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  1. #11
    Super Member bp fick's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    5,414
    Location
    Beaver Creek, Northern Michigan
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Self Sufficiency - Small Steps

    Part of gardening begins with the seeds and plant starting.

    The prices charged for set plants is absurd to the budget conscience gardener. How can anyone think they are saving money if they pay $3 for each plant? Even at WalMart I have seen these prices.

    I save some seed and am planning on doing more each year, if I can be more hopeful we have a good bee population doing its job. I cannot yet have full confidence in my saved seeds being as prolific as purchased seeds. (Johnny's).

    I don't buy ANY set plants. I grow everything from seed.
    BP


    "Some chickens, some gardens and a Kubota."

  2. #12
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    2,380
    Location
    Northern, IL
    Tractor
    Branson 2400H

    Default Re: Self Sufficiency - Small Steps

    Bp,
    Good luck on the gardening. Around here this year the pests have been unbelievably bad. Don't like chemicals but had to resort to them for the darn japanese beatles. Hope them bugs don't like your north country because they can eat..

    Roy
    Artificial Intelligence will never overcome natural stupidity.

    Branson 2400H MMM & FEL

    JD 112

    BX1850 gone but not forgotten

  3. #13
    Silver Member electrarc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    102
    Location
    QLD, Australia
    Tractor
    Foton 82 hp with loader,Ferrari Cobram 65 & Shibaura D23F

    Default Re: Self Sufficiency - Small Steps

    bp,

    Great to read about what you are doing. My wife and I are trying to do the same thing here in Aust. A year ago we moved out in to the country a bought 30 acres. A failed project. But we had a major flood and that has set us back. We did a trial on plants in the ground verses a hydroponics system called "Smart Pots" and were impressed with the hydroponics.

    We are putting up a 30 meter x 4 meter shade house at the moment. Just started to raise our seeds. Do you have any advise as you are a couple of years ahead of us.

    Like you have said after leaving the "Rat Race" behind my health has improved dramatically. I am tied at the end of each day, but it a good feeling. Thanks for posting, great work.

    Cheers Zac
    Foton 82 HP,Ferrari Cobram 65 RS, Shibaura D23F, 5' Verge Mower (Flail),7' Side Shift Flail mower,Brush Hog, Finishing Mower, Rotary Hoe, Box Blade, Rear Blade, Land Leveler, Pipe layer, Carry All, Spreader, Auger, Ripper, Tipping Trailer, Ferris IS2000 ZTR.

  4. #14
    Super Member bp fick's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    5,414
    Location
    Beaver Creek, Northern Michigan
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Self Sufficiency - Small Steps

    I have been researching hoop houses for the last couple of years. My wife is getting weary of me occupying every south and west exposure window with trays and trays of plants. When you start 500-600 indoor plants, I guess she has point.

    I do NOT want a hoop house if it means crawling around, etc. I want a full sized, walk through one. The problem is I cannot justify the expense UNLESS we greatly improve setting plant sales. I so want to improve this aspect. I could make money at growing setting plants, but the market up here is dismal. So few people even try gardening this far north, in this climate.

    Still studying and hoping.
    BP


    "Some chickens, some gardens and a Kubota."

  5. #15
    Gold Member
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    Jun 2009
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    279
    Location
    Shenandoah County, VA
    Tractor
    Kubota B7300

    Default

    Always glad to read whatever information you care to write up. Hope to do the same myself some day. How many acres are you tending?

  6. #16
    Super Member bp fick's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    5,414
    Location
    Beaver Creek, Northern Michigan
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Self Sufficiency - Small Steps

    Joe,

    You're very kind. We own two acres. Our adjacent rear neighbor has 15, and because he is not resident, I over see his property at his request. He's a younger guy who wants to retire up here one day. Meanwhile, the clear 5 acres touching ours, he desires for me to farm and improve. I simply do not have access to enough irrigation, manure and other soil amendments for that size a piece, so I'm only working an acre of it. The other 4 acres, I am trying to improve through enriching the natural grasses growing on it. That's the best I can do for him. I know what it takes to garden 7 or 8 acres, and that much is simply beyond my resources and manpower.
    BP


    "Some chickens, some gardens and a Kubota."

  7. #17
    Silver Member electrarc's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    102
    Location
    QLD, Australia
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    Foton 82 hp with loader,Ferrari Cobram 65 & Shibaura D23F

    Default Re: Self Sufficiency - Small Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by bp fick View Post
    I have been researching hoop houses for the last couple of years. My wife is getting weary of me occupying every south and west exposure window with trays and trays of plants. When you start 500-600 indoor plants, I guess she has point.

