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PostPosted: Aug 12th, '17, 20:47 
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julianbu wrote:
good to set the sight on something but be sure not to spoil the fun :cheers:


That is true. One person could never do that much alone possibly. Split it three ways with two employees and pay taxes and it would be a decent income. It would be an honor to feed families healthy food... and support two more with a decent income.

Personally I would likely stop at a smaller point.

I would always find ways to make it fun.

I also aspire to do about 2 to 5 acres of a "you pick" permaculture style orchard. Using the grocery store method found in the following link. 6 months of varying fruit sounds like the garden of Eden to me.

Maybe some honey bees and chickens too. Focusing on one thing at a time though of course.

http://www.permacultureorchard.com

Marty

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PostPosted: Aug 12th, '17, 21:43 
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Where on the same page on this. I am rearing to go this path as well. But I am still recovering from recent accident so making use of my time learning as I can work still very limited.


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PostPosted: Aug 15th, '17, 20:08 
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The idea of being able to turn this hobby in to a career is enticing, I'd love to be able to do it, but the reality is that it will probably never happen. Many people have tried and almost all of them have failed. I might still attempt at some point because it does seem like a lot less stressful than my current career, but it will be a slow moving plan to get there. Start small, work towards feeding your household completely off your land first, then you can start hitting farmers markets or have a roadside stand to get rid of your extras. As demand grows and you have no extras because people are buying them then put the money back in to improving your system. It will probably take several years to get to any decent size, but doing it that way you aren't taking out loans which add extra stress to your life that you owe someone money and have to make a profit or lose everything.

I haven't got to the point where I've figured out what it costs me to grow anything yet because I'm still trying to figure out all the things I need to do to be successful growing them in the first place, but thinking about what it costs to buy a head of lettuce at the store it might be really tough to make $1.50 profit without first devoting some time to getting your name out and getting a following who demands your locally grown fresh produce. I haven't started trying to sell produce yet, but an easy example is eggs... I'm only getting $2 a dozen for farm fresh eggs right now because the local stores are giving eggs away for free just to get people in the store because they will buy something else if they have to walk through the entire store just for a dozen eggs.

Examples of local prices...
$0.89 per pound Zucchini / Yellow squash
$0.39 per pound Cabbage
$1.00 per 12 oz bag of romaine lettuce

They don't have head lettuce listed in their store ad right now, but $1.00 per 12 oz bag of romaine has to be at least one or two heads of romaine to fill the bag... hard to make $1.50 profit if it's only sold for $1.00... so you really need to build demand before you can consider trying to make a profit, let alone make a living doing this...

On top of that I'm just trying to imagine how much space it will take to be able to grow enough lettuce to sell 3000 heads of lettuce per week... I would guess it takes 5 or 6 weeks minimum to grow a full head of lettuce (longer here in the north), so that means you need to have 15,000-18,000 heads growing (actually probably more because not every head of lettuce you grow will be high enough quality to sell, so you probably need to include some scrap factor).

Just trying to figure out how much space you need for that quantity of lettuce... beaver plastics has a 72 hole lettuce raft that is 24" x 48". So you would need 14 rafts per 1000 heads of lettuce (roughly, actually 1008 heads, so that 8 extra might be your scrap factor). That means you need a 28ft x 4ft (112 sq ft) bed for each 1008 heads of lettuce. So you would need 252 of these rafts to get 18,144 heads of lettuce at 2,016 sq ft of bed space. That means you would probably need at least a 3,000 sq ft greenhouse so you still had some floor space to walk around, or you could go vertical on some of the beds but that adds more cost and harder to access... it would NOT be cheap or easy to get started =) The cheapest I've seen for a DIY high tunnel is about $600 for a 320 sq ft poly covered 8ft x 40ft tunnel. Want to look professional it's going to be a LOT more...

Not saying it can't be done... I'd just approach it slowly, make small mistakes then learn from them and grow then make more small mistakes etc.

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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '17, 05:50 
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I totally agree Rob. It will be a long road to success It takes growing and salesman/business skills... and the right market to get there.

