David Goodman wrote:You know, a small plant nursery area can really bring in some decent cash if you specialize in a few rare edibles. I've been doing that on my one acre and paying about half the bills. Just a quick thought. The numbers are better than on most crops.
R Scott wrote:It isn't Permaculture if you can't pay the bills and lose the land.
I wish there was a better solution than plastic, but it does make it easier on the front end. There needs to be a paper or plant fiber mat (coconut, straw, whatever sustainable biomass you have) that holds through the season but then you spray some magic Elaine Ingham compost/enzyme tea and it just dissolves into wormwood before your eyes.
Su Ba wrote:Your posts and pics are great. I'm sure they are giving lots of people things to think about.
My own homestead is not 100% anything, including permaculture. I need to do what works in order to support myself on this farm. I try to come up with methods that keep me mostly organic and mostly permaculture. But in order to avoid chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers, using some plastic and reemay cloth in some circumstances is a sensible solution for me too.
I'm finding that I'm doing better at making a livable income by placing emphasis on items that the competition isn't. For example, every seller here has beets. So instead of red round beets I'll grow cylindrical ones, yellows, and whites. I grow kohlrabi and white turnips (veggies that people here don't know about), and hand out printed cards explaining how to use them. People around here grow the green pipinolas, so I grow the white variety. And so on. It didn't take all that long for people to associate me with "gourmet" vegetables.
I'm expanding my retail market right now but targeting the local B&Bs. I've been dropping off some of my excess to them for free and leaving some literature about my veggies and their availability. I just picked up two new customers this way. One I email with a list of what's available Friday night and she text messages me back with a shopping list. She then gets her veggies on Saturday. The other wants the list on Monday night and picks up on Tuesday. Because of adding B&Bs to my customer base, I plan to branch into a small amount of cutting flowers.
As for your second year with the pests, I had the same experience. The first year was great....no pests, no disease. Then everything found me. Since then it's been a dance of keeping one step ahead of the bugs and learning how to deal with the diseases. Every year seems to bring new challenges. So I plant extra, rotate crops, don't plant all of the crop in one location, suck it up when a crop fails and try to learn from it.
Keep up the good work!!!