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Hello first post from Ozarks near Buffalo River, Arkansas

 
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Hello people!  It's spring and I'm a little het up about gardening again.  I'm not a big gardener;  more like an "I'm hungry for vegetables and the grocery store is 26 miles away" kind of gardener.  So I'm growing for vegetables, and have been doing it for quite a while now with moderate succes.  Right now I've got little lettuce plants (Winter Density), some tomatoes (midsize purple stripes I forgot the name of), and some peppers started under LED lights on a shelf in the house.  Planted one short row of turnips (Purple top) yesterday outside.  Planted two about 4-foot rows of Giant Oregon Snow peas today.  I like things that I believe are going to be easy, just-about-guaranteed-to-succeed, and that taste good.  I'm a planting-by-the-moon addict.  Call me superstitious or not, I like it and that's how I do it, but I just use Farmer's Almanac's planting by the moon webpage for what to plant when.  I have some fruit trees/bushes, the most successful of which are jujubes and goumis.  Oh yeah, and one Seckel pear.  Soil here is clay and rocks.  I've got one permaculture book.  I've got a few shiitake logs stuck under the eave of the house where rain will fall on them.  Hoping to get inspired maybe a bit more by y'all inspirational people.  
 
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Location: Ozarks
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Welcome Jenn!

I have a small place close to the Buffalo as well. I have been Part time homesteading for about 12 years now. I built a tiny house here in my driveway and moved it on to the land in 2015.  I spend my vacation time setting the place up for my retirement. I have managed to plant dozens of fruit trees, berries and perennials, some have even managed to survive! It can be a little  frustrating to plant some thing and care for it for a week or two then leave it to fend for itself.  Over all I am having better luck than I had hoped for,  If we don't count all the fruit trees I have left to die alone in the woods. I hope to finish my barn in the next 2 years and make the move in 2023.

I really got lucky with my closest neighbor he is a homesteader from the back to the land movement of the 70s and has been one of my biggest cheerleaders. I really need to make the time to take him up on his offers of getting to know some of his friends. The few that I have met are just plain fun! And it so very encouraging to know that the local people have welcomed newcomers to the area that just want to live a simple life!  
 
gardener
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Location: Southern Illinois
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Hi Jenn, welcome to Permies!

Well, you say you are not a big gardener but it sure sounds like you are off to a good start.  By my experience, the best gardens are not the biggest ones but rather the gardens that can be tended to the best.  This is sometimes a small to medium sized garden depending on your time and effort you want to put into it.

At present I garden from 3 beds, but I tend to them carefully.  Any more and I don’t get to everything like I should.  So if the beds you have are the beds you can manage, then that is the right size for you.

Again, welcome to Permies.

Eric
 
Jenn Lumpkin
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Hello Marty Mac, nice to meetcha!  
Yes I'd agree you're lucky to have a back to the land neighbor from the 70s.  And yes I'd agree you oughtta take some time to meet his friends.  
I love this area BUT the ticks and chiggers are the worst things as soon as the temp gets over 60F.  
Especially in the woods.  We have a few acres of grass besides a few acres of woods;  and a zero-turn lawnmower which is our biggest piece of "heavy equipment" and extremely handy!  
Lately I've started a couple beds CLOSE to the house, which seems to help keep the critters away, plus a "yellow cur" dog showed up last summer that we've taken on;  and he's big on chasing rabbits, mice, and rats.  Also big on barking at whatever else is out there.  Which might be hunters.      
When ticks and chiggers are really bad I use sulfur powder ground up in the coffee grinder from Espoma Soil Acidifier.  Helps a lot.
 
