both the Snohomish Co-Op and the Monroe Co-Op also carry automatic float valves to set up your stock tanks for hands-free water filling. You can also find Pig Water Nipples that hook directly up to a water source. With reliable automatic watering products available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, never worry about your livestock having adequate access to water again.
For Cats and Dogs:
Don’t let your best fuzzy friends’ waters go dry in the summertime. Available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, bring home an Ever-Full water Bowl for dogs and cats. Simply attach the ¾” hose to your garden hose, turn on the tap, and the bowl fills automatically. The Ever-Full water bowl has an 11” diameter, is 4” deep, and hold 5 quarts of water. A reliable float controls the water level, keeping a continuous supply of fresh water available for your pet. Every time your dog or cat drinks from the bowl, it automatically fills back up to a comfortable drinking level.
Birds, like ducks and chickens, do not have bladders and therefore do not retain a supply of water internally. This is why it is so important to provide your birds with access to fresh water at all times. The Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op both carry a number of products to automatically supply water to birds. With one of these items, you’ll have peace of mind that your birds won’t run out of water during hot summer days.
For chickens and gamebirds try the Game Bird Fount, available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, to provide a limitless supply of clean water. This heavy-duty plastic bowl comes with a non-rusting brass fountain stem and valve that fills automatically. You’ll need a ½” to ¾” hose adapter (also sold at the Co-Op) to connect the Game Bird Fount to your garden hose. The bowl measures 6.5” inches in diameter, and 2.5” deep fount, and holds 2 pints of water. The Game Bird Fount can keep up to 175 birds freshly watered all day long without worry.
For larger birds like chickens, and water-loving birds like ducks and geese, try Little Giant’s Automatic Poultry Waterer with a Cover available at the Monroe Co-Op. Never carry water to your birds again. The Automatic Poultry Waterer includes a ¾” hose that attaches to a standard garden hose. The automatic float controls the water, providing a continuous supply of fresh water for your birds. The over-sized cover extends past the edge of the bowl helps to keep debris out of the water, and prevents roosting. Easy to assemble, and easy to clean, the high-density polyethelene bowl measures 14” long, 12.75” wide, and 10.5” high, and holds 5 quarts of water. Your birds will love the continuous supply of cool, clean water during the hottest says of summer.
Let our friendly team at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op help you find the supplies you need to provide access to cool, clean water for your pets, poultry, and livestock all summer long.
7/22/2021 Summer Fruit Tree Care:
With a bit of attention throughout the year, you can have healthy, productive fruit trees to supply your homestead with delicious homegrown fruits like cherries, plums, pears and apples. Here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op we have tools and products to help keep your homestead orchard at its healthiest and most productive. Most fruit tree pruning should happen in the late winter and early spring. However, summer care is still important to keep your trees strong and resilient against insects, disease, and stress.
Inspect your trees throughout the season for signs of insect or disease. Notice how your established trees are growing. If there are any broken branches or dead branches, remove them using a sharp pair of pruners. We have pruning shears at both the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op in different sizes suitable for different jobs. At our Monroe Location we even have pruners on extended poles that can reach up to 12’ high. If a large branch on your fruit tree has fallen, or needs removed, seal up the wound with a pruning sealant from Bonide. For pruned, grafted, or damaged wood on trees, Bonide’s pruning sealer won’t burn or run. Its antiseptic sealant will protect your tree against insects and disease. While you’re inspecting your tree for dead branches, or wounds, take note of which limbs are creating too much shade. This will help you plan which branches to prune come late winter, early spring.
Fruit trees need water to produce plump, juicy fruit. Water your homestead orchard deeply, and less often to promote strong roots. If your soil is sandy, water every 1-2 weeks. If your soil has more clay in it, water every 2-3 weeks. Consider setting up soaker hoses around your trees. Available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, soaker hoses deliver water straight to the soil line without getting water on the trunk, fruit, and leaves, which can cause damage to your tree and splitting of your fruit. You can even get a Manual Watering Timer to automatically shut off water at the desired time. Make sure to water your fruit trees all the way out to the drip line of the tree branches to support optimal hydration.
After a deep watering, a layer of much will help keep moisture from evaporating. Use an airy layer of straw or alfalfa hay, 3-4 inches deep, spread around the base of your tree. Soft layers of mulch at the base of the tree will help control weeds, keep moisture close to the roots, and act as a cushion for any fruit that drops during harvest. Wood chips as mulch are not ideal for fruit trees because decomposers of wood chips use nitrogen from the soil that the fruit tree needs. Stick to lighter material for mulching like straw, alfalfa, or grass hays, all available at both the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op.
