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A few beginner questions

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Making Money

Post  NC7acreproject on 8/27/2013, 9:34 am

Has anybody had experience with selling anything from their gardens or other things they grow or raise on their land.  I am not looking to quit my working or retiring, but would like to come up with something with high ROI to make around $10,000.  a year.  Legal growing (LOL)

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  llama momma on 8/27/2013, 9:56 am

@NC7acreproject wrote:I actually plan to start building three compost bins and start composting right away.  I will buy some compost to start a bin and then add to it over the winter.  Hopefully it will be ready by spring.

I will probably only build enough beds to fill maybe a quarter of an acre this winter as there is lots of other stuff to do, plus I like the idea of learning as I go and maybe be able to improve as I continue to build.
Yes indeed and starting now with compost is a great idea, I wish everyone could start that way and make their own quality compost before planting.  The picture that was posted looks like you have all the trees you could ever want for composting leaves, or browns.  You could make a cheap corral and store extra leaves close to the compost bins. That's what I have.  And you can take your mowed grass, dry it on tarps and have a great source of nitrogen-greens.  After using up the grass that I need I bag the extra and put in storage for later use.  It's a great feeling to have stuff on hand as you need it and not panic looking for materials later on.

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  boffer on 8/27/2013, 10:10 am

Jay Bird was getting into SFG CSA growing.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t10423-jaybirds-sfg-farm-staatus-update#104795

You can look back through his posts here, as he developed the project.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/spa/Jay%20Bird

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  H_TX_2 on 8/27/2013, 11:13 am

"plus I like the idea of learning as I go and maybe be able to improve as I continue to build."

NC7,
That is exactly what I would recommend. I would bet that just about everyone here would do something different with their first SFG if they did it all over again today. There is a learning curve and if you do it all at once you don't get the benefit of learning over time to improve or customize your future expansion. Make things better or more well suited to your unique circumstances as you get bigger and bigger. Enjoy the gardening.

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  Triciasgarden on 8/28/2013, 5:59 pm

I know with my beds I wish I had spread them out, having more of a path in-between the beds.  I measured by kneeling down and used that measurement to space my beds.  Plants like to hang over and it cuts back the walkway quite a bit. I am wanting to spread them out more in the future.  I was thinking since you have so much land that you could space your beds far enough apart that if you wanted to drive your tractor through, you could.  That wouldn't be a necessity, but if you are filling up your beds after you mix your Mel's Mix, you may want the tractor.

I do like the idea of LlamaMomma's about when she mows, she dries the grass on a tarp and when it is dry she stores it.  When you cut your green grass and dry it, it is considered a nitrogen source whereas if the grass dies first then you cut it, it would be a carbon source.  The leaves from your trees will be a great carbon source.  So you would already have two sources for your compost pile.  Maybe you can find one or two types of manure.  You will want to read on how to make a compost pile.  Since there are lots of people harvesting their crops at this point, there may be a good source of spoiled or discarded fruits and vegetables.  Like my neighbor behind has an apple tree and most of the apples have worms.  They moved in last year and didn't know what to do about them.  Most of the tree hangs over on my property and I will be able to use all those apples in my compost pile.  You can use your tractor to help with your compost piles as some on this forum do.

There is a lot of good advice here that you can pick through and use.  Also, welcome to the forum!

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More room for paths

Post  NC7acreproject on 8/28/2013, 8:52 pm

I'm glad you mentioned how you came up with your path measurement.  That is exactly how I was going to do mine.  I did however plan on leaving room for tractor for a couple of main paths.  If I needed to haul something large, at least I could get it close and wheelbarrow the rest of the way.

If you could do it over, how wide would you have made your paths.  4'?

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  walshevak on 8/29/2013, 7:20 am

Four foot aisles also allow a good spread for cattle panels used as trellis. I have some between two boxes that provide trellis on the east and west sides, leaving my boxes open to the all day southern exposure and also providing some shade from the hot sun in the south. I have tomatoes growing in buckets up a west and east side of a panel and kale/chard growing in the shadow. I am arching over the aisle not the bed.

