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!!! Looking back at homesteading in 2018 and making plans for 2019  RSS feed

 
garden master
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Looking back at homesteading over 2018

Looking back at 2018 is interesting for me - in many ways it was great year. But there were also a number of challenges. A significant part of the summer was so smoky that it was hard to do much outside. Plus, I spent way way way too much of the year fighting deer. I even started to have nightmares about deer... My son (not even 2) is very good at telling deer to "GO!" if that tells you anything about it.

I could write a bunch about what worked and what did not in 2018 on my homestead. But for my blog post Homesteading in 2018 and Looking Forward to 2019 I talk about the one thing that worked in 2018, one thing that did not work in 2018, and what I'm looking forward to in 2019.

I'm very happy with how my new pond has turned out and I made some good progress getting new hugel beds setup and getting my deer fence up. The deer fence took a lot longer to complete but it is working now (for the most part...).

While I had some things not work out in 2018 the biggest one thing was my time management. I took on too much and ended up spending most of the year stressed and too short on time. I really hope to change that going into 2019 and after I finish a couple bigger projects in the next month or two (new fence and new garden area) I'm going to just take a break from big projects for the remainder of 2019.

A big part of homesteading for me is being with my family and I need to shift more of my focus to spending time with my family enjoying the homestead instead of always working on new projects.

So what about you? How did 2018 go on your homestead and where are you heading in 2019?

Please leave a comment in this thread and don't forget to check out my blog post mentioned in this thread. If you are one of the first to leave a comment on here you might even get a surprise in the form of pie or apples

Thank you and Happy New Years!

PS: Starting next week I will be getting back into a regular swing of things with my regular info/how-to posts with a post introducing rocket ovens. If you are reading this after this week I will add a link to the rocket oven post. The following week I'm hoping to have a post about planning what to grow in your garden. I'm always happy to take suggestions for new blog posts - leave one in the comments if there is something you would like to see me write about.
 
pollinator
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Both time and rain were problems. Plants kept getting drowned, replanted and redrowned. Our area is in the number two spot for setting rain records.  Also parent care and a fall with a dislocated rib were the garden death knell.

This year I need to figure out and implement a better way to angle water drainage for the garden.  We are also increasing the size and plan to add a few fruit trees.

I also need better raccoon proofing as they drop down through the trees at night.  Since the chicken run is about a quarter acre in a treed area, complete overhead netting is difficult.  My dog that was good protection is having health related problems so she is not out at night now.  A new puppy and training is probably in my future this year.

I want to improve my soil and learn more about perennial vegetables this year as well. So many projects, so little time!
 
Daron Williams
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Tina Hillel wrote:Both time and rain were problems. Plants kept getting drowned, replanted and redrowned. Our area is in the number two spot for setting rain records.  Also parent care and a fall with a dislocated rib were the garden death knell.

This year I need to figure out and implement a better way to angle water drainage for the garden.  We are also increasing the size and plan to add a few fruit trees.

I also need better raccoon proofing as they drop down through the trees at night.  Since the chicken run is about a quarter acre in a treed area, complete overhead netting is difficult.  My dog that was good protection is having health related problems so she is not out at night now.  A new puppy and training is probably in my future this year.

I want to improve my soil and learn more about perennial vegetables this year as well. So many projects, so little time!



Thank you for your response Tina! Dealing with record rains and family/self care is very challenging - I hope 2019 goes better in that area for you!

A new puppy could be fun - what breed of dog are you thinking about getting?

Question for anyone - does anyone know some perennial vegetables that don't mind very wet conditions but can also handle dry conditions?
 
pollinator
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I grade myself on things I dont buy any more. This year I removed canned veggies, salt, and oils (veg, olive, crisco). I am not doing without, just replacing with things i can make/grow myself. The year prior (2017) I removed meat and alcohol.

