• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Ash Jackson
  • Kate Downham

3ha/7 acres, no time and a mortgage -- what would you do?

 
pollinator
Posts: 255
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
82
purity personal care books cooking food preservation writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's the theoritcal challenge, permie geniuses:

--You've finally got a shot at permie life. 3ha/7 acres of grass on a sunny, southwest facing 12-20% slope in a temperate, cool, humid climate (like the coastal Pacific Northwest of the USA without a summer drought)
--You need a substantial mortgage to do it, so you're keeping your day job in non-permie-land
--You can pay attention to this property on a weekly, not a daily, basis. I.e., you are NOT going to run a CSA box scheme.
--You need it to make some money to pay your mortgage, with the least attention and labor input possible.

So go wild, permies! What do you plant? What do you do? Who do you sell to and how?

If there's a decent bit of work to go into setting up a system that produces a profitable yield on as close to autopilot as possible, that's OK.

Solutions that start producing a profitable yield sooner rather than later are favored, but all takers are welcome.
 
Dave de Basque
pollinator
Posts: 255
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
82
purity personal care books cooking food preservation writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah, another detail... Almost the whole property is presently grass, so pretty much a blank slate.

The neighbor who has sheep presently pays you the princely sum of €100/year to graze his sheep there and keep everything looking nice and trim.
 
pollinator
Posts: 11799
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1042
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personally I would not expect the land to pay the mortgage any time soon, but I would want to try to grow as much of my own food as possible to save money which could be put toward the mortgage. Once you're growing most of your own food, you may have proven that you have sufficient skills and surplus to raise something for sale. With that kind of climate it should be easy to grow most of a vegan diet.

Grow a lot of food in a small space: http://www.growbiointensive.org/
 
Posts: 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

You can pay attention to this property on a weekly, not a daily, basis. I.e., you are NOT going to run a CSA box scheme.



I'm no expert on profiting from land (have lived on our land 3 months, so we're pretty new to it) but when I read that line I couldn't help thinking: "Do you know anyone who does have the time/desire to run a CSA?" Seems like you've got land that you don't have time to use, maybe some one around you has time and no land. You could rent it out or work out some kind of profit share.

Also, to get into growing yourself with minimal time investment, look for advice one low-maintenance "plant it and forget it" crops. Summer squash come to mind...
 
Dave de Basque
pollinator
Posts: 255
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
82
purity personal care books cooking food preservation writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tyler Ludens wrote:Personally I would not expect the land to pay the mortgage any time soon, but I would want to try to grow as much of my own food as possible to save money which could be put toward the mortgage. Once you're growing most of your own food, you may have proven that you have sufficient skills and surplus to raise something for sale. With that kind of climate it should be easy to grow most of a vegan diet.

Grow a lot of food in a small space: http://www.growbiointensive.org/



Hi Tyler! Thanks for your always-helpful suggestions. We actually grow a huge proportion of our own veg now from a 30m2/300 sq ft community garden plot with raised beds. We are restricted on greenhouse and hoop house type structures, so for instance right now, in mid-Spring, we are buying things like carrots and beets rather than using our own, but that would be cured quickly on our own land. We've had great experience with raised beds and would be very partial to Charles Dowding's methods once we have our own land, and a bit more than our current plot!! So I would say we've acquired enough experience to be veg self-sufficient, and we are pretty much "freegans" (=don't eat animal products unless they're free) anyway, so that really does go almost all the way in terms of our food self-sufficiency. I have dreams of a greenhouse tall enough for trees that don't do well outside in this climate to increase our self-sufficiency: lemons, oranges, avocadoes and olives on the Mediterranean side and dwarf coconuts, mangoes and coffee on the tropical side. Don't know how practical any of that is but it's a line of investigation at the moment.

Honestly, my non-agricultural skills are OK at bringing money in at the moment, so any horticultural diversions would have to also be decent money for time invested in order to be worth it and also contribute a bit towards the mortgage I'd be buying the dream with. Of course, it's a dream, so it's not worth even starting unless the end of it seems pretty attractive.
 
Dave de Basque
pollinator
Posts: 255
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
82
purity personal care books cooking food preservation writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Cody Crumrine wrote:

You can pay attention to this property on a weekly, not a daily, basis. I.e., you are NOT going to run a CSA box scheme.



I'm no expert on profiting from land (have lived on our land 3 months, so we're pretty new to it) but when I read that line I couldn't help thinking: "Do you know anyone who does have the time/desire to run a CSA?" Seems like you've got land that you don't have time to use, maybe some one around you has time and no land. You could rent it out or work out some kind of profit share.

