How to make a hay box

Hay box cooking was popular during World War II when fuel was rationed. It is a way to save energy by turning off the oven or burner just before the food is completely cooked, and the allowing your food to continue cooking in a hay box. The lid of your pot needs to fit tightly to keep the heat in.

  • You will need a box made from plastic or metal. Fill it with dry hay
  • Cook your food in the usual way until it is hot but not completely cooked.
  • Turn off the heat, then quickly place the pot or pan into a hay box on a layer of straw. Make sure you cover the pot with more hay and seal the lid.
  • Leave for a few hours while your food continues to cook in your insulated homemade oven. Plan well ahead – the normal cooking time for this method is 4-5 hours, though it varies greatly depending on what you’re cooking. Experiment, but make very sure that any meat is fully cooked through.

Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century
– by Dick and Jack Strawbridge

Has anyone tried hay box cooking?

Do you think you could use sugar cane mulch?

Would you recommend cooking meat this way?

The Permaculture Path to Sustainability

The Permaculture Path to Sustainability illustrates the steps we can take to transition to a life with a smaller footprint on the earth.

When I was completing my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), I wanted a simple way to plan the future of our house and garden. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the different ideas buzzing around in my head. I needed to capture these and create a clear plan of attack.

I started by writing down all of the elements found in a typical permaculture garden and divided them into different categories. The categories are food production, fauna, practices, flora, energy, water, and waste.

I then sorted the elements out in to levels. Each level reflects an increase in the level of difficulty, commitment and/or expense.

  1. Level 1 is what you may find in an average suburban backyard.
  2. Level 2 are practices and elements found in a more sustainable household. Perhaps the owners have been influenced by a book or gardening show on TV, or have been involved in a PermaBlitz. Only a few of the categories are closed loops.
  3.  Level 3 are practices and elements which are found in households dedicated to resilience, self-sufficiency, and sustainability. The owners view their property as a system. These households may be completely off-the-grid.

I love to see concepts come alive as a diagram, so I created a colourful table to illustrate “The Permaculture Path to Sustainability”:

Level 3
Food Production
  • Vegetables beds (with annuals)
  • Fruit trees
  • No-dig garden
  • Mandela and key hole beds
  • Herb spiral
  • Seed saving
  • Bush tucker (native) plants
  • Exotic edible plants
  • Nut trees
  • Perennials
Fauna
  • Native plants
  • Bird bath
  • Nesting box
  • Messy space and logs (for lizards etc)
  • Bee hive
  • Chickens
  • Fodder plants
Practices
  • Mulching
  • Companion plants
  • Crop rotation
  • Crop succession
  • Greenhouse
  • Green manure
  • Shade house
Flora
  • Native plants
  • Wind break
  • Fire break
  • Trellising
Energy
  • Energy efficient bulbs and appliances
  • Insulation
  • Solar power hot water and energy
  • Wood fired oven
Water
  • Buckets
  • Gray water hose
  • Drip system
  • Water tank
  • Grey water system
  • Pond
  • Swales and rain pits
Waste
  • Reusable containers & bags
  • Recycling
  • Compost
  • Bokashi
  • Worm farm
  • Composting toilet
  • Living mulch

Where is your household on the “Permaculture Path to Sustainability”?

Are you doing well in one category and neglecting another?