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Zone 9b (Tampa) Starting a permaculture farm

 
Leon Segler
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I mean, farm is a bit of an exaggeration, but some food would be nice. It's kinda like a big garden, really. I took some photos, ask me if you want some more.

I'm going to do my best to see what's already growing, so we can with or around what is there. Lots of shade, as you'll see, Oak on one side and house on the other, so definitely want shade loving plants. Seen some white mushrooms, but I think they just went out of season, picture if I see it again. Read that you can take spore prints semi-easily, so I'm up for trying that too(for identification). Around here "grows"* Spanish moss from the trees, it's gotta be useful somehow, right? The area with that big blanket gets flooded with washing machine water... I don't know what that does to plants so. There's a pile of tree limbs, collected from the palm out front and from the two oaks, i also stole some from a pile of demolition ruble, the house(no people there for awhile) behind us got demolished and they cut a lot from the trees. Totally up for some hugul beds, made one already, just randomly and with little thought I admit, it's oak logs at the bottom->Spanish moss->dirt/soil->a ton of vines from the trees in that abandoned house and on the oak next to the shed, it's an experiment I guess. What do tree limb companies do with all those limbs? Can't plant much trees, unless you guys think it won't mess with the house. I don't have a large budget or anything, so I'm just trying to see what I can do now.It's a little messy I'll admit, even more reason to turn it into a natural farm.

This is pretty much ground zero though, I don't have much knowledge or much supplies, but I'm willing to learn. So yeah, what do you guys think?
http://imgur.com/a/ywKzS#0 <-pictures so far.
 
Giselle Burningham
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Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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Congratulations in taking the first step. Personally I would do nothing with the farm at first..you need to make a plan !! Can you draw for us a ground plan showing the house, trees and the shade area they take up, the sun direction, the wind direction, points of the compass ie where is north? what kind of soil do you have and which area do you use the most.. Outside the back door? Then work out your zones... Do you know what I mean? THEN, what do you want to do? Have chickens? Or grow veggies or both..raised beds?? How much time do you have to look after this? Or do you want a food forest? .. By breaking it down it is less overwhelming as you can start with zone 1 and slowly spread your wings.. Based on the plan. Have fun... Send more pics of your plans. And we all can give you more info. Giselle
 
Leon Segler
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http://www.permies.com/t/39322/permaculture/Google-Earth-map-farms-permaculture#313995
Is this like what you want? I can draw it too if this isn't good enough.
 
Leon Segler
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What kind of info were you thinking about the soil?
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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Is it sandy or clay? Does it hold water,... Etc That kind of info.
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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I think a drawn basic map may be better as it sounds as though your place is not massive. Scan it if you can. Google is useful for lots of info though.. See which you prefer.
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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Try this as a basic garden plan, but overlay it with permaculture principles.. Check out the hugleculture beds too.. http://www.vegetable-gardening-online.com/...

And this next link is for urban permaculture and talks how the zones work in your yard. http://edibleurbangarden.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/small-garden-permaculture-part-3-zones.html


Here is a diy test for testing the ph of your soil. http://lifehacker.com/5994171/quickly-test-if-your-soil-is-acidic-or-alkaline-with-vinegar-and-baking-soda

Here is how to work out your soil type. http://organicgardening.about.com/od/soil/a/easysoiltests.htm
 
Leon Segler
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Yeah, probably going to have to draw it out, the tree covers pretty much the whole space, it'll be fun. I found a NCU course that's free online, watching and reading what he says to read, trying to get a better concrete understanding of what permaculture is.
http://mediasite.online.ncsu.edu/online/Catalog/Full/1ec0688b568a4a47a8ca8926e7b4ef1b21/?state=SCblaUl3piSsrd2TNU9L
When I get home I'll start on that map and soil tests, do you know a good way to identify the plants already growing? I think it would help.
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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Believe it not... There is a app for this lol. http://www.gardenista.com/posts/diy-identify-leaves-and-flowers-theres-an-app-for-that
Have fun!
 
