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Something I had considered for a while and which was recently suggested that I pursue is the idea of opening a small greenhouse. I had the thought of making it not just the average greenhouse, but one which applies as many permaculture ideas as possible. This might include a large portion of the land dedicated to a display food forest, running small classes about aspects and including information about the various plants and how some things might be done to make them more effective (companion planting, microclimating, etc). Has anyone had any experience with this sort of thing? I have worked at a greenhouse in years past, so an not unaware of the needs and expenses involved.
 
D. Logan
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I occurs to me that I should probably clarify that I mean a commercial greenhouse, not just a personal one where I happen to teach ideas from. Sometimes called Nurseries instead of Greenhouses. My own experiences tend to have locations focused in trees favoring the term Nursery and those focused mostly on seedlings being called Greenhouses.
 
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The most sophisticated cheapest CO2 system I've even seen in a green house was a half dozen or so 5 gallon carboys fermenting beer placed strategically around the house. Other small one gallon and half gallon test batches can be added to. It work's especially well in the early and late part of the season when the temperatures aren't so sweltering - but you can run them full season with few off flavors in the brew if you've got your recipes down. The plants absolutly love the extra Co2. Sorry that's probably not what you're looking for- Just a fun little function stack which works wonders.

Here's another favorite, though its more for a grow house than greenhouse: to put two compost heaps in small fence rings in (5x5x4 circle of 2x4 inch wire fencing) at one end of the greenhouse after fall harvest. Throw the chickens into the house after harvest to clean up any weeds and scratch the soil up for you and turn the compost every two weeks creeping it from one end of the house to the other. This heats up a greenhouse fairly well (In my climate - not sure about places where its super cold during the winter) and allows for some shoulder season growing. The compost leach-ate and the chicken shit makes for some good fertilization.

Another, which I've only tried once and never got a chance to really observe (the other intern and I set up the system and ten moved on) was to put a few 200 gallon tanks in the end of a double walled greenhouse with 2 aquaponics beds. The thought being that the thermal mass from the fish ends up keeping the temperature of the greenhouse more stable for longer. Many start house I work in use wire mesh tables for start trays as well as hanging trays and pots from the rafters. If you where to put fishtanks under these tables especially against the south facing side I would bet on way lots of heat storage and a more humid environment. I think this is similar to one of the things Will Allen (of NBA fame) is doing with his organization 'growing power'

I've seen some pretty sweet greenhouses. In centralia there's a guy who runs a giant wood fired boiler off of slash and old construction material and thermal siphons hot water into about a dozen greenhouses where he runs them into old car radiators to heat his greenhouses all year. He gets year round production (minus about 3 weeks) of raspberries, strawberries, blue berries, and cherries. He keeps bees in with them. His technique is otherwise not very permie (he grows in peat moss and perlite and plants into those black plastic grow bags) but his vertical growth strawberry towers are pretty sweet - I've seen other people use them, but he's be doing it like 20 years and has got it dialed in tight.

Anyway. Those are a few of my observations and experiences - hope you get more replies perhaps better suited to what you are looking to do
 
D. Logan
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Thanks for those ideas Landon! I am not sure yet which will be best suited for my existing ideas (Heating is an especially minor thing in deep south Texas. Even with as cold as the rest of the country has been we haven't seen but one or two days of below 35 degrees). I really liked the idea of the brewing, but imagine it means having to get extra permits and taking extra precautions. Once I firm up some of my thoughts and check on local ordinances, I think I will be fielding my thoughts here and using the great minds on this site to backboard off of.

Some of the things I picked up from working another greenhouse include recycled soil from pots that didn't sell the previous year both to ensure less lost money as well as offering a value-added product. Old plants tend to compost and add nutrient to the potting soil so that it is actually better than the original product and less wasteful than just throwing the material out. It isn't suitable for repotting most of the time, but in garden beds and such it is a wonderful product.

