Win a copy of Straw Bale Building Details this week in the Straw Bale House forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

NEWBIE help! Am I too late?

 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi all, thank you in advance for bearing with me on this. I've interned and volunteered at lots of farms over the years but I'm considering embarking on my own. I'm looking at a little less than .25 acres at the moment. I live in Western Washington, attached is what the field I'm potentially going to rent looks like as of now. It's mainly been used for pasture. It's about a 45 minute-1 hr drive away from where I live/work. Given that it's a little late in the season, how far away it is, that it'll be my first go of it on my own, the land is not ready yet....is it wise to try and make this work for this season? I have a full time job but it may slow down in the summer, hopefully giving me more time to get out there more often. I don't know exactly what kind of advice I'm looking for (well, how best to clear this land?) but any words of wisdom would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you all! What a great resource this forum is :)

IMG_5352.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_5352.jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 1172
Location: Los Angeles, CA
219
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Its not too late to do something.  If your intention is to try to put the entire lot into production, then yes, it might be a bit overwhelming.  But if you wish to do something, you could start by building a few beds, a hugelkulture mound, perhaps start laying out the land and getting a sense for where you'd like to put swales, etc.

Nobody does everything in one year.  I've been on my 1/3rd of an acre for 19 years now, and just this year I built 6 raised beds, built an herb spiral, created some tall fencing to keep the chickens from ripping up the garden, divided and replanted 5 more artichoke plants . . . there's always something to do.

It might be helpful to hear a bit more about what you are planning for the space.

Are you thinking about just a garden, or an integrated food forest/orchard?  Are you considering animal integration of some sort?  Chickens?  Perhaps ducks or bees?  Long term, do you intend to move out to that spot so that you're not commuting an hour each way just to water your plants and check on the chickens?  If so, what's your time-line?  What kind of resources do you have: money, friends, technical know-how, equipment?  Do you intend to cultivate this space as a career (for example, a market gardener or homesteader) or as a part of a healthier lifestyle, hobby, change of pace, etc.?

For many people, their first step in approaching a new piece of land is just to observe and interact for the first year anyway.  That's the first principle of permaculture: observe and and interact.  Get to know the land intimately.  Walk it in all seasons and see how the light moves across it, how the water flows, how the soil responds to rain, the condition of the soil in various places, and the unique microclimates that will be available to creatively utilize.  That doesn't mean that you can't build soil this year and begin to stockpile resources.  

If it were me, I'd get wood chips this first year, lay them down, begin to dig my swales, think through where I want to lay out my garden beds, and try to obtain a yield.  It's not too late for tomatoes or vining veggies -- they like the warm weather that is yet to come.

So, in a word, no,  it's not too late to do something.  Go for it.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 162
28
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Molly,

Im guessing as a rental, establishing major land structures and tree plantings won't be practical. Yet you can establish a market garden, and incorporate swales in your layout so if or when you have a lease agreemen, you can determine if its practical to implement more permanent things like swales. That way you can work around your production bed, since a market garden is what will bring you a definite return this season. Its might not be as much permaculture as you were dreaming of, but sometimes you have to work your way into permaculture, if your trying to grow food immediately. Check out Curtis Stones Urban Farmer channel on YT, to see how he makes lots of produce in small spaces using market garden techniques. You want quick turn over crops, that are in high demand, and that means varieties liked by consumers. You will most likely have to till, to establish these beds, at least this year, unless you can bring in enough compost to smother the weeds. Also I think its Richard Perkins YT channel,who also has some permaculture type market gardens you may be able to gleen from. If you need more suggestions just ask.

As a rental that can have the rug pulled out from under you, I would get a solid lease contract signed. So you at least know how many years you are guaranteed the space. I mean after you make all the infrastructure improvements, create fertility, increased the property value by incorperating permaculture; then planting things like perennials and or a food forest. It can give incentive for owners who understand rental laws and their rights as property owners/landlords, to simply serve you notice to evacuate, then step into the turn key operation you just spent the last year or two building. Thats why a lease is important, including lease duration, and your rights. So you know how long your legally gaurenteed the land. What people say is irrelevant to the applicable law, and you must get everything in writing under contracts that protect both parties, ie a proper lease agreement addressing all concerns. Then you can evaluate labor/material cost of improvements, to calculate if you have time to get an adequate return on your labor or financial investment.

Like I said, its most likely not going to be profitable beyond a market garden this year, and if you don't have a long term lease agreement that also mitigates if you can even legally dig up a perennial you planted, that under some rental laws is considered a permanent improvement owned by the landlord the minute you plant it. These things are all important, to determine whats most beneficial for you as a renter, as everything you do will inadvertently benefit your landlord, who will at minimum benefit by having a rough feild turned into a garden space ready for planting, with increased fertility.

Hope that give you a few things to consider. Cheers!
 
Posts: 64
Location: Olympia, Wa
12
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Marco Banks wrote:

For many people, their first step in approaching a new piece of land is just to observe and interact for the first year anyway.  That's the first principle of permaculture: observe and and interact.  Get to know the land intimately.  Walk it in all seasons and see how the light moves across it, how the water flows, how the soil responds to rain, the condition of the soil in various places, and the unique microclimates that will be available to creatively utilize.  That doesn't mean that you can't build soil this year and begin to stockpile resources.  

So, in a word, no,  it's not too late to do something.  Go for it.  



I totally agree with this, if it is feasible, depends on your situation, buying or leasing. This is my second summer at my house and this year we planted some trees and made a few lasagna beds. The first year was watching the area, sun, wind, frost pockets, etc. The first year we also threw a complex cover crop down that included deep taproot plants, diakons, nitrogen fixers and lots more. A big thing to do is get a good soil test. A quality one can tell you a lot. Good luck!
 
Crusading Chameleon likes the size of this ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!