Andy Reed

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since Jan 02, 2013
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Recent posts by Andy Reed

For a couple of years I've tried raised beds, and in my experience they have been less then ideal.
The Hugelculture was tricky because whenever I would weed all the topsoil would tumble down to the bottom, and for transplanting I needed to create a mini terrace to put the plant in which to my mind took up more room, not less then a conventional garden.
Walled Raised beds by themselves seemed to dry out very fast, and I don't really see the advantage. Maybe if you built them high enough so you didn't actually need to bend over there would be some benefit, but that's about 5 foot high, and you are talking significant building work. You solve the problem of bending over, but at what cost?
I don't really see why raised beds are promoted to the extent that if you aren't growing on raised beds it's not really permaculture, so maybe someone could explain this to me?
I totally agree with Collin, and generally the answer to the original question is 'not really'. Though people don't really want to admit that, so you get answers like "but permaculture isn't about making money" or some such. Mostly defending permaculture, by saying that the OP is asking if anyone has made a square fit into a circle, with the obvious reply of 'of course not.'
There is a guy in Vermont who used to post here, who is farming for profit in a permaculture way http://sugarmtnfarm.com/

I'll admit that it is hard for the average Joe, to feed themselves of a 1/4 acre section, let alone make money. You are going to need a decent amount of land, and a solid business plan, some experience with business and farming will help.

I agree with the OP re. Joel Salatin, I don't see that he is doing anything especially permaculture, importing tons of feed, no real systems supporting other systems etc. Just 'free range farming' which is not all that exciting or unique.

The concepts are good, design your land to save and conserve water, stack functions etc. but is the ROI of these modification positive? I think the payback period will be many, many years for things like swales and ponds. If you are going to put in a fence, or plant some trees, or starting something from scratch then you may as well use permaculture design systems, but I wouldn't be changing existing structures for the sake of permaculture and expect to get a positive ROI.

This topic has been thrashed before, and the stock standard answer is that the OP has no idea that permaculture isn't about money. Instead of a more honest answer of yes or no.
3 years ago
Farm walks are very important!

Farm Walks are held every Tuesday morning throughout the year starting at 9.00am sharp so be there by 8.50am. During the winter months Farm Walks are held every second week. Farmers or their managers and staff are welcome to walk with the Management Team, bring your platemeter and gumboots. Please phone the SIDDC office to notify of your intention: Ph: 03 423 0022.


http://www.siddc.org.nz/lu-dairy-farm/farm-walk-notes/
3 years ago
If you want your fence to be stockproof (which is generally the purpose of a fence) willow isn't such a good choice. Hawthorn and Blackthorn are better suited, they grow from cuttings, early spring flowering and also produce a reasonable amount of bird food. If you want fast growing, gorse will do the job though in some countries it is classed as invasive and is illegal to cultivate it, and it does require a lot of trimming, which is not a pleasant job, considering all those thorns.

We use willow on riverbanks where they block all the flood debris from ending up all over the farm.
3 years ago
I do question your maths, because I don't think it is that simple, but I agree with the basic point. However for certain jobs it wont really make much difference if it is Tim or a WWOFFer doing it ie. harvesting nuts, it will still take the same amount of time and resources.

I know that when I hire new staff they are going to break something, and I have hired backpackers to fill in while I spend the time looking for a new full time worker. I am struggling to think of anyone who has worked for me that hasn't cost me by breaking something or forgetting to do something.

You are absolutely right in that you have to start off small with new people, until you get to know them and their capabilities. I think you will find that the people that make the best use of WWOOFFers will be those that give them what I call 'roid (android) work. Very simple basic stuff, like harvest the nuts off the ground, or similar. There is no stress because it's pretty hard to stuff it up. Normally in return they are happy to provide food and lodgings because the work is getting done. They don't generally get them in the tractor or using expensive stuff unless they are showing some kind of ability.

I would absolutely have PG's the way you described. I'm not sure how you are working the numbers but I would be limiting it to the amount of productive work you have for them to do. That way you feel like you are achieving something, not just burning through resources.
3 years ago
It really is that easy, we have 3 kids and live on a farm, on wet days the kids seem to go through at least two changes of clothes because they can't stay inside all day. We have never had a drier. One month we only had 3 sunny days for the whole month. When it is cold, wet and damp, the clothes take longer to dry then a hot sunny day, obviously! But you can still dry them. Even inside the contribution to humidity is minor, maybe similar to having a shower.

Bottom line is that all those people who say "what about this....." should just fkn try it, and then they will know the truth. For most of the world, a clothesline is normal.
3 years ago
You should read all about pastured pigs here, some good stuff going on.
http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2014/11/13/brassicas-endure/
4 years ago
He feeds 40 days per year. Keeps his hay in a barn/feeding shed. He does a fair bit of standing hay for the winter.

We used to stack up rows of hay bales in a small area of trees, then cover with tarpaulin. The trees keep most of the rain off of the sides the tarpaulin only covers over the top. It works reasonably well.
4 years ago
I would run some cows on the pasture, how many depends on the size of your pasture. Beef cows, something like Wagyu which gives a big profit per head, higher initial costs but same ongoing costs, and a couple of dairy cows milk and butter for you and some to sell.

I would make Sep Holtzer style zigzag paths upslope through the woodland and shift a mobile chicken house (egg mobile) up the track as well as through the pastures. At least 100 chickens fully free ranged.

I would cut down some of the trees, make Holtzer earth shelters and pig shelters where appropriate, then electric fence pig paddocks and introduce various grasses and legumes to the cleared areas with an expensive breed of pigs. Sell pigs for meat and breeding.

I would put in lots of ponds, some really big ones as well as infrastructure for stock water and irrigation.

I would make a swaled food forest with as many varieties as I could think of, not many of each, just enough for personal use friends family etc.

I would put in a vege/herb garden for the home.

That would do, for a while, I'd keep the rest of the money to live off while I waited for income from the livestock.
4 years ago
The sooner you get the animals off the pasture, the faster it will grow back. Any longer then 36hrs will reduce the growth for the next round, the longer you stay there the slower the regrowth. I used to put 400 dairy cows in 5 acres for <12hrs then milk and then into a new paddock, back again in 20-35 days. When growth is slower I gave them less area and fed silage, extending the rest period to allow the grass to grow back to the desired height.

That is how most grass based dairy farms operate, maximising grass growth and pasture quality for the highest milk yield.

From what I understand of Alan Savory's methods they have no value on healthy pastures, as a restoration tool for degraded landscapes I think the value comes from corralling them together at night, concentrating their dung in a key area on the landscape.

Aljaz you will need 300m2 (rough calculation no details )