Keep an eye on your homestead orchard for invasive pests that might damage and destroy your crop. The Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op have organic solutions to control insects in your orchard. Check out Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew by Bonide. This spray is approved for organic gardening to control a wide range of insects like bagworms, leaf borers, beetles, caterpillars, coddling moths, thrips, spider mites, and more. Also available from Bonide is their 3-in-1 Neem Oil. Approved for organic gardening, Neem Oil is an insecticide, fungicide, and miticide. Control plant disease, mites, and all stages of insect life cycles safely on your fruit trees and fruits. Visit the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to find a wide selection of Bonide products to support fruit trees and prevent pests, fungus and disease from invading your orchard.
When your fruit trees are ready to harvest, make sure you handle the fruit gently. For hard to reach fruit, use a True Temper fruit harvester with a telescoping pole, available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op. Store harvested fruits in cardboard or wood boxes, spread out so fruits don’t touch, in dark a cool place. Bruised fruit does not store well, and can cause over-ripening in unblemished fruit. Use less-than-perfect fruits to make jams, preserves and sauces. You can find all the canning supplies you need at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to preserve the taste of summer all year long.
Product tested and proven to work by multiple members of the friendly crew here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, the Ratinator is a safe way to effectively control invading rat populations. Ratinator is a live trap and works without using any poisons that could harm livestock or wildlife.
Here’s the game:
Ratinator has two doors: a back door and a see-saw door.
Load the trap with whatever rats are used to eating: chicken food, grains, dog food, whatever the rats have been eating regularly. Don’t get too fancy, give them something they’re used to.
Set the back door open. This way rats go in and out of Ratinator, eating the food, and making themselves feel comfortable. Give your visitors 3 or 4 days to get used to being in and around the trap.
After a couple of days, once all the food is gone, you know that the rats have become comfortable with the Ratinator.
Close up the back door, and reload the trap with food. Now the rats can only get in the see-saw door, and they can’t get out again. Over and over again, the rats will go in, and get trapped.
The trap comes with a water tray just a little deeper than the trap, for dispatching its catch.
Ratinator consistently catches 8, 12, up to 21 rats a night. It even catches the large, breeding ones, not just the little young ones.
Reuse the Ratinator over and over again, without the worry of harming your livestock or wildlife.
A few tips from experienced users:
Put Ratinator on a sheet of plywood. Rats are expert diggers. Sometimes they’ll come up from underneath to steal the food you’ve loaded in the trap.
Place a brick on top of Ratinator to help keep the trap in place, just in case you catch so many that they move the trap.
Be patient. Play the game. Give the rats plenty of time (up to 3-4 days) to get comfortable eating out of the open trap before closing the back door. If you set the trap too soon, you won’t catch anything.
Ratinator comes with a tray that is about an inch deeper than the wire trap. On a level surface, till the tray with water and submerge the trap with the rats trapped inside. There are handles on top of the cage to make it easy to carry, and to drop into the water-filled tray.
Don’t let rats ruin your day. Shop the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to find everything you need to control rodent populations, and pick up your Ratinator today.
May SNOCO Minute 5/6/2021
Snoco/Conway Centennial Horse:
We’ve partnered with Conway Mill to formulate a new horse feed that we’re very excited about. It’s called Snoco Centennial Horse, named after the Centennial Trail that borders the Snohomish Co-Op.
Snoco’s Centennial Horse offers a higher fat content and a higher protein content than traditional horse feeds. This will provide a nutrient dense horse feed great for active and growing horses.
Snoco Centennial Horse provides chelated mineral supplements. Chelated minerals are bound to amino acids or organic acids. Because of this bond to organic compounds, chelated minerals are more easily and efficiently absorbed. The consumption of chelated minerals is associated with resistance to stress and disease, reduced bone abnormalities in growing horses, and improved hoof and hair conditions.
Bio-Mos provides Snoco Centennial Horse feeds with a sturdy probiotic from a selected strain of yeast developed by Alltech called Bio-Mos. The effectiveness of Bio-Mos is supported by over 734 trials and 114 peer-reviewed publications. Probiotics feed the gastrointestinal tract, supporting overall animal performance. Bio-Mos enhances feed efficiency, helps develop the immune system, normalizes gut microflora, and reinforces the digestive system.
Snoco Centennial Horse utilizes Sel-Plex, which provides an organic selenium yeast, proven to enhance performance by providing selenium in a form naturally present in plants and more digestible than inorganic forms. Selenium deficiency in equine can cause impaired muscle function, poor heart health, lower immune function, and lack of energy levels in horses. Proper selenium supplements contribute to colostrum quality, enhanced nutritional absorption, normal reproductive functions, and increased performance capabilities.
Snoco Centennial Horse also offers a Kelp Meal supplement. Benefits of kelp meal in feed include improved thyroid stimulation from its iodine content, which helps regulate metabolism, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, and increased immune function.
