Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

April 11, 2012

Permaculture... The way to go?

As you can imagine, even though we have not taken ownership of our new house, I could keep my mind from working on plans, or at least ideas for plans, for the 2+ new acres of land I will be taking stewardship of for only so long. For the last week or so I've been really trying to be honest with myself about what it is that I'd like to accomplish with this opportunity and how I want to work toward accomplishing it. I've not yet hammered out a specific ” mission statement” or anything, at least not so far, but I've really been giving the idea of permaculture and specifically some sort of permaculture food forest a lot of thought.
Some of the realities I am dealing with are:
1. I want to make my new home-scale farm a profitable venture.
2. For the foreseeable future, I will need to maintain a ”day job” in order to cover our day to day expenses. It's just a fact, may as well wrap my head around it.
3. I have maturing family. I don't mean that we're getting old, (although trust me, some days...ugh) but rather that my kids are growing up. I only have so many more years to enjoy them and I intend to take advantage of those. Also, as they grow up and find their own ways out into the world, I lose a valuable labor pool from which to draw.
4. As much as I love gardening and raising animals, I also love enjoying life. That's shorthand for ”I don't want this project to take over every spare minute of every day.”

Those are potentially big hurdles to get by and still have a productive home-scale farm and they're a big part of the reason that I'm leaning in the direction of some kind of a permaculture solution. From what I have read and in my experiences so far, finding a balance with the natural world is not only as productive - many would argue more so - than traditional agriculture, it's also a lot less energy intensive. And the energy going into a productive farm is not only in the forms of electricity or fuel, it takes the shape of time and manpower; both things that are a premium for our situation.

My goal is to maximize design and planning in the short term in order to free up time and energy later on. I learned a great permaculture term the other day - relinquished power - that essentially means building processes so that they have not only low energy input required but, if possible, become autonomous in their maintenance. Planning around designs like that would truly help me to maximize my time investment and allow me to get the must done with the energy available.

I don't know if our whole workable 2 acres will become permaculture, or if that will just be some part of it, but it gives me a lot to think about as I research more and more of the possibilities. I'd love it if any of you reading this would pass on references that you've found helpful to you, as well as ideas that you have that I need to consider. I've put myself on a sort of self imposed planning holiday for this season to keep myself from making big decisions that I haven't had time to thoroughly think through. This will be my season of learning, planning and deciding.

So then, what do you have for me? I know there are some permies out there with a ton of info. Don't hold back, no idea is out of bounds.



Sandy said...

If I were in your shoes, I'd do a lot of thinking about fruit trees and bushes and how you want these to fit into your new space. I've got about 24 fruit trees and just as many blueberry bushes. These do require some pruning each year, but I actually like pruning and find it quite a satisfying task. I haven't regretted for a second how much space I dedicated to fruit and berry growing.

Stoney Acres said...

Great ideas, I have a neighbor that had a small market farm that he grew and made a living from for about the last 20 years of his working life. He has scaled back a lot lately but he was very successful. He has about an acre less than you and was still able to make it work. He's part of the Utah county master gardeners. I'd be happy to put you in touch with him if you would like to bounce some ideas off him.

Chris said...

On two acres, you're probably going to have to focus on gardens for your fertility, with smaller livestock such as chickens. You could choose to use goats or a milking cow, but two acres won't be able to grow them enough fodder and you will constantly be buying it in.

Use the slope to your advantage, have your compost bin or (in our case) chicken coop above any intensive growing areas. The fertility from the coop (as long as it's bare ground) will seep down the slope and you won't have to add too much extra nutrients.

We've used chicken tractors to build fertility in soil that needed a kick-start. Chickens are great livestock on small acreage, along with bees.

Make sure (if you can) observe the land for a whole 12 months, so you can track problem spots. Where does the water run-off travel during rain, and can you capture some of that near fruit trees? Any areas which are prone to become boggy, make great sites for ponds!

Ponds make great magnets for wildlife, such as birds, lizards and frogs, all of which leave their dung (or fertility parcels) on your property to boost nutrients.

They're just a few ideas. I can post some links if you like? Just say so, as some people don't like links on their blogs and I feel like I have to ask before doing so. :)

ChicagoMike said...

Hey P~,

I am not a permaculture guru by any stretch, but I see it as something that actually would help you work/life balance issue fairly well.

When I read your post I immediately thought of a poster I had seen showing what can be done with two acres of land. I finally found it here:


Again, I am white hot with jealousy. :)

Looking forward to wherever you end up going with this.

All the best.

Chicago Mike

P~ said...

I am DEFINITELY thinking about fruit trees and berries. you may have seen my post with all the berry and grapes that I have going on my patio garden already.

P~ said...

That's exactly what I'm hoping to do. I just may take you up on that offer... Thanks.

P~ said...

Chris, thanks for letting me know I was behind. I get notifications about new comments, but not ones that require moderation.
These are all great suggestions and many of them I have already looked into. For instance, while I have not mapped out my slope yet, I do know there is a gradual slope to the north west and at the far end of our property, down slope, there is already a small pond/wetland.
I hope to be able to make more information available soon
Thanks again!

P~ said...

It's what I'm thinking to mike.. So much to plan, so many ideas, it's hard to figure out where to start!
Thanks for the link.. I'll check it out.
Take care