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Stu Horton
Posts: 29
Location: Coastal New jersey
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If this isn't in the best place for it to be please don't hesitate to move it.

This is about growing but indirectly.

Background:
I've been lurking here for awhile.  A couple posts here and there... I'm close to buying a few acres.  I want to do a permaculture orchard, small market/ annual garden, and a greenhouse for microgreens and season extension of the stuff will use or profit from.  I want to use permaculture techniques.  I understand the very basics from lurking and other research but not very confident about anything yet.  I have a degree in horticulture and have worked in the field off and on for years but mostly in ornamentals or turf.  Gotta pay the bills.  My personal studies and interests have focused on food and organics.

Ive watched a bunch of permaculture videos on youtube but they seem to be very low on content... void of most methods and explanations at least.  They seem more like an advertisement for design courses or a, "Hey look what we did!"  Which is very inspiring but not exactly what I'm looking for.

Question:
I want a permaculture lesson plan for myself that focuses on these topics.  I don't want a design certification or anything like that.  It's not in the budget.  I want a list and order of a the books I should read and the movies I should watch.  Ideally things I can get from the library but I'll spend a few bucks if you convince me.  So if you can suggest a book list and order to read them I'd greatly appreciate it. 

Oh and I'm in NJ.  Zone 7.
 
James Freyr
Posts: 209
Location: Middle Tennessee
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I've been gardening a long time and an fairly new to permaculture ideas and concepts. What I can recommend for you as far as reading material are books on building soil and soil management. Regardless of how you pursue what your idea of permaculturing/gardening/self sufficiency/homesteading is, it's going to involve growing in soil. I have yet to read any books specifically about permaculture, and I'll get there, but I have read many about soil. Cultivating, nurturing and managing healthy soil will yield you good results no matter what you choose to grow. May I suggest Building Soils Naturally by Phil Nauta, and The Soul of Soil by Grace Gershuny & Joe Smillie, just to name a few. Those publications teach different approaches to management and a good understanding of the soil food web and how everything is connected, and how soil can be nurtured and improved. They're easy to read and understand and can help you get started off right. My wife and I are ourselves looking for some land, and won't be able to physically go see them until July when we're on vacation, but if I may suggest to you what I plan to do is take a shovel with me. We may find the ideal property in a bucolic setting, but if I stick the shovel in the ground (or can't due to rocks) and don't like what I see I'll know to keep looking. I also plan to have a clause in the buyers contract to give me 90 days to send soil samples to a lab for analysis, among other things. I will do a traditional soil analysis to see what's going on, and I will also do tests for toxic chemical residues. Last year I read a story about a retiring couple, buying their dream homestead. They closed on the land, were building their home, and a soil analysis came back from the lab stating "abnormally high lead content. Do not eat any foods grown in this soil". How heartbreaking is that? I hope this helps and I wish you luck finding the right piece of land!

Edit: I forgot to mention I intend to have wording in the clause in my buyers contract to have the seller pay for the lab testing if I deem the results unacceptable for my farming needs and do not buy the land. We'll see if I get away with that or not. After all, I can't afford to spend hundreds per land site over and over again.
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1030
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I can see that potentially happening, but also am pretty sure based on a number of sales per year basis for land, it is extremely low in occurrence. My suggestion is to do what most people do when looking for land and use the USDA's Web Soil Survey to do the work for you at home. It uses soil testing previously done to determine ability to grow crops, ability to be developed, wildlife concerns, etc. If you have ever done a soil test and seen a little box that says, "check this box if you allow the FSA to catalog these results"...this is where the results of that testing go.

I have never had the luxury of actually searching for and buying farm land, being a next-generational farmer I always knew what I had was all I would ever have, but over the last few years an interesting thing has happened. Because the soil here is listed as "Vital to the State of Maine Agriculture", people do searches in Maine based on soil type then go asking the landowner if they want to sell. I am not looking to sell, but my point here is that anyone can do a similar search for property at home before they go. It is a real time saver...

How accurate is the Web Soil Survey? I have never found it to be inaccurate, from topography to depth of soil to ledge rock, it is spot on. Its acreage and measurement calculator is so accurate, I use it to measure out fences for my sheep rather then waste time going out and physically measuring my fields. From it I can deduce number or posts and number of rolls of wire required. It is a powerful online tool that a prospective buyer can use before they go.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau Stu Horton,

Usually the first step after acquiring the land and settling on a home site are the earth works for water control.
I am sure if you go to the library and look for permaculture books, you will find at least several without even having a list of preferred books.

Authors to look for; toby hemenway, Mark Shepard, Elaine Ingham, Bill Mollison, Yeomans. 
along with the vast amount of information Paul has here and on Richsoil, you should be able to get a good knowledge base quickly.

check this site for a very comprehensive list of recommended books permaculture.org

don't forget this site has at least as much information on it as you will find in several books and you get to see how things work in the real world because many here are doing the work now.

Redhawk
 
Stu Horton
Posts: 29
Location: Coastal New jersey
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Thank you all for the great information.  While I appreciate all the great tips for finding land, my biggest obstacle in this area is price, what I'm really looking for in this thread is more along the lines of an order of operations, like Redhawk suggested the first step of.

An order of operations and sources that address the operations in a systematic way. 

Thank you again for the suggestions and any help.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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