30 Second Elevator Pitch

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by FrankD, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. FrankD

    FrankD Active Member

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    Not quite sure how much or how little to say is the best way to introduce myself? I am legally retired, and over time have become extremely concerned about the future of our planet. This concern has motivated me to become a farmer and have a place where I can control the nutritional quality of the food, water and immediate environment. About 7 years ago, I started "Square Foot Gardening" in a raised bed growing mostly heirloom crops. This led me over to SARE, NRCS, and now the ARS.

    About 3 years ago, I reclaimed some land at my home that had been taken over by Kudzu, Poison Ivy and Poison Oak, and proceeded to learn how to start soil restoration through in-depth research and my meager knowledge.

    When I started it could be stated that I was no particular type gardener / farmer since previously I viewed all plants as two types- green or brown. Now I constantly test things in the different raised beds I have, but no longer follow the SFG soil mix approach - just raised bed. I started by wanting my approach to be organic, but as I gained knowledge and perspective I shifted to biologic farming as I am more concerned with the nutrition in the foods, not just the bulk, looks, quantity, or the latest buzz words. I will use what is best from both conventional and organic type farming to achieve my end result of nutritious food.

    After considerable soul searching, I decided that I only want to actively grow vegetable and fruit crops, but no animals. I will also grow very specific grasses like Teff and Einkorn for seed to sell and for animals to graze possibly from another organic / biologic farmer through goods bartering. I will help feed feral animals on my farm that I intend to personally hunt for food (deer, turkey, duck, geese) , and prepare areas on my farm for them to forage.

    I have been searching for over 3 years for a large enough track of land preferably in the Blue Ridge or Ozarks foothills, but I have had to expand that into Central America (Nicaragua & Honduras) . While I am still searching, I would like to put some of what I have learned into practice on a larger scale, but that is difficult as I don't want to intern around domesticated animals and most farmers grow both crops & animals. I hope to contribute to the forum and knowledge base.
     
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  2. Jen_Jen

    Jen_Jen Active Member

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    West Virginia
    Nice to meet you, Frank. Your approach is fascinating to me.

    For our part, we're choosing to avoid chemicals altogether. If we ever decide to put in an orchard, which I would like to do one day, we may find we can't, but for now, we're choosing completely organic. I've also started to become interested in researching what crops are native to our area and emphasizing those in our garden. There is so much to learn!

    We're also opting not to add livestock to our homestead.

    Jen M, WV
     

  3. FrankD

    FrankD Active Member

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    Hi Jen,

    Congratulation on your 5 acre farm. I am sure you'll do great there.

    yes, my approach is different. it is more about getting in tune with what is needed and the reality around us. this thinking and method started evolving while reading Graeme Sait's Nutrition Rules ebook. this led me to Albrecht's work on nutrition, then "Weeds Guardians of The Soil" and on to "Conquest of the Land Through Seven Thousand Years". All of these provided new insights.

    It is amazing how wrong I use to think about pests, weeds, and the soil. I can't imagine how hard it is for a conventional long term farmer to come to grips with this new perspective and like I think differently.

    I am trying a few new things in my gardens this year, specifically I have finely chopped leaves and cultivated them in for carbon. I am using a little more potash, direct from my fireplace. I wanted to try recycling some drywall (Gypsum) for the Calcium in it, but decided to try it first in the front yard on the grass after cutting aeration trenches with one of my Mantis tillers.

    I have another area, next to a retention pond that I want to plant with some Ground Cherries, but before I do that I am going to early plant weeds there that I bought some seeds from another member, then cut them down before they seed and cultivate them back in as "Green Manure".

    Another test this year will be using a (20:1) foilar spray on one garden that will be pasteurized urine (Urea). Read several reports that proved the value, plus USDA & EPA are both sponsoring many tests.

    After almost a year, I was approved for Agriculture Research (ARS) to try and grow Brosimum Alicastrum in colder climates and also to breed it. This is pretty exciting to me.

    If you want to research native plants to your area, use this link:
    Native Plant Societies


    I would also suggest that you either watch or download Lorraine Johnson's talk at the NANPS. It is really terrific.

    [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oaJQhDt3N8[/ame]

    As to your fruit trees, you might want to get some of the grafted apples (2,3 or 4 species on one tree) which cuts the latency of production from 5 years to under 2 in most cases. And they are not that expensive- under $100 typically per tree.
     
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  4. Jen_Jen

    Jen_Jen Active Member

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    Wow! Thanks for the tips! Very interesting stuff!

    I only took possession of the property in February 2016, so we have a long way to go. We may end up moving to Western MA before we dig in too much. His family is up there. He's been in the DC area since the 90s (for college, then was married and divorced, then met me and stayed.) Since I have no family left down here, I figure it's his turn. I'm thinking that's at least 3 years out, though, so we definitely have time to experiment and learn.

    Jen M, WV
     
  5. FrankD

    FrankD Active Member

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    Jen.

