The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

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  • Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - 06:03pm

    #21
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

[quote=capesurvivor]

Nicely done also!

Here’s  a question from an amateur farmer-would sweet potatoes work in that barrel? Different vegetable family? Genus? Species, LOL?

I like the added nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes/yams. Will check out Home Depot for those clasps.

What part of country are you growing in?

 

SG

 

 
[/quote]

I don’t know about sweet potatoes, I might give them a try .. we’re in Southeastern PA  near DEL & MD state lines

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - 06:08pm

    #22
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

Will be finishing up the square foot garden forms and vertical frames this weekend.

We got the idea – okay Mrs. Dogs got the idea and told me what to do – from Mel Bartholomew’s book and website on square foot gardening.

http://www.squarefootgardening.com/

We put together 8 4′ x 4′ boxes made out of 2" x 12" untreated pine.  We went with 2" x 12" to create vertical space, the soil in southeastern Virginia is mostly clay and a pain to till.  By using the 2" x 12" I’ll only have to use the posthole digger for a few plants. 

Still working out the veggie mix but will be planting at least the following (until Mrs. Dogs changes my mind):

Tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, cukes, beans, zucchini, yellow squash, potatoes, yams.  May also do pumpkins and eggplant if we have room.

We already have blueberries and strawberries established and are putting in mature raspberries.  Mrs. Dogs has a killer herb garden scattered all over the back patio in various sized pots and planters.  We had a frost two nights ago and I’m hoping we are about done with that so we can get things in the ground soon.

If I could ever figure out how to get pictures on the site I could post them.

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - 06:13pm

    #24
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    Re: The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

[quote=Tom Loftus]

I don’t know about sweet potatoes, I might give them a try .. we’re in Southeastern PA  near DEL & MD state lines

[/quote]

Tom –

My old stomping grounds.  I grew up in NW Wilmington not far from Chadd’s Ford/Kennett Square.

I do miss a good cheesesteak……………………

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - 06:18pm

    #23
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    Re: The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

[quote=Dogs_In_A_Pile]

Tom –

Did you use any bushings where the PVC runs through the center of the barrel or is it just a cutout?  Wondering if wear and tear would be a concern.

 

[/quote]

Nope, I thought about it but only for about 10 seconds .. the barrel only gets rotated 3 times per week .. I figured many years before I would even see any wear .. anything sooner I would probably add a thick plastic buttress or support.

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - 06:31pm

    #25
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    Re: The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

Awesome thread and exactly what I was waiting for! Thanks.

I just thought I might mention that for those who don’t have any space or experience with farming there is a great hands-on approach to learning. Community gardens have been mentioned a few times around here but there is also something called WWOOFing. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

http://www.wwoof.org/

Most places you do volunteer work (or get some help if you have the land) for a few hours a day in exchange for room/board and a great learning experience. Also a great way to travel, see the world and meet great people.

A friend just spent their March Break doing this and said they had a blast and learned sooo much. My gf and I take possession of our property end of April and are pretty much totally inexperienced ‘in the field’. We hope to have some time to do some WWOOFing because we’ve got a lot of learning to do and couldn’t live without travel.

Thanks again for starting this Aaron.

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - 06:34pm

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    Re: The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

[quote=Dogs_In_A_Pile]

Tom –

My old stomping grounds.  I grew up in NW Wilmington not far from Chadd’s Ford/Kennett Square.

I do miss a good cheesesteak……………………

[/quote]

Oh heck yeah, you couldn’t have lived very far off route 52 .. Centerville/Mendenhall area .. I am up around Painters Crossroads.

Dogs, you cant get a good cheesesteak any more until you get close to Philly Frown 

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - 06:58pm

    #27
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    Re: The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

Hi all

Great idea for a thread, Aaron (and I like the new pic!).

I’ve been able to keep our family 75% self sufficient in veg and 50% in fruit for the last 15 years or so and have three main guides that I still swear by.

The first is the writings of John Seymour (1914 to 2004) and in particular his book ‘The New Complete Guide to Self Sufficiency’ (ISBN 0 7513 6442 8). This covers everything you need to know, from integrating crops with the natural cycles of nature to raising rabbits as a protein source. I feel you could have nothing else but this book and your land and still make it through!

