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Prepping and Planning

 
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Greetings and salutations, one and all!

I'm Micah, a cis Caucasian male aged 34 currently, I'm a type 1 diabetic, and I'm presently living in Minnesota with my disabled parents. We're currently renting an apartment where there is little to no maintenance ever done, constant door propping and breaking, people dragging leaking trash bags through the halls, and all manner of other issues, in addition to being far more costly than if we had a mortgage on a house.

I presently am a sales associate for Electronics at my local Wal-Mart, and I have been with the store for 14 years, 15 at the end of August. We are researching and saving up for a potential move in February of next year... out to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we would be renting an apartment or two until we find the lot where we will be building our homestead. Ideally my father would prefer something with a structure already on it, so that he and my mom can move onto it while we're building the rest, but I'm personally less concerned with that as much as at least having a decent price, and a location not too far from another Wal-Mart, as I can always transfer within the company until we've managed to reach self-sufficiency, and profitability from what is done on the homestead itself. I have some experience with plumbing, electrical wiring, electronic repair and diagnosis, design, architecture, gardening, and other skills, though many are a tad rusty from more than a decade of not putting them to practical use. However, I am more than willing to put in the hard work and research to do things properly, to build up to code with redundancies and room for expansion to our homestead design.

I am also an author (presently working on a dark fantasy action LGBTQAI+ romance series), a music producer (primarily using samples, but I also have a modicum of assorted instrument training), vocalist, an RPG system designer, a board and card game designer, a dabbling programmer, and I own or co-own a few geeky small companies.

My eventual goal is for a self-sufficient grid-tied (selling excess primarily) homestead where I can work on it and for myself on my creative passions and experimentation, though I know it will take many years, determination, and some lucky breaks for that to happen. Ideally, if I get enough land, I may also be trying to build a community of like-minded creatives who wish to build and work with me.
 
gardener
Posts: 498
Location: Pacific North West
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Welcome to permies!

Best place to learn about the good things, and it sounds like you like to learn☺️
 
Micah Maloney
Posts: 3
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Liv Smith wrote:Welcome to permies!

Best place to learn about the good things, and it sounds like you like to learn☺️



I definitely do! I have a massive email list of articles and videos about things I want to incorporate into the homestead and also methods of passive income, as well as having a few books on survival and primitive technology for making due with native materials (depending on what is on the future lot) until such a point as less crucial but still desired equipment can be purchased. I know the location specifically may be a lot harsher than most places people wish to homestead, but the sun and wind is great for power, the prices are inexpensive, fewer neighbors as close (unless I can get a community started later), and much of the harshness can be overcome with preparation, planning, modification, and also importing in certain things until things get going along far enough. Water is going to be the biggest concern, soil after that, but I do have some ideas on those two fronts at least. With recent droughts the monsoon season may be sparse, but proper structural design can maximize what does fall and get collected, aqua culture reclamation can regain what a garden would otherwise let drain instead of absorbing it, the possibility of finding a good spot for a well (or a pre-existing one on some parcels if there is already a dwelling there), collecting greywater (filtering, boiling, condensing, etc, for use on non-edible but useful crops), and the probability of having it trucked in once proper storage is created, until such a point as ample supply is generated and reused. Soil trucked in originally, and amplified with compost, etc. It'll be hard for a few years, but it'll cost less in the long run and be much more rewarding than our current lives, stuck under the thumb of one terrible landlord after another, and unable to build for ourselves due to the high cost of land, zoning restrictions and HOA that prevent agriculture, non-agricultural business, and residential from being in the same parcel, more restrictive building codes, and the inability to build, wire, or put in plumbing legally without a licensed contractor out here. The cost of a home quadruples from the labor, materials, and permit costs if we do it ourselves, and all of that definitely was a major influence on choosing New Mexico.
 
Posts: 95
Location: Landers, CA
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Micah, welcome!  I live in the High Desert of Cali.  I am basically a fruitarian so I grow a good deal of my food.  Currently I have about 63 fruit/nut trees, plus vines, annual veggies, bush fruits.  I started addressing potential water shortages about a decade ago.  I currently have everything in large Oxy Air Pruning pots except for figs and mulberries.  For me, doing this changed my whole life, literally.  It is just really hard to grow in the desert and water bills were exceedingly high for me when I had everything in the ground.....even with heavy mulching.  My water bills were running about $300 a month.  So I dug up everything out of the ground except the figs and mulberries, trimmed the main leader back to 18" and put them in the air prune pots.  I espaliered some (all the apples) so they run on top of each other which made for easy pollination. Others I have kept in bush form which resulted in less water usage because they weren't being buffeted around by desert winds.  I put up shade sail canopies over everything.

