Thanks S Bengi. I recently purchased some Pawpaw seedlings from http://www.justfruitsandexotics.com/JFE/. They are a couple hours away from me in the panhandle. Admittedly, I've never tried a Pawpaw. I've read about them though and some varieties show promise for Florida! I recently completed a PDC in Costa Rica and tried Guanabana while in Central America. Loved it! I appreciate the tips, the web-site and your quick response! Thanks, brother!
I was wondering if anyone has experience growing Soursop/Guanabana in a container? If one knows of a dwarf variety and any experience caring for this wonderful tree? I live in north Florida (zone 8b/9a), just a bit to much out of it's range! Any help would be appreciated!
Greetings Peter! I definitely agree with you that what a person thinks is "Best" will get multiple different answers. Especially with Permaculture folk! What I wrote, answered why the areas that I picked in Tennessee were superior in may way of thinking. The Upper Cumberlands have better weather, reasonable land prices, good education centers, low taxes, great towns and communities. Leah's question/statement included rural and homestead and so I focused on those key words. She also asked, where do ya'll live and or recommend? I've visited most, if not all of the southern states that she mentioned, have even actively looked at real estate in others, but I've had the pleasure of living in two of those, Tennessee and Florida, hence my focus. Western North Carolina and North Georgia, when compared to Tennessee, just fall behind on many levels in my mind, as I've studied those areas. I second James Fryers opinion above that North Georgia is expensive and I personally think that Tennessee is a better fit. Hugh Lovel's "A Biodynamic Farm" is a classic from that wonderful North Georgia area though and he probably would have a different "Best" opinion than mine: ) They are wonderful and beautiful states for sure and people would pick those areas for different reasons (Asheville, Earthaven Ecovillage to name a few), but I stated that I did not want to disparage or take anything away from them. So I focused on what I knew and the reasons for "My Best".
Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville are not rural by any means and the suburban sprawl around Nashville is legendary. Just look up the 840 corridor as mentioned above and you'll see. It's one of the many reasons people are fighting it and I doubt that even the small communities in those areas will stay rural. Leah wanted that when passing the homestead along to her children in the future. I spoke of the areas that I've personally lived in and gave my honest answers for her questions. Florida is my home state and my perspective is on my growing up here. I love the Cumberland Plateau, for the weather (a little higher elevation) and the great communities surrounding it. Much like southern Arizona where you are from. I love Patagonia, Sonoita and Elgin and their higher elevation gives them a better climate than say Tucson or Marana. Brad Lancaster "LOVES!!!" his Tucson neighborhood and Bean Tree Farm is a wonderful place in those lower areas. Perhaps folks would like the higher elevations further south with different climes? Your "Best" in southern Arizona is indeed different from other Permaculture minded people living in that area. I recently took a PDC in Costa Rica and we had people from North, Central and South America attending. I can assure you that all of our "Best" were different! People were focused on urban/rural and everything in-between. We had a guy from South America more focused on land/farming as he had a cacao operation. Definitely different than the rest of us and we all had different reasons and "Best"! In closing, I love Southern Arizona and can't wait to return next year! You are blessed to call that area home!
Greetings Leah, My generations run deep here in beautiful North Florida, born and raised! I too, lived off grid, in the wonderful state of Tennessee. I'll give you my two cents worth on both. As for Tennessee it is a lovely state with much to offer. I've lived in the east, central and west areas of Tennessee and by far the Upper Cumberlands are the best! The Knoxville area and the Tri-Cities area are getting crowded. Nashville...well it's Nashville. West Tennessee we found to be a bit too warm, but there are lots of creeks, springs and reasonably priced land to definitely make it worth looking at. The areas around Cookeville are hard to beat. Depending on the area you will probably be between 1500 and 2000 feet above sea level (nicer summers), land is starting to go up, but still affordable. Higher education can be found at Tennessee Tech University, which has a great organic program. and the surrounding communities are hard to beat! Putnam, Overton, Jackson, White and Fentress counties have awesome little towns with unique cities and towns that make them so inviting! There is no state income tax and local taxes are pretty low. I recently spoke with a Nurse from Arkansas and she was trying to explain all the taxes to me and I couldn't keep up with it all. Years ago I spoke with a gentleman who retired to North Carolina and he left saying that it was to expansive for regular folk. I definitely do not want to knock or disparage these other states, just saying it so you can do your homework completely when considering all things.