Also, to get into growing yourself with minimal time investment, look for advice one low-maintenance "plant it and forget it" crops. Summer squash come to mind...



Thanks Cody. Actually, I have a few friends who run CSA box schemes full time. One in England does quite well for himself. And a group of four women locally do pretty well on a fairly small plot of land. So I think that works, but I'm not ready to hop into that at the moment and leave my city-skills behind.

Squash is not a bad idea. Winter squash and zucchini/courgettes do very well here, other ones are close to unknown, but they certainly do qualify for the "take over a huge amount of land quickly and require little maintenance" prize. Powdery mildew is often a real problem here, but I suppose I could get better at managing it.

Any more brilliant ideas very welcome!
 
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
257
forest garden urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think Cody was suggesting you contact people like the four women you mention to see if they were interested in leasing/ profit sharing your land until you have the time to focus on it, yourself.

Another plant it and basically forget it plant would be sweet potatoes. They're vigorous enough to compete with most weeds, need little water, and little fertility.

Maybe Amaranth, if there's any market for it there.

Actually, if there's a market for cut flowers, a lot of visually stunning plants are low maintenance. Amaranth is one, as are sunflowers. Dill has a beautiful flower at the end of the growing season, and will naturalize in my challenging climate. Even if the plant's not edible, it will at least be adding to the soil's organic matter and increasing biodiversity.

I'm sure you're already considering what tree and shrub crops would be good there.
 
pollinator
Posts: 689
Location: NW California, 1500-1800ft,
132
hugelkultur dog duck
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am in a similar climate (9a, near the coast in Redwood country of CA) with 1yr old pinot noir vines (100x at 1m spacing). What is your elevation?  I have a good friend in the Willamette Valley, which is more like zone 8, and he grows a dozen varietals. Chard, pinot noir, munier, duat and gris, mueller, reisling all do well. Also Leon Mullot and Marechal Foch grow well and are resistant to phyloxerra as I understand because they are native to north america. I hope to get some of these varieties to fill in my rows and grow up the stumps that came with the place. I would start with a swale and if you can incorporate woody debris, that will help with reducing longterm irrigation, fertilizing, and soil building requirements and therefore work and financial inputs. Its good to see a fellow Basque on permies!
 
Posts: 16
Location: Penticton, BC. USDA Zone 6b, 300 mm annual precipitation
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In your situation I would look into getting a perennial system established as quickly as possible. Maybe a Stefan Sebkowiak style Permaculture Orchard setup? Have you watched that movie? A lot of work in the set up but not much once productive. 50 days total he said in a recent interview.
 
gardener
Posts: 2636
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
418
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I found this video update by Sebkowiak.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 305
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6b
56
dog forest garden books cooking bike bee medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How soon do you expect to be able to dedicate more time / maybe live at the new property?

A nice south facing slope just calls for an orchard. But fruit trees do require care at times during the season, especially when the spring growth is strong.

If it's 10+ years away, maybe plant a walnut orchard? Collect and sell nuts, eventually sell the timber (20+). Downside: juglone in the soil. Caveat: take care to select cultivars that are less susceptible to fungal disease as your humidity is high.

What else requires only occassional care, can be harvested regularly and always finds a market? Bees, but you don't need 3 ha for them. And there are periods during the year when care is definitely required - checking on them as they prepare for winter and as they come out of it. Even summer care if you're in an area which has lots of varroa pressure.

In another thread you mention an old stone house. How about installing people instead of plants and animals? I mean... 3 ha is a large chunk of land, it's not just another house in the village, your property can definitely develop its own character. You could fix up the house to be habitable and rent it out as a) summer wilderness camp b) unplug and get away from it all location c) event venue (weddings, barbecues, LARP...) d) teambuilding / workshops etc...

This would require an initial lump of time and money but not neccessarily a fortune - maybe your audience can appreciate a "rough" environment so just cover the basics of having electricity, water, sanitation and sleeping in a dry and warm place. After that it would really be just a bi/weekly brief checkup to see that all's well, and the income, although most likely not regular, would be made of larger chunks than in the case of selling what the land produces.

Hey, I see LARP has already been suggested to you in the other thread

Also -- high humidity, stone building, low care requirements... Mushrooms?

FWIW... We're in a roughly similar situation, just that the property is smaller (1 ha), there's no mortgage and it's part of a village; but I can definitely relate to the part where you cannot devote your full attention to it and it's away from your "main" location. Currently we run bees - only in the 3rd year so things are still fresh (and amazing and sometimes scary) but people have come to ask on their own whether we have honey to sell. Also raspberries and fruit/flower-infused spirits. And we shuttle local products, ours or the neighbors', to the city where our day-job clients and the higher purchasing power are.  I'm in IT so secretly I dream of a day when an EU grant appears for renovating old houses to host computer-literacy classes in rural areas
 
Dave de Basque
pollinator
Posts: 255
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
82
purity personal care books cooking food preservation writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for all this helpful input, everyone. I'll give and update here and respond in the next post.

