AMKuska's 2020 Garden

seedcorn

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Most people could make some vegetables part of their landscape. BUT the economics would tell you to get a part time job and the money from there would more than pay their grocery bill. Most do not enjoy garden/lawn work.
 

flowerbug

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:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: That you noticed. If they weigh about 3# (feathers, intestines, etc), they’ve eaten about 10# of food, you just didn’t notice-unless they are free range. I’ve had bantams in past. Great hobby, loved their fresh eggs, interesting flavor of meat but never, ever did I want to look at the economic side of it...
I started doing the math on my garden last year for giggles. Didn’t take long and I broke even, then DW started giving produce away, now how do you value that? But I’m cheap. My MTD rear tine tiller has been depreciated out (in my mind over years of service), spend about $15 on seeds and another $15 on plants. I don’t charge myself rent........ It helps when perennials are involved-rhubarb, asparagus.
i used to do the math too. i can do it again if needed, but i don't bother now.

what helps the most is we reuse jars on canning so many times that the primary cost of things there is the lid and whatever ingredients and energy we are using. for something like tomato chunks the cost is almost entirely the lid and electricity. so that's like about $0.20-$0.25/quart total. for the end result of a hundred to two hundred quarts of tomatoes that works out very well in return for the efforts.

i keep an eye on expenses, i don't need or buy gadgets very often, more often we'll need a hose or connection replaced or i'll need a rake, shovel, hoe about once every five years. those pay for themselves pretty quickly. the stirrup hoe pays for itself nearly everytime i use it even if i only count the time it saves me at the rate of minimum wage.

for me the biggest expense the past few years has been rolls of fence and poles i've been trying to get put up to cut down on deer/rabbit/groundhog traffic. since it is not completely enclosing fencing it does not eliminate all traffic. the plan for the future would be if i stay here longer term to finish the fence so i can have full enclosure around all the extra gardens i have right now which i can't count on for vegetable production. i get some returns from them and enjoy working on them so it isn't a problem but it is a huge amount of area i could be growing vegetables that right now isn't being used very much at all. like nearly 12,000 square feet of space that isn't really being used for much other than decoration and flowers (which are great, but i could have some vegetable gardens in spaces instead and still have all those flowers and decorations and get a huge amount of return that i'm not getting now). i could gain another 10,000-15,000 square feet for production by removing some mulch and fencing off another section which wouldn't cost me much more than a few hundred $, but a lot of labor to remove the mulch. i would do that last. likely i won't do it because keeping up with all the rest of the gardens would be plenty for one person to do.

we already have 5,000 square feet fenced off and enclosed enough to keep most of the critter traffic to manageable levels. that is where we grow our current main crops of strawberries, tomatoes, peas, beans, onions, peppers and cucumbers. outside the fenced area we grow squash and i put beans in where i can hoping to get some return - usually i do, but not nearly as much as what comes from inside the fully enclosed fence area.
 

Ridgerunner

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I don't know how long it would take to raise a rooster to frying size though, so that could well be a bag of feed by the time it's full grown.
If you fry it you need to watch out for age too not just size, especially cockerels. When the hormones of adolescence hit the meat starts to gain "texture". At a certain point if you fry or grill it the meat can become pretty tough. You need to switch to a different method of cooking it, usually one that involves cooking at a lower temperature for longer and keeping the meat moist. Pullets and hens go through the same process but it is a whole lot slower.

Those hormones cause a flavor change too. Some people call it "gamey". I like the change, some don't, but that may be part in how you cook it.

I can't give you a specific age. Some cockerels mature faster than others. We all have different tolerances, especially those used to the store bought chicken. Those Cornish X are typically butchered at 6 to 8 weeks, still really tender.

Aging, brining, or marinading makes a difference. If you don't cook it before rigor mortis sets up the meat can get really tough. So you age it in the fridge or ice chest until rigor mortis passes, Can take 2 to 3 days. Brining is when you soak it in salt water. You can add salt flavor any time, the purpose of brining is that the salt makes the meat hold moisture. That can be important if you are frying, grilling, it roasting but with a moist method of cooking not so much. The purpose of marinading is that the acid tenderizes it. Marinades are usually based on wine or vinegar, both acids. Tomatoes are acidic too. The acid breaks down fiber which tenderizes it. Of course you can add flavor with a marinade too.

