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Ryan Ramsay

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since Nov 07, 2014
Willamette Valley
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Recent posts by Ryan Ramsay

I just purchased and built out the Planet Whizbang kit with the 8" oscillating hoe. I've been using it primarily in pathways and at the feet of the beds to keep the grass at bay as it's a little large and clunky for cultivating in the crops - What a champ and a pleasure to use though! A lighter weight hoe with a tine cultivator would be better suited for work within the beds in my opinion. All-in with kit, parts and paint it was about $130 and an afternoon and I don't regret a dime of it because this thing is rock solid. The hoe blade could be a little more heavy duty but it keeps a nice edge. I'm also considering upgrading to the 10" blade to cover a little more breadth on each pass. If you have the skills, the shop and the time, purchasing the plans and building it from the ground up seems like a no-brainer. I also am not a huge fan of the recommended pistol grip and I'm sketching out some handle designs that might work better for me.
3 years ago
Ooh this sounds fun - you've got a long ways to go!

I'll skip the land acquisition stuff and mention a few things about start-up costs.

A farm start-up can actually be a fairly inexpensive business to start. A lot of the small scale farmers will tell you that it takes around $30-40k to start a diversified vegetable market farm. This is somewhat independent of scale as a lot of the major fixed costs do not fluctuate (much) with the size of the farm until you reach a certain point. For example, a $2,000 walk-in cooler may be enough to service a farm up to 5 acres (just an example). Personally, I don't think the $30-40k number is too unrealistic, especially if you want intend to do things right the first time and you're not planning on purchasing any big equipment (rent or borrow tractors if you can). I however, managed to start a 1 acre market garden for around $10k. This took considerable effort - tons of wheelin' and dealin', horse trading, salvaging, building projects into the middle of the night, coming up with homespun designs for implements, etc. If you are creative and savvy with craigslist you can save a ton of money. Of course the trade off is always the cost of time and effort.

For vegetable farming I can not recommend Elliot Coleman's ,"The New Organic Grower", highly enough. Fantastic book. A book by Richard Wiswall, "The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook" is also super useful. It focuses on financial considerations of farming and doesn't really touch on cultural practices.
3 years ago
Never thought of myself as a tractor guy. Used one this year to help convert ungrazed pasture into crop fields and move holy sh*ttons of mulch. Mow, till, chisel, WOW. Incredible amounts of time and labor saved (even on my measly acre). I suspect we are done with the big tractor now - possibly forever. The best part is that it is included in our land lease - I'm not sure it is something I would own for myself. I'll be a BCS/broadfork man until the day I die but it has been very nice having a big 35hp diesel JD around this season to get things started. See if you can borrow or rent your neighbor's =)
3 years ago
Hello Cascadian friends!

I am in the process of planning and designing a small organic market-garden in the North Willamette Valley (Wilsonville). We've got a good amount of space and we would love to find somebody who needs a place to keep some bees. Frankly we'd like to keep bees ourselves but there are already too many projects - you know how it goes!

If you or someone you know might be interested in bringing the bees to the yard, let me know! Any thoughts on local resources to find beekeepers?

Cheers!
3 years ago
Hello lovely PNW Permies!

My friend and I are experienced organic vegetable growers and PDC holders and we are looking for some space in or around Portland to establish a small intensive market garden. We have our eyes on the foothills to the east but we are open to anything! We are looking for space of between 1/2 and 1 acre to do some farmscaping and establish our own business. While annual vegetable production is often disregarded as "not permaculture" (read that in Paul's voice), we are very interested in the intersection of permaculture principles (design, process, energy flow) and techniques (keyline, deep mulch, etc.) with commercial vegetable and flower production.

We've pretty well exhausted the iFarm resource so I thought I'd put a line out here to see if anyone has leads on someone with a little extra land that might be willing to lend some space to some passionate young farmers. We're open to cash lease, work trade, veggie barter, you name it!

Cheers!

Ryan
4 years ago