Not sure what will be removed in 2019 "yet". The hunt for the what is as fun as the challenge of fullfilling it.
 
gardener
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It was a mixed bag for me. Right as the frosts were ending is when construction on my new home began, and I spent the rest of the year building a house instead of a garden. It was sad for me because my garden which I love went neglected, with the few pepper plants and tomato plants that did get planted became overgrown with grasses and other weeds, choking them out. My wife and I did get a few handfuls of fresh tomatoes and peppers, but that's basically it. Oh, volunteer potatoes gave us a surprise potato crop. Small, but still they were tasty potatoes. The happy part of this story is what lies ahead for my wife and I. A new farm, with a new garden, a blank slate; a new beginning. There's room for cows and piggies, goats and more chickens, more food bearing trees and bushes, a bigger than ever garden. It's just going to be one thing at a time, with the fruit & nut trees and berry bushes being at the top of the list, then fence repair and building, and water management, then some cows....there's so much we want to do, but we're going into this playing the long game. A little here, a little there, and before we know it in ten years it can be a homestead thriving with permanent agriculture.
 
Daron Williams
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wayne fajkus wrote:I grade myself on things I dont buy any more. This year I removed canned veggies, salt, and oils (veg, olive, crisco). I am not doing without, just replacing with things i can make/grow myself. The year prior (2017) I removed meat and alcohol.

Not sure what will be removed in 2019 "yet". The hunt for the what is as fun as the challenge of fullfilling it.



Sounds like you are making some real good progress on that front Wayne! Have you reduced how much of those items you consume when you switched to making/growing the items yourself?
 
Daron Williams
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James Freyr wrote:It was a mixed bag for me. Right as the frosts were ending is when construction on my new home began, and I spent the rest of the year building a house instead of a garden. It was sad for me because my garden which I love went neglected, with the few pepper plants and tomato plants that did get planted became overgrown with grasses and other weeds, choking them out. My wife and I did get a few handfuls of fresh tomatoes and peppers, but that's basically it. Oh, volunteer potatoes gave us a surprise potato crop. Small, but still they were tasty potatoes. The happy part of this story is what lies ahead for my wife and I. A new farm, with a new garden, a blank slate; a new beginning. There's room for cows and piggies, goats and more chickens, more food bearing trees and bushes, a bigger than ever garden. It's just going to be one thing at a time, with the fruit & nut trees and berry bushes being at the top of the list, then fence repair and building, and water management, then some cows....there's so much we want to do, but we're going into this playing the long game. A little here, a little there, and before we know it in ten years it can be a homestead thriving with permanent agriculture.



Sounds like you have a good foundation for moving forward James but I get the frustration of not having a garden. I have been gardening in temporary areas (perennial hedgerows that are still in their early stages so they had room for veggies) and 2019 will be the first year where I have an area purely dedicated to gardening since moving on to my property.

I hope you share some pictures of your projects as you complete them! You have some good stuff lined up for your homestead. Thanks for sharing!
 
wayne fajkus
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No. Its actually pretty simplistic. The first time i made mustang grape wine i bought no more alcohol. The first time i slaughtered a sheep i bought no more meat. The first time i rendered fat i bought no more oils. Etc, etc.

Then i get into filling voids. Like making corned beef for a midday sandwich. I made and vac pack/froze them into weekly needs. No nitrates used.

I told the wife that the first time her hands go to the cows teet, we buy no more butter. Lol. That may be a main 2019 goal. Buy no milk, butter, cream, maybe even cheese. We will see how far i go with it. Chicken broth is probably another for 2019.

Just not buying meat is huge if you think about it. Part of the reality is eating for sustenance vs the whole "want want want".  We have rounded out into a full spectrum of fish, deer, chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef. I probably have more variety than the average person. Even canned chili. One deer went to 3 gallons+ of chili canned into mason jars. Another went into 50 lbs of sausage and breakfast links. All processed on the homestead.

 
Tina Hillel
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Daron Williams wrote:

A new puppy could be fun - what breed of dog are you thinking about getting?



