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Central Florida Introduction... looking for direction

 
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Alrighty... fair warning, I'm known to be long-winded...

Central Floridian checking in... first time poster, short time permie enthusiast.  Short-time as in, couldn't sleep a couple nights ago and rabbit holed permaculture stuff until my eyes hurt and my mind spun (in a good way).  I'm a dreamer... and have been dreaming of being self-sustained forever.  Been stuck in the rat race chasing money, but over the last few years I decided it sucks and I want out.  Been in my head about it for far too long and all the covid crap has motivated me beyond, "maybe some day"...

I have about 10 minutes of gardening experience ~8 years ago in which everything died except a pepper plant that produced like 6 peppers which were tiny, but delicious...   Kinda started messing with avocados about a year ago...  transplanted two willy nilly and both promptly died.  Apparently throwing a sapling in a hole with no regard isn't the best move...  Currently got a pineapple started in a pot on the back porch, an avocado tree in another pot, and two mangos just breaking through.  The pineapple will fruit, but the others are more experiments in "does it live?"...  Just bought some seeds online that looked easy so I can start a wall garden and grow something to eat (again, all experimenting).

My wife and I are looking to buy our 'forever home' next summer...  Our visions of perfection are quite different.  Me - cabin in the woods, tons of land, never see another person again forever.  Her - McMansion in the suburbs, pool and a little yard for the kids (5 & 2), around the corner from the grocery store.  We have decided to compromise as little as possible.  We'll do a half-McMansion in the outskirts of the suburbs, have a bit of land to play with (more on that later)... and the pool (not gonna lie, I miss our old place only because of the pool).

Off the top of my head, this is our ideal compromise:  2000-3000sq ft, largeish yard for the kiddos and toys, pool, no HOA nannies, mostly (if not completely) self-sustaining... well/septic, solar, and garden... or now, food forest.  

I'd love to spend a few years building a permaculture on the property that will feed our family.  Like, we'll still hit up the grocery store for some things (beer and ice cream heh), but it would always be optional.  I'd love to be able to give some things away to friends, family, and people in need too.  I love big, stressful, cumbersome projects that almost kill me and pay off over the long term...  I spent about 3 months renovating our home by myself (literally) - everything outside the drywall was redone... tile floors removed/replaced, full kitchen, full bathrooms, all new light fixtures, painted in/out, landscaping, etc.

We know the area we want/need to be in, the type of property we want, and the budget... the big question I have now is...  how much land do we actually need?  How much dedicated space is needed, given my climate, for me to grow/raise our own food?  We are not picky eaters and the lower maintenance the better... year round production with enough excess to give some away.  Of course I know the specific property will determine what/how much, but unfortunately Zillow doesn't have a, "can I grow a kickass garden here?" search option so just ballpark.

Other questions are a matter of resources...  particular threads or other resources to get me started on understanding the basics and help start my journey.  Ideally I'll be moving into our new property this time next year and will be ready to build out our permaculture.


Thanks in advance!



 
pollinator
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Location: Monticello Florida zone 8a
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Welcome to Permies! Here is a mega list of info resources https://permies.com/wiki/105809/MEGA-List-Resources-Learning-Permaculture

Have fun!
 
                        
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C FL here - we moved here >13 years ago, and have been planting ever since.  Despite our having naturally black thumbs, we've now got a banana forest, lots of papaya and pineapples, guavas, acerola cherries, limes, and more... Few veggies this year, as it was too soggy.  but we want to do more and better.  We're in a suburban HOA, of all things, but bc we're next to a forest, we've got privacy!   Good luch with your plans - NOW is the time to start planting food for the coming months. Clearly there's an overarching agenda to starve people out of their homes... FL is great for have food growing year-round, though!
 
author & gardener
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Location: Southeastern U.S. - Zone 7b
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Jack, welcome to Permies! Having lived in central Florida for about six months once upon a time, I know what a pretty area it is, and how nice it is to have such a long growing season.

It sounds like you have done some good thinking through of preliminary qualifiers for the potential property you want. One thing I can tell is that we all start at the same place---the beginning. And we all have to do a lot of research and experimenting to figure out what works on our particular property and what doesn't.

Jack Stuart wrote:the big question I have now is...  how much land do we actually need?  How much dedicated space is needed, given my climate, for me to grow/raise our own food?  We are not picky eaters and the lower maintenance the better... year round production with enough excess to give some away. Of course I know the specific property will determine what/how much, but unfortunately Zillow doesn't have a, "can I grow a kickass garden here?" search option so just ballpark.


Folks grow an amazing amount of food on some seemingly small properties. An entire suburban yard can be turned into a productive garden paradise. Especially with permaculture, where you're planting a variety of plants in one bed. How kickass the garden is will depend more on how well you build the soil than on how large it is. Understanding how to make compost and feed the soil is when gardening success happens. That's why it helps to start small and expand gradually. That will give you the best idea of exactly how much work is involved and how it fits into you work schedules and lifestyle.

Beyond garden veggies, the possibilities extend to fruit trees and bushes, which can be incorporated into a small (or large) food forest. Nut trees can make great shade for the kids' play area. Grains? Chickens? Ducks? Goats? Poultry can be incorporated into a small area, grain growing and anything that requires pasture, obviously more. When you find potential properties, look at county plat maps for aerial photos and have some fun mapping them out with the things you have in mind.

Permies is definitely the place you want to be as you explore options, have questions, and make your start. You have a huge community here to help and encourage.
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I would get at least 1 acres up to 2.5 acres.

House = 1/4 acres
Fish Pond = 1/4 acres
Vegetable = 1/4 acres
Bee Hive/Chicken/Milk Goat = 1/4 acres
Orchard/Food Forest = 1acres
Total = 2 acres

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1312-E-1st-St-Apopka-FL-32703/46098405_zpid/
Which metro region in particular are you interested in
 
Jack Stuart
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thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated...

Luckily I have a good amount of time to research as the property hunt won't even begin until next spring.  Great resources linked and just poking around here at some of the other Floridian's posts is very helpful.

As far as the area is concerned, we are looking at the east side, preferably NE - Oveido, Chuluota, maybe as far as the SW Geneva area.  We want to try to keep to Seminole schools as they're higher rated (though I suspect we'll end up going private)...  however, what's available and our level of patience will be a major factor so Bithlo, Christmas, even down into Wedgefield can be on the table.  If it weren't for the school situation, Bithlo/Christmas would be a no-brainer.  Also, we have friends who live on Lake Pickett and love that area... lakefront or even lake access is high on the desirability list and we're willing to pay for it.

Thanks for the breakdown of lot size.  Before even considering permaculture (or knowing what it was), I was set on 1 acre minimum.  Just to have some space to stretch our legs.  Also trying to have it all by backing up to a huntable preserve...  ~1 acre backed up to a nature preserve or 2+ acres somewhere else seems like the ticket, and right in line with what I was looking for already.

Something like this pops up today in my searches and has me frustrated that we aren't ready to pull the trigger:  https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2670-Mills-Creek-Rd-Chuluota-FL-32766/47732553_zpid/

Of course, I'd prefer something more wooded, but hey a blank canvas is good too.



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