Ive arranged to do something agricultural with 10ish acres in southern maine. Zone 5ish. It slopes to the west with the highest point in the east where those houses are. Its been mowed but otherwise shes to old to work more than a small garden. There are also two small heated greenhouses, a small barn, etc. Shes also into permaculturally stuff.
Anyhow Ive done some hobby stuff with chickens and ducks and a 1000ish sqf of garden and Im a little out of my depth on how to organize this endeavor. I was thinking of raising pasture birds for profit, food for myself, and forage for overwintering birds. Start planting trees, bushes, more expensive perennials next year if this looks like its going to last.
Broad topic I know but any advice would be nice. Also hello Im mike. Ive been lurking and listening to the podcast for a year or two. Lots of good info here.
I love swales and hugelcultures! Those would definitely be my first step. I love looking a massive permacultureearthworks but they don’t have to be big. Most of mine are six feet long and four foot wide.
Hi Mike, welcome to Permies! Sounds like you have a great opportunity before you, along with the age-old question of where to start. You've got some great ideas. Maybe you could take your aerial photo and draw out a plan of where you see things going? Where would you like to plant your trees and bushes? Where do you see your perennials? Where do you see the chicken pasture? Chicken housing? Garden? What else???
Welcome to permies. I have a few errent thoughts I will send your way:
1) Pick a main project and focus on getting that established first (identify your zone 0) and work your way out from there.
2) Having the heated greenhouses is awesome, I'd try to make good use of those while you have access to them.
3) If you're doing this for money, you'll need to identify your target audience. Do you plan to sell to restaurants, farmers markets, road side stand or CSA?
4) I'd hold off on planting trees & bushes until you have some kind of a legally binding contract. I'd want at least a 10-year lease or a purchase agreement before planting anything substantal or doing any major earthworks.
5) I like your idea of raising pasture birds, but I'd recommend doing some research on state meat processing regs first if you're doing this for market. I remember reading something awhile back about some conflict with USDA inspections causing a dust up in Maine (I think this pertained to selling meat out of state), not sure what ever became of that.
6) Not to discourage you, but unsure if winter forage for birds in Maine is a good use of your time. Wild birds will likely outcompete your birds for the resources.
7) It's too late for this year/season, but garlic might be a good crop to experiment with. From what I've read, very little garlic is grown here domestically and that might have a good return on investment (not sure if the conditions in Maine favor it though). Potatoes perhaps? ...Maine is well known for potatoes, but probably hard to compete with the big guys unless you do gourmet varieties. Maybe look into doing mushrooms?
Hope that helps some,
"He that plants trees loves others beside himself" -Thomas Fuller
I’ve created a gif comparing some of the maps available (this is a section of our place) including Topo, Lidar, contours and land cover (I’ve added descriptors from the legend). EDIT: Corrected ice/snow label to woody wetlands
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association