Another idea was offering a 'tray bounty' for the various packs, trays and pots so that they get recycled for reuse instead of thrown away. I actually want to have a lot of my product in something like Cowpots or fiber pots, but since those don't last indefinitely, having the plastic ones on hand to use for things that may be going a while would probably have to happen. With the tray bounty, people get a little money for their efforts and I don't have to buy yet more plastic if I can help it. The greenhouse I worked for reused these quite readily for years sometimes.

I would love to do a food forest with a walking path bearing labels for all of the plants and listing how things are interacting. Sort of a self-guided tour that could give people ideas and promote the ideals of permaculture in a way that is more accessible to the general public. These are just a few of the ideas I have been having of course. I did think of stacking chickens in the layout to show how they could be applied in a positive manner to your garden, but that is going to depend on zoning and such.
 
D. Logan
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As I have been pondering out this idea in greater detail, I realized that I needed to better define for anyone reading it where my mind sits. I noted Permaculture for the sake of easy reference, but what I really mean is something more like Symbiculture. The problem is that when I use the word, it isn't quite what it has been defined as on Permies. I guess I should start there and work outwards.

Permaculture
Short for Permanent Agriculture
A method of design that applies observation and basic ethics in a cycle to ensure an ever evolving move towards sustainability

Symbiculture
Short for Symbiotic Horticulture
Paul's Definition: Very little paint, no imported organic matter, limited plastics, electrical vehicles and very limited use of items like a Trac-Hoe.
My Definition: A system of horticulture where human actions are meant to emulate the natural world in a way that improves the health of the system overall while sustaining the humanity comfortably in a zero sum or better situation. IE: Symbiosis.

My take on Symbiculture is actually far closer to Paul's Husp concept. I had come up with the term independently before I even knew the Permies site existed or that Paul was around. For me it came about as a next step away from agriculture. For better or for worse, Bill Mollison's original term choices involved the word Agriculture. To me, that is part of the problem. Agriculture, not Mollison's idea that is.

Organic Farming and Agriculture are often the same thing, just with different views. One avoids chemicals while the other embraces them, but both (especially if handled by big businesses) can just as readily focus on bending nature more than adapting with it. Natural farmers such as the ancient horticultural societies were often more symbicultural in nature. Instead of simply bending nature, they often would work with nature even when that was less efficient than the methods they could have otherwise taken. Some such societies still exist in remote places today where they know of modern methods that would make things easier and choose instead to favor the cultural methods. The aim is to stay in harmony with nature rather than simply maximizing their production to the exclusion of everything else.

So understanding a bit more about what I use to define it, I now move to some aspects of how it might be applied.
* Absolute first and foremost, your actions must always be better than zero sum. You should always have more going in than coming out. Good stewardship of the plants and animals you exist with in this situation are key to this.
* Glass, steel and other semi-permanent (and recyclable) materials are readily allowed. Specifically if that input is going to be something that lasts for multiple generataions.
* Petroleum products are strictly disallowed as a part of the production. This one gets a slight acceptance of petroleum transport of goods minimal distances until such time as we have a more sustainable system in place, but goes hand in hand with the next aspect. This also limits most tasks to being those which can be accomplished by hand.
* As the only exception to the above rule, products that are considered waste products may be repurposed to suit your needs. Such items can't just be buying a product new, but instead should be taken from an existing source where they are no longer needed but are still usable for your own needs. This allows for electric, just as example in northern areas to extend daylight a little better, etc.
* When any outside aspect is to be obtained, it should be brought in from the most local source possible. If there is a material that may be gathered without exceeding the zero sum rule on the property, that should be favored. This includes if the material is not ideal and adjusting your own decisions based on it.
* All structures and alterations to the property should be designed to work in symbiosis with the landscape. This goes beyond applied earthworks, but also includes such matters as a decision of having a basement, the type of roof shape, etc. (incidentally I have a really great book regarding this concept of home design)
* Animals are encouraged as part of the design, but domestic animal labor should be minimized unless that labor is a natural part of their existence. Chickens turning over compost is natural to chickens, but oxen pulling plows is not. This complicates matters of earthworks without many hands to help.
* Whole products and foods are given the highest priority in all cases. Synthetically produced (not just petroleum based) products should be avoided as well as anything overly processed. The more natural a state a thing comes in, the better it is likely to be both for yourself and the world. Even something as simple as processing grain into flour uses extra petroleum and decreases the food value as opposed to processing it on site.