Four foot aisles also give you a chance to trellis on north sides and not cast too much of a shadow on the bed behind. A lot depends on how your plot allows you to situate your beds.

Kay


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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  camprn on 8/29/2013, 9:31 am

You could get a riding lawn mower through a 4' corridor. Very Happy 

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  Turan on 8/29/2013, 1:03 pm

Measure your wheelbarrow, garden cart and then just a little wider.
I have 2 feet between the beds side by side. That is wide enough for me and my gardening stool and a basket for pickings. Along one side at least there is a wider path that I meant to be wide enough for my garden cart. Then that died of old age and my kids got me another and it is too wide for the paths. So I end up doing a lot with 5 gallon buckets. I like hte idea of being able to run a lawn mower down the paths.

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  Triciasgarden on 8/31/2013, 12:12 am

Ohhhhhh, four foot paths, now that would be wonderful!  I like the idea you have of making a couple of main paths for your tractor.  That would definitely get you close enough if you have to haul something in!

I also like Kay's suggestion about the paths being 4' so you can use cattle panels as trellises.  I so love the look of the cattle panels and especially when they make an arch from one bed to another.  That is one of my goals.

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  Triciasgarden on 8/31/2013, 12:15 am

Ohhhhhh, four foot paths, now that would be wonderful! I like the idea you have of making a couple of main paths for your tractor. That would definitely get you close enough if you have to haul something in!  Then with your narrower beds you can off load to a wheelbarrow like Turan suggested!

I also like Kay's suggestion about the paths being 4' so you can use cattle panels as trellises. I love the look of the cattle panels and especially when they make an arch from one bed to another. That is one of my goals.

NC7 it sure sounds like you have done a lot of research, thinking and planning!  It will be fun to see your progress!

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  walshevak on 8/31/2013, 7:54 am

My son has some cattle panels at 3 ft spacing that work well too.

Kay

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Re: A few beginner questions (cash crop)

Post  Sgt Relic on 8/31/2013, 11:16 am

You asked about a legal high return crop. I've personally given some thought to growing Saffron Crocus(crocus sativus) as way of paying for my gardening habit. (HaHa!)

Here's a link to one of many sites on the subject http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/560/

I've seen a lot of good advice in the comments. From my own experience I'll offer the fact that my garden plan changes almost every year. In fact, I'm currently drawing up changes for next year. Currently, my garden is 160 SF(5 4x8 boxes), plus 18 large pots of herbs, hot peppers and cherry tomatoes on my deck. It keeps me very busy!

Good luck with you project! I'm looking forward to seeing it take shape since I'm very fond of stealing good ideas. LOL!

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  martha on 8/31/2013, 11:55 am

I actually planted a few crocus sativa this spring, just for fun. But who knows? Maybe I'll end growing them and making my fortune. I do know that it is very, very difficult. The timing of being able to harvest is very, very brief. Doesn't mean we can't try, though!

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Future Garden Area

Post  NC7acreproject on 9/1/2013, 7:07 am

A lot of work.  Tractor shed needs to be resided, beds built, small 12x12 barn will be moved from our old house to here this week, green house built, fence fixed(existing fence is a wore out wire horse fence), etc. etc etc.  Overwhelming.

When I get barn moved I will send another pic, I think you guys will like the sink I had built on the side of it.  It was built for cooking at the lake.  Now it will become a gardening sink.  I will also explain how I built it with the pics.  

I need all the ideas for the best isle covering.  Grass, pea gravel, patio blocks, mulch, etc.  and reason you like it the best.
[img][/img][img][/img]

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Also should be bringing the tractor home this week

Post  NC7acreproject on 9/1/2013, 7:14 am

Here is a pic of it
[img][/img]

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  camprn on 9/1/2013, 7:49 am

I find the grass aisles easy to take care of. No spilling or disappearing gravel or chips, no mud. Minimum maintenance, mow and edge. There are no repeating costs with grass. If it is kept trimmed it won't go to seed and the trimmings go in the compost pile.

