My fiances sister has a house with a decent amount of land. I want to start learning the skill of gardening and planting on her land.
I have a few questions:
- What is the best way to approach this?
- Is there an prepackaged way to grow food, which does not require starting from scratch? Gary North has mentioned this product: http://www.squarefootgardening.com/ Has anyone heard of it? Good or Bad?
Shoulda checked before posting!
The absolute simplest way to garden is to get a copy of "Square Foot Gardening" and read it carefully. He spells out how to get the most production out of the smallest amount of land and the least use of personal energy. In fact, he covers everything you need to know, and we’ve done it with considerable success. In fact, it is so easy and successful that my wife and I started a community garden in our neighborhood this year, and have 50 raised beds, with 50 families using this method with really good results. (and, btw, building an amazing sense of community among the participants.)
Much success to you.
OK, my two cents worth…..
Inthon, if your sister has "decent amount of land", then maybe square foot gardening isn’t necessarily the way to go…. Square foot gardening is great for people with little or no land, like apartment dwellers, but you better believe you need a LOT of land to feed yourself. We have 2000 square feet under cultivation, and that’s pretty good for four people.
Now let’s get ‘gardening’ defined….. Gardening in the common understanding of the word means you buy EVERYTHING. Seeds, fertiliser, soil improvers, weedicides, pesticides, I dunno, maybe left a whole lot of stuff out. This kind of gardening is only possible while there is still loads of cheap and abundant fossil fuels to not only MAKE all this stuff, but for it all to be delivered to a supermarket, and then for you to drive there to pick it all up. This is neither sustainable, nor even possible in the near future when gasoline/diesel will become both scarce and expensive. My gut feeling is you have barely three years to get organised, and in my experience, if you seriously want to be even partly self sufficient (one can never be totally self sufficient) then you’re going to need all of those years…..
Permaculture on the other hand is a new mindset altogether, a new culture, a permanent culture, hence the term permaculture. My daughter has just bought a really inspirational DVD from Geoff Lawton himself about propagating a Food Forest, from scratch. It may be a lot of work to start with (and a lot of fun too I might add!), but after three years….. well you do nothing but eat and relax! AND, as he says in the DVD, if everyone did this, we (as in the human species) would be able to inhabit the Earth FOREVER!
To start a Permie plot from scratch (and I’m afraid, you can’t get out of starting from scratch 🙂 ) will require some inputs for you to buy or scrounge, some you will be or should be able to get from other Permies for free, but eventually, you will produce ALL of your own inputs (fertilisers and soil improvers as well as chicken food), and you will never need to ever buy another bottle of chemicals!
‘Gardening’ is for people who don’t know better….
Start here http://www.permacultureusa.org/
I agree with Mike. Permaculture is the logical way to go.