There are other things as well, but you get the idea. It doesn't go quite as far as Husp, since natural milk paints, plumbing (does the old pioneer wooden plumbing count?) and fire would be allowed, but outside of those it is pretty darn close. The above rules are not absolutes persay as long as the number one rule is observed. Most notably, the repurpose rule allows you a lot of leeway to use items that would otherwise go to filling a landfill. It doesn't, however, let you just go buy something. To stay in keeping with the rules herein, you have to favor the most natural and symbiotic methods first. After all, the more people who move away from a throw-away culture, the less there is going to be around in usable shape to recycle. And our goal of course, is to move as many people away from that culture as possible.

And all of this explanation goes into where I am wanting to go with this 'greenhouse' idea. My own interest would be in showing a workable symbiculture situation and food forest that people could buy their plants from and end up with a better product than the ones you get from standard chemical hydroponic greenhouses. Fiber pots, natural and localized soil mixes, catchment water system using a ceramic cistern, etc. That is going to be great, but it is also not going to be particularly obvious to anyone that it is a greenhouse/nursery situation from a distance. It is also going to probably feel overwhelming for someone who isn't already fully in on the idea.

Therefore, the 'phase one' section closest to the road would be a more recognizable form of nursery. Some fiberpots, but also some plastic packs of seedlings (along with a bounty on their empty return), bagged materials, hanging baskets, etc. A compromise area between the modern world and the symbicultural one, where more standard appearances are able to meet with a more permacultural methodology. Of course, this is still not without difficulties. I am wading through piles of building codes, facing down methods of waterproofing underground wooden structures without the use of plastics (char and pitch seem to be the best I have so far) and otherwise looking at any number of complications. Truth to tell, if building code wasn't so strict “for the public good”, it might not be nearly so hard. Maybe I will be lucky in convincing the officials that an unfamiliar method is still a safe and viable one if I provide enough data for them to review.

So when I discuss matters about this idea, this is where my mind is sitting. Something akin to two different styles on a single property and a way to draw the uninitiated in as well as offer an insight into how successful you can be working with nature instead of against it.
 
pollinator
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^^^^
some interesting thoughts.

i do quite a bit of growing in pots instead of the ground. well i also do big gardens too, but i have done a lot of container gardening, and i like it, no matter how un permie or whatever it might be =)

here it is extremely easy to get abundant amounts of recycled bag dirt and old pots, so i frequently use these.
lately i have been having some thoughts about making potting soil out of river sand and moss. i have actually gathered a lot of local moss to try it out, taken mostly from rocks by the river, and from trees felled for firewood. i'm thinking to do a local moss/free recycled bag soil/river sand mix to bulk up the potting soil
 
D. Logan
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leila hamaya wrote:
i do quite a bit of growing in pots instead of the ground. well i also do big gardens too, but i have done a lot of container gardening, and i like it, no matter how un permie or whatever it might be =)



I don't think it is 'unpermie' to grow in pots. Many pots are made from durable materials that can be obtained from fairly local sources, but even if they are plastic, the amount of production you can get from them can mean that the overall petroleum usage is more than made up for by the lack of shipping for whatever you happen to be producing.

leila hamaya wrote:
here it is extremely easy to get abundant amounts of recycled bag dirt and old pots, so i frequently use these.
lately i have been having some thoughts about making potting soil out of river sand and moss. i have actually gathered a lot of local moss to try it out, taken mostly from rocks by the river, and from trees felled for firewood. i'm thinking to do a local moss/free recycled bag soil/river sand mix to bulk up the potting soil