I typically don't butcher my cockerels until they are at least 16 weeks old, my preferred age is 23 weeks. By 16 weeks my early maturing dual purpose cockerels have put on enough weight to make it worthwhile for me. At 23 weeks they seem to hit a plateau where they will still gain a little weight but the weight gain really slows down to almost not noticeable. I don't fry or grill mine, I coat the pieces in herbs and bake them in a closed baking dish at 250* F for maybe 3 hours.

I save the bones from the served pieces and the carcasses I don;t serve and make broth, the best broth you've ever had. Old roosters make the best broth, old hens work really well too. But even the broth from my juveniles is in high demand. Bantams ad leghorns would make good broth too, even if there isn't much meat on them.
 

flowerbug

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Most people could make some vegetables part of their landscape. BUT the economics would tell you to get a part time job and the money from there would more than pay their grocery bill. Most do not enjoy garden/lawn work.
they might change their mind if hungry enough...

and not everything needs to be about profit.
 

seedcorn

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they might change their mind if hungry enough...

and not everything needs to be about profit.
Maybe on #1. Part time job would still be better use of time.

That was the discussion about saving money on putting out a garden, raising own chickens, not what hobbies do you enjoy. Hobbies (while some more than pay their way) are by definition a money losing project but done for the love of it.
 

seedcorn

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If you fry it you need to watch out for age too not just size, especially cockerels. When the hormones of adolescence hit the meat starts to gain "texture". At a certain point if you fry or grill it the meat can become pretty tough. You need to switch to a different method of cooking it, usually one that involves cooking at a lower temperature for longer and keeping the meat moist. Pullets and hens go through the same process but it is a whole lot slower.

Those hormones cause a flavor change too. Some people call it "gamey". I like the change, some don't, but that may be part in how you cook it.

I can't give you a specific age. Some cockerels mature faster than others. We all have different tolerances, especially those used to the store bought chicken. Those Cornish X are typically butchered at 6 to 8 weeks, still really tender.

Aging, brining, or marinading makes a difference. If you don't cook it before rigor mortis sets up the meat can get really tough. So you age it in the fridge or ice chest until rigor mortis passes, Can take 2 to 3 days. Brining is when you soak it in salt water. You can add salt flavor any time, the purpose of brining is that the salt makes the meat hold moisture. That can be important if you are frying, grilling, it roasting but with a moist method of cooking not so much. The purpose of marinading is that the acid tenderizes it. Marinades are usually based on wine or vinegar, both acids. Tomatoes are acidic too. The acid breaks down fiber which tenderizes it. Of course you can add flavor with a marinade too.

I typically don't butcher my cockerels until they are at least 16 weeks old, my preferred age is 23 weeks. By 16 weeks my early maturing dual purpose cockerels have put on enough weight to make it worthwhile for me. At 23 weeks they seem to hit a plateau where they will still gain a little weight but the weight gain really slows down to almost not noticeable. I don't fry or grill mine, I coat the pieces in herbs and bake them in a closed baking dish at 250* F for maybe 3 hours.

I save the bones from the served pieces and the carcasses I don;t serve and make broth, the best broth you've ever had. Old roosters make the best broth, old hens work really well too. But even the broth from my juveniles is in high demand. Bantams ad leghorns would make good broth too, even if there isn't much meat on them.
I’m one that does enjoy the flavor of “gamier” chickens as well. Commercial fryers lack flavor to me and it’s all about the spices. I need to make broth some time. Guess g’ma Didn’t, mom didn’t, so neither have I. Sounds like I am missing out on a real treat.
 

AMKuska

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If you fry it you need to watch out for age too not just size, especially cockerels. When the hormones of adolescence hit the meat starts to gain "texture". At a certain point if you fry or grill it the meat can become pretty tough. You need to switch to a different method of cooking it, usually one that involves cooking at a lower temperature for longer and keeping the meat moist. Pullets and hens go through the same process but it is a whole lot slower.

Those hormones cause a flavor change too. Some people call it "gamey". I like the change, some don't, but that may be part in how you cook it.