Both stores are offering free samples of Snoco Centennial Horse, while supplies last. Produced locally in Conway Washington, batches of Snoco brand feed are milled fresh to order. Steam processed, feeds from Conway Mill are always preservative free, and free of synthetic binders. Visit the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to bring home your bag of Snoco Centennial Horse today.
Raw Honey, Dorothea’s Goatmilk Soap, Hay Dude’s
The Snohomish Co-Op has been supporting local business and agriculture for over 85 years, and provides shelf space to products made by small, local crafters. We would like to highlight a couple of products that you can find at both our Snohomish and Monroe locations.
Timberline Bees located in Granite Falls, Washington provides us with raw honey available in many convenient sizes. From honey sticks, to beeswax, to pints, quarts, and gallons of honey, find just what your family needs for local raw honey. Try their creamed honey for an easy to spread treat. Delicious, locally sourced and produced, find great prices on Timberline Bees raw honey.
We also sell reusable beeswax overs for food storage. Attractive fabric covered in beeswax, these food covers can be used over and over again, replacing plastic wrap. Just hand wash them with a mild detergent, and hang to dry. Beeswax covers are also safe to use in the freezer for up to a month. Four packs of 10 x10 inch square, 9.5 inch round, 7.5 inch round, and 6 inch round are available at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op.
Another favorite product on the shelf here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op is Dorothea’s Goatmilk Soap. Available in a wide variety of flavors, goat milk soap provides a deep, yet gentle clean. It will help keep your skin soft, nourished, and moisturized. Goat milk soap is also known to relieve irritation and inflammation, to help heal skin infections, and to maintain the pH balance of the skin. Dorothea even has a few flavors with charcoal incorporated. Charcoal in goat milk soap is known for its absorptive properties and helps with controlling acne, drawing out impurities, and exfoliating your skin. Try staff favorites like Mojito, Lavender with Tea Tree, and Unscented with Oatmeal.
If you have small animals like guinea pigs or rabbits, be sure to try small batch bags of hay from Hay Dude’s, a local company based just up the road in Sultan. They source their hay from farmers in Eastern Washington, and package it in small bags perfect for small pets. You can find small bags of timothy grass, orchard grass, and alfalfa. Try switching between hay types to prevent finicky eaters. They even have small bags of straw for bedding. Forage is an important aspect of diets for guinea pigs and rabbits, but sometimes big bales of hay are impracticable when storage isn’t available. Hay Dude’s small bags of high-quality hay from Eastern Washington is the perfect solution.
The Monroe Co-Op offers a great selection of Noble Panels. All Noble horse fencing products are manufactured to be safe for horses and livestock. They are built of quality galvanized high-tensile steel tubing. It is stronger than vinyl horse fencing and prevents the crashing through of a spooked horse.
Chosen for its high strength and rust-free features, Noble Panel’s quality galvanized fencing material will give you decades of use, retain its shiny silver appearance and be virtually maintenance free.
Finding the right fencing material that is attractive, durable, low maintenance, and safe has long been a problem for horsemen and other livestock owners. Noble Panels fence products are great for small family pastures or large equestrian centers.
Whether you've had your favorite horse injured by a barbed wire fence or spooked by an electric fence; or you are just tired of replacing rotted fence posts and repairing and painting your wood fence, Noble Panels & Gates has the ideal livestock fence solution.
Our Monroe Location offers a good selection of Noble Panels and Gates in stock. We have all of the panel pieces to put together their standard 12x12 shelter, plus add-ons like gates, and stall fronts. If you purchase a shelter a kit from us, we’ll add in all the hardware needed to put the shelter together for free. The hardware alone is a $100 value!
If we don’t have the Noble panels you’re looking for, we can special order anything their website and pamphlets offer. Once your pieces arrive at the store, why not hire our top-notch delivery team to bring your panels straight out to your property?!
Come out to the Monroe Co-Op today to get your arena and shelter projects started off right with Noble Panels and Gates.
Fly Control on the Homestead
As the days get warmer, flies begin to emerge in greater populations, and can become a nuisance around livestock. The Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op offer a number of different solutions for fly control on your homestead.
Rabon Cow and Horse blocks by Sweetlix can provide relief from fly invasions. Rabon is an organic phosphate insecticide that prevents larvae from developing into adults. It passes through the digestive system and remains in the manure, where it kills developing larvae on contact. Feed Sweetlix Rabon Cow and Horse blocks as you would a salt and mineral block. Start feeding in the spring all the way through summer and fall to prevent horn flies, face flies, house flies, and stable flies. Find Rabon blocks at both of Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op.
We also sell a wide selection of fly sprays and fly masks for horses. We have topical ointments and wipes, repellents with insecticides and even all-natural repellents like Ecovet that really work. Find the treatment that works best for you at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op.