    There is something else that I should point out to you and others that is relevant to buying live plants like fruit trees. Most ebay sellers don't follow laws. Specifically those laws about selling live plants from an area that has Fire Ants into an area that does not.

    These cross border selling laws are in place to keep Fire Ants from spreading and adapting. I purchased some live plants from a person on ebay as a guest purchaser, went all the way through the check out and then was told shipping from Georgia-- a huge Fire Ant state- the seller of course wanted to ship them to ANY location. It was a huge problem getting ebay and Paypal to cancel the purchase.
     
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  6. ldc

    ldc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the fire ant reminder; I've often offered to send things from here to friends and relatives up north-now I'll be really careful or skip it entirely.
     
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  7. Jen_Jen

    Jen_Jen Active Member

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    FrankD-Yikes! I would NEVER buy fruit trees online. I would want to go to a farm who was selling them or to a nursery so I could inspect the trees myself, ask about them, etc.

    ...And THAT would ONLY be after I did my research and found out what's actually native to my area.

    Jen M.
     
  8. FrankD

    FrankD Active Member

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    I recently purchased two great resource books. One used from Amazon titled,"Prescription Herbal Healing"by Phyllis A. Balch, the other direct from the author Steve Brill, "Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants". These are excellent resource books that I believe every homesteader needs as references.

    After deciding that I would like to grow a couple very specific herbs, and being cautious of where the harvested seeds come from, I found a great source for herbs and other garden / crop seeds at Strictly Medicinal Seeds. Also at their site they offer a pdf of 'Common to Latin names' for plants.

    fwiw..Jen, I was trying to buy a few of the multi species apple trees and not every nursery has those, and from my research very few do.

    Also from my research at one time there were almost 5000 different apple species in North America only and that has dropped to less than a few hundred today.
     
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  9. FrankD

    FrankD Active Member

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    An email friend from S. Central Kentucky sent over this handy guide and I tried to create a pdf from it and post it here, but it chops off too much. If you want a copy of this guide

    Vegetable Seed Planting instructions/germination time/depth/soil temp

    send me an email and I'll forward it to you. just use "Home Steading Offer" as subject. After I send it, your email address will be deleted

    My email address is in the "Real Estate" section under thread titled FSBO.
     
  10. Jen_Jen

    Jen_Jen Active Member

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    Thanks! Great resources!

    My partner is a very experienced gardener, so we should be OK. Those books are helpful, though! I already have (somewhere) a copy of _Back to Eden_,and I plan to pull it out and thumb through it again.

    Jen M.
     
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  11. FrankD

    FrankD Active Member

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    Thanks Jen for the reference to the Back To Eden. I found a video website (linked before) of the methods which I find very interesting.

    Since I last posted in my thread I have learned a couple things, one about the Post Office. If you live out in the boonies where they don't deliver you are entitled to a post office box for free.

    Also anyone that has been reluctant to start farming might like to read the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) The Future of Food and Agriculture: Trends and Challenges or as an alternative you should read the Inter Press Service news story titled Humankind’s Ability to Feed Itself, Now in Jeopardy.

    This is extremely eye opening and a few quotes from them; “Major transformations in agricultural systems, rural economies and natural resource management will be needed if we are to meet the multiple challenges before us and realize the full potential of food and agriculture to ensure a secure and healthy future for all people and the entire planet,” it says.

    “High-input, resource-intensive farming systems, which have caused massive deforestation, water scarcities, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, cannot deliver sustainable food and agricultural production,” adds the report.

    “Without additional efforts to promote pro-poor development, reduce inequalities and protect vulnerable people, more than 600 million people would still be undernourished in 2030,” it says. In fact, the current rate of progress would not even be enough to eradicate hunger by 2050.
     
  12. GormanFarm

    GormanFarm Well-Known Member

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    Ona, FL
    welcome!!
    One thing that has helped me with my gardening is that we shop for what we don't have at a co-op from other locally grown. I used the seeds from the cucumbers/tomatoes we bought there to start my plants. I also started my mango trees from pits purchased there. I am in FL so we are a fire ant state big time.
    With our poultry we did order it from out of state as day old chicks. Original lambs were purchased from a vet in our state. We try to support local grown when we can.
     
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  13. FrankD

    FrankD Active Member

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    In a "HomeSteading Channel" thread there is a discussion about virgin ground and weeds. Several people have expressed a desire to use toxins to control / kill weeds. I thought it might help some of you to see these "weed killers" are not benign, do stay in the soil for many years, and effect not only the intended plant but everything including trees. If you use these in or around your garden / crop area, you are eating these toxins!

    Attached is a of photo of 10 yr minimum growth trees from a retention pond behind my home, where the county sprayed a clear "broad leaf herbicide" over 5 years ago. In the photo you can clearly see the dark areas of the logs where the herbicide is. When I cut it, the color was bright Purple and after a couple months of drying time it went to a black mold looking color as seen in the photo.
     

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