We tend to go for big dogs because my husband's business workshop is here and we have coyote issues. With a german shpherd (12 yo) and a rottweiler (2 yo) we tend not to have trespassing problems😄  Both are actually friendly, but most people take one look and that's it.  Fortunately UPS and mailman know they are ok so we get our deliveries.

The shepherd is terrific with guarding the chickens, but the shedding is unbelievable so we havent decided what breed we are going with.  She is nice and toasty for propping feet on in the winter though!
 
James Freyr
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Daron Williams wrote:

I hope you share some pictures of your projects as you complete them! You have some good stuff lined up for your homestead.



I most certainly will. Sharing photos and details about what I'm doing and how I'm going about it is something I really look forward to. I hope not only for input with advice and ideas from other members in Permies community but I also hope that what I'm doing will inspire some to start something of their own.
 
pollinator
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Congratulations on the baby girl on the way, that's so exciting!

I feel your pain with the deer. The first year I planted my small blueberry plants, only a handful survived after taking a heavy hit from the deer and my neighbor's lawnmower.

I was excited this year to get a lot of new fruit trees and berry bushes! Should be a lot of neat new flavors to try soon!

Like you said, I think the hardest thing for me too is time management. It's so hard to balance everything.

I'm looking forward to enjoying it more with my family in the coming year and getting them more involved, which will make it even more enjoyable!
 
pollinator
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Looking back.....
...the weather was a terrible for annual veggies, so our harvest was limited in 2018. But it was a bumper year for most of the perennials. So we turned to our perennials, previous stored harvests, and lots of trading to meet our needs. A great benefit came out of such a dismal gardening year -- we established a more extensive and active trading system.
...the bad weather actually gave me more time to devote to farm infrastructure. Time I would have spent in the gardens got used developing new growing areas, upgrading pastures, creating more hugelpits, adding livestock enclosures and livestock, building rock walls.

Looking forward.....
...I'm hoping for a good growing season for the annuals.
...a major effort will go to improving my pastures.
...I'm going to try a for fun project of raising snails and slugs, primarily for adding to the chicken feed.
...I hope to expand farm production so that I can start selling excess at the local farmers markets on a fairly regular basis.  

Wayne, your method really appeals to me. I think that's part of the way I did our own change to self reliancy.
 
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Hi Daron,

When I saw the thread title on the forum home page, my first thought was this must be Daron's post.  Why, because in my limited time on this forum, I have found your thread titles and content to be thought provoking. Thanks.

What worked for me.  I have a killer raspberry bush that the deer leave alone because of location and in a little over a year it has spawned 40 baby raspberry bushes.  They (just the babies) will be getting moved in a few months time to a new deer proof area that I will be constructing (with hired help) in the next couple weeks.  It will be a pretty good sized area, a fairly steep south facing hill.  In addition to the raspberry plants I will be starting to improve the soil similar to what you proposed in your earlier post on making new beds.  I plan on buying a bunch of well composted cow manure/hay from the neighboring farmer and mixing in leaves and covering it with cardboard and some of the plethora of wood chips that the local power company gave me  3 or 4 months ago.

This is an amazing raspberry plant.  I planted it in an old flower garden of the previous home owners in the late summer of 2016.  It immediately started growing like crazy and then began to produce fruit.  We had a very warm late fall and I actually got a few berries off before the first frost in early January.  My thought at the time was "this is one messed up plant and this will probably ruin its fruit production for next spring.  Well boy was I wrong.  It had a big production in the spring and put out a bunch of new growth and the new growth put out fruit in late summer and we got even more than the spring fruiting.  It is definitely the little raspberry bush that could ... and does.  I will be moving all of the babies to the new beds, but mama bush will stay right where she is and I hope for another 30 to 40 babies next spring.

The one thing I did wrong was not getting cold weather crops started under the lights early enough last year.  That will start in the next 2 weeks.  