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Grass

Post  NC7acreproject on 9/1/2013, 8:06 am

I thought grass could be best except for I was trying to make landscaping, so that I can mow it all from 60" mower behind tractor.  Also I plan on having a lot of beds and will add a lot of mowing and trimming.  This is the only down side of grass, everything else about it is on the plus list.  Other factor of grass for my area and one of the reasons I went with raised bed idea was soil in this area is very rocky.  Good ole' North Carolina shale.  I think I would have to build up soil, which is possible.

Besides initial cost does anyone have experience with rubber mulch.

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Grass

Post  NC7acreproject on 9/1/2013, 8:08 am

If you can see in pic 2, everywhere you see dirt is shale rock at surface.

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  camprn on 9/1/2013, 8:23 am

@NC7acreproject wrote:I thought grass could be best except for I was trying to make landscaping, so that I can mow it all from 60" mower behind tractor.  Also I plan on having a lot of beds and will add a lot of mowing and trimming.  This is the only down side of grass, everything else about it is on the plus list.  Other factor of grass for my area and one of the reasons I went with raised bed idea was soil in this area is very rocky.  Good ole' North Carolina shale.  I think I would have to build up soil, which is possible.

Besides initial cost does anyone have experience with rubber mulch.
Nothing in gardening or farming is maintenance free, including any variety of mulch, especially if there is going to be traffic on it... Mowing and trimming has to happen regardless. A smaller mower would take care of smaller aisles. If you want to stick with doing maintenance with a tractor, maybe stick with row gardening. I don't know. Different tools for different jobs. It's going to be a lot of work in any case.

It's like making the bed in the morning...... I would rather not do it, but it has to be done, regularly...


Now a second thought I have is that if you go with wood chips, you will have to chase them as the occasionally escape from where you put them, but they will eventually break down, adding organic matter to the place. Rubber mulch is just horrendous stuff, unless you are landscaping the islands in a parking lot.

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  bnoles on 9/1/2013, 8:32 am

While maybe not for everyone, grass aisles work really well for my situation.




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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  Goosegirl on 9/1/2013, 9:14 am

bnoles - what a gorgeous set-up!  If my yard were large enough, I would be tempted to redo my beds to have grass walkways like yours. 

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  bnoles on 9/1/2013, 10:54 am

@Goosegirl wrote:bnoles - what a gorgeous set-up!  If my yard were large enough, I would be tempted to redo my beds to have grass walkways like yours. 

GG
Thank you for the nice comments GG. I like to keep things as natural as I can although I know grass really isn't "natural" to many Smile 

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  Turan on 9/1/2013, 12:37 pm

I am fighting with quack grass. If it gets a start in a path it will send rhizomes up into the beds. When I wide row gardened I either mulched the paths or grew a cover crop in them. Now using raised beds I lay weed cloth and then chips over that. My garden has a moat along the back side of old rubber mats from horse trailers and metal roofing panels. The quack grass can not pierce it and it is 2 feet wide which seems just wide enough to at least slow it down. Mowing will not even slow it down in invading everything.

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Re: A few beginner questions

Post  NC7acreproject on 9/1/2013, 10:53 pm

I love the grass look and you're right I could use a smaller mower to mow between beds, but that is not the only reason.  I also have shale rock extruding above top soil, so I would have to build up ground just to plant grass.  While I am not opposed to work, I do believe in working smarter, so If I can come up with a way to have less maintenance on my isles, so I can spend more time on the beds or other hundreds of things I do, then yes I am looking for it.  While I enjoy gardening it is not my only activity, besides working 50-60 hours a week I enjoy a lot of hobbies.

How is the wood chips on the knees?  I thought about them, I like the look of them better than standard mulch.  Seems to be a little more uniform.

When Mulch turns into organic matter, are you saying scoop into up and use as compost or it will just create a organic matter in isles?

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Re: A few beginner questions

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