We are still not on this property and may or may not end up there. Partner and I have been back and forth and are now close to ready to leap. However when going back and forth, we made the decision to seek out another family to go in with. I didn't like the idea at first, but then I thought of some great people to go in with and asked them, and was surprised when they were interested. Anyway, during the months when we were going back and forth, one of them lost interest, but I am working on bringing that one back. Meanwhile the present owner of the land is itching to sell. I still love this place. I have never seen a piece of south-facing land this size available in our area at any price. Not to mention gorgeous views, clean land, and abundant water. Now there seem to be a couple of other properties worth looking at, but I doubt they will compete either in price, permie-ability, or just plain beauty, but who knows...

Anyway, though I wanted to do this all on our own at the beginning, once we invited people to join us, I see that I've become very fond of the idea of having partners in the venture. A bit of built-in community for old age (and middle!), more ideas, energy and money to throw at projects, a bit of work relief so we could each go on vacation, etc., etc. I've started to think more permie-style: at least 7 substantial income streams from the project, etc., reducing dependence on our city skills. So now with the prospect of this family backing out, and us being pretty much ready to jump, I find myself oddly hesitant. I really like the idea of partners now. But finding another set of compatible people doesn't seem easy -- it's a bit like getting married!

I'm carrying on with my plans though, and getting more and more interested in them. With a team of people to throw at the project, I'd be a bit less concerned about the low-labor input aspects of the project. If we have a few successful business venture-lets going on at the property and some require outside help, well at least there are 4 sane adults to help supervise -- that gives you lots of possibilities!

Anyway, thanks all for the advice so far and I still welcome even more ideas about making the land pay for itself with low labor input, as well as advice on the wine industry and starting up with minimal investment.

 
Dave de Basque
pollinator
Posts: 255
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
82
purity personal care books cooking food preservation writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Now replying to people...

Casie

Sorry, seems like I missed your comment way back when. People here tend to rent out agricultural land for symbolic prices these days (e.g. €50/yr or some such thing) so that may not help much with our mortgage, but you're right, maybe I could get a deal going with someone who wants to do something like a CSA, more joint-venture style... ? Worth looking into.

I like your sweet potato idea, might be worth a go. If I remember correctly they're from the marigold family and not related to potatoes, so no potato blight to worry about, that's good! (Actually, in our area, there is not much potato blight but tomato blight is rife.) The cut flower idea is not a bad one either, at least those like sunflowers and amaranth that I could visit my loving attentions on infrequently.

I really like the idea of creating a food savannah, with loads of diverse trees and shrubs, not to mention a tropical greenhouse, but I do want to focus on the economic angle a bit. We have some ideas regarding income streams that are not farming-based but really would like to settle on one or a few low-maintenance ideas for the land to help pay its mortgage without necessarily tearing us away from our day jobs. Apples and walnuts are great and common here, I know someone who grows them and they are neither very low-maintenance nor money-makers, actually maybe walnuts could make some money here if done right. I know someone who grows blueberries successfully but has a very hard time every year finding anyone to pick them. Options to think about. Thanks.

Ben

Thanks so much for reviving this thread, and very happy to find another Basque! Please PM me, we will have a lot to talk about... Tell me the surname of your Basque ancestor(s) and I'll try to guess where they were from. Not to mention the names of good Basque restaurants and other things Basques like to share...

Also great to meet another permie (besides Redhawk!   ) actually starting down the wine path. Hopefully I can learn from you. The elevation of this property is about 470m/1500 ft. But with the substantial southwest facing slope I'd say it would be more like a flat property at a much lower altitude. I need to find out about the root stocks available in Europe. I assume there's no way in hell I'm getting American root stock in here, but I'm not sure what the best phylloxera-resistant varieties available here are. I'm not sure but what some traditional varietals in Spain turned out to be phylloxera-resistant.

My cousin who's a winemaker in Sonoma warns me that to start a winery you need a load of two things: water and money. Water, we've got in spades it seems with three springs right above us and a couple more reported buried underground on this property. (Of course, I'll dig swales too...) As far as money, I was at least heartened to see how my friend the apple farmer makes wine for home: fermenting it in the 25-liter glass carboys that people used to use here to run down to the Rioja and buy bulk wine (until the Department of Making You Sad make that illegal). So at least there's something I can do to see how it goes at first without spending a fortune on stainless steel.