Florida is great if you can handle the heat and humidity! North Florida is kind of neat as we can grow citrus along side apples! I live in zone 8b and though it can be hard to manage, it offers many and great possibilities. Now for us, living off the grid here would be hard (not saying that it couldn't be done!). Florida as Tennessee has no state income tax and I find it a reasonable place to live. I sometimes wish my hardiness zone was a little further south, but I'm thankful for the quiet North Florida land and communities. When I traveled to Belize CA, I found that the Mennonite run town of Spanish Lookout reminded me of a small North Florida/South Georgia rural community! We have great food and culture (who doesn't like cornbread!) and many springs, rivers, the Gulf and the Atlantic all within very short commutes! Our seafood is second to none. If you have any questions especially about Tennessee and or Florida I would be honored to help in anyway possible!
Hello Esmee, I seen Costa Rica on your list and wondered have you considered Belize? It is the only English speaking country in Central America and has large amounts of German speakers, due to the Anabaptist immigrations that still continue today. Mainly from the US, Canada and some South American countries. Three different German dialects are spoken High, Low and Pennsylvania Dutch. In the town Spanish Lookout between the capital of Belmopan and the Guatemalan border, just about all its inhabitants speak German, as the town is founded by Mennonites. I spoke with a German family who moved to Belize a number of years ago and they love it. Homeschooling was a major issue for them, as was affordable land. It is my understanding that Belize has pretty relaxed immigration laws. Coming from the EU, you do not need a visa to enter. Check out the Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Act to see if you qualify. It is a beautiful country, eco-friendly and affordable.
When I visited Belize a few years ago they were using oxen. What was interesting is that the Old Order Mennonites who used them spoke English/German. The oxen were trained in Spanish. So all the voice commands used, were spoken in Spanish. They loved the calmness of the oxen, as this day they were hauling Sapodilla trees out of the bush for fence post.
Greetings Richard, We had to blind fold one of our Dexters to milk her!?! Outside of that a great cow. Another option with Dexters compared with others is they are hardy! Ours were grass-fed, with sea kelp, redmond salt and the pat coleby mix free range. Hay was provided in winter. They stayed fat and hardly touched the minerals.
Our Jerseys definitely hit the minerals more (a lot more!) and our Dexters just seemed like they never needed anything. A very hardy breed! If people come up with some good milking genetics (as they had in the past) they would be a hard breed to beat. Again though, the cows seem to have an attitude so to speak, where as Jersey cows are as kind and gentle as they come.
Some experience our family had with both Dexters and Jerseys. We found Dexter cows to be a bit ornery and the bulls extremely gentle. We've milked three Dexters, one purchased as an adult and two hand raised from calves. We had no success with any of them.
We've milked quite a few Jerseys over the years without any problems. We always searched for smaller sized regular Jerseys and they really are an awesome breed! I've no experience with Mini-Jerseys other than a friend of ours had a bull and he was not pleasant to be around. Of course full sized Jersey bulls are dangerous and should be avoided. Dexter bulls on the other hand are very calm and unexcitable. At least the ones I've been around.
I've heard of people breeding for the milking trait back into the Dexters and I've seen some pictures showing them with nice dairy qualities. I think that they are harder to find though. I wouldn't hesitate to raise a Dexter for beef, but if you've not much experience with them and or milking, stick with a Jersey (mini or regular) and you won't go wrong.
When our family visits Cedar Key, we always bring back a van load of seaweed. With only one composter and a side bin (I know, I know) I've always scattered the seaweed throughout the garden. We do not visit the ocean that often, but would you suggest placing seaweed in the composter upon return when we do? Is there anything that we should be aware of when collecting and or using natural seaweed?
I've always enjoyed reading your articles in our local periodical here in the Sunshine State. Though not about composting, one day I would to purchase a beautiful Florida Paw Paw. Great having you here!
I was curious to know if anyone on here has had any experience using a wood burning stove, water coil and water storage tank (Thermosyphon/Convection) system? We are considering this type of system in our off-grid home in Tennessee. I would like to here of your experiences with its use (pros/cons) and what you would do different, if any? Safety is a concern, but my understanding is, if done right there is nothing to worry about. Thoughts?
Head a little further southwest and visit ECHO. www.echonet.org. They have a wonderful nursery and many of the plants you listed are available for sale. Check out my topic starter ECHO as I posted some pics. Blessings...Hugh
Just visited ECHO, (www.echonet.org) WOW!!! What a great place. If any permies are traveling through, you should check them out. I enjoyed a tour of their ministry and picked up a signed copy of Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier. Their use of appropriate technology for Tropical Third World Countries is inspiring! They show many wonderful ways in dealing with plants, animals, building design and construction and yes the word Permaculture was used. Well, after I asked a question about it, but they did acknowledge it and they are starting to implement Permaculture ideas. Check out some of my pictures.
Have you considered the Upper Cumberlands? The areas around Cookeville, Tennessee (Home to Tennessee Tech University) and Crossville, Tennessee are hard to beat. Just research the Cumberland Plateau. In towns around Monterey, Crossville and Spencer the elevation is around 2000 feet and it does make for nicer summers. We lived off-grid in Overton County and thought it a great community. The residents fought off Wally-Mart. We just purchased property in Van Buren County and couldn't be happier. Spencer is really small but, you can be in Cookeville 30/40 minutes or Chattanooga in 45/50 minutes. I'm sure that most on this site have heard about what is going on in Chattanooga. My friend recently visited and said that the downtown area is awesome and the farmers markets are great! Low taxes, no state income tax, clean air, awesome weather and great people! I believe that you could draw a fifty mile radius around Cookeville and or Crossville and just about couldn't go wrong. Please look into and research this area, you won't regret it!
The Old Order Mennonites in Belize live really simple and a few farms that I visited in the Springfield community was quite unique. Their simple ways of living combined with Permaculture principles would be very desirable. I loved the simple farms and orchards I visited and a Belizean Forest Garden would be awesome! The families that I stayed with, said that a lot of Europeans are coming through backpacking and work on their farms for a nights stay. I think that Belmopan would be a good place for a Permaculture project as it is home to the Government and they do refer to it as the Garden City! With Maya Mountain Research Farm to the South and the simple ways of the Old Orders within a short distance, much knowledge could be gained and shared with the rest of Belize and the World! I enjoyed my visit and would be interested in hearing about all things Belize, pros and cons. Blessings...Hugh
I recently visited Belize, Central America and stayed with the Old Order Mennonites in the Cayo and Stann Creek districts. I was wondering if there were any Permaculture activities in or around the Capital City, Belmopan? Has anyone visited Belize and considered moving there? It also would be great to here from people who live there presently and people who have lived there in the past, thoughts?
Greetings from the Sunshine state! My question for Toby was basically his thoughts on using Permaculture on old strip-mined lands. In Central/East Tennessee in a very magical place called the Upper Cumberlands is a beautiful tract of land. The Upper Cumberlands, run from North Alabama, through Tennessee and up into Kentucky as far as I know, but could go farther as they are apart of the Appalachian chain. These tracts of lands are reasonably priced and offer untold beauty for all to see. Knowing that this was once mined and that the scenery I gaze upon has been much altered by man, I wonder? Could these lands flourish again and bring forth substance for all to benefit from, while healing itself? I have done a small amount of research on-line and I find not many people speaking on this subject. My family and I would like to create a forest garden, rotational graze our very small herd of livestock on sustainable pastures and heal the land and ourselves through putting permaculture to practice. If anyone is doing this, great! let's here from you. If you know of someone already doing it, please let us know and kind thoughts would be appreciated! Toby, again thank you for all that you do. Enjoying The Journey...Hugh
Thank you Paul and Toby, My family and I are looking at the possibility of purchasing a piece of strip-mined land in the Upper Cumberlands of Central/East TN. This land was strip-mined may years ago, but is now reclaimed grasslands, with many creeks, ponds and young trees of various species trying there best to reclaim from the damage already done. Toby, What are you thoughts on using such property with permaculture? My family and I wish to create a forest garden, rotational graze our small livestock holding through deep soil and great grass and live as self sufficient as possible. Much destruction has come to these lands and I sometimes wonder, would it be best to look elsewhere. Or through Permaculture, perhaps heal these lands? These are just some thoughts. Enjoying The Journey...Hugh