Keep flies off of your horse’s eyes and ears with a sturdy fly mask from Weatherbeeta. With strong stretchy outer fabric to create a snug fit, and durable see-through screen mesh, Weatherbeeta’s fly masks pay attention to comfort while providing optimal protection with minimal visual obstruction. Weatherbeeta’s fly masks can be found at both our Snohomish and Monroe locations in different styles. They have masks that cover the ears, some with UV protection, and some with extended panels that cover your horse’s nostrils. Fly masks come in all different sizes to fit your horse just right.
Don’t let flies ruin your day. Come see us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to find solutions to keep your homestead happy and healthy.
April SNOCO Minute
4/2/2021: Raising Turkeys
Turkeys can be some of the sweetest and friendliest birds to keep on the farm. They are very social, and will follow you around the garden, helping with chores like weeding, and insect eating.
Baby turkeys are called poults, and they imprint heavily with their caretaker. Holding turkeys regularly at a young age will teach them to be friendly and devoted to their human keeper. They are very inquisitive: young poults and will try anything you offer them from above: meal worms, scrambled eggs, leafy greens, bits of fruit.
For their first few weeks of life, turkeys need a high-protein diet. The Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op carry multiple choices of turkey feed, conventional or organic.
Turkey poults have fewer feathers than chicks, and need more attention to keep properly warm. They require a brooder temperature of 95o for their first 10 days. You can then start to lower the temperature about 5o a week, until reaching ambient temperature.
Consider providing Chaffhaye to your turkeys from day one. Chaffhaye is a fermented alfalfa product. The natural probiotics provided by the fermentation process with help strengthen your turkey’s natural immune system. The alfalfa provides fiber to support the digestive tract. Plus, having Chaffhaye to scratch and peck through gives your turkeys something to do. Bored birds often pick on each other.
Both the Snohomish, and the Monroe Co-Ops will be receiving regular shipments of turkeys throughout the spring and summer. We will have production black, bronze, and white broad breasted turkeys, as well as heritage breeds like Narragansett and Bourbon Reds. You can find our full schedule of turkeys on our website at www.snohomishcoop.com.
4/9/2021: Rain Gear
You can find sturdy, reliable rain gear at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op year-round. High-quality Viking jackets and pants will help keep you warm and dry when you’re working outside in the Pacific Northwest’s rainy season, which lasts, as we all know, all year long. We carry jackets and pants that are waterproof, machine washable, and windproof. Jackets have convenient features such as safety reflective piping on the front and back, mesh-lined shells and vents for comfort and breathability, and multiple zip-up pockets.
We also carry oil resistant jackets and pants for your dirtier jobs. Viking’s premium PVC jackets and pants offer excellent splash protection against acids, animal fats, chemicals, and motor oils. They are fully waterproof, and windproof, made with welded and stitched seams for durability. With multiple cooling vents, and a cotton corduroy collar, Viking’s Journeyman oil resistant jackets are comfortable and durable.
If you need Hi-Viz gear, the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Ops are your place to shop. We have professional grade gear to keep you safe while working out on the road. From insulated bomber style jackets, to Viking’s Professional Grade Journeyman jackets and bibs, we have Hi-Viz gear suitable for all seasons. Windproof, waterproof, and highly durable, Viking’s Journeyman jackets are made from heavy-duty polyester with PU backing material giving superior abrasion, puncture, rip and snag resistance. When worn as a set, the Hi-Viz Viking Journeyman jackets and bibs are class 3 safety compliant.
Order gear for your entire work crew. We can customize your order, and have your company’s logo printed on the gear. Requests quotes for your crew and logo customization on our website: www.snohomishcoop.com.
4/16/2021: Ghost Automatic Gate/Coop Door openers
Explore our new line of Ghost Controls Automatic Gate Openers. These state-of-the-art automatic gate openers will save you time and effort. From automatic chicken coop door openers, to single or double arm gate openers, the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op has all the pieces you need to get your system set up.
Ghost Controls have a Lifetime Warranty on motor and gearbox assembly. Their gate operators have a patented design, and the highest quality hardware inside for optimal performance for many years.
With built-in patent pending SafeForce technology, the amount of force exerted by the opener system is automatically limited. This feature prevents entrapment injuries to people and animals, as well as allowing for a simpler and more reliable installation.
Ghost Controls offers secure technology for remote transmitters, keypads and vehicle sensors activating gate sensors. Their system has over 4 million possible combinations of codes to keep your system safe and secure from hackers.
Their standard remote transmitter has a superior transmitter range of up to 1,000 feet, and can operate up to two different Ghost Control gates.