Leon Segler
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Thanks a ton Giselle, you've been a lot of help.
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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My pleasure, we will all look forward to updated pics when you can.. Just follow your own path.
 
Leon Segler
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Ok, two maps so far, one in a personal notebook, and one on prezi , no zones yet, I've seen summaries of them before, but wanted to make sure I have a real idea of what there are before i lay them out. On the prezi I put little notes, like where the washing machine water comes out, the shed which is probably obvious, and the papaya plant on the back porch. Took a few measurements, would those be useful? http://i.imgur.com/USUMwOT.png
Took three soil samples from different parts of the yard, they all seemed like what they described loam as, maybe a little sandy, but the area is rained with leaves and acorns constantly, it wouldn't surprise me if it had good soil. I only had vinegar, but none of the samples were alkaline looks like, which is good because I was hoping it would acidic so I could make biochar, I mean I don't know if it's acidic yet, but at least it's a 50/50 now. :3
 
Leon Segler
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http://prezi.com/wkbcoftnpr70/perma-try-out/
there's the prezi btw, click the arrow and it'll take you to the house
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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Well prez worked..lol.can you add the compass, wind, and measurements. Ta
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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I would also strongly suggest you read on this forum - gardening for beginners.... Great advice.

These are the zones and what they mean. http://www.permaculturevisions.com/what-is-permaculture-2/starting-out-in-permaculture/some-essentials-of-a-permaculture-site/zones-in-permaculture-design/ this is not bad too. http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/permaculture-zones.html. Ignore the tropical title.. There is good info in here.

Also check out this site... About half way down.. A map on zone 1 permacuture... Good ideas. http://www.neo-terra.org/Pages/PASA2.aspx


And finally, see this info on how to eat acorns safely!! http://www.sanaturalareas.org/acorns.html.... Ok one more.. Other uses of acorns, and different leaching methods.. http://www.eattheweeds.com/acorns-the-inside-story/
 
Amedean Messan
pollinator
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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Hey man, congratulations on your decision! I plan on moving to central Florida in the next few months so there is at least another permaculture homesteader.
 
Leon Segler
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Thanks, the lectures actually just explained zones so I'll add those when I get home tonight. Honestly, I'd rather leave the acorns for the soil, I heard they're really good, and combined with the leaf rain they're my two soil builders, maybe in the future it would be fun to try out.
Welcome to Florida Amedean
There's a lot more than me in Florida, a company does almost strictly Tampa permaculture courses.
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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Ok, good. I am glad you get the zones... It means you are way ahead , really I think one you have worked out your plant preferences, your plan should help you decide how much work you want to do... Lol. Please be careful though with oak trees - they don't like their being roots disturbed and don't water too close to them. I would do lined raised beds closer to those trees.

I would also make a woven hedge out of mixed berries ie raspberries, ...careful with blackberries, buy a non spreading variety.. Or you will get them everywhere, and they are almost impossible to get rid of. The hedge will get tangled and is wider than you think but it does make a great barrier from the neighbours..great for animal life, Plus fruit! I planted more than I needed and share with the wild life.

I have found that hugelculture beds don't have to be huge. I make all my garden beds.. Including my raised beds with wood in the base. Ie old branches, twigs.. Anything. In Australia, summer is hot and we always end up with a drought. My beds with wood in them have survived great, and need less watering.

Also plan for a good compost area.. I get grass clippings etc from my neighbours, and i buy chicken poo.. It is very strong and hot...do not put on plants raw!!! And mix it all with my own scraps etc.. I end up with great compost very fast. I wish we had chickens, but that is not possible at the moment. .. Get them if you can!!!

I also get coffee granules waste from the local cafe. I do a seeding mix of 1/3 rd coffee, 1/3rd peat (I buy a compressed peat brick and add water) and 1/3 quality compost, mix all together .. Works great very time
 
Leon Segler
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My neighbor sells trees, I'm going to talk to him soon and see if he'll let me have his wastes, fingers crossed. Lots of my neighbors have chickens, I might get some but I think I'll need a couple fences up. That's a good idea with the wood, I did it on a smaller scale too in the papaya plant.
I got the zones mapped out: http://i.imgur.com/dmHdoRZ.png
It's just a draft so feel free to lemme know what you think, I didn't put much zone 1 cause I'm kinda lazy , but in gaia's garden he talks about how everything changes and all so the zones will probably change too. I don't know whether to make the back of the shed zone 4/5, we just recently cleaned a lot of stuff from back there, then layered it with vines, I saw things growing there yesterday! Which reminds me I should upload the new pictures. It's definitely not natural, but it's a damaged area coming back, so it could be a good zone 5 for observation.
Yeah, I want to start a compost pile really soon, I'm going to look into it. Hemenway says to put it in zone one, that's why I made zone 1 a little long on the side of the house, so I could put it there xD.
I don't drink coffee or go to cafes, I'll email one maybe they'll let me have them.
 
Leon Segler
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Oh, and I do read a lot on the forums, gardening for beginners too. I love eat the weeds, changed the way I looked at plants.
 
Leon Segler
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I forgot to put north and sun indicators! http://i.imgur.com/H9rIBvb.png
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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Don't bother emailing cafés..they will say no. Just walk in and ask.. Explain it is for gardening.. The big chains won't do it.. But smaller ones will.. Take a big bucket with you.. With a lid.

Ok my suggestion for your place without knowing the yardage.. But guessing

Personal looking at your place, even though it is a bit of a walk, I would make all the area behind the shed a massive chicken run, with the egg boxes at the back and a door next to the compost bins at the front. Great efficiency and you won't need much fencing. You would empty out the chickens poo straight into the compost. It's all about using nature this would be zone 1 as you would be accessing it daily.

Zone 2/3 is definitely at the front fence area. zone 2 on the left hand side of the house, both good for 2 x hugleculture beds, contoured towards the chicken run. And depending on the front area I would build a S shaped hugelculture bed in zone 2/3 towards the tree wood - I would make a small fruit or nut orchard / wood on the far right at the top of your map. This would be the 4/5 area not the other side. it is an area you won't walk to much. And it will look good too.

The front fence at the top would be great for vines, raspberries etc. all low maintenance.

At the back of the house I would make zone 1 for raised beds, lettuces, tomatos, herbs, etc as it gets plenty of light. And easy access.

I would place a small gravel / agricultural /grey water pipe pipe from the house into the hugleculture beds, and use the washing machine water there. I can give you more info if you need it.

I tried to make it low maintenance...but no garden is maintenance free lol.

Phew.. What do you think?

How big is your place? In yards. Roughly.. The map is good But still needs a bit more info... Lol sorry. I am making you work!!!

Gardens always change, as you start seeing what works and what doesn't, after about 5 years it should be fairly settled.


 
Leon Segler
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That chicken idea is good, do you think the chickens will fly over my fence? It's not very high is why I'm asking, I have some wire to put on top to stop it if it is a problem. My family doesn't want me to put compost things in view of the street, and it will be if I put it there. Yeah, I was thinking of setting it up in the leaf vein pattern that Hemenway talks about, what do you think about that, if I did it would be hugul beds. That's a good idea with the trees too, what kinds of fruits do chickens like? (I'm thinkin' apple or papaya, It would be amazing if they jumped and grabbed the fruit from the tree, I'll try not to be too disappointed when they don't.
Yes it would, bird eat like grapes and things right? because It would be nice for them to sit there and poop on my garden :3
Zone one will probably have a keyhole bed or two, and one of those herb spirals.
Still working on yardage, but the distance from the fence to the house is 94 inches, and the house is roughly 550 inches long, 15.28 yards roughly.
The water from the washing machine has soap(tide) and bleach sometimes too, I don't know if I want to wire it to my food. I was thinking of planting a few straw producing plants there for the chickens, and to absorb the water.
 
