Top Navigation  
U.S. Flag waving
Office Hours Momday - Friday  8 am - 5 pm Pacific 1-800-835-2418
Facebook   YouTube   Twitter
Backwoods Home Magazine, self-reliance, homesteading, off-grid

 Home Page
 Current Issue
 Article Index
 Author Index
 Previous Issues
 Print Display Ads
 Print Classifieds
 Free Stuff
 Home Energy

General Store
 Ordering Info
 Kindle Subscriptions
 Kindle Publications
 Back Issues
 Help Yourself
 All Specials
 Classified Ad

 Web Site Ads
 Magazine Ads

BHM Blogs
 Ask Jackie Clay
 Massad Ayoob
 Claire Wolfe
 Where We Live
 Dave on Twitter
Retired Blogs
 Behind The Scenes
 Oliver Del Signore
 David Lee
 James Kash
 Energy Questions

Quick Links
 Home Energy Info
 Jackie Clay
 Ask Jackie Online
 Dave Duffy
 Massad Ayoob
 John Silveira
 Claire Wolfe

Forum / Chat
 Forum/Chat Info
 Enter Forum
 Lost Password

More Features
 Contact Us/
 Change of Address
 Write For BHM
 Meet The Staff
 Meet The Authors
 Disclaimer and
 Privacy Policy

Retired Features
 Country Moments
 Radio Show

Link to BHM

Ask Jackie headline

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post. Please note that Jackie does not respond to questions posted as Comments. Click Below to ask Jackie a question.

Click here to ask Jackie a question!
Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

Read the old Ask Jackie Online columns
Read Ask Jackie print columns

Click here for to order from Amazon Click here for to order from the publisher and save 10% to 20%

Jackie Clay

Q and A: sunflower seeds for chickens and storing canned items in a dirt-floor basement

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Sunflower seeds for chickens

I feed no chicken food to my hens. The only corn they get is people corn. They have never had any shots or medications. That said, can I feed Pennington’s Oiled Black Sunflower Seeds to them and still maintain my safe, high standard feedings?

Just so you know–they do get fruits in moderation, vegetables, raw greens, cooked chicken, people oatmeal, cooked brown rice, greens and they free range most days.

Practical Parsimony
Cullman, Alabama

I think I’d skip the sunflower seeds. Many commercially grown sunflower seeds are GMO today and sunflower fields are sprayed with herbicides and commercial fertilizers. That said, black oil sunflower seeds are expensive today as many are used for biodiesel, cooking oils, and margarine products. Glad to hear your chickens are being so well cared for. — Jackie

Storing canned items in a dirt-floor basement

I have a question regarding the new house we bought that I thought you might have some insight on. We have an 1880 dirt floor basement there (moving next week). I have 3 big boxes of home canned tomatoes, pickles, beans and whatnot and I am wondering if it’s OK to store canned food in a dirt floor basement. I know there is some moisture down there, no standing water on the floor, but the previous owner did install a sump pump which does have visible water in it. There are no windows, they sealed over them when the foundation was re done. Part of me wants to try it, because it is dark and cool, and I could build some wood shelves and make good use of the area…but then I think my lids are going to rust. We plan to lay 6 mil plastic over the dirt (suggested by the home inspector) to help with moisture evaporating through the floor. Eventually I would like to dig out 4 inches and pour cement. Not sure what to do until then. Would you store canning in a dirt basement?

Cathy Ostrowski
Amherst, New York

I sure would. And I’ve done just that in my first homestead. It had what was called a “Michigan basement,” which was half concrete with half of the basement having a dirt floor. If you seem to get condensation on jars, which causes lids to rust, you can install a dehumidifier to take care of it until you pour cement. Or you could open up the sealed ex-window areas in the new foundation so you can get more ventilation in the basement, which would decrease the humidity. (You can rent a cement saw if the openings have been sealed with cement blocks.) You may later want to pour cement only in part of the basement and leave part dirt (the portion with the sump) for a root cellar. Stored vegetables and fruits love a more humid storage area! Congratulations on your new homestead! — Jackie

One Response to “Q and A: sunflower seeds for chickens and storing canned items in a dirt-floor basement”

  1. barbara Says:

    I grew up in Mich. & never heard the term – Michigan basement. My grandma’s basement was cement with a dirt floor root cellar were her canned goods & veggies were. I thought it was just because she grew up on a farm. Thanks for teaching me something new today!

Leave a Reply

Please DO NOT ask Jackie a question here.
It will not be answered.
Go to the top of the page and use the
"Click here to ask Jackie a question!" link.



Copyright © 1998 - Present by Backwoods Home Magazine. All Rights Reserved.