I am currently also setting myself up for success by...
-Eliminated all debt. No car payments or Anything.
-Cutting all daily expenses back and learning to manage money. Living cheap.
-Saving up a nest egg to (very carefully) be able to buy all tools and such to make everything as easy and efficient as possible when I start... in Cash
-Setting myself up to be able to survive easily on just having to work a few days a week(starting in 4 to 6 years) which will give me 4 days a week to work and learn and grow the business.
- Start small is worth repeating.
-Market research. Looking for a place with the right climate... culture... and population size that would support such a business. Making sure that overhead costs(such as land cost) are minimal compared to potential profits.
-Diversification for resiliency. In both business and Permaculture It is imperative to diversify. I plan to do this on a great many levels. Customer base (grocery stores, farmers markets, restaurants, you-pick, etc.), multiple systems instead of one (if one fails or gets over run from pests it won't be a complete loss), multiple crops (flooding the market with one crop maximises work and minimises profit . Plus it leaves room for improvement through new market discovery or better crops), and I plan on keeping some small systems for trial testing.
- There are several more thing that I am not thinking of right now I am sure.

... my wife is now yelling in my ear. I have to go. Lol

Marty

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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '17, 06:17 
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Speaking of which...

Having a "reluctant spouse" can be detrimental to your business as well.

Mine is on board with it so long as I grow most of our family's food First. It costs us more each month to feed the family healthy food than it does rent. So... therefore I am on board with that as well!

Marty

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PostPosted: Aug 20th, '17, 05:19 
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Time for an update.

The beans and basil have about 4 different types of caterpillars attacking. Been picking 20 - 50 eggs a day off of the leaves. The few that hatch get fed to the fish when found.

The beans are throwing out flowers already!

The basil and garlic chives taste great!

Started Kale and Swiss Chard from seed. Some directly in the system and some indoors. Had a much better germination rate directly in the gravel! That makes it easier. Good news. :headbang:

Bad news... about half of the beans have died. :support:

There is some sort of grub eating their way through the stalks and killing the whole plants.

Upgrading the roof boards now. Getting insect netting later if the spray does not work. I honestly have not used the sprayer yet. Got to get molasses this weekend.

I had a brain storm for a new type of NFT. Can't wait to show you guys some day when I get the chance.

Marty


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PostPosted: Aug 22nd, '17, 21:58 
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I have been watching some videos the past few days talking about how people have made money with small chunks of land growing market vegetables, and the one that I most recently watched claimed to make like $350k a year on 1.5 acres. His advice was NOT to try and grow everything. Find one or two types of each plant you like best and only grow those, don't try growing 12 different lettuces, 12 different tomatoes etc. because then you are actually competing with yourself. It might take some experimentation to start out to find what you like best, what grows best in your location, what customer base will buy, but eventually narrow it down to reduce your amount of work too (growing 12 different types of the same crop might require 12 different plans for management).


What type of spray are you planning to use? I picked up some B.T. and I've sprayed my garden down twice and it has kept tomato worms and cabbage worms out all summer so far. I did just notice they were starting to hatch out in the broccoli and cabbage again so need to spray it down again but was pretty amazed how quickly this worked... I applied at the first sign of cabbage worms and the next day they were gone. I have not seen tomato worms in the my garden, assuming because of using the B.T... I know they are on my property because I have tomato plants growing on the other side of the yard in my compost pile and they are all eaten up by tomato worms but they have not bothered the garden this year or the greenhouse (and I have not used any kind of treatment on anything in the greenhouse)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009O ... UTF8&psc=1

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PostPosted: Aug 23rd, '17, 05:16 
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Nice. I didn't know Amazon carried that. I like the sound of it. It now resides in my cart.

There are quite a few micro farms that are killing it out there. They just are too busy or don't want to talk much.

I spent the last five years listening to podcasts about 2hrs a day during much old commute. My favorite one was "Permaculture podcast"

They interviewed Curtis Stone over two growing seasons. The first season you get to hear how he started up to where he is now. Making over $100,000 a year on .3 Acres!

He manages his farm like a business. Tackling the things that wasted the most time first.... and like you said... cutting down to the top profitable crops. He figured out he was making 80% of his money on I just 20% of his crops. He is still diversified. Just no longer overwhelmed. Went from working over 100hrs a week and making just $14,000 his first year to working about 20hrs a week now... with one employee. After 7 or so years he is still stepping it up. Making more each year.

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PostPosted: Aug 23rd, '17, 06:24 
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It always surprises me when people are on here talking about growing so and so many heads of lettuce.

Seems to me that lettuce doesn't sell for a heck of a lot of money for the space it takes up compared to things like fresh herbs

We all know mint grows like a weed in AP, ever looked at what people are paying for a few sprigs of mint at the local Woolworths?


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PostPosted: Aug 23rd, '17, 06:59 
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Herbs are a great potential. I have heard of Basil going for $10 to $40 a lb in the right location at the right time of year.