Ghost Control automatic gate opening systems are battery operated using a 12-volt deep cycle marine/auto battery, or using their battery box kit. The system is also solar optimized where electricity is not an option for recharging your battery.
Find everything you need to get your Ghost Control automatic gate openers working for you. From batteries and solar panels, to mounting pedestals and additional hardware needed to customize your gate installation, the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Ops are your go-to places for solutions.
4/23/2021: Choosing the Right Roll of Fencing
Let the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op help you with all of your fencing needs. We have a wide variety of wood posts, galvanized fence panels, and rolls of fencing to suit all of your projects.
Rolls of fencing:
Welded Wire: An economical solution to many fencing needs, welded wire is durable, and easy to install. It comes in a variety of mesh sizes to accommodate different uses from keeping in dogs and livestock, to keeping rabbits out of your garden.
Poultry Netting: These rolls come in a variety of sizes and lengths, They are available with a 1” mesh or a 2” mesh. They are an inexpensive solution to keep chickens out of gardens, or to even use as a trellis for plants. Use chicken wire to line welded wire to keep smaller animals where they belong.
Hardware Cloth: Stronger than chicken-wire, hardware cloth is welded wire in a tight square-shaped mesh. Use hardware cloth to exclude rodents from just about everywhere. More expensive than chicken-wire, it is well worth the investment. Extend the fence underground to prevent critters from burrowing underneath fence lines.
Field Fence: With graduated mesh (larger openings up top, smaller openings lower down) and coming in rolls of 330’, this fencing is a great solution for larger properties keeping in a larger livestock like cattle, and hogs. It has a heavier gauge wire than welded wire, and crimped joints providing extra strength.
No-Climb Horse Fence: This is the best rolled fence option for keeping horses, sheep, and goats. The 2” x 4” woven mesh prevents hooves from getting caught, and prevents animals from climbing up the fence. The woven joints of this fence make it a very flexible, which his good for uneven terrain or rolling hills that need to be fenced.
4/30/2021: Why haven’t you tried Chaffhaye yet?
Available in 50 lb bales, as well as small, 20 ounce bags, Chaffhaye is a premium Non-GMO Alfalfa that provides the key characteristics of alfalfa, while also offering a guaranteed level of nutrition, and natural probiotics.
Produced in small batches, Chaffhaye undergoes a natural fermentation that transforms the raw alfalfa into a super digestible forage, enriching it with yeast, enzymes and beneficial microflora that aid digestion as well as absorption of its nutrients by the animal.
It is ideal for ensuring maximum health and well-being of all classes of horse, deer, goat, llama, chickens, poultry, camelid, household pets, and other exotic animals.
The Chaffhaye company is family owned, and uses state of the art facility in Dell City, Texas. Their alfalfa is proudly grown on Non-GMO verified fields.
Chaffhaye is soft, easy to chew, and free of dust and mold.
Enhanced Digestibility: The fermentation process promotes fiber-digesting bacteria, which resemble those found in the early digestion process in the rumen. Chaffhaye maintains proper gut pH and, because of its natural fermentation, allows the animal to better extract energy and nutrition from forage.
Consistent Nutrition: Chaffhaye guarantees quality nutrition of unopened bags for 16 months from the date of manufacture.
Dust Free (Naturally Moist Feed): Chaffhaye minimizes respiratory ailments in animals sensitive to dust or airborne mold spores.
No Barn Required: Chaffhaye is compressed inside a weather-proof bag that allows for easy storage inside or out.
Zero Waste: Moist & palatable, animals normally eat 100% of Chaffhaye with no stems left behind.
Good for chicks and poultry: The Chaffhaye process utilizes a cool lacto-fermentation to breakdown the phytic acid, and protective enzymes, essentially “unlocking” the nutrition in the forage. Early access to semi-moist diets for day-old chicks stimulates gastrointestinal (GI) development and prevents dehydration.
Good for horses: A “biological response” refers to how well an animal’s digestive system utilizes feed. Studies involving horses have shown a significantly higher biological response to fermented products like Chaffhaye. Fermentation allows more nutrients from forage to be absorbed.
Good for Cattle and Goats: Because of the “pre-digestion” properties of fermentation, nutrients are more easily available for absorption. This promotes increased lactation, healthy digestive tracts, and superior skin and coats.
March SNOCO Minute
Here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, we are excited to get our 2021 chick season underway. This year, between both stores, we’ve ordered more than twenty thousand birds. From chicks, to ducklings, to turkey poults, guinea keets, and game birds, we have the most diverse selection of live baby birds in Snohomish County. Visit us for chick days at the Co-op from March 19th to March 21st and save 15% on your chick supplies, some exclusions apply. We’ll be receiving our biggest shipment of chicks and ducklings for the year. Be sure to visit our website to schedule an appointment for access to our chick room. You can find the full line-up on our website at www.snohomishcoop.com.
Here at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op, we refill dozens of propane tanks every day. Our trained crew is available to safely fill barbecue tanks, RV tanks, forklift tanks, and more. Before bringing your propane tank in to be refilled, check its manufacturing date to make sure it’s not due for recertification. Washington State requires all propane tanks to be recertified twelve years after manufacturing, and every five years after that. You can locate the date of manufacturing on the collar of you tank. Double check recertification dates that are stamped into the metal, or displayed as a sticker on your tank to make sure it’s within that five year life span. If you’re unsure about checking the dates on your propane tank, visit us at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op. We will help keep you safe, and well supplied with propane.
Ducklings arrive March 19th at the Monroe Co-Op, and March 26th at the Snohomish Co-Op. You can explore our full schedule for ducklings at our 2021 chick schedule link on our website, www.snohomishcoop.com. Ducks are a fun and productive addition to your backyard flock or homestead. They patrol yards and gardens, devouring countless slugs and snails. Duck eggs will add incredible richness to your baked goods. Plus, people allergic to chicken eggs often find duck eggs a delicious substitute. From expert foraging ducks like Runners, to larger Pekins, to dual purpose Silver Applyard ducks, we order thirteen different types of ducks for the season. Count on the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op for everything you need for your flock of ducks.
Visit the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op to browse our full line of G&B organic fertilizers. We have formulas to suit all of your gardening needs. With beneficial microbes, G&B organic fertilizers go the extra distance to support the health of your plants. Mycorrhizae (pronounced mai – kuh – rai – zee) are also included in each formula. Mycorrhizae are a beneficial fungus living in and around a plant’s root system. The beneficial fungus supports plants by making nutrients more available, and by making water available in times of water stress. In exchange, mycorrhizae receive sugars manufactured by plants through photosynthesis, forming a true symbiotic relationship. Let our friendly team at the Snohomish and Monroe Co-Op help you find the ideal fertilizer formula from G&B organics, and feel confident that your plants will receive the best nutrients available.
Starting Seeds Indoors:
An average sized tomato seed weighs approximately 3 milligrams. How extraordinary it is to behold that tiny thing become a 4 foot tall bush, hanging with several pounds of bright red fruit. Seeds carry within them the full potential of the entire plant and its harvest. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to get seeds started, but they do best under certain conditions.
Germination refers to the growth of a plant within a seed. Seeds require a growing medium (peat containers, or potting soil), heat, and moisture to germinate. The back of a seed packet contains lots of useful information to help you create the optimal conditions for germination. Seed packets will tell you the proper seed depth, the ideal soil temperature, how many days until germination, light requirements of the plant, and space requirements.
Gardeners can get a head start on the growing season by starting seeds indoors. This way, plants can begin their growth cycle while soil temperatures outside are still too cold for germination. When starting seeds indoors, choose a potting soil, or a seed starting medium such as the ones included in our Greenhouse Garden Starter Kit. Make sure the peat pellets or potting soil is evenly moist all the way through, but not overly saturated. If you can squeeze water from a handful of soil, it’s too wet and can grow mold or fungus which can kill your plant.
Use your fingers to gently compress the soil or growing medium. This gentle soil compaction will help prevent the seed from falling too deep into the medium. Place the seed on the soil, and cover loosely to the recommended depth. Use plastic wrap or the greenhouse plastic cover to keep your soil moist. This will help prevent overwatering, which can cool soil temperatures, preventing proper germination conditions.
Place your planted seeds in a bright window or under florescent lights. Use a soil thermometer to determine that your soil is warm enough for germination. If your soil is too cool, you can use a heat mat to place under your planted seeds. Your seedlings will emerge several days later, bringing with them the signs of spring, new growth, and harvest.
Research your chicken types now to plan and get ready for chick season.
What type of bird will work best?
Egg Layer: Most of the chicks ordered for our stores are reliable layers of eggs, and are well adapted to the Pacific Northwest climate. Sex Link chickens are a dependable type to make sure you only bring home pullets (young female chickens), without the risk of a rooster. A sex-link chicken is a hybrid cross of two breeds, which will produce male and female chicks that look different at hatching. Sex-Link choices include: Gold, Black, and Red sex links, Amber-links, ISA Browns, and Novogens.
Dual Purpose: These chickens tend to be heavier in size to produce a fair amount of meat, but still lay a reliabe amount of eggs. Classic examples of these are Rhode Island Reds, Buckeyes, Australorps, Wyandottes, Orpingtons, Sussex, Plymouth Rocks, Brahmas, Delawares, Naked-Neck Turkens.
