Win a copy of The Biotime Log this week in the Permaculture forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • thomas rubino
  • Bill Crim
  • Kim Goodwin
  • Joylynn Hardesty
gardeners:
  • Amit Enventres
  • Mike Jay
  • Dan Boone

Noob looking for a direction  RSS feed

 
                        
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello all, I have been going through as many posts as I can the last few days and I have decided to start asking where is the best place to start.  My head is just starting to spin a little.... 

I will give you a little info where I live, as I feel it may help.  I live in NE Pennsylvania (plenty of snow and cold) on a little over an acre, which is half wooded.  Also, I do unfortunately live in a small development, so most farm animals are out of the question.

I do have a small garden that I started last year, and have actually expanded this year (working on it in between the snow falls).  Also I ordered the book "Build Your Own Earth Oven" by Kiko Denzer. (Should be here today actually) As I am planing to build a cob oven with in the nest few weeks... VERY EXCITED!!! LOL.

After that, I am a little lost.  I would like ANY ideas on where I can improve what I am currently doing, and ANY possible ideas on what else I can do..... 

I thank all that reply, and cant wait to hear from you....
 
pollinator
Posts: 10119
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
283
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personally I wish I had had a permaculture scheme for my place before we started to develop it.  It would have saved me a lot of time and effort and gardens and buildings, etc would have been placed differently.  "Gaia's Garden" by toby hemenway is a good basic book for permaculture on a suburban scale.  If you're  interested in an almost overwhelming amount of planning information, theres "Permaculture: a designers manual" by Bill Mollison, but it contains a lot of information which is probably not relevant to your situation, such as for deserts and tropical areas.  Someone else here can probably suggest a good book for planning in a temperate region. 

 
Posts: 44
Location: Bucks County, Pennsylvania [zone 6]
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Personally I wish I had had a permaculture scheme for my place before we started to develop it.  It would have saved me a lot of time and effort and gardens and buildings, etc would have been placed differently.  "Gaia's Garden" by Toby Hemenway is a good basic book for permaculture on a suburban scale.  If you're  interested in an almost overwhelming amount of planning information, theres "Permaculture: a designers manual" by Bill Mollison, but it contains a lot of information which is probably not relevant to your situation, such as for deserts and tropical areas.  Someone else here can probably suggest a good book for planning in a temperate region. 




i'm seconding Gia's Garden. as for animals you should look into chickens - they are pretty safe most of the time for even very small places. With some natural screening [and hens only - no cocks!] I'm confident that I could hide some chickens on an acre even if not permitted.

It might be helpful to know what your goals are? Are you looking for increased self reliance out of this? Do you want to help the starving to death deer in your area? Do you want a garden to braid flowers into your hair while strumming on a guitar?

After you figure that out sketch out your property and figure out zones where you might have different things going on.
 
                        
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chickens I CAN have....  I actually had a few last year, but I lost them do to a raccoon problem...  I have since redesigned the coop and plan on getting about 6 more this year.  As to what I would like to do,  I am trying to be more self sufficient, while removing my footprint as much as possible.  Thats basically the goal as a whole, I just don't want to go about it in a wrong direction.  Meaning, I would hate to have to completely redesign my entire yard/garden etc etc etc due to a noob move...LOL  Thanks for the help, as I am going to look for that book.....  Thanks again.....
 
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
the first thing i usually tell people where to start is simply observe your land. where the wind comes from, where the snow gets thickest, where the water runs when it pours, where it puddles, where the shade is mid summer, etc... the more you know the better off you will be.

secondly cutting the whole place up into the "zones" permies use helps a lot. this way you tackle one small "zone" every week or two. its much easier to plan and develop a 10x20 area rather than a 1/4 acre area. and before you know it your on the last zone and almost done with the hard basic foundation to your farm/garden/homestead.

from there research all the different methods and techniques out there and simply apply the ones that work best in your climate.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10119
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
283
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The advice to begin developing and planting near the house is very helpful.  I started a big garden away from the house and it has rarely done well.  My new garden is right outside the kitchen door and is thriving.    I intend to continue developing the areas closest to the house and maybe in a couple years return to the original garden area to turn it into a food forest.  Currently it contains a few not very happy fruit trees that don't bear fruit. 
 
                        
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I really love the advice on "zoning" my property...  Thats something I REALLY need to do.  I think I am actually going to set up "zones"tomorrow.  As for my garden, it is close to the house, not fat at all...  I have spent about a year studding the property, I know every square inch...LOL.  I think as of right now, my BIGGEST problem is direction...  I feel that I have a million things in progress and very few completed.  Hence the reason I LOVE the zoning idea.  Now that the weather broke (at least I hope, and there is not another surprise snow storm) I have to get moving on my garden...  I am also in the process of building a cob oven, and would like to plant a few raspberry and blueberry bushes.  Like I mentioned earlier, I have had chickens in the past, and would LOVE to find a half dozen started pullets, but that is seeming to get harder and harder as no one has them to offer.  Anyway, I feel like I am rambling here....  SO I thank you all on your great advice.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i also highly recommend Gaia's garden, I keep rereading it..love that book
 
                    
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Aside from Gaia's Garden and the good observations you've made, I'd like to suggest you think about the perennials you'd like - grapes, fruit and nut trees, kiwi, and so forth, and with some basic planning, see if you can get some of them going, since they take a while.  It sounds to me from what you have written that you will not go far wrong at this point.

Something else I suggest is you get going on growing calorie crops of some sort.  Fava beans, for example, enrich the soil and the plants provide a good food that can be dried and stored as well.  Scarlet runner beans, potatoes, root crops are annuals that can be replanted elsewhere as you make changes.

 
                        
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well.....  Just a little up date...LOL

Once again, I have to thank Hubert for the Zoning idea...  That has been working GREAT for me.  I now have chickens again    and the garden is 90% planted, I still have to get a few more things in the ground....  I am now working on setting up a new gardening location for Garlic, Kale, Broccoli, and others that are "cold weather" crops.  I have not yet gotten into planting any fruit or nut trees, but I feel this will be coming within the next few weeks....  Thanks again for all the help......
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i would suggest that you start with trees and perennials and use those that you love to eat..otherwise you are wasting space.

in a smaller area you might go with dwarfs..as you can get a good size food forest garden built with dwarfs in your smaller area
 
                      
Posts: 56
Location: MONTANA, Bozeman area; ZONE 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator



Doyle's thornless blackberries are a megagrower. 40x more, gallons and gallons.




CORN
A corn version that appears spectacular, grows easily, and prodcues well in difficult condition
http://seedweneed.com/index.html




FOOD TREES, HARDY, PRODUCTIVE FOR THE NORTH especially

http://www.badgersett.com/

http://www.forestag.com/nursery.html


DUNSTAN CHESTNUT

http://www.chestnuthilltreefarm.com/Dunstan-Hybrid-Chestnut-21163.Item.html
Dunstan Hybrid Chestnuts are the best and most widely planted chestnut varieties in America - they combine the excellent nut quality and tree form of the American Chestnut with the blight resistance of Chinese Chestnut.  There has never been an instance of Dunstan Chestnuts dying from the blight, and they have been grown successfully from Florida to Maine, west to Illinois, and along the Pacific coast from the central valley of California to Seattle.  They produce very large, sweet, easy to peel nuts that average 20-30/lb.  Trees begin to bear in 3-5 years.  They are easy to grow and thrive in a variety of locations.  Plant at least 2 trees for pollination.



Get buckets of grains, salt, canned fish. 

Learn to fish if fish is nearby.  Get all equipment needed.


LEARN CONTAINER GARDENING
http://lifeonthebalcony.com/new-start-here/ ;                 *******

BARREL GARDENING
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjY3C81Zszm

CREATIVE YOUNG MEN ON A MISSION WITH CONTAINER GROWING
http://www.globalbuckets.org/p/grow-bags.html


Start studying and reading about seed saving.

Good fortune!

 
pollinator
Posts: 1460
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
28
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sabian, Try Stuff.  Make mistakes.  Try different stuff.

We are all learning, there is no one right way, and the trial and error makes the path interesting and fun - sometimes not so fun - but that's life.

When you share your sucesses and failures it makes for great storey telling and learning for others.

A bit of advice I was given about plants;  Life is too short to live with a plant you don't like - rip it up and plant something else.

And to wrap this post up:  My potato crop looked fabulous last year and right before time to harvest all of my beautiful red, blue, and yellow potatoes  - voles ate all but THREE.  They left me three potatoes.  I am doing it again this year anyway.  The potato patch looks great - so far. 

Have an interesting journey 
 
Posts: 505
Location: Eastern Kansas
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I live on a short acre, all of which was open.

I have (or have had), A garden, blackberries, christmas trees, bees, 2 huge maple trees which I tapped one year but now I am too busy, chickens, a home made greenhouse, a bought potting shed,  and assorted fruit trees.

If I had to do it over again I would have gotten fruit trees that were more dwarf: I am getting older and I do not have any business climbing ladders any longer.

In the farmers markets I have SOLD blackberries and baked goods. It has been a lot of fun!

I am not as physical as I was, so now I am exploring permaculture. This spring I put in American plums, elderberries, and rhubarb and I already had asparagus. Since planting in my climate is mostly in the spring, I have a year ahead of me to look up and decide what to do next.

I am having a blast.
 
Posts: 129
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Keep a journal, that's one of the most valuable things I've learned to do over the years.  What did you plant and when, what were the results, when did the first hummingbird show up last year, and the year before, what was the firewood yield? Some of our most enjoyable evenings on the porch are rereading through the last few years.  After a few years it becomes an invaluable reference work. 

The older I get the less I can depend on my memory.  I order most of my seed from small unconventional sources (not the seed rack at Wal-Mart), I staple the packing list into the journal and it's a couple of flipped pages to get to the ultimate yield, pros-cons, do it again, or not. 

Also, we keep an accurate record of rainfall.  Here in Oklahoma we can get 6 inches of rain on one side of the zip code and 'zip' on the other.  The official NOAA weather station is only 3 miles from me but the difference in recorded rainfall can vary wildly.  The only way to accurately determine my actual rain fall is to measure it myself.  I plug the numbers into Excel and make a nice little chart for the last page of each year. 

Good luck.
 
Not so fast naughty spawn! I want you to know about
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!