I can't give you a specific age. Some cockerels mature faster than others. We all have different tolerances, especially those used to the store bought chicken. Those Cornish X are typically butchered at 6 to 8 weeks, still really tender.

Aging, brining, or marinading makes a difference. If you don't cook it before rigor mortis sets up the meat can get really tough. So you age it in the fridge or ice chest until rigor mortis passes, Can take 2 to 3 days. Brining is when you soak it in salt water. You can add salt flavor any time, the purpose of brining is that the salt makes the meat hold moisture. That can be important if you are frying, grilling, it roasting but with a moist method of cooking not so much. The purpose of marinading is that the acid tenderizes it. Marinades are usually based on wine or vinegar, both acids. Tomatoes are acidic too. The acid breaks down fiber which tenderizes it. Of course you can add flavor with a marinade too.

I typically don't butcher my cockerels until they are at least 16 weeks old, my preferred age is 23 weeks. By 16 weeks my early maturing dual purpose cockerels have put on enough weight to make it worthwhile for me. At 23 weeks they seem to hit a plateau where they will still gain a little weight but the weight gain really slows down to almost not noticeable. I don't fry or grill mine, I coat the pieces in herbs and bake them in a closed baking dish at 250* F for maybe 3 hours.

I save the bones from the served pieces and the carcasses I don;t serve and make broth, the best broth you've ever had. Old roosters make the best broth, old hens work really well too. But even the broth from my juveniles is in high demand. Bantams ad leghorns would make good broth too, even if there isn't much meat on them.
This is really useful to know. Thank you!
 
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AMKuska

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Maybe on #1. Part time job would still be better use of time.

That was the discussion about saving money on putting out a garden, raising own chickens, not what hobbies do you enjoy. Hobbies (while some more than pay their way) are by definition a money losing project but done for the love of it.
I tried to reply to this earlier but somehow published it without it saving. I honestly don't know how anyone in the agriculture industry can make a profit, let alone a fair wage. I did a farmer's market booth for a long time, and after taxes and commissions for the market I was usually working for free. Everything attached to farming has this fee or that tax that makes it not worth while at all.

I still love gardening, and I do believe growing your own vegetables can save money on the food bill (if you actually eat them) but as far as sales...not worth it.
 

TwinCitiesPanda

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Part time job would still be better use of time.
You might be over-estimating the value of a part time job. Usually they're low pay, inflexible hours, have no benefits and require the same amount of gas and commuting time as full-time work. Plus if you work in public-facing positions there's the risk you'll snap and kill a customer one day.

Working on my garden I work when I want, on what I want, don't get treated poorly, commute by opening my front door, get exercise, improve mental health, use no gas and don't wear out my car, and end up eating healthier food. If you're looking at purely dollars then yes I can see your point, but if you consider wellbeing, the value assessment changes.

All this is of course predicated on the assumption of available part time work. Currently there is much less of that, and more people who couldn't do it because they now have kids at home 24/7. In that case growing your own food looks a lot more valuable.
 

flowerbug

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I tried to reply to this earlier but somehow published it without it saving. I honestly don't know how anyone in the agriculture industry can make a profit, let alone a fair wage. I did a farmer's market booth for a long time, and after taxes and commissions for the market I was usually working for free. Everything attached to farming has this fee or that tax that makes it not worth while at all.

I still love gardening, and I do believe growing your own vegetables can save money on the food bill (if you actually eat them) but as far as sales...not worth it.
my own experience is that i can make more money with a lot less of the headaches and overhead if i stay at home and garden vs. a part-time job. if i count prep-time, travel, cost of car, insurance, taxes and then add the major BS that can happen... no comparison. i sold my car, i don't have to pay the insurance any more. yes, i lost a few benefits from it socially was much more than anything IMO.

still add to that the several thousand in costs for food that would have run us and then what we gave away which helped others not to have to spend as much too.

i need exercise, some people pay to join a health club.

but really, even if i wasn't making a good return for my efforts i would still be doing it because i need the exercise, i like working with nature and natural processes and learning about them and it is a lot better than being stuck inside some office someplace. i did my time with that frame of living. no more if i can help it. at least with the library job i was on my feet most of the time and could move around and talk to people and there was a variety to the job enough. had we not gotten a new boss i'd probably still be there.
 

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