I have 3 cauliflower plants in one of the Patio Picker, rolling self-watering planters and bless their little plant hearts after growing for 8 months they are beginning to head up.  My effort of rolling them in and out daily from a well-insulated garage is now finally paying off.  The furthest along has a 2.5 inch diameter cauliflower on it and it is growing great.  It is pretty funny looking at about 2 feet tall.  I will post a picture in a week or so when the head has grown a bit more.   It is definitely a testimony to never give up!

Thanks again for the thought provoking post.
 
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I'm a day late to this party - partly because of our efforts to move to our new homestead, lol. We closed on it, on October 5th, so most of our efforts prior to that were education/ theory, and enhancing what we already knew from past lives, updating the information, etc. After hunting for & buying it, our focus had largely shifted to the logistics of an interstate move and getting acquainted with the sometimes entertaining, often baffling, sometimes expensive to re-do 'character' of a home built by an intrepid young couple, instead of professionals, and traveling 900miles, each round trip, to do it all.

At the moment, our concerns are mostly the interior of the house, but, we are trying to plot the layout for critters, their shelters, beginning garden plots, hugel placement, housing placement for adult offspring who will be following us, and all the far more site specific education needed to accomplish all the above, in '19. Most can't happen until the end of February, when we will complete our physical move, thus freeing up the half of our monthly budget that is currently being devoured by the rental we are stuck paying for, until then. That puts us into March, and we will already be behind the eightball, in getting gardens prepped for the growing season. Considering our certain physical limitations (not to mention the financial ones!), we are already working hard to swallow the 'not gonna get it all done' pill, and we're working on prioritizing it all.
 
Daron Williams
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Steve Thorn wrote:Congratulations on the baby girl on the way, that's so exciting!



Thank you Steve! My wife and I are very excited and my son has been pointing at my wife's belly and saying "teeny tiny baby"

Ralph Kettell wrote:When I saw the thread title on the forum home page, my first thought was this must be Daron's post.  Why, because in my limited time on this forum, I have found your thread titles and content to be thought provoking. Thanks.



Thank you! I'm very happy to hear that you have been enjoying my threads!

Sounds like your raspberries are doing great! Mine are still just getting established - I hope mine get going as well as yours!

-------

Good luck Su Ba with your annuals next year! I know your climate does not fit mine but I'm curious - which perennials did you focus on? Also, great to hear that you were able to take the challenge and use it to build community!

Congrats Carla on your new homestead! Sounds like you have a lot of great projects for next year - good luck with them! If you have any problems always feel free to ask questions here on permies or reach out to me through my site (or PM through permies) - always happy to help!



 
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On the actual homestead (currently some trees and nothing else) the osage orange and black locust trees by seed+hopes+prayers was a bust, next year I'll try them again as seedling transplants, more seeds, and each will also be half protected and half not in case deer like them. Then next fall will be more seeds in case they germinate better having a winter in the soil. Without any way to irrigate and it being a dry location it might be wishful thinking until I can get a well/pump/solar or water catchment/storage. 4 years and 2 months countdown till retirement and moving north, and the real adventure begins!

At the current house I added 6 fruit trees that all survived so now there's 8 total. Even ate some strawberry quavas for the first time ever off one, they are delicious! Blood orange tree is small but now has a decent amount of fruit that will be ripe to pick in late January through February. Had a moringa tree growing from seed in a pot, actually had 15 but left them indoors too long and they went leggy super fast, and all but 1 failed once outside in the desiccating wind. Will transplant the last which is now just a whip and hopefully it will continue to grow. Harvested sunflower seeds from the volunteers that came from the bird feeder, and those seeds sprouted more flowers in the late fall and there are currently a dozen sprouts all under a foot tall in the yard now. The benefits of zone 10-11! It actually rained twice in December, almost 3 inches, so we got 3.4 inches of rain for the year... yeah lots of city water gets used on the plants!

2019 plans include adding various berries, plus companion plants for the fruit trees. Probably adding drip irrigation since I already have some parts, removing the rain barrels as they rarely get rain and then it's too much for 3 barrels to hold anyways. Going to remove the rain gutters so the water can reach the foundation plantings a bit better. Also thinking a lot of plants for bees and hummingbirds in front and back with more drip irrigation for them.

