Mike Haych wrote:The Master Gardener programme's not a bad place to start. It's pretty comprehensive. You'll just have to look as some things a bit differently, eg. weeds.
Mike Haych wrote:The course notwithstanding, doing can be the best way of learning as long as it's fairly simple and straightforward so that you don't end up frustrated and confused because something has failed and you don't know why. That's why I suggested comfrey and the apple rootstock (the two varieties that I suggested are very cold hardy and appropriate to my area. They may not be appropriate to your area. You'll need to do a bit of research to find out.)
Mike Haych wrote:... For example, it's likely that you'll get a surplus from some of your fruits and nuts. If you've got a Saturday market close to you (gasoline for the car reduces your net so try to stay close to home), you'll find a demand. Let's say that you have a bountiful plenty of plums and you take some to market. Let's say that most but not all sell. You bring them home and make plum jam (canning and preserving are essential skills to have if you are growing food). In half the jars, you put a tablespoon of brandy and half the jars you leave plain. Presto, you have two products. Then you take them back to market the next week but with a higher price. At some point they will sell. You can do the same thing by sourcing fruit at local pick-you-own operations. A Friday morning's two hours of picking turns a nice profit because the labour has no dollar cost. Talking to your customers may lead you to a sale of a plum tree that you have produced from your nursery. That customer may be a member of a horticultural society (joining the local hort society is a good idea) and asks if you could make a presentation on growing, harvesting, and preserving plums. They'll pay you a fee plus gas. The work is all in preparing the material for the first presentation. Because a local hort society is part of a larger association, the word will get around to other hort societies in the area because they all need a steady stream of interesting presenters. You will find that they seek you out. They will ask if you have other presentations that you can give. As you go along you will find that you do. If you are adding native wildflowers to your orchard, you have the basis for a presentation on Growing Native Wildflowers. The leveraging your day-to-day activities never stops.
Mike Haych wrote:Keep really good records so that you know what your costs are. It's about the net not the gross.
There are many related but unique streams that flow from a food forest. Unfortunately, with the emphasis on food, they are often overlooked or maybe even not recognized.
Meryt Helmer wrote:when I am ready to sell dye plants it will be through the local fibershed. they have an online marketplace and a yearly symposium with a place for sellers and other local places. I could also do etsy. I have at least three native dye plants and several native dye lichens and I need to learn more about dye mushrooms but I think some may grow here as well. not sure how safe the dye mushrooms here are though or if I would sell them. the lichen falls off the trees every time it rains and if not harvested and used decomposes.
Tina Paxton wrote:I am pleased with myself as this summer I propagated gardenia bushes from prunings from two existing bushes on our property. I got about a 1/3 success rate. ...comfrey is on my list to add to my homestead and I will definitely keep in mind to sell rootings as I work to increase my comfrey plants. As for apple trees...they grow here but I don't think we get tasty apples here. Peaches, OTOH, do well here. I have 3 Santa Rosa plums that I planted 2 years ago and have not yet gotten fruit. I have 4 mature pecans and a number of "squirrel planted" pecan saplings.
Cool. ummm...I have a number of neighbors with pear trees in their yards. A couple years ago, we were allowed to harvest from their trees. The best thing, IMO, we made from them was pear butter. I should check and make sure I don't need a Health Dept permit to sell home canned fruit butter and if I don't, I could make that for sell...
Hort society....a quick google came up empty for hort societies in either Wilmington, NC or Myrtle Beach, SC...I'll have to keep looking or figure I'll make contacts through the Master Gardener program...
Yeah, I think it is easy to get focused on the food production but actually the permaculture doctrine of everything having multiple purposes works here...and having product to trade/barter/sell is key to making this lifestyle even possible for me on a full time basis.
Michael Cox wrote:I think to make a reasonable income you need to also think about efficiency and be prepared to make some compromises... after all if this is a retirement plan presumably you will need to factor in diminishing labour availability if you want to be able to stay on the land indefinitely.
Michael Cox wrote:You need to think about how you will extract the produce from the landscape. For example if the fruit trees come ripe scattered all over your land simultaneously you will expend far more energy harvesting than if a small area comes ripe at the same time. You could be talking hours of extra time each week spent collecting fruit... The permaculture orchard video has a good process for this - the rows of fruit trees are planted so that a whole row of mixed varieties comes ripe at the same time, then the next week it is the next row and so on. They have also compromised on the use of plastic landscaping mulch - polycultures are planted through them, but their trees are obviously thriving on less labour with the black plastic than with grass. Why not mulch with organic matter? Over the areas and scales they work on they can't get enough or keep up with it.
In some of the Geoff Lawton videos you will see smaller mixed polyculture gardens, but then they also have a much larger field which bears more similarities to conventional ag (they have some hand tillage, crops are planted on a larger scale - more mono, than poly culture...). There may be some compromises to be made to meet the "people care" needs of your design.
Michael Cox wrote:Likewise, economies of scale come into play in a business... the infrastructure and time needed to look after 20 hens is not much less than looking after 40 hens. Rather than spread yourself over multiple livestock systems you may want to pick just one or two and go a little larger.
Michael Cox wrote:You mention issues with regulations and inspections... one way around this is to trade value added product for goods and labour amoungst your neighbours. We have a local farmer who runs his sheep on our land in exchange for labour each year. He does fencing, tree surgery and other outdoor jobs for us and has access to better equipment than we do. We buy sheep off him when he slaughters. Less cash changes hands so we all profit from it in reduced taxes.
Michael Cox wrote:, thinking about reducing future labour - could you look at a pick-your-own model?
John Wolfram wrote:Looking through the list of possible income streams, with the exception of writing, it seem like most of them are dependent on physical labor. While in many ways that's great and you'll probably be in much better physical shape than most 62 year olds, it also means your income will take quite a hit if you break your leg and are stuck on crutches or a wheel chair for a couple months. Are there any skills from your hated desk job that could be transferred over to an independent business? Alternatively, since you've got time, are there any skills you could be trained in at your desk job that could later be transferred over? For example, some companies offer foreign language training which with 10 years of practice/training could allow you to become an online tutor.
Michael Cox wrote:I hadn't spotted the 0.6 acres. Such small land area makes producing a living from the land substantially harder - you will need to be concentrating on value added produce rather than straight produce meat/eggs/veggies, which in turn means your income is very dependent on your labour (kitchen work, preparation, running workshops etc...) and less so on the productivity of the land itself.
Depending on your desired level of income this might still be feasible, but I think you need a really decent backup position in case ill health or circumstances prevent you.
I too have plans to retire ahead of retirement age, but by that stage my income and standard of living should not be dependent on my day to day labor. A combination of pensions, some personal shares investment, a small amount of rental property... as with permaculture I'm diversifying my future income streams.
Given you have 10 years as your time frame I would advise doing everything you can to get your financial house in order; get any and all debts paid off, invest to develop a passive income stream (depending on your comfort levels this might be property, shares etc...). Get these foundations right so that your have bread on the table then your 0.6 acres can pay for the jam.
I gather that you have some family attachment to the land but have you seriously considered looking for other land in the area?
R Scott wrote:How much do you need to make, cash? I have found it is much easier to reduce the spending than make more, once you check your ego.
Feed yourself, minimize utilities. Pick ONE hobby tops, and it better be cheap and have potential revenue. Ideally you wouldn't need any money, but there will still be taxes...
There are lots of ways to make good money on a half acre, but most of them involve a lot of sweat equity.