Bantam: For those with smaller properties and less available space for chickens, bantams are a great solution. While standard sized chickens need about 4 square feet per bird in a coop, bantams only need about 2 square feet per bird. They lay smaller eggs, but they’re just as delicious and nutritious as the big ones. They will need a bit more protection from predators because of their smaller size. Great choices are Bantam Brahmas, Sebrights, Dutch, and Bantam Ameraucanas (these will lay different colored eggs like blue, green, and pink).
Flighty, Free Range Birds: While flighty chickens may not be as kid friendly as other heavier breeds, they do well in free range conditions where avoiding predators is necessary. They can not sustain flight, but they are light enough to be able to flutter a good distance (up to 6-8 feet) to avoid predation. They also tend toward the most productive laying breeds available. Flighty, high egg production breeds include Leghorns (silver, white, blue brown), Minorcas, Blue Andalusians, and Cream Legbars (these ones lay blue eggs).
Meat Birds: There are specific types of chickens that are bred primarily for meat purposes. These chickens tend to be a heavier bird, that reach their mature weight sooner than other breeds. Cornish Cross chickens are the fastest maturing bird, reaching a butchering weight at 6-8 weeks. Heritage types of meat birds include Freedom Rangers, Red Broilers, and Black Broilers, reaching mature weight at around 12 weeks.
Fancy Show Breeds: There are some beautiful chickens out there with fantastic plumage and colors. These chickens are fun to show at fair, but require a bit more protection from predators: fancy head-feathers do cut off peripheral vision. Types to consider for beauty are Polish (they come in silver laced, gold laced, buff, and white crested black, blue and splash), Mottled Houdan, and Sultans. Fancy Bantam choices include Silkies, Frizzles, and Japanese.
It’s Lambing and Kidding Season: time to start sleeping in the barn.
As Lambing and Kidding Season approaches, make sure you have your supply kit clean, organized, and ready for emergency use. Having the following items on hand, and quickly available will help you be prepared for assisting your animals when they need it most:
A Good Vet Relationship N/A
Lots of Clean Towels N/A
Shoulder Gloves Agri Pro/Poly Pro
Sterile Lubricating Jelly Durvet All Purpose, 1 GAL.
Priority Care 5 oz
Chlorhexidine Solution (antimicrobial) Durvet
Iodine Betadine Surgical Scrub: 16 oz, 32 oz
Triodine: 16 oz, 32 oz
Durvet Controlled Iodine Spray 16 oz
Extra Lead Rope and Halter Weaver
Colostrum Replacer Manna Pro, 1 lb
Milk Replacer Land O’ Lakes Ultra Fresh Does Match, 8 lb
Land O’ Lakes Ultra Fresh Lamb Milk, 8 lb
Land O’Lakes ProNurse Multi-Species, 8lb
OB Chain Agri Pro
OB Chain Handle Agri Pro
Pritchard Nipples Agri Pro: 2 nipples per pack
Exam Gloves Duraskin Nitrile, Powder Free in S, M, L
Ewespoon Prolapse Retainer Agri Pro
Lamb Feeding Kit Agri Pro
Having a good relationship with a vet is a necessity. A vet that has seen your herd prior to emergencies will make your life easier when you need help in the middle of the night to assist your best ewe or doe.
Provide the best quality, leafiest hay for ewes and does after they lamb or kid. A second cut alfalfa will help provide the extra energy and protein to help with milk production. The higher quality hay will also help their reproductive tract recover, and will help their immune system to fight any infections.
Having milk replacer, and colostrum replacer on hand will help save babies should their mothers fail to milk properly.
To prevent scours, it is important that newborn kids and lambs are bottle fed properly. A nursing kid or lamb stretches her neck out to get milk from her mother. Due to the stretching process, the milk goes past a slit in the esophagus, bypassing the first two stomachs, and ending up in the omasum. Here it is mixed with digestive fluids and is passed on to the fourth stomach, or abomasum. An overly hungry, pan-fed kid or lamb must bend down to drink, rather than stretch upward. Some of the milk slops through the slit in the food tube and falls into the first stomach, the rumen, where it doesn’t belong. There is nothing else in this compartment, since milk is the only feed consumed. There is no bulk from hay, therefor gas forms, and scours are likely to result.
Get your chick supplies before you bring home your chicks:
Chicks that arrive in the store are just hatched, and are only 3 or 4 days old when they land on Friday mornings. They spend a few hours in the store getting warmed up, drinking water, and getting a few bites of their first food. While we tend to worry a lot about them getting enough food and water, freshly hatched chicks are most susceptible to a chill. If a chick gets too cold, sometimes they cannot recover. This is why it’s so important to get your brooder set up and warmed up before you bring your chicks home.
Items you’ll need for chicks:
Brooder: Metal tanks work best (like the ones in the store’s chickroom) because there is less fire hazard from the heat lamp constantly shining on the tank. Make sure it’s secure from predators: household puppies are the biggest culprits of chick disasters.
Heat Lamp: Make sure the base is ceramic. Heat-bulbs can melt plastic parts.
Heat Bulb: All chicks need heat: they are most comfortable living in a temperature of about 90 degrees for their first week of life.
Feeders: Make sure there’s room for all of your chicks to have access to the feeder. About two chicks per feeder hole is a good rule to follow.
Waterers: If the water is too deep some chicks can drown, especially bantams and game birds. We carry foam inserts for waterers to keep give chicks a boost if they get into the waterers.
Bedding: Pelleted bedding works the best for chicks. It’s absorbent of spilled water, and easy to clean. Straw should not be used: it is difficult for chicks to navigate over large strands, it doesn’t absorb moister very well, and mold grows in it easily. Shavings work, but spilled water tends to pool under shavings, making it more difficult to clean.
Feed: Most feeds have switched over to a starter/grower formula. This is the feed to provide for the first several months of the chick’s life. Grower formulas have higher protein content to support rapid growth, and does not have the calcium supplement of a layer ration. Feed a grower ration until the chicken starts laying eggs. Never feed a layer ration to growing chicks: the extra calcium can cause kidney damage.
Grit: Birds don’t have teeth. They require grit (small pieces of limestone) to grind up feed, and other fibrous plant material. It’s best to have grit available throughout your chicken’s life. Grit is available in different sizes to suit growing birds.
Electrolytes/Probiotic: It is difficult for birds, especially chicks, to absorb all of the trace nutrients they require from feed alone. Chicks are especially vulnerable, because they start out with a blank gut. We recommend mixing powdered electrolytes and probiotics into the chick’s water for at least their first few weeks of life. It’s also nice to have on hand to help the natura immune system of an injured bird recover, or for a boost during hot summer days when it’s easy to get dehydrated.
Grubs/Mealworms: Grubs are locally source dried larvae that birds can’t get enough of. They’re a great protein supplement for chicks, and for molting birds. Don’t overfeed to chicks, use them as a treat or candy. You can whistle, or give a call when you bring the dried bugs to your little flock, this way they’ll associate your sound with the reward of a special treat. It’s a great way to hand-train birds also: patiently offer grubs out of your hand. This way reaching down to chicks is a happy moment, rather than a scary one.
Chaffhaye: Chaffhaye is fermented, chopped alfalfa with molasses. It’s very delicious, and nutritious for birds. The fermentation provides probiotics to support a chick’s natural immune system. The alfalfa provides fiber to help with the digestive tract. Chicks who eat chaffhaye from day 1 are less likely to develop “pasty butt”, which occurs when their poop is too soft to fall off and can cake over their vent. In extreme cases, the vent can become blocked to the point that it causes internal damage.
Time to Test and Treat Your Soil
Those keeping sheep cattle, especially milk producing animals, need to keep tabs on their pasture’s magnesium content, especially during cool weather growth.
Magnesium levels are lower in grasses during cool weather growth. The plant’s high moisture content causes low uptake of nutrients.
Sheep and Cattle need a continuous supply of magnesium supplement, because their systems don’t have access to magnesium stored in their bones.
Providing a supplement of Magnesium Sulfate or Magnesium Oxide can help your animals stay healthy while you make sure their pasture is providing adequate nutrition.
Test your pasture’s soil to determine which nutrients are depleted. This way you can make informed decisions when it comes to soil amendments.
The Co-Op has soil testing kits for sale at both locations.
For a proper sample:
Dig a hole 6 inches deep
Collect soil uniformly think from top to bottom along the edge of the hole
Collet samples from several locations around your pasture
Mix samples in a clean bucket
Spread the mixed samples on clean baking pan for a day to air dry
Discard stones, sticks, insects, and other debris
Once dry, follow the instructions on the sample kits to test your soil
In the Maritime Pacific Northwest, we get a lot of rain. For this reason, our soils are almost always depleted of trace minerals, especially calcium
For starting a new garden area that have never been amended or fertilized, assume the area is needs additional calcium and magnesium:
Spread 3 parts Agricultural Lime to 1 part Magnesium Sulfate at a rate of 50 pounds per 1000 square feet
Be careful not to over-lime. Soils completely saturated with calcium and magnesium are unable to hold other nutrients.
Throughout the growing treat your garden soils every three months or so, during vigorous plant growth, with an appropriate fertilizer mix.
If you use the following recipe, you will continue to replace much needed nutrients, and you shouldn’t have to worry about the nutritional quality of your soil:
4 parts cottonseed meal or soybean meal
½ part lime and magnesium sulfate mixture (the one used to initially treat the area
½ part phosphate rock or bone meal
½ part kelp meal