Jenn Lumpkin
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Hello Eric Hanson, nice to meet you!  
Well it's not really a "start," but more like a re-start.  Covid scare got me back to gardening, since we're avoiding people.  (ha ha!  but not all that funny, is it?)
I do agree that a big garden is beyond me.  And my little beds do produce some fresh vegetables which of course I prefer to eat fresh, since preserving via canning, drying, or freezing (especially canning) can be a lot of work and the results can be "questionable."  I still have a bunch of pears I had canned a few years back, but they're too gol-durned soft and I didn't peel them first (ha ha again), so they're never likely to get eaten or used ... unless we start starving (ha ha ditto on first ha ha!).  Goumis are great frozen though!  Just to eat frozen, one by one, chewing the flesh off the seeds.  
Anyway, thanks for the welcome!  
 
pioneer
Posts: 122
Location: NW Arkansas
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Hello Jenn! Yes, the chiggers and ticks in Arkansas are terrible! Already this year I had one stuck on. The wife's family calls me tick boy lol
My plans for next year include Guinea Fowl for that very reason. I've been doing the research and weighing the pros and cons. The pros win. Between chickens and Guineas ticks don't stand a chance. Chiggers might take some chemical warfare.
I lived in a suburb of Oklahoma City for a bit and we had a flock/gaggle/herd of Guineas that wandered the neighborhood. One time they showed up with a bunch of keets and eventually fewer and fewer. I figured Fluffy, the wonderful neighborhood cat ate them all.
I have a few acres south of the river and about 20 or so miles from Ozark. I've almost got my garden ready to plant and my starters are ready to go in the ground.
This will be the first year I've been able to work my garden the way I want. My job was 100% travel and generally was 2 weeks gone, a few days home. I no longer travel so I'm getting my place ship shape and ready for the farmers market.
Do you sell or trade anything at farmers markets?
 
Jenn Lumpkin
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Hello Michael Dotson,
Ozark, eh?  We're closer to Jasper.  Looking at the map, looks like you are right in a really hilly part of Ozarks.  We had free range chickens (mostly Speckled Sussex) for several years but STILL had ticks and chiggers.  Yep, I've read that guineas are good for eating ticks, but our experience with chickens taught me ... I can't kill a chicken.  Hubs either.  And we bought grain for them from a feed store several miles away, and they hid their eggs, and a black snake moved in under the pile of straw in their "chicken house," and altogether they were more trouble than they were worth (to me).  They were more like pets than "farm animals;"  the neighbor's dog killed the last two and then our neighbor got mad at his dog and left her on a long chain for years.  But to have the last two gone was, altogether, a good thing for us;  no more chicken house to clean, no more grain to buy and haul.  They had their cute side;  when I would dig a hole in the ground there they were, eyeing the hole, eyeing me, grabbing worms as soon as they turned up, eager to get into that hole and dig with their own claws.  And their chicken poop was nice to have.  

I will say, plant some goumis!  They seem to love the conditions in my garden at least.  They're nitrogen fixers too.  And me, I've learned to completely avoid "stone fruits," since once they're producing fruit, unless you go in for spraying chemicals at least more than once a year, they get what I THINK is called "black rot," or "brown rot," whatever;  the fruit gets green then turns nasty and eventually rotten black.  I did plant some cherry (stone fruit) seeds that came up in a pot, and one of the cherry seedlings is still alive and growing;  tho' no pollinator unless one of the other seedlings I'd planted in a patch of weeds might've survived but it's probably the same variety of cherry so probably wouldn't pollinate anyway.  We have a big Seckel pear tree that's always done well, and a Moonglow for pollination, which blooms slightly AFTER most of the Seckel blooms have faded ... I'm watching that Moonglow pear tree right about now and trying to think at it, "bloom!"  ... it's almost there.  Meanwhile the Seckel is covered with blooms.  

No, on the farmer's markets.  I'm gardening for food for home only.  But good luck to you, starting up a garden is the hardest part!  Watch out for bermuda grass!  Extremely invasive, grows from multiple rootlets along its incredibly long length, browsing animals love to eat it, but in a garden it's really bad, and at least where I am, it's prevalent.  Most of the roots are within five or six inches of the surface, but who knows how far down some of those roots may go?  Anyway, getting rid of bermuda is one of the hardest things where I'm at.  I might say, just buy enough black plastic to cover however much area you're planning on gardening, lay it down and leave it for a year.  The sun on the black plastic during the summer kills the bermuda.  The easiest way I've found to get rid of bermuda grass, but ... plastic ...   Cardboard is just a gift to bermuda grass;  the long strands and roots grow under the cardboard with joy and glee, which is why the lasagna garden idea doesn't work IF you have bermuda grass.

Well, 'nuff said, nice to meetcha!  
 
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