Rick and Roberto

Absolutely with you Rick, I'll be loading up on perennials as quickly as possible, ideas about ones that produce quickly are welcome. One bizarre dream I have is to produce my own coconuts in my tropical greenhouse, but it seems I'll be waiting about 7-10 years to taste my first fruit if I can manage to get the tree to take at all. Of course other trees produce sooner, but still... I need to balance short-term and long. Thanks for the link to Stefan Sebkowiak, I hadn't heard of him. You're link led me also to another that really inspired me about a 23-year-old food forest in NZ:



I love hearing about older, more established food forests! And I hadn't known about the Guytons down in Riverton, NZ.

Crt

Thanks for all your great ideas. Hopefully I'd be living at the property in a year or two, but still tied to a city job until the mortgage is paid off! So unable to devote full attention to the property.

Walnuts are very traditional around here. The property already has a few trees, and I'm sure I would add some more. I know pest control (a moth that lays its eggs in the nuts) is a problem for people here so I'm wondering how much care and feeding would be involved in Spring at flowering time. Moth larvae are a common pest here and getting more common, and I'd love to hear  permie solutions for dealing with them on tree crops. I'm not sure that just diversity will do it, but I'd love to be corrected on that. In any case, fruit and nut trees are definitely a way to go, though I need to wait for them to produce, and harvest is likely to be pretty labor intensive.

I definitely would like to keep bees. However, with the arrival here of the Asian Hornet (vespa velutina) a few years ago, local honey producers are slitting their wrists and jumping off of bridges, the industry is an absolute shambles at the moment. The vast majority who kept bees a 5 years ago have now given it up. I don't know what to do to make a safe environment for European bees any more but will definitely be trying. It should be a few years before they reach Slovenia so I hope we can work something out before they get that far!

As far as people-based income, yes, we've got quite a few ideas in that respect, we'll see which we have money for: green tourism, workshops, classes, a restaurant, an eco-spa... Never thought of eco-weddings, though, that's a good idea!

Unfortunately, we will have to spend a *lot* of money on the house. A new roof and completely new insides as a minimum, leading me deep into mortgage territory, so once you're there, you might as well do it well. "Self-build" anything is looked at very suspiciously by the local authorities, besides the fact that I have a job and I'm keeping it, so a self-build would take too long. I'm thinking it would be best to spend the money necessary to make it an attraction worth coming to (as you say, to leave the city and relax for the weekend or whatever) and at least develop an income stream from that. This type of business does acceptably well in our area.

Mushrooms - Yes, shiitake etc. logs are slated for the north side of the house, if we have money to add a basement hopefully we can get something going there too!

BTW, this property is part of a village of about 8 farmhouses. Isolated farmhouses are very rare in the Basque Country, they like having neighbors!

Sounds like you've got a great operation starting up, hopefully I'll be following in your footsteps soon!



 
Posts: 9
Location: Cantabria- España
forest garden chicken food preservation
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
- You have small land
- you dont want pay for more hands

luxury articles who have a regular need of hands around the year AND you can keep it storage with out devaluation

snails and snails caviar  parece buena opcion pero mucha gente se arruino esta década en españa con eso (confiaron en una empresa que decia que te educaba en la crianza de caracoles y te compraba toda la produccion pero era una estafa)
silk worms?
pottery?

Sea lo que sea que elijas en vista del tamaño de la finca (y un tercio al menos no sera útil, sea por sus características o porque lo reserves para tu uso privado) vas a necesitar procesarlo en otros productos mas caros y diversificar lo máximo posible (nosotros hemos elegido 8 actividades complementarias entre si y aun así estamos aterrorizados); tal vez organizar cursos de cositas relacionadas con vuestra actividad artesanal; alojamiento (mucha gente que legalmente no puede alquilar alojamiento lo que hace es "regalarlo" con el curso). Tal vez hacer visitas guiadas (no como forma de ingreso sino como forma de que conozcan el sitio, los de abrazohouse, por ejemplo, cobran una cosita simbolica por la visita pero aprovechan para venderte el folleto y sobre todo para que conozcas el proyecto; tal vez poner un nodo de lacolmenadicesi, que es un ingleso muy pequeñito pero es dar a conocer el sitio y es aportar algo a la comunidad.


everyone here think blueberry its the panacea but need a lot of hands and you have to sell almost the same harvest day or lost it
 
What a stench! Central nervous system shutting down. Save yourself tiny ad!
BWB second printing, pre-order dealio (poor man's poll)
https://permies.com/t/147624/BWB-printing-pre-order-dealio
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic