In my experience; people for the most part, who contact you offering to feature/review your products aren't doing it to help you. They are doing it to increase their own following/income, or to use what you have developed to go into business against you, competition.
Way to go lior. You set some goals.
You are building cred and gaining knowledge and skills.
Your second post shows someone who has gotten serious about earning respect and becoming useful to yourself and to others.
What ever happened to lior dahan? This person asked for advice on a subject that may be relevant to quite a few people. Some Permies responded with well considered and sincere replies/advice. Lior may have ditched out but I think some others may have benefited from the experiences outlined in all of the earnest well meaning answers. I think this may happen quite a lot, someone asks for advice and is never heard from again but others with similar questions may get the answers and the direction they need.
What type of fish live in the water source? The more edible types that are naturally occurring would probably be the best for propagation. Are the ponds set up for harvesting fish? If not, then cage culture may be the best way to go. To grow large numbers of fish, you'll need to provide at least some supplemental feed.
I have done a bit of research on commercial eel culture. Yes, there are profitable eel farms. They are a much sought after food item in several countries.
I haven't found any instance where they are spawned in captivity. Somebody may be doing it and they are keeping quiet about it. I wouldn't blame them, elvers or glass eels or baby eels are one of the most high dollar aquatic animals there are.
Eels are a catadromous species meaning that they migrate down rivers to spawn in the sea, as opposed to anadromous species that migrate from the sea up the rivers to spawn (salmon). Anadromous fish are routinely spawned by people for commercial purposes, catadromous species not so much.
This means that baby eels must be captured as they migrate up the rivers and then sold to eel farmers for grow-out. Some states have a glass eel season. They are tiny and see through, thus glass eels.
I have no problem with this practice as long as their capture is controlled and regulated by qualified Biologists.
Yikes! I just reread my reply from a few days ago. In my attempt to use the metric system I made a glaring mistake. Our animals do sell for an average of $45.00/lb. I divided $45.00/lb by 2.2 lbs in a Kg to get $20.45/Kg. I should have multiplied $45.00/lb by 2.2 lb/KG to get $99.00/Kg.
I have access to aged fish manure from a local trout farm that doesn't use antibiotics or medicated feed.
At the trout farm the manure is pumped as a slurry from the settling basins to dirt pits where it sits and separates. The water is decanted and the resulting very thick sludge dries down into a dark heavy shovelable material (the color and consistency of 1/2 meter thick chocolate brownies). This stuff is put into empty fish feed sacks and provided free to the public. In March I take 10 bags home and dump the manure into a pile next to the garden. In May I spread it on the garden and till it in.
I don't claim to have expertise in using fish manure as fertilizer but our garden produces a bounteous crop of veggies every year.
There are no weed seeds in this product and no human pathogens since it comes from cold blooded animals.
There are a lot of other much larger fish farms in our area. At least one company has turned their manure into a profit generating product. They mix their waste with used straw bedding from a large dairy. This mix is windrowed and turned over until it is compost. It is then sold by the large truck load.
Adam, does your fish manure come from a salt water farm or a fresh water farm? I wonder if it makes a difference.
Gosh Travis, Your posts are so open and honest and selfless. You are a person of faith, that must be a comfort. Your preparations will ease your family's transition. You are always so prepared. Permies is losing a piece of it's heart.
I suggest that you go after the research/scientific/medical market.
Texas is a big state with a large number of colleges and universities, medical schools, govt. and private research labs, and hospitals.
I think that Texas institutions may give consideration to "local" suppliers. There may already be Texan suppliers. If there are they probably keep a low public profile to protect their lucrative business.
It is my experience that filling a "small" niche market can make the difference between selling your crop as a commodity for $4.50/lb or selling your crop as a specialty for $45.00/lb.
Mike Jay has given you excellent advice and some possible leads.
Gaining experience, making contacts, establishing a track record, and paying your dues is the way to start.
You sound young, as I once was.
I have rented my 1/10 acre farm since 1994. It is not necessary to own land or borrow money or take public funds to have a successful farm business.
Surely there is a landowner in NW AR who is willing to let you use a small piece of vacant ground in exchange for the upkeep and a percentage of your gross income from their land.
If you are motivated you could do this while enrolled in the Horticulture Program and working at least part time.
Find your niche, become the expert at growing and marketing your crop.
It will not be easy-it will be hard.
If you have the "fire in the belly" you will stay focused and do what it takes.
Anything else is just talk.
Thank you Anne for showing the article on the benefits of planting flowers along roadways. I read the whole article. For less traveled slower roads like the ones in the article this makes a lot of sense.
We planned our trip from Hanover to Huntsville to take advantage of the quiet, slower, and less traveled routes. The relaxing byways through the idyllic countryside in the Eastern USA are wonderful. It took us a day longer and at least 200 miles more than if we had traveled the freeways the whole way. We did drive on busy state and interstate highways at some point each day though. It is these busy high speed highways with flowers planted along them that caused me to write my original post.
The amount of traffic on these main highways through the rural countryside really made an impression us (we are farmers from Idaho). There are thousands of vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed through many large fields of planted flowers each day. Flying insects, as well as walking, hopping, and crawling insects trying to cross these roads have a very high probability of not making it across alive. I wonder why people think it is a good idea to attract insects; pollinating and otherwise to these lethal killing grounds.
In June my wife, daughter, and I took a road trip from Hanover, NH to Huntsville, AL. On the way we traveled nearly the length of Vermont and through parts of NY, PA, MD, WV, VA, and TN. Along the roadways we saw places that were profuse with wildflowers. Many of these areas appeared to have been deliberately seeded (I could be mistaken). Very Beautiful.
In Huntsville, while unloading the car I noticed the front of our car was covered with the remains of hundreds of insects. I could identify some as grasshoppers, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, wasps, and bees. Big fuzzy bees, blue bees, honey bees, little black bees, and others.
I had parked the car where we could see it from our second floor room. A short time later I saw a crew of about eight small birds working and pecking on the front of the car, some even appeared to be behind the grille. When we went out later that evening there were no identifiable insect parts on the car, just smudges and smears. I wonder now if our car was cleaned by birds at the four other motels that we stayed at on our way. While in Huntsville for several days we noticed birds cleaning cars in parking areas. This was our first road trip in the Eastern US.
Now, I think it isn't such a good idea to have so many flowers along highways.
Try cutting the spinal cord at the same place where you remove the head, they may shiver a bit but there won't be any flopping around.
Are Brook Trout the only kind of trout that you can get? It has been my experience that Rainbow Trout grow faster and have a lower feed conversion ratio than Brookies.
Four years ago our small asparagus patch produced two big bushes with lots of red berries. I bundled up all of the dried material (male and female) and piled it up on a spot of bare ground near the compost. The following June when I cleaned up all of the debris, there were about 30 2" high asparagus plants growing where the pile had been. I dug up about 10 of the little plants with plenty of soil around each one and planted them in the patch and kept them moist all summer. Most of them survived and they produced some small asparagus shoots this year. None of the ones out by the compost survived with no care.
I can see only two berries on the dried bushes this year.
We were visiting family in Cache Valley on Saturday. Our Niece came by with a big bundle of basil and a bit gnarly looking but extremely tasty tomatoes. She had been to the Gardeners Market. She went on and on about the generous and friendly vendor that she had purchased her produce from and how she would definitely return to his stand. She described him as smaller than her, bare foot, with some glitter on his face.
I gave her your name and said she could look you up on permies.com.
Joseph, are you putting your wild water through a filter before drinking it? I know two people who claim they contracted severe Giardiosis from drinking unfiltered water in the Bear River Range.
I myself have not had a problem drinking wild water in your region, but I use a filter or drink spring water right at the source.
One hidden spring that I visit a couple of times a year issues forth from the base of an immense boulder high up in a small side canyon, it is a constant 11 c and I like to drink from it with my face totally immersed. Very refreshing after the steep hike to get to it.
I love the limestone water from your region and take a couple gallons home with me every time I visit. The lava rock water in my area is good but not as good as yours.