Leon Segler
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Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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Hi, don't put tide and bleach on to the garden.. Is there anyway you can change to a organic washing powder., it's cheaper too. Vinegar is great for removing underarm stains etc. there is lots of info on the net. I would not put your current washing water on the garden as it is leaving a lot of toxins. Grey water is ok for plants.. Less the toxins!! if it has time to seep and clean through the soil, gravel, sand etc. would put it round trees, or bushes, deep in the ground. It took some getting used to changing my washing powder, and it took some tweaking to get the right mix for me, as I needed very clean shirts for hubbies white uniform.. But I did it. I needed to do this as we have a septic sewage tank.. And no toxins are allowed. Try this link.. http://www.notsomodern.com/borax-free-powdered-laundry-detergent.html/


I would definitely put a wired roof on the chicken house.. Can you angle it from the shed to the fence? Your neighbours who have chickens will be your best advice.. Just ask.. They will love to share their knowledge. They will chat for hours lol.

What do you mean straw producing plants? You will probably need to get a bale or two of straw for the chooks regularly. Ask your neighbours what they use. I would have a deep litter bed for the chooks.. Look it up. Very easy to do. http://imaginacres.com/deep-litter-method/

Re the trees, everything in your garden should have a use. So have some fun and try everything. kiwi fruit or passion fruit on the chicken run would provide shade and some fruit.. Not much as it is pretty shaded. Grapes need more sun.

I need to do some more reseach re the rest and I will come back to you.

Ok.. I understand where you are coming from re the leaf vein idea .. It is in this paper which I will read tonight.

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=B5XLAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=leaf+vein+pattern,+hemenway&source=bl&ots=b_ELNJDusn&sig=b8MVhDBYxfKbMs4gsPDLJ4nvIlg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=oXZJVKGABoPAmwWknICoBA&ved=0CA4Q6AEwAQ



 
Leon Segler
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Hey Giselle, I've still been working on learning, trying to get a process hashed out. In Hemenway's book he breaks up the design process into 5 parts, the first part is observation which is pretty involved, I'm trying to make a map with all the information he says to put on it. Attached is the document where I tried to write down all the info he wanted, still working through it. I made an updated information map on the prezi, click forward twice to see it, a little below it is the sunrise/sunset directions, data from google earth.
https://prezi.com/wkbcoftnpr70/perma-try-out/
Filename: Observation Checklist.pdf
Description:
File size: 30 Kbytes
[Download Observation Checklist.pdf] Download Attachment
 
Leon Segler
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Just wanted to let you know I'm still workin' on it, there was just less to talk about.
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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That's ok I thought it would take a while 😄 It does take ages to work things out.. But I would also start the raised beds just so you start getting a growing season ready.. It takes a while for the compost etc to break down ready for spring... In the beds I would put wood followed by old compost, then weeds then straw or leaves , then manure then soil and finally an old carpet .. It will keep the heat in. Don't for get to water it all in once a week.

 
Leon Segler
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that sounds like a good idea, we do have old carpet
 
Leon Segler
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and logs and straw
I don't know why I singled out carpets.
No compost, though i do have one I just started, and isn't really doing anything, experiment #1 I suppose. xD
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 88
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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Can you get chicken poo.. It's strong so you do not want to plant anything in the bed for winter.. Just let the poo do the cooking with the other ingredients. The worms will do the rest. Check out info on layering for compost heaps.. It is an art. But worth it for great soil. Also add your veggie peelings either directly into your beds in holes or mix in with your compost.. NO MEAT in the peelings. Or every pest in the area will turn up.

Carpets are great for keeping the soil warm and speed up when you can plant in spring... The rule of thumb for spring planting is if you can sit on the ground with a bare bum.. Then it is warm enough to plant... 😉 I have tested this lol and it works. Lol. Make sure the neighbours can't see you or they will think you have completely gone mad !!!
 
Leon Segler
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Hey Giselle, I started a hugul questions thread and I wanted to link you to it so you could see, I honestly forgot about the chicken poo comment, but it could go into low c:n organic matter category, anyway if you want to you should look to tell me what you think.
Link
 
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