Due to using city water with chlorine etc in it, I could still use the barrels which are slightly (8") elevated above ground level by filling each with the hose, add some hydrogen peroxide which I heard breaks down the chlorine. Then a day or two later open the spigot before work and the water runs through lines to plants/trees nearby over and hour or so. Get home, close spigots, and refill to let it sit a couple days until the next watering.
 
master pollinator
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My homesteading plans came to a screeching halt then did a complete reversal because my two best friends suddenly died at end of 2017 & early 2018. Our lives were intertwined, our plans were intertwined. For the past 40+ years. Took a long while but gradually coming out of a bizarre Twilight Zone mode at a different location now. So .... good riddance 2018.

Back in September I posted a few early details of the new homestead plan here.

An update to that ...

Too many irons in the fire. Decided not to get any new types of farm animals for this year. This will allow more time to do a few minor repairs to prepare the old barn & the small pasture.  Will concentrate on increasing bees & chickens instead. Might borrow a friend's goats for some minor brush clearing chores. Looking for a suitable working dog.

The known nuts on site are chestnut, pecan, hickory, & acorn. Well established large trees. Also maple & sassafras trees. Planted a dozen or more elderberry this fall. Seems like I'm forgetting a couple other important/useful trees. Will be planting a new chestnut tree or two as part of this   600 year project. Adding some other fruit trees this year. Apples & figs mostly. Paw Paw if I can find some available.

Have several new garden areas started now. Not going to worry much about marketing veggies this year but do still intend to test those waters. The market test crops will be Seminole pumpkin, watermelon, & sweet potatoes. The main food/gardening focus is to build the soil in the new areas. That is well underway. I'm more interested in growing some grains & animal food than farmer's marketing. Now that a traditional "kitchen" garden is fairly well established I'm progressing more towards a perennial food forest & soil improvement plan for coming years.

My closest neighbor is a free ranging groundhog tractor. She digs 50-100 small holes each night in a large mowed area that would be awesome in thick wildflowers or returned to pasture or zone 5 area ... anything but mowed. Very seriously considering following her around for a year or two & filling those holes with compost & seeds.

High on the agenda for 2019 is an outdoor kitchen. Another priority is to become completely off grid. Half way there now. Several fun solar projects to do soon. Recently started keeping indoor worms again. Going to make a new outdoor cowpie compost worm pit soon. We get almost perfect & consistent year round rains here but the garden areas are on a rather steep slope. Who knows exactly what or when climate change will occur? Need to do some swales & ponds & soil retention projects. Almost certainly will build another hugel or two in 2019. Will definitely plant more fruit & more perennial plants. A rocket stove/thermal warming bench would be awesome before next winter. That's probably too optimistic for this year though. Another homestead related permie-ish challenge for this year is the continued education of several people. They're starting to get it.

And then there's this ...

Another much larger & historic old homestead. A very old root cellar that needs a new top. Way up in the mountains. With a spring fed stream plus a nice river with a large fertile field below. And zillions of bees. That project shall resume this year but I'm calling most of it zone 5 & chilling out. It's off grid already:)
hillbilly-root-cellar.jpg
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Su Ba
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Daron <<<which perennials did you focus on?>>>

It was a bumper crop year for .....
...bananas.
...citrus
...guava
...papaya
...mango, from foraging.
...avocado
...pineapples
...coconuts (from foraging)
...cherimoya
...tree tomatoes
...jaboticaba
...macadamia nuts

Although annuals in most other places with frosts, these are perennials here.....
...chaya
...moringa
...Okinawan spinach
...cholesterol spinach
...edible hibiscus
...dandelion
...perpetual collards (I don't know it's real name)
...dinosaur kale
...Swiss chard
...pipinola (for greens and veggie)
...sweet potato (for greens and veggie)
...asparagus
...pumpkin
...edible gourd
...jicama
...leeks
...taro (for greens and veggie)
...sugar cane

For flavoring and teas..,..
...chives
...Rosemary
...allspice
...cinnamon
...cloves
...holy basil
...stick oregano
...parsley
...mint
...mamaki (nettle family)
 
pollinator
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The good:
Bought land, and moved onto it! 10+ years of looking and waiting and bidding, not gonna miss that anytime soon.