Getting second-use products like old pots and recycled potting soil are both utterly permaculture and are in fact also in keeping with my own concept of what symbiculture is. It sounds like you go well out of your way to avoid any first-run environmental damage and instead find ways to soften the blow of others by reusing what they would otherwise have thrown away. Local sourced materials are entirely within the keeping of the spirit of what I was thinking for my own commercial venture. The soil mix you are considering, was this just for your own use or for distribution?
 
leila hamaya
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D. Logan wrote:

I don't think it is 'unpermie' to grow in pots. Many pots are made from durable materials that can be obtained from fairly local sources, but even if they are plastic, the amount of production you can get from them can mean that the overall petroleum usage is more than made up for by the lack of shipping for whatever you happen to be producing.



i agree, i feel totally ok with this.
but i feel others, someone of a purist mindset might not see it this way. something like that anyway.

i go way way out of my way in every aspect of my life to avoid consuming...well just about everything!
but i like to get free, recycled things and repurpose things.

i also make pots and labels out of plastic recycling, yogurt containers and such.
i do sometimes still have to buy something here or there, but mostly i just dont purchase anything new, except for some food. when my gardens rocking i dont even have to do that very much (i've just moved and its hard adjusting to not always have *at least* abundant amounts of kale, brassicas, arugula and greens to eat!)

everything else is either freegan from the trash, or a thrift store.


here it is extremely easy to get abundant amounts of recycled bag dirt and old pots, so i frequently use these.
lately i have been having some thoughts about making potting soil out of river sand and moss. i have actually gathered a lot of local moss to try it out, taken mostly from rocks by the river, and from trees felled for firewood. i'm thinking to do a local moss/free recycled bag soil/river sand mix to bulk up the potting soil



Getting second-use products like old pots and recycled potting soil are both utterly permaculture and are in fact also in keeping with my own concept of what symbiculture is. It sounds like you go well out of your way to avoid any first-run environmental damage and instead find ways to soften the blow of others by reusing what they would otherwise have thrown away. Local sourced materials are entirely within the keeping of the spirit of what I was thinking for my own commercial venture. The soil mix you are considering, was this just for your own use or for distribution?



i am just experimenting with the moss/sand/recycled bag dirt for my own purpose and to spread out as much as i can what free recycled bag dirt i got from my friend a few months ago.. it came to me recently as a little light bulb to use local moss. i tried to look up info and didnt find anything....but i am going with it will be a good thing.
it could be something to do for others commercially...locally sourced bag dirt would be a plus. but i am just interested in making the soil i have go as far as possible for now.

a lot of what i get from people for free is coco coir based.
i might be tempted to buy some of that stuff if it wasnt so darn expensive/shipped across the world. it has a really nice way
 
leila hamaya
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not to try to toot my own horn too much, but i probably should be proud- you pretty much described the way i live, and for more than 10 years. though i have some periods when i do a lot of travelling.

most of my adult life i have lived off grid in extremely raw rustic tiny cabins, building with free recycled stuff, and whatevers on hand.... growing as much food as i can, making crafts, making do with what i have and living on extremely little money. this is the first time in years i have been connected to the grid, and i am probably enjoying its luxury too much!

throw in some splurges on either seeds, and a few electronic gizmos, solar panel stuff, and some good speakers...and the rest pretty much describes my life style. i hardly never drive, but every few weeks or month i usually need to do some kind of stocking up....generally on food, and manifesting stuff...going around finding cool free things =)

but i am not totally a purist about anything. i would use synthetic products, but only if they are free and waste, or from the thrift store. though i do prefer natural clothing, i would wear something synthetic if it was useful and climate appropriate...say or something like that. otherwise my life is extremely simplified, probably most people would find it quite boring, i like being bored =) or just doing my thing, actually i dont get bored.
 
D. Logan
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leila hamaya wrote:but i am not totally a purist about anything.