I really like to see people start agriculture businesses with little more than a good idea and a willingness to do what it takes to be ultimately successful. Your pictures show a set-up that appears to be inexpensive but well thought out, a "labor of love" if you will. You and your wife are smart to keep your regular sources of income while you work on your dream. Putting in the time after work and at the market on days off will reward you with an interesting and profitable farm business. Welcome.
Two of my neighbors have large English Walnut trees in their front yards. The squirrels are busy harvesting the green nuts now. They strip off the outer covering and hide/bury the nuts all over the neighborhood. In the spring there are lots of English Walnut trees sprouting from forgotten hiding places.
A bit off topic. There are also crows that take some of the unstripped nuts from the squirrels and place them on the lightly traveled street, the nuts get run over and broken open. There are at this minute; doves, starlings, sparrows, crows, and a squirrel in the street eating the exposed nutmeats.
My pickup truck ( 93 Chev 1/2 ton) is parked probably 19 days out of 20, but when i need it, I need it. I was having dead battery issues even after replacing the battery. I think there is a tiny drain but I can't find it. I installed a battery shut off switch on the battery a couple of years ago. Now when I park it, I flip the switch off. I have left it parked for as long as two months and it starts every time.
Last year some of my zucchini plants were destroyed by squash bugs. The nymphs looked very similar to the little orange bugs in your photo. They started out as clusters of tiny orange eggs on the underside of the leaves. They didn't appear to eat that much, more like they sucked the life out of the plants/infected the plants with some kind of disease. Once I noticed the plants were doing poorly it was too late. I was able to keep a couple of uninfected plants going and producing by picking off adult bugs by hand and scraping off the egg clusters frequently.
I hope you have assassin bugs and not what I had last year.
I've read a lot of your posts over the last couple of years. You are great at showing how to; get a lot of work done efficiently and safely, be self sufficient, be frugal without being stingy, solve real problems on your real homestead, take time with and provide for your family, and plan for the future while exhibiting plenty of grit and determination. You are one of the inspirational figures that encourage me to get up and get out and try to make some progress every day. Thank You.
I love to catch fish in this manner too.
Long medium weight rod and 6 lb test with night crawler or grasshopper on a small overgrown stream.
To me it is more like hunting; stealthy, patient, close observation of situation/habitat, more opportunities to see and interact with other types of wildlife too.
Small streams with very little fishing pressure can produce some amazingly large fish.
It is also inexpensive because I don't need a lot of tackle, or a boat, and there are overlooked small streams close by.
Gosh, I think I'll go fishing today right after chores.
I agree with James. You don't need to own land to be farmer.
There is bound to be someone in your area that has land that is a burden to them. Find that person and make a deal and "prove up" on their property. It will be an opportunity to start a farm business and to see if you really have the "fire in the belly" to be a farmer.
Better get started - spring is well underway in the Carolinas.
Datura grows wild in a lot of places in Southern Utah.
They are planted as ornamentals in my town and can turn into big showy plants.
In late summer when the large white trumpet shaped flowers are open there is a distinct sweetish aroma in their vicinity. They attract a lot of pollinators especially moths in the evening.
Thank you Paul for bringing this documentary to our attention. This really shows how a small farmer can be lost and trampled in the crowd when trying to compete in the commodities markets.
For me, time in the "field" and attention to detail far outweigh the chemical and mechanical inputs of the much larger farms in my area.
My customers willingly pay a premium price knowing that I'm passionate about producing a premium crop and passionate about providing them with the best service.
A little guy like me can earn a good living by raising a superior product and dealing with my customers as individuals.
I love having a small obscure farm that supplies a small obscure market.
Since this is for occasional, mostly intentional power outages, maybe the simplest and least expensive solution would be a bottle of oxygen with a regulator and a solenoid switch that would open when the power is interrupted. The oxygen would be added to the fish tank through an inexpensive air line hooked up to an airstone.
Koi are a Carp and they will root around, it would take a lot of Koi to murk up a 1/2 acre pond. They will eat fish eggs and frog eggs but they won't catch and eat many fish or frogs. True Koi will retain their color and not revert to common Carp.
I don't know where you are, but many ponds are murky in the Spring with runoff and turnover. With a stream fed pond there may be more types of fish involved than what you've mentioned. Ask the previous owner if the pond is usually murky this time of year. Catfish, Bass, Bluegill, and Carp may be more inclined to feed (take bait or lures) when the water has warmed up more. Many types of ducks will stir up sediment in a pond, especially the shallower areas. Take some time to figure out your pond before taking any remedial action.
What a large blank canvas to start with. You're smart to get your water situation taken care of first. Is the irrigation water that you mentioned in addition to the spring water that you featured? It looks like water cress could be a year-round crop with the right set-up.
I am interested to see your progress as you go through the upcoming growing season.
It is not a silly idea.
There are people who make a good living raising aquatic species on small farms with small amounts of water. Many of them are raising unusual species to supply specific niche markets.
It is difficult for a small timer to compete with large well funded operations that raise the standard commercial aquatic species.
A small niche market can provide a farmer with a good income if that farmer is the only supplier.
I wonder if a 12" culvert installed under the driveway downstream from your 4" pipe drain would direct the excess runoff away from your front yard and towards the kidney shaped hay field.
With some backhoe work you could probably dig out the springs enough to put in a covered collection box with a pipe to take the spring water down hill wherever you wanted.
A civil engineer might be willing come to your place and do a walk around and provide you with some solutions for a fee.
One thing I do know for sure is that wet basements are awful.
You've had several thoughtful and respectful replies to your post so far.
As for me, I need to know more about You before I can offer advice on how You can have a successful farm/business. I understand the "no land" part of your query but I don't understand the "no money" and "bit if experience" parts.
Please provide specifics about yourself and your goals, so that I and others can address your situation.
Your drawing is a pretty close approximation of what I set up. I kept the holes on top so that it would be more of a soaker situation, but you could turn the pipe on its side to maybe direct the water in one direction. The main thing is the holes need to be lined up straight and the pipe should be level so that all the holes deliver water. My system had a constant but low flow, it took about 10 minutes to fill 14 feet of 2" pvc pipe.
I had a similar problem which I solved by making sure that the distribution pipe in the garden was perfectly level and with the emitting holes lined up straight on the top. I used 2" pvc for the distribution pipe and installed a drain valve on the bottom of the pipe so that water wouldn't sit in the pipe between waterings.
This is serious, this is your life, a specific goal is needed.
My impression from your post is that you want people in authority to consider and respect your input.
Accomplished people are the ones whose input is sought and respected.
For many people, the first accomplishment of note is earning a college degree or a vocational certification. This provides a base from which to accomplish more things and they become an authority in their own right.
Some people by force of will and by focusing on something that others haven't been successful at or even thought of, and with keen observation and hard work, become accomplished ( a certain promiscuous pollinator comes to mind).
There will always be people who are smarter than you, but never let anybody out work you. Opportunities will come and you will reach your goals.
As an aside; I like the term sustainable. We refer to our farm/business as a sustainable enterprise. All of our animals are produced on site year-round. No herbicides, pesticides, inorganic fertilizer, or electricity are used on our farm. We use a fuel efficient station wagon for hauling. The collected manure is composted and the effluent water is used for irrigation. We strive to purchase supplies and services locally. We contribute 10% of gross sales to non-profits, we have no debt, and have never taken any public funds for production or research.
You are correct. Many types of newly hatched amphibian larva are about the size of mosquito larva. Mosquito larva are a mainstay of the Gambusia diet.
As far as the stock tank goes, if it is galvanized your little fish will die in it unless it is painted or lined. If it is plastic or fiberglass they should be ok. The fish will need aeration unless you can set your tank up with a flow-through water supply.
Putting the tank in-ground is a good idea, the water temperature will be more stable. Leave at least 6" to 12" of free board to help keep small critters from falling in. It will need a secure mesh top strong enough to keep raccoons out with mesh small enough to keep snakes out. In your climate the tank will also need to be at least partly shaded.
I think you'll be able to grow enough fish to provide treats to your chickens once in a while but certainly not enough to use as an actual feed source.