    I do NOT want a hoop house if it means crawling around, etc. I want a full sized, walk through one. The problem is I cannot justify the expense UNLESS we greatly improve setting plant sales. I so want to improve this aspect. I could make money at growing setting plants, but the market up here is dismal. So few people even try gardening this far north, in this climate.

    Still studying and hoping.
    This is the shade house we are building at the moment. I got the plans from the internet. We had the pipe on the farm when we purchased it. So it was using what we had.

    Cheers
    Foton 82 HP,Ferrari Cobram 65 RS, Shibaura D23F, 5' Verge Mower (Flail),7' Side Shift Flail mower,Brush Hog, Finishing Mower, Rotary Hoe, Box Blade, Rear Blade, Land Leveler, Pipe layer, Carry All, Spreader, Auger, Ripper, Tipping Trailer, Ferris IS2000 ZTR.

  8. #18
    Elite Member Redneck in training's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    2,641
    Location
    South Central Iowa
    Tractor
    TYM 330 HST with FEL

    Default Re: Self Sufficiency - Small Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by bp fick View Post
    Three years ago, as my professional vocation began to wind down, one of the main goals/purposes of moving back to where I was raised in the country was to engage in some level of self-sufficiency combined with integrating some organic agriculture practices.
    It has been challenging and perhaps as rewarding as any we could have chosen to do.

    I began to assemble a list of foods that we now fill our jars and freezers and/or eat as the crops produce in season. Most in multiple varieties as noted.
    3 lettuce.
    3 tomatoes
    2 onions (yellow and red)
    3 sweet corn (early, mid, and bi-color)
    cabbage
    2 broccoli
    cauliflower
    2 potatoes (red and white)
    2 green beans (pole and bush)
    strawberries
    blackberries
    2 Sweet peas
    2 carrots
    2 spinach
    3 winter squash
    2 pickles/cucumbers
    2 green peppers
    watermelon
    rhubarb

    In addition, we have a couple dozen chickens and lots of eggs.
    Probably shoot a couple deer this fall and a few rabbits and squirrel.
    We barter eggs and vegetables for a half of pork.

    I don't know how one would compute it with absolute accuracy, but I am estimating that easily half our food now is produced right here. The shelves are filling up, the freezers are getting fuller by the day. It is incredibly hard work, but the enjoyment and satisfaction is priceless. The egg sales and marketing the produce pays the cost of the tractor, fuel, seed, all our own food and covers the property taxes. No complaints.

    Of course, if I compute my "wages" I'm probably working for $.50 an hour, but hey!
    You are great motivation. We bought our hobby farm seven years ago. The purpose was to keep us busy after we retire. So far we built a house and shop on it. We didn't do much gardening beside the landscaping and tree planting. We also have 30 acres of soya beans fifty-fifty with our neighbor farmer. We have the land and he has the machines. I am hoping to retire next year and hoping to produce some food similar way you do. Need to find and read your posts.
    Ladia

  9. #19
    Silver Member electrarc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    102
    Location
    QLD, Australia
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    Foton 82 hp with loader,Ferrari Cobram 65 & Shibaura D23F

    Default Re: Self Sufficiency - Small Steps

    Try again
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Self Sufficiency - Small Steps-pic_0824_074.jpg  
    Foton 82 HP,Ferrari Cobram 65 RS, Shibaura D23F, 5' Verge Mower (Flail),7' Side Shift Flail mower,Brush Hog, Finishing Mower, Rotary Hoe, Box Blade, Rear Blade, Land Leveler, Pipe layer, Carry All, Spreader, Auger, Ripper, Tipping Trailer, Ferris IS2000 ZTR.

  10. #20
    Super Member bp fick's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    5,414
    Location
    Beaver Creek, Northern Michigan
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Self Sufficiency - Small Steps

    Thanks guys,

    Working toward a level self sufficiency for small land holders means gardening, to me. It's gotta start there, I think. One simply has to be able to put away through freezing, cold storage, and/or canning enough food for whatever one's goal is. For us it means only buying staple items, in bulk, that we cannot raise or grow, such as flour, sugar, coffee, oil, etc.

    In theory, with those additional basic items, all of our meals can be tastefully prepared in a healthy fashion for a year. That's our goal and we are quickly approaching it. Define your goals, plan, work, study and make progress each year.

    Secondly, since gardening and husbandry go hand in hand, especially if one is committed to an organic approach, it means animals and poultry is the simplest, cheapest first step. Grew up with chickens so it was a natural choice for us. No learning curve. We like the eggs for food and eggs for cash inflow factor, as well as the meat. Poultry is the small land holders best step, although a couple of pigs would be almost as easy. I do not want to "import" manure from odd sources. I want to use my own. Pound for pound, chicken litter is about your biggest bang.
    BP


    "Some chickens, some gardens and a Kubota."

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