The purchase process plus moving, acquiring equipment, urgent scotch broom warfare, and initial emergency repairs to long abandoned barns ate most of my year, and all those but the land purchase are still ongoing.

Raised 7 pigs to slaughter, and half the meat is sold thus far.

Got 2.5k cloves of garlic planted in freshly cleared ground.

Didn't die yet. Avoiding flipping my fishtailing 14,000lb tinyhouse by the narrowest of margins, had some pretty solid nightmare flashbacks for weeks. Dodged the right way when the 30" diameter cottonwood went the wrong way... a few other heart-pounders. Gotta love chainsaws.


The bad:
Not one single bloody tree into the ground yet. Next year.

Lots of stuff I hoped to do simply didn't fit.

A bit burned out. Hoping to push through with a few more urgent items and then starting taking at least a half day off once a week.


2019 goals: too many to list. Infrastructure, drainage, planning, seeking partner/s, planting, livestock, property security... maybe even some attempt at a social life if I'm really feeling ambitious.

I've been in temporary locations since spring 2014, and didn't manage to grow anything but pigs on my new place in 2018; I am so very impatient to be producing a good chunk of my own food.

I think most important will be finding a balance between getting nothing done, and coming undone... but I distinctly recall shunning smaller properties as 'not challenging enough', so I was clearly asking for it..



Wayne, that's a neat way to move forward. I think I'll manage to cut the cord on meat this year; I'm set for pork and deer; rabbit is hopefully on track for spring, and should be able to trade pork for beef, chicken, and fish.
 
Daron Williams
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Great comments all - I'm enjoying reading what you all have written. The homesteading life (and life in general) sure brings a lot of challenges but also joys and I can see that in the responses here.

Just wanted to mention there is another thread you all might be interested in (not mine) asking what are your 5 goals for 2019. I'm going to go make a post sharing my 5 goals and I hope to see you all over there too!
 
pollinator
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In a word, mushrooms.  

I have an almost embarrassing excess of woodchips thanks to invasive autumn trees olives that need clearing each year.  I have some raised bed gardens that until last summer were never filled up when I chipped up hundreds, maybe thousands of the weed trees.

Now my goals are to close the nutrient cycle by turning these plants back into soil with the microbia to boot.  I have inoculated one bed with wine cap mushrooms and those chips are starting to decompose nicely.

Now I need to foster decomposition on a pile of chips about 5’ tall x 6’ wide x 15’ long.  These will be spread on much of my remaining raised beds and also inoculated with wine caps.  The end goal is to have all my 1’ tall raised beds filled completely with wood chips that will eventually break down into mushroom compost which should serve as awesome garden bedding.

In addition to my mushroom ambitions (mushroom madness?) I plan on some serious chop and drop with my comfrey plants (comfrey craziness?).  Hopefully I will spread my comfrey plants a bit, maybe doubling from my current 6 plants to 12.

So closing the nutrient cycle and enhancing native fertility via microbes and compost is the theme of the year.

Eric
 
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Last year was a year of trees for us.  We've been planting a couple of trees/bushes each year, but we had a bit of a financial windfall in late 2017/early 2018, and got a LOT of fruit trees and grape vines.  I think we planted 12 or 15 grapes and more than a dozen new trees, plus small fruit (mostly currants).  Now the long wait for fruit.  Other than that, we were just hanging on, trying to keep enough water on the trees to keep them from dying in the drought.

We also experimented with a couple of different ways to approach growing vegetables, to see if they would work for us.  We tried growing potatoes on the surface of the ground, covered with straw mulch (moderate success, needs refining), as well as growing squash in a chicken run that we had just moved the chickens out of.  With the latter, I thought there might be too much nitrogen for plants to set fruit, but I was wrong.  We got a ton of squash and tomatoes out of that plot, and I'm eyeing up another chicken run to expand into this year.  

For 2019, there will be more trees (though not as many) and continued experimentation with the gardens, especially with an eye to drought tolerance for my garden.  I have a plot that has been under straw mulch for 5 years now, and I'm planning to pull that back and plant potatoes there.  I haven't decided if they'll be planted in the ground or on it just yet - I'm reluctant to experiment too much with our main crop.  I think I'll try Jarret Hynd's tomato circle idea, as well as building at least one hugel bed.  I plan to start ripping up the grass in my front yard and planting perennials there, but that will be a multi-year process.  We're considering adding bees this year or next, but it will depend on finances, I think.

Honestly, we're barely into winter here, but I can't wait for spring to get started on stuff!
 
Mark Tudor
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Jess, try putting 6-8” of compost down and plant the potatoes in that but still above the main soil level and then bury with straw. Plenty of nutrients that way and something to spread into without fighting the possibly tougher soil underneath.
 
pollinator
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Urgh it was the first year I tried to sell anything from my land, and we had a very late spring, frozen well into April, that coupled with the wettest year in 60 years the year before meant our land didn't dry fast enough to plant. Then from the begining of May we went 10 weeks with no rain, and temps over 30C the hottest year in 50 years! I STILL had standing water at the end of all that it had just been so so wet that even 10 weeks of no water could remove it all. Actual crops were mainly ok, some failures due to heat (beets being a big one) But apples, pears, rhubarb and berries did really really well. This year it'll either be more of the same here, or hopefully we'll be moving so starting all over again.
 
master pollinator
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I pretty much stopped farming and logging due to my health issues in early 2018. I had hoped having a logging contractor come in would help take the pressure off, but he just stole all the wood. That is working its way through court. So over all I am in a big holding pattern until I get my health back (cancer).

We hope to sell our house, but I am not sure what we will do after that. We could pick up again with more sheep, but I am not sure. I got plenty of farming to do, like clearing 70 acres of stumps into field, but there are many ways to do that. I could work with a local dairy farm, letting them lease my land for free until the clearing is "paid" for in terms of land rental. But if someone buys my house (and barn), they might want to lease addional farm land for hay for whatever livestock they get. So I have not dared lease my farm out to a dairy farmer yet.

A lot of it depends on my health. If I never get back to being my old self again, then I will have to figure out what to do with myself. I can operate heavy equipment, so I thought I would just get into land clearing. I already do it for others on a limited scale, but it would be a good sit-down job where it is just me to worry about. If I did not have a wife and kids I would just build a WOFATI back in the back 40, and be a hermit.
 
Carla Burke
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Daron Williams wrote: Congrats Carla on your new homestead! Sounds like you have a lot of great projects for next year - good luck with them! If you have any problems always feel free to ask questions here on permies or reach out to me through my site (or PM through permies) - always happy to help!



Thanks, Daron! I'm sure we will have lots of questions, lol!
 
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Nice post and wish you the best in 2019!
 
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Wow
Perfect timing folks
Me, I'm sitting in my kitchen with the flu feeling overwhelmed and uninspired,  until I start reading what other folks are achieving and up against.
2018 we had big plans... erect a quansit but...build a summer kitchen...bring the wood cookstove into the house... fence the perimeter...
Got the quanset hut up. 🤣
Purchased three little mangalitsa piglets and have orchestrated feeding them with local restaurant and grocery store scraps. So far do good.
Right now as we speak I am being outsmarted by a mink who is slowly decimating my chickens and I seem helpless to stop it. 😥
I am starting plans to use no till covercropping and chop and drop to selectively improve the hardpan clay I've been fighting with since we started in 2006. Huglebeds and sheetmulching have not been as effective as we'd hoped.
Plans for 2019 include summer kitchen and rootcellar. And starting a pastured pork/chicken/goat intensive rotational grazing system between our established nut trees.
And fence our perimeter with tight page wire and high tensile electric to deter coyote coywolf pressure.
Wish my luck😊
 
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Location: Hot, humid, sometimes hurricane drenched west central Florida
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That mink's gotta go. Trap it or stay up and shoot it. I had a fox and, well, now I don't. And I'm ready when the next one (s) come in. I had a weasel up North and what they do to a chicken is gruesome.
2018 success: I doubled my coop and got 19 chicks that are producing nicely and I make enough change to pay for their feed.
Failure: Because of the coop building I crapped out on putting together any kind of a summer garden, hence, no fresh veg. :( I bought it from the store and felt lousy about that so I'm not missing our terrific winter growing season!
2019 I want to buy an Incubator and hatch chicks for sale in time for Easter. Does anyone have experience with this?
Along with the egg stand I'm going to try selling tomato plants of unusual varieties since I'm really good at that. Just to see how it goes and if I can make a buck or two.


A good seed company for hot/humid/wet climates is Southern Seed Exchange.
 
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Daron,

This is a great post. Thanks for starting it, and I really like hearing about what others are doing and their challenges.

2018 was a big year with renovating our old house and selling our 2.75 acre property including my awesome garden (5 4x50' raised beds, 20x25' herb bed and tons of fruit trees and bushes) I've nurtured for 24 years. But, that got us out of the big city and into our 11.5 acres in the pines of northern Idaho. There is cleared land around the house thank God (fire danger and all). So this property is a clean slate for creating our permaculture oasis. Right now we're planning where our new shop/garden building will go as well as the greenhouse, the garden beds and the hugel mounds. It's a lot to consider but I'd rather plan carefully for the major items. The greenhouse will have geothermal heating and be somewhat below grade. The house was built with geothermal tubes going into the foundation and venting into the house and we freakin' LOVE it. It can be 14F outside and without any heat on (zero, zip, nada), the inside is at 54F in the morning. Or it's 95F outside and inside it's 72F, so no AC needed. I can't say enough about the cost savings of geothermal. Our house is well insulated so that's part of it.

We haven't decided yet on solar power for the greenhouse. The plan is to not need much except for lighting and running fans.

I don't know how much will get done this year but last year I didn't have a garden to speak of since we sold in early summer. I did get a lot of garlic from the garden but that's all. We were too busy to plant early veggies or greens and the garlic was from planting my favorite way the previous fall - "toss the sprouting cloves onto the beds and see what happens."

We've been working on the inside of the house since purchase so other than clearing a few hundred "pecker poles" and medium sized dead trees to thin the nearby forest we've not done anything outside. We plan to get the shop built, deer fence (or don't bother with a garden, tons of deer and elk), maybe get the greenhouse built, build a few garden beds, chip the wood except what we need for heating (which isn't a lot) then inoculate with mushroom spawn, build a couple of hugel mounds, and... good lord that's a lot to consider for this year. Ah well, I always work better with a little pressure and a lot to do. Whatever gets done, we plan to do it with some thought so that it doesn't need to be redone unnecessarily. Riding that line between planning and not getting anything done vs. building too fast and not liking the results or having to redo. I'm sure we'll have a lot of successes and failures but that's the fun.
 
Daron Williams
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Thank you Robin!

Sounds like you have had a big year! Having more land and space to do make your permaculture oasis is awesome but I'm sure it was hard to leave your garden. Your house setup with the geothermal system is really interesting - I'm curious to see how your greenhouse works out! Please share some pictures of it as you work through that project - there are a lot of people on permies (myself included!) that would be very interested in that.

Deer and elk... deer are bad enough here - I spent way too much time dealing with them the past year. I hope you can get a good fence up and not have to worry about them!

Thanks you for sharing and best of luck with your permaculture oasis!
 
We can walk to school together. And we can both read this tiny ad:
One million tiny ads for $25
https://permies.com/t/94684/million-tiny-ads
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