The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread
Several members have expressed interest in a "Definitive" thread on gardening!
Some topics have too much gravity to be "spread out" across the forums, and because no two peoples’ experience with gardening and agriculture will be the same, we could all benefit from learning from one another.
Hopefully, with the creation of this thread, we can all bring our knoweldge and experience on the topics of Botany, Agriculture; both livestock and edible fruits and veggies, land development and how to naturally process the fruits of your labor.
This said, I am not an experienced farm owner, or agriculturalist. My experience has been with small gardens, herbs and trees, so we’ll all have to rely on one another to "fill in the blanks".
So, lets get a format up and running – feel free to add to this if necessary:
I like the "three sided, three Tier" system – so here is how I’m breaking it down in my mind:
Type of Crop (Veggies, Legumes, Tubers etc)
How to Preserve (or Recipes!)
Experiences on what worked or didn’t work while growing them.
Type of Fruit
When to Prune
When to Collect
Ways or Preserving
Flowers or Pollination Plants:
Care and maintanance
What types of insects do they draw?
Ways of feeding without relying on Stores
What they produce
Care and Maintanance
Culling and reproduction
Type (Varmit, Waterfowl etc)
What they produce/Consume
How to work with, get rid of
Ways of feeding without relying on Stores
What they offer
How to train
How to Cultivate/Plan your Garden and Graze
Things to be cautious of (Mole hills vs cattle, etc)
How to Develop it and maximize use of space (Permaculture!)
Continual improvements you’ve made that make life easier
How they can improve quality of life for you and your animals?
How to optimize water consumption
Ways to heat or power your home
What routine tasks do you do to keep your garden/farm in good shape?
What can be done to improve the existing site or structures?
Anyway – These are the issues I have been trying to tackle over the last couple months.
Let me know if there are any things you’d add, remove or edit and we’ll try and form this thread.
I’m looking forward to reading your experiences, and sharing mine as they continue!
The link doesn’t work.
Good idea, Aaron!
I haven’t done this and there may be better sites but I’d rather try this than rubber tires. Uh, under crop plants..tubers? Anyone try this?
This site has a search function. Search by zipcode and find local seeds. Also lots of ratings on the various companies. I put this in my bookmarks and hope to use it if/when I get a place where I can grow things. Hope someone finds this helpful.
Thanks for the replies!
I’ve got a few links that have been helpful for me as well:
Also, feel free to post pictures.
Before and Afters have been particularly inspiring for me.
Thanks for starting this thread, looking forward to all the great information. Excited to plant potatoes for the first time, usually just plant tomatoes and peppers each spring. Experimenting with lettuce now! Teresa
E (the wife) and I are in the process of expanding our garden to a larger space and instead of just cultivating kitchen herbs we’re doing veggies for the table. Our land is hilly so we’re having to terrace (just getting started on that). I’ll post some pics of work-in-progress asap.
Great idea for a thread! Thanks Aaron.
Viva — Sager
Regarding potatoes growing in a stack of tires, I love the concept too, but I didn’t really want a big pile of tires in my backyard. Here’s an alternative I found on the net (scroll down slightly to find a video on the left hand column):
Unfortunately, it’s not warm enough here to start that sort of unprotected growing process.
In fact, after a weirdly warm winter that I’ve been planting out seeds and transplanting thinnings through since early February, we got a big dumping of snow yesterday and my cold frame and hoop house and (plastic-draped) strawberry beds are covered with about a foot of snow. I’m anxiously awaiting my chance to peek inside and see how everything is doing. (I’m more worried about the 16 degree lows last night than the snow, and it’s supposed to get back down in the teens tonight, so I’m going to leave their blanket of snow on, if it doesn’t melt, for another night.)
We moved here about 16 months ago, from SoCal, and I’ve been fretting on and off since finding this site and the info it contains about whether we’re in the wrong place to be more self-sufficient, foodwise. Firejack worried in a thread the other day that Americans might flood Canada in a SHTF scenario, and cautioned would-be migrants that it’s hard to grow much of your own food when you can’t grow 7 months out of the year, and I started counting up my growing season here in Northern Colorado. Sigh. Four months long. Maybe five with the warming that local gardeners have been seeing here in recent years.
I was much heartened, then, to read in Steve Solomon’s book, Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times, that my climate actually has strong advantages — freezing the ground to 18 inches each winter kills pathogens that would otherwise take over soil life and reduce crop yields, and being dry is actually a benefit, to some degree at least, to soil quality. He claims a study in the 40s of WWII inductees, done when most people ate food that grew within a small radius of their homes, found that Missouri inductees were rejected from military service based on health in an increasing percentage running from NW Missouri, which is prairie grasslands that gets barely sufficient rainfall to grow yet historically supported vast herds of giant herbivores, to the SE, which is a forested, wet region where the soil is much less fertile and much less balanced. 200 per 1,000 men were rejected in the NW, compared to 400 per 1,000 in the SE.
So, colder and drier is better, at least to a degree. I’ve also embraced Eliot Coleman’s Four Seasons Harvest since moving here. We haven’t implemented huge amounts of protected growing, just a cold frame or two last winter when we moved in, and this year we erected a long, low hoop-house over a 5×36 bed that I started planting out in mid-Feb. Sprouts are small but thriving there. The strawberries I covered in February too, just to wake them up early and hopefully get an early crop out of them. We’ll see if that was a mistake shortly! A 4×8 coldframe houses more cool-season greens that we like to eat. Oh, and I have some spuds on one end of the hoop house that I just planted a week or so ago.
I’m really trying to incorporate more perennials in the garden, as they seem to make more sense from a permaculture standpoint. We have about 30 raspberry bushes in, 20 more on the way, and a couple of currants and serviceberries to plant out front and convince the neighbors that we actually care about how our yard looks. Five fruit trees that should do well here (the late spring freezes are hard on fruiting crops, apparently) and I’d like to get a hazelnut/filbert bush or two for the front yard, in hopes it’ll provide nuts for us.
Oh, and we have seven chickens in various degrees of maturity. I moved the older hens into the garage yesterday with the pullets because the wind was blowing so hard and I was worried the molting ones wouldn’t be warm enough. When I went out last night, they were trying to roost amongst some wine bottles my folks brought from Trader Joes (the one store in California I miss!) on their last visit and had knocked one over, but thankfully not off the workbench.
That’s all we’re doing on-property, but we do have some interesting ventures going on off-property. Through a stroke of luck, I heard about a friend of a friend of mine who had bought a small homestead (maybe 5 acres? I’m not sure how large it is. Could be more) a couple miles away from us, more of a horse property with barns and arenas and such, but she’s wanting to do community gardening. She has a group of families sharing the cost of a flock of chickens there, another group, including us, will help her cultivate and harvest a large garden plot (somewhere between 1/2 and an acre), and she is planning to get a litter of piglets with a group of interested folks. We’ll take a piglet and see how we feel about eating an animal we know and love. Either it will push us into vegetarianism, or I’ll come to healthy terms with my own carnivorality, so to speak. She’d like us to buy a milk goat and board it at her place, but I’m leery of the amount of work it would tie us too. I may yet do it though, it’s very tempting, especially as I think we could keep the goat(s — mamma and baby, at times) at our place a night or two a week without our neighbors complaining.
And we’re helping out with a backyard gardening mentor group, facilitating no-dig bed workshops and doing publicity for them.
I would *love* to be on acreage with enough room for wildspace and lots of cultivated gardens, but for whatever reason, this quarter-acre house on the edge of this cool town is where we felt moved to move. It could be that we won’t have a chance to relocate, but maybe we will, when the kids are bigger and more resilient about that sort of change.