Daniel Palacios wrote:My main goal in farming is to have an income generating price of land. I choose permaculture because I was raised to feel guilty for my sins. I choose the tropics cuz it's where I'm born and it provides a great environment for lots of growth year round.
And here comes reality. It's taking a long time to developer one acre by my lonesome with very low investment money.
I decided to start a lawn bussiness at the same time as my farm because the lawns being in money and no one wants to invest in someone else's farm. Well not my parents, so if they don't support me who else will, right?! Anyway...
The first year I cleared, sketched designs, day dreamed on site, some more clearing. The farm started with the knowledge of my son to be born. I started the farm enterprise at the same time as a lawn company, which helped me acquire tools, tools that will be used on the "farm". Really focusing on the lawns this year was mostly clearing, planning, and observing/learning, and gathering plants. I had about 12-18 trees and plants for the property very soon after. Grafted Mango, coconut palms gathered from canals and other rare tropical I needed to have immediately.
Second year was nice. I had some tools to help streamline clearing. Lot said of soil building, and spreading of wood chips. To be clear soil building sounds wonderful but is extreamly hard, nor rewarding and takes a lot of time when your soil is alfisol(leached sand) with clay horizon a few feet down.the first area cleared was a 20x20 space where I focused my energy and planted a few trees. Jackfruit, noni, key lime, lemon, some non grafted annons and black sapotes(2),banana,papaya and lots of a special mint plant called Cuban Oregano.. lots of clearing and mulching and clearing and mulching. Lots of time was spent moving woodchips and soil and burning stumps and moving logs and wood around. I purchased 20 yards of organic soil that spread out slowly in and around the banana beds and planted with vegetable seeds and leafy green seeds. One week after the first set of seeds went in the ground we were in pre hurricane Irma weather and so much energy and focus was diverted. So that slowed progress but largely contributed to understanding flow patterns and the natural hurricane and wind event. Soon after I invested in a cargo container for a barn. I payed about half of what the local container companies wanted and about twice as much as I wanted to pay.
Thrid year(current year).started slow with lots of carrots tomatoes leafy greens but came to a slow as dry season came on. I intended to do a "dry farming" practice where I wouldn't water my plants and it would encourage deep root growth when it did rain. But that only lasted from September -December. January -April (current) has been super dry. Realizing I don't have enough deep rich soil I can't do dry farming at the moment. Sold my Jeep Cherokee and bought irrigation supplies.. I got chickens for eggs and to add manure/eat bugs. I made a large compost pile for woodchips to breakdown.. Ive decided to invest in bananas papaya and dragon fruit and focus on growing my banana plant population. I have about 50 banana plants at the moment maybe more. I figure I'd get 2-4 pups off a banana plant each year. So by my 5th year I should have several hundred banana plants and bringing in some money
All in all I cut down as little trees as I can. Practice no kill pest management( let them eat my greens and replicate till something eats them all) and use as little resources to develop a farm as possible. Tools are mostly lawn tools powered by gas engines and a bunch of hand tools like takes and shovels. Very little big machine work has been done. We had a guy clear a bit for a half day. Most of the work is done with hand carts or plastic pots. 7 gallon pots are very handy for moving multch and 3 gallon for soil. I've considered buying an old tractor or fixing up an old mower into some kind of pulling tractor. But I usually use my mowers for dragging the big logs around. I use a winch and toe straps for moving other large objects around.
It's tiresome and diffficult and at times I want to give up sell off the land and start over on a nest egg, build a tiny home and live with inlawns on their property and start over. It's hard because everyone lives in this fictional timeloop. A Monday-Friday,friday-Monday 9-5,5-9 life . I tend to live in longer pattern of time, by my seasons. So just coming out of winter it feels extreamly unrewarsing and difficult to continue investing time, energy, money for something I don't feel hopeful will yield as I hope it will. I've had some struggles with personal relationships and that also creates time complications. A child is very time demanding and when I think I have an hour or two during nap time to get something done outside it in reality is me trying to re focus and get back into the projects here and there. At times I've wanted to give up, but really it's just a feeling of low production and low income... hurricane and lawn season will bring money in again and soon I'll have dozens of new banana plants growing and maybe even fill the chest freezer with bags of bananas . Even without investing more money in bananas I'll have more banana pups in no time and my existing food bills will continue to drop and my peace in the forest will grow. But I can't seem to find peace in between the abundant moments. I don't see anyone around me caring like I do about organic or permaculture like I do. We host wwoofers and mostly they are in it for themselves. To eat fresh food, be on a farm or to "learn". I wish their was a higher Wwofer objective. A collective of people who really really help bring organic food to Local communities. Hoepeyfully as a society we will apreaciate nature more. Apreaciate the art of gardening and producing abundance on the edges
so after my initial dreams of making enough money off this small plot of land I come to understand that's not viable at this time. So I'm shifting focus towards banana plants as my pioneer plants. My residuial income until more money can be invested into grafted fruit trees and rare tropical fruits. Which was one of my original visions. To have a food forest system that produces fruit to harvest everyday of the year
I still wish to see this place make $99k a year but until then I can settle for 30%food billes reinvested into my food security.
Travis Johnson wrote:For me, cancer (thyroid, liver and prostate) has zapped my energy levels, literally taking 2 years off my life, while failing to calculate in the increasing cost of property taxes put me in a financial bind. Property taxes alone have doubled here, going to the point where I am spending $10,200 a year on just property taxes alone! We ended up selling off some recourses we really did not want too, which enabled us to get to a spot where my wife could return to the workforce after farming full-time for the last 7 years. It sucks, but that is just farming.