Are you looking to expand your food production and are interested in livestock?
Perhaps you have chickens, fish, or other animals and are looking to grow your own nutritious feed for them?
Or maybe you have children and want to get them involved in raising animals?
Then microlivestock might be for you! It is the raising of small animals, such as insects and worms, and our favorite is the mealworm. Why? Because their care if very simple, they do well indoors, require only a small space, do not smell or fly, and are high in protein (a 2:1 ratio of protein to fat).
Mealworms are the larval form of the darkling beetle (Tenebrio molitor). Their lifecycle is simply - tiny eggs, larva, pupae, then adults. Within a few months you can easily have your own breeding colony! Interested? Here is mealworm care 101:
- Housing: Require a well ventilated container such as a yogurt tub, small bin, etc)
- Substrate: They live in their own food! Place a few centimeters of fine grains (wheat germ, bran, corn meal, oatmeal, hemp seeds, etc). You can add variety with chicken feed, hemp seeds, etc.
- Water: A nutritious way to provide water is by providing fruits and vegetables (potatoes, apples, carrots, greens, etc). A yogurt lid with wet non bleached paper towels on the surface of the subtrate can work too. Be cautious of the substrate going moldy, so ensure you remove wet items after a couple days!
- Egg laying substrate: This can be the bottom of the container, dried fruits and vegetables, paper towel or old paper towel tubes.
- Temperature: Mealworms grow and breed at room temperature. Placing your mealworms in the fridge is a great way to store them, but ensure to give them a day or two of room temperature and good food to bulk up before feeding them!
- Other mealworms: To breed you need more than one... Mealworms are easy breeders, they do not need any special care as long as there are several and they are kept at room temperature.
Ready to get started? You can find mealworms at various petstores in the city... be warned though you might yourself confused as they may have small and big mealworms available. The big mealworms are called Kingworms - these are mealworms that received juvenile hormone to delay their pupation, resulting in giant mealworms - they are the same species.
The last benefit of growing your own microlivestock is they yield other nutrients in the form of their waste - called frass. This can be easily sifted out of your colony and applied to a needy plant around your home!
Mealworms are an easy way to get started - and there are many other microlivestock opportunities out there. These include superworms (a larger beetle species), flightless fruit flies, waxworms (a moth that feeds on honey, pollen, and beeswax), crickets (careful - these can be noisy escape artists!), black soldier flies, and small fish such as guppies.
Lastly - we talk about insects as food for other animals - but in many cultures insects are food for people too. Check out this interesting resource looking at insects as food: Insects Are Food
Best of luck with your microlivestock adventures!
Instead of hopelessly trying to get rid of the dandelions in your yard, use them as an opportunity to improve your health. Before collecting any plants, be sure that they have not been sprayed with chemicals or are in an area where pets frequent. You can eat young dandelion greens in a salad, the roots can be dried, roasted and ground into a coffee substitute, and the blossoms can be made into a great syrup. With a bit of patience, you can make a tasty syrup to share with friends, families and neighbours.
Here is the recipe for Dandelion Blossom Syrup, from Wise Woman Herbal by Susun Weed:
1 L. dandelion flowers
1 L. water
1 kg. organic sugar
1/2 organic lemon or orange
Put blossoms and water in a non-aluminum pot. Bring just to a boil, turn off heat, cover, and let sit overnight. Strain and press liquid out of spent flowers. Add sugar and sliced citrus (peel and all) and heat slowly, stirring now and again for several hours or until reduced to a thick, honey-like syrup. Enjoy with plain yogurt, on pancakes or in tea.
Leave us a comment if you try making the syrup! Have fun and enjoy !!
We are thrilled to be partnering with UNA - The Ripple Effect in Calgary for this workshop! It is located at the Central Library, easily accessible by transit, is aimed for youth 14 to 22, and is a free two hour session! Know anyone whom is interested in Permaculture? Please share! There will be lots of great information and several hands on activities - so if your looking to get inspired, hang out with some great people, and have a good time, this might be it! You can learn more here:
And check out other Youth Central Youth Week events here:http://youthcentral.com/youthweek/
After several months of meetings, business planning, accounting fun, and getting incoporated - we are ready to meet the needs of Calgary's youth! We are SUPER EXCITED to be at the Ecopooloza Fair Saturday April 21 from 10:00-3:00 @ the Saddletowne Library Branch (http://calgarypubliclibrary.com/services/programs-events?p=855) - come join us for some hands on crafts and your chance to turn waste into resource! Other events this day include:
Green Calgary Rain Barrel and Composter Sale Begins at 10:00 a.m. – until supplies last! More info here.
Eco-Storytime 11:00 – 11:30 a.m. Fun stories with an eco-theme for kids aged 2 to 5.
Wildlife Talk with Lyn Hancock 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.The author and conservationist tells stories and shows pictures of her exciting adventures saving orphaned wildlife.
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development 10:00 – 3:00 p.m. Educational trailers 310-FIRE and Respect the Land
It is going to be a great day!