Purist is a way of saying aloof in my mind anyway. All that looking down one's nose at someone for not fitting to a perfect T the ideals of perfection only serves to put a wall between people. Everyone has their own place and understanding. That I own a computer at all clearly says I am not completely in line with my own view of Symbiculture. We are all human and we are allowed to change our minds or let an ideal slip a little from time to time. What is more important is the journey and our push to be better than we might otherwise be. Whatever that better person might be. I think you sound like you have done admirably at living a lifestyle well befitting of someone who cares about the world they live in. If we were to quivel over the tiniest minutia, how few people would even bother trying. Life isn't an all or nothing venture! Keep up the life you enjoy. It sounds like a great one to me. Not at all boring.
 
leila hamaya
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agreed.

luckily i am good at fixing computers, i get them for free and fix them. such as this one i am using now, its a super old dell that i keep going by replacing parts.

there are a few luxury items i would probably be good to quit getting, mostly exotic foods that i enjoy. coffee, bananas, chocolate, avocados and coconut milk, as well as freshy cream and sugar are some consumed products i wish i would not use as much.
but i suppose everyone has to have some vices. there have been many times that it was just not possible to get these things and somehow i made it. but simple stuff like that, seems like such a luxury...and all have some issues around transporting, or being mono cropped....so yeah not perfectly purely anything, just making do as best as i can.
 
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I can't say much about permie-based nursery operating procedures, but I have a couple ideas on what I would want from a shopper's perspective:

1) Sell plant collections as guilds, all appropriate to your local environment and with a design template. South Texas is peach country, so a peach or almond tree and 6-10 companion plants. A bird sanctuary plant collection. Uneducated people will just grab what's familiar and colorful unless you make it easy. High Country Gardens does a good job of collections in their catalog. You probably will still sell annuals to pay the bills, so why not tomatoes that actually will set fruit in your hot climate? Seek out homestead chile seeds, stuff unique to your area and history. Tell a story!
2) Preinnoculate all trees with mycorhizae and explain why it matters.
3) Keep a list of contractors competent at doing earthworks, like swales and willing to work on smaller jobs for homeowners
4) Create a community wood chip pile if your municipality doesn't do it. Partner with a tree service to dump at your place and give referrals for their service.
5) Offer some traditional food crops for sale at the cash rack (I know for a fact you can buy mesquite flour) to give people an idea that some of this stuff really can be used.
6) Bring in rootstock and host a tree-grafting event. Try to get scion wood from the old-timers in your area.
7) Rent permaculture books (sell and buy back in a certain amount of time)
Seeds and amendments that typical nurseries don't keep in quantities smaller than I have to buy at the feed store
9) Organic feeds for chickens and rabbits
10) Kits for vermiculture and growing fodder

That's a start. You'd relieve me of a ton of money if I could have half that shopping experience tuned for my local climate, rather than what the national plant distributors have decided to grow for the big box orange and blue this year.
 
D. Logan
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Ann Torrence wrote:1) Sell plant collections as guilds, all appropriate to your local environment and with a design template. South Texas is peach country, so a peach or almond tree and 6-10 companion plants. A bird sanctuary plant collection. Uneducated people will just grab what's familiar and colorful unless you make it easy. High Country Gardens does a good job of collections in their catalog.


I am at a slight disadvantage here. While I am intimately familiar with the plants of the Northeast, the Southwestern plants are largely a new thing for me. It means I am having to do a lot more research regarding native plants, successful local plant guilds, etc. I know there is a nearby butterfly sanctuary so that helps with native flowers some and I have made a point of wandering where I think the most natural state of plant life is to see what is thriving and what falls away without human care. It is a pretty steep learning curve, but I agree that selling the plants associated with one another is a big boon. I will mention some ideas on that below.

Ann Torrence wrote:You probably will still sell annuals to pay the bills, so why not tomatoes that actually will set fruit in your hot climate? Seek out homestead chile seeds, stuff unique to your area and history. Tell a story!

I see nothing wrong with annuals. Some are self-seeding and they have their place in the scheme of things. They are also a necessary bridge of food between the start of a food forest and when it becomes productive enough to sustain you. Even thereafter, annuals are enjoyable and fill a niche just as well as the perennials do. Locally, certain chiles, tomatillo, cilantro and a number of other plants have a huge following. I am sure that these things will be a backbone of sales, but can still be lead-ins to a broader perspective.

As you say, tell a story. One of the things I was most excited about being able to do was offer up a wealth of knowledge about how some plants were developed, how others occurred naturally and how they have come to interact. I even considered plaques or something like that around the property with tidbits of information that might interest people. Things like the plant origin, how it has been used, what it's place is in the framework, etc. I could also see some of these for features like the 'plastic-free' greenhouse or the swales.

Ann Torrence wrote:2) Preinnoculate all trees with mycorhizae and explain why it matters.


I couldn't agree more. I am also of the mind that any perennial plant, tree or otherwise, should include native soil rather than entirely sterile stuff as some places seem to want to do. I might loose a few plants to it, but I think anything I sell will be better for it and not suffer as much system shock when planted in the final home.

Ann Torrence wrote:3) Keep a list of contractors competent at doing earthworks, like swales and willing to work on smaller jobs for homeowners


This is an excellent idea! Thank you for that.

Ann Torrence wrote:4) Create a community wood chip pile if your municipality doesn't do it. Partner with a tree service to dump at your place and give referrals for their service.


Another fine idea. I had intended to speak with a tree company about wood chip for my own use, but it didn't occur to me to create a community pile for those interested. Sounds like you are full of good ideas!

Ann Torrence wrote:5) Offer some traditional food crops for sale at the cash rack (I know for a fact you can buy mesquite flour) to give people an idea that some of this stuff really can be used.


Traditional is a tricky word. Some traditions go back a long way and just to use your example of the mesquite flour, aren't always still in strong practice locally. I like the idea of shedding light on old practices and re-invigorating local traditions. Again more information on hand would be useful, maybe come up with a local recipe book that focus' on the different eras of traditional and local foods. It might be funny to watch people taking a second look at their Mesquite trees. I have heard more than one call them a weed tree despite the usefulness of the plant.

Ann Torrence wrote:6) Bring in rootstock and host a tree-grafting event. Try to get scion wood from the old-timers in your area.


I will have to consider this carefully. I haven't had a lot of luck finding many people who know what they have in their yards. At least not outside of citrus and a few ornamental trees. Commercial growers are all growing monocrops locally for the most part and home owners seem to have mostly just been happily surprised by whatever was randomly growing on their property. They can identify a species, but not a variety in most cases. Then again, I am still only just in the early stages of my research.

Ann Torrence wrote:7) Rent permaculture books (sell and buy back in a certain amount of time)


I wanted to certainly sell some. I often forget about the idea of a buy-back program since I very rarely willingly part with a useful book. (or any book for that matter) I will have to look into how this might work and if I can effectively apply it.

Ann Torrence wrote: Seeds and amendments that typical nurseries don't keep in quantities smaller than I have to buy at the feed store


I have seen things in pretty small quantities, but the biggest problem I have found is that they are almost all associated with something I don't particularly want to endorse. Especially with Monsanto-related products.

Ann Torrence wrote:9) Organic feeds for chickens and rabbits


I have considered keeping chickens, ducks and rabbits. If I do or not will depend largely on if I can get around a lot of the city ordinances regarding such animals. Assuming I am raising them, I will probably also be offering up healthy foods for those who also have them. For myself, I would like to aim for 100 percent of their feed coming from my own property on my own animals.

Ann Torrence wrote:10) Kits for vermiculture and growing fodder


This, as well as the idea of helpful supplies for getting started with other things like standard composting, Black Soldier Flies, etc. I like the idea of helping others grow their own knowledge base as well as providing affordable options to move towards greater sustainability.
 
Ann Torrence
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You don't say where in TX you are, but regardless, I'd tap into the local Hispanic community and highlight their food traditions. Probably a lot of quiet gardening going on that deserves more attention. Think cucamelons, epazote, corn for masa. There's bound to be a local dried bean. Rebrand it as Tia Rosa's (or whoever gives it to) if you can't discern the variety. Take a look at what Rancho Gordo has been able to ferret out. Locavore is trendy. And the local seed saving community probably has a lot to offer as far as what grows in your neck of the woods. These kinds of folks are thrilled when someone pays attention to their wisdom.

By smaller quantities, I mean not having to buy a 50 lb bag of rock phosphate or alfalfa meal or braving the big ag farm store to get my 2 lbs of clover seed when the guy next to me is buying Roundup by the IBC.

If your clientele can have chickens, I'd stock feed unless your local farm store has a good organic brand. There's only one organic brand I've found in UT, it's not that great, overpriced and I'm traveling too far to get it. If you have it, I will stop by regularly and probably buy other stuff.

You need a chef as a partner too, someone who can teach canning and preserving and what to do with all the produce. If it were my biz, I'd have a presence at the farmers markets too, selling plant starts just to build community awareness.

This is going to be fun to watch.
 
D. Logan
gardener
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Location: Soutwest Ohio
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We've decided we need to move somewhere further North and most likely more Eastwards. The reasons for this largely tie into a blend of physical issues brought on from the unending heat (it got to 90 plus humidity in the winter and never seems to drop down under 100 with summer here) and a need to find more gainful employment (writing doesn't pay well, but being unable to work outside or speak Spanish has really limited our options locally). This opens the a lot of possibilities on the greenhouse, depending on where we end up moving to. I lean heavily towards Tennessee for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being a very limited number of building restrictions that would go a long way towards making the greenhouse work without red tape.

I am going to have to go where a job makes an offer though, so it seems I can't yet set my heart on anything. One consideration was using Kickstarter as a way to obtain funds to purchase a property and set up the initial work, but my family would still need a place to live and food to eat until that got done. I don't think in good conscience I could ask for extra money that wouldn't be applied to the project itself. As it stands, it looks like the cost of a property with the space I was hoping for starts at around 10,000, but goes up quite a bit if I want to get it somewhere close enough to a town to be an effective business. I've found some decent properties for under 50,000, but that is without any infrastructure in place including electric or water. It's looking more and more like this idea is going to require a very substantial initial investment to get off the ground. I suspect once it is moving, it won't need many inputs, but I am at a loss to think I could manage to get that kind of support out of a kickstarter.

Which brings me back around to starting small. Get some other job, save up and start out of the garage or yard. Use profits from that to build up funding and in a decade or so, begin working on the 'greenhouse' property with the funds saved and a loan or Kickstarter to bolster it. If I can figure out a way to make one of the cheaper properties work despite being so far from towns and thus prone to a lack of traffic, the amount I might save could easily make up for any loss of traffic it did suffer. 16,000 plus the cost of getting things built and growing would probably be far more reasonable. That would cut down the wait time by years. Clearly I have more research ahead of me!
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
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i feel for your struggle, this is so unfortunate that things are so tough for people to get something rolling. it really feels like it shouldnt be this way, that people who want to start up good businesses and especially those who are willing to dedicate themselves to growing food for others, should be able to find a way to have everything they need to get started and get the ball rolling.

we have to keep plugging along though, somehow there is a way, best of luck to you in the transition you are going through.

as far as looking at the really cheap remote properties, my opinion is that you could do ok with a cheap property if you can find one even if its remote and even if it lacks electricity. but if you are going to try to buy an inexpensive property make sure it has good water, even better and sooooo worth it if it is set up great already. everything else could be worked with, even being really remote if you are willing to travel. but lacking water, unless you plan on digging your own well, it would take sooooo long just to get over that hurdle.
 
It's a pleasure to see superheros taking such an interest in science. And this tiny ad:
The Better World Book Kickstarter (April 2019)
https://permies.com/w/bwb
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