The second is a book called ‘Month by Month Organic Gardening’ by Lawrence D Hills (ISBN 0 722518633). This looks at what to grow to provide food in each month of the year, how to rotate crops by the orders of vegetables and what to do in each month. For instance, this month its telling me about using 8 ozs of wood ash per square yard in order to provide sufficient potash for broad beans.

The third book is a permaculture title by Patrick Whitefield called ‘How to make a Forest Garden’ (ISBN 1 85623 008 2). This is a completely detailed explanation as to establishing a highly productive system based on a natural woodland structure – with three layers of vegetation: threes, shrubs and herbaceous plants. In addition to this book, I have examined this method and concluded that is the most efficient and low energy means of providing a balanced diet for humans.

As for specific tips, I currently have 8 beds that are around 20 metres long by 1.5 metres wide. I dig these as little as possible to help maintain a healthy soil structure and ecology. This year’s rotation plan is:

Bed 1 – leguminosae – broad beans, runner beans, french beans and peas

Beds 2, 5 & 6 – Solanaceae – potatoes

Bed 3 –  Umbelliferae – carrots, celeriac, Liliaceae – onions, leeks, garlic

Bed 4 –  Cruciferae – cauliflowers, broccoli, calabrese, swede

Bed 7 –  Other – lettuces, chards, spinnach, rocket

Bed 8 – Cucurbitacaea – squash, pumpkin, courgette

Finally, I have perenial crops of rhubarb, raspberry, black current and gooseberry and use the greenhouse for sweet peppers, melons, cucumbers and tomatoes.

For compost I have five one metre cubes. I have 4 chickens (variety Black Rock) with a scratching pen as well as free range. Any garden refuse is first given to them to pick over and fertilise before I put it into one of my compost bins. I usually have one filling, one cooking, one finished and two ready for use.

Last autumn I collected all leaf litter and hedge trimmings and filled builders sacks with it (these are the disposable woven polyproplyene sacks that sand etc from the builders yard is delivered in. This stuff will slow compost over 18 months and be ready this time next year for mulching or as a base for potting compost. 

I could go on but I’ve got to go and light the stove – we’ve a frost forecast tonight!

Peace to all

Bill

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - 07:04pm

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    Re: The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

Tom, I love that compost barrel! We just moved our compost pile from one side of the yard, turning it in the process, and I was disappointed by how slowly it was composting and how horrible the top two-thirds smelled.

How much do you worry about the carbon to nitrogen ratio in the materials you put in there? Or is it all just kitchen scraps?

eta: and how on earth do you order a barrel on Ebay? do they ship it to you? how much does that cost?

 

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - 07:17pm

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    Re: The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

[quote=suesullivan]

Tom, I love that compost barrel! We just moved our compost pile from one side of the yard, turning it in the process, and I was disappointed by how slowly it was composting and how horrible the top two-thirds smelled.

How much do you worry about the carbon to nitrogen ratio in the materials you put in there? Or is it all just kitchen scraps?

eta: and how on earth do you order a barrel on Ebay? do they ship it to you? how much does that cost?

 

[/quote]

Hey Sue, here is a Carbon-Nitrogen composting chart, if you don’t already have one .. well, it’s been pretty cold, your pile should really start heating up very soon, I wouldn’t worry about it .. I add wood shavings to kitchen scraps, although I do have a small worm farm with about 8K of red wrigglers that actually get most of my scraps .. but I get garbage from a local produce stand & am starting a larger compost area for next year .. you really need a whole year for a good compost. Now’s the time to start it.

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - 07:18pm

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    Re: The Definitive Agriculture/Permaculture Thread

Bill, do you get just one crop per year out of your beds? Do you need to rotate them into a cover crop ever? How many years have you been gardening with the 8 beds? How  big is your property and what climate zone do you live in? Are you forest gardening on it (I’m trying to set that up in our shadier front yard, thanks for that book recc and the others!)

How big is your greenhouse? Do you have supplemental heat for it? Do you grow the  melons, peppers and tomatoes to  fruition in there are do you transplant them out at some point?

I love how organized and productive your gardens sound!

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