Mint does turn into a monster in Aquaponics from what I hear. It will send runners through pipes and even into the foam on floating rafts from the pics I have seen.

However, I hear the vertical towers are great for it. You just have to set it up to be able to transport the whole tower easily. I am sure every bar in most down towns would LOVE to have a tower full of mint for their fresh Mojitos!

Herbs are so easy to grow too. If starting small it is a very viable option I bet.

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PostPosted: Aug 24th, '17, 23:53 
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It was actually Curtis Stone who I was watching some of the videos from that I mentioned above... I like his videos, but I think some of the numbers he's using are pretty well fabricated, and I'm not sure he's really making as much money off his farm as what he claims vs. making money off of selling classes to try and teach other people to make up unrealistic numbers. His advice in his videos seems pretty good, I just doubt his numbers (one video I just watched he claimed the guy was making $80K on 1/4 acre, but when you look at the space the guy is growing in it looks a heck of a lot more than 1/4 acre, so if you can't trust that number then I'm sure there is some little white lies built in to the money numbers too).

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PostPosted: Aug 26th, '17, 06:56 
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I suspect that too with his salesmanship.


Here is the link to another thread I just started. Finally finished my Flood/Drain/NFT hybrid drawing!!!

viewforum.php?f=1


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PostPosted: Aug 31st, '17, 19:30 
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Did another set of water tests last night. Last time I wrote it down in my book was over a month ago.

PH 6.8 to 7.0
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 40 to 80 ppm

No PH adjustments necessary this month.

Added some Iron chelates, epsom salt, and dried kelp extract a few weeks ago. About time for another teaspoon of kelp again.

Had 4 feeder goldfish die off a few weeks ago. They looked healthy and were the more approachable fish in the tank. Quit letting the kids put their hands in the water to "pet" the fish. No more deaths now.

Roof upgrade successful. Held up for the wind and rain from the hurricane ruminants that are blowing through.

Molasses spray may only work in a greenhouse. The rain keeps washing it off of the leaves. May try that other spray mentioned earlier.

Getting bean pods forming now. Picking dozens of eggs and about a dozen baby caterpillars off the plans each day.


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PostPosted: Aug 31st, '17, 21:13 
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Wonderful discussions here Great08. You are delving into issues we are all facing to a greater degree with Climate Change as well as invasive species brought about by human transference of pests.

I wasn't able to grow anything outside this year :cry:

I am so glad I built a little greenhouse or we'd have no homegrown produce to eat.

Imaging that a new farmer can make tens of thousands of dollars from a back yard farm is as you and Rob also said, is naive to say the least.
We now live in a world where some people make money by taking advantage of gullible and desperate citizens trying to survive.
We all know or should know, that successful business require sales people supplied with marketable products along with consistent local buyers as well as a complete understanding of basic business practice.
I have seen some of the videos you all are speaking of, however I am 63 years old and have seen similar proposals many times. An example for me is health care because I have not been able to see a rheumatologist because of the state I live in has very few.
Smart business people see this as an opportunity to make money.
Miracle cures that supposedly get to the root of the cause for inflammation abound. I'm no financial wizard, of course or I wouldn't be living at poverty level. I do however do more research these days now that we have the Internet. One thing I have learned over the years after owning three businesses, is there is always clever people claiming they have the answer to our problems at a "reasonable" cost
Does this make me cynical? No, I've always considered myself a man of action. Instead of needing to believe what someone says is a real money maker doesn't fit with my idea of what a sustainable lifestyle means. This being said, I do not believe some one can grow that much sell-able produce working alone, regardless of the size of the land available. Perhaps they also run a Cannabis farm on the side to supplement their income? :think: Now that would be believable.
The appointment with a New Mexico rheumatologist today after two years of waiting and suffering. Yay! I think :shifty:

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PostPosted: Sep 1st, '17, 04:12 
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@ Boss

I know what you mean about it being hard to find a rheumatologist. My little girl has systemic rheumatoid arthritis. We have to drive for hours to see the specialist. Though they do come into town a few times a year.

She may be in remission now... or on her way towards it. The only thing we could find to do to combat (slow down the damage) it was increase nutrition and cut out inflammatory food types like gluten and such. Chocolate and a host of other foods are anti inflammatory so we try to work them in.

That is what got me into growing food so passionately. Healthy food costs a fortune!

Turned out it is still a debate if the disease is auto immune or auto inflammatory. Lol

Marty

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