I couldn't believe the difference. Like night and day. Everything is so healthy and very productive.  I don't let them get over 7' tall so the canopy, surrounding chainlink fences with privacy shade cloth protecting them......they aren't stressed at all like they used to be.

My goals were to address local or national shortages of water, easy maintenance of the gardens (just me here), high production.  Believe it or not, you can get an unreal amount of fruit on your trees growing them this way - I have to prune heavily when the fruit sets.  The smaller over-all area of the bush/tree, the smaller root systems but much better than a root system in a ground planted tree......lets the tree concentrate on production of food, not having to send out long roots to look for nourishment and water.  No pests can get to the roots, like rats or voles.  I have zero pest problems because everything is so healthy it just naturally repels pests because they aren't sending out a sick vibration which attracts pests.

Gardening this way also lets me have more variety of things to plant.  I can have 3 - smaller trees/bushes that produce as much as one big one.  The canopies work 2-fold.  I put white shade sails up in the winter and it protects the tree blooms from freezing.

I tend not to go with grafted stock as they are short lived and sickly in nature compared to an own root tree.  I tried every method of gardening, including permaculture and actually the permaculture with 18 inch mulch was a total disaster. There wasn't enough rain to even begin to start breaking down the straw. After 2 years, I counted it as a fail and looked elsewhere for the saving grace.  You might want to thoroughly research a mulch type garden - that can be a tough protocol in a desert landscape.  That mulch has to stay moist and wet for it to break down properly, and establish good bio and small life like worms.
 
Posts: 288
Location: Málaga, Spain
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Hi, Purity, may i ask, do you bury your pots?
 
Purity Lopez
Posts: 95
Location: Landers, CA
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Abraham Palma wrote:Hi, Purity, may i ask, do you bury your pots?



No.  When I first started all that was available were Air Pots and Root Trainer Air pots.  I had a lot of trouble with them. With all the holes, they were drying out so fast I could hardly keep up with watering.  Then I found the Oxy pots on Amazon.  I don't know what it is, I can't see a real difference in how they are made but they don't dry out more than a normal pot and even if they are dry and you start watering them, the water doesn't run out the holes first. Really happy with them.  The two brands I was originally using, I had to wrap shade cloth around the outsides, then they worked fine.  With the Oxy's didn't have to do that.

What I do is I put each pot in one of those tubs you see at Home Depot - the ones with the yellow lids. I elevate them on the thin red bricks, then I keep the bottom filled with water up to the bricks.  It serves two purposes: humidity and it keeps the ants off the trees. We have a LOT of ants here in the desert....it was the only way I found that keeps them off the trees.  I feed my Great Pyrenees one of those little jars of baby food pork for her morning meal.  I've started using them for weighting down the branches I am espaliering.  I was tying the branches to the holes on the tubs but the ants just walk up the string.  So this works really nice. You can use a empty jar (hole drilled thru the lid so you can insert a wire/string) and then as they are trained you can gradually add water to the jars or add more jars.     I use the 7 gallon pot for normal trees/veggies and the 12 gallon for standard trees I have pruned into bushes.

If you buy your perlite/coir/vermiculite in bulk and using the coir brick as a measurement - one brick coir, verm and perlite, you can fill 3 of the 7 gallon Oxy pots.     If you buried an Air Pot it would defeat the purpose of using one. The holes are there so that as the root contacts the hole it recoils from the air and instead of continuing to grow and encircling the pot, it puts out a new root instead. That is why you can keep fruit trees and such indefinitely in these pots. They will create thousands of tiny little hair roots which allows them to use the moisture and fertilizer more efficiently than a plant in the ground.  You can see that by looking at roots of trees you are putting in the ground - the roots are really thick so not as efficient.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
 
pollinator
Posts: 636
Location: Chicago
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Interesting how differently techniques work in different environments.
 
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