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Old 04-30-2012, 08:38 AM   #1
Brian Androsian
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All you farmers/gardeners out there

I keep seeing people talk about growing food and having animals and I want to hear all about it.
My family is looking for land to start growing on and eventually move into the local farmers markets. So, I want to hear success stories, what you guys are growing/what animals you have, tips and tricks and whatever else you feel like talking about.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:30 PM   #2
Colin McLafferty
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Re: All you farmers/gardeners out there

Brian Im totallly with you, Id like to hear some input too. I was listening to a gardening show the other day on the radio and this is what I learned-

For beginner gardeners, start with spices and herbs. These are generally easy to grow and take care of and can save you a lot o fmoney at the grocery store. Plus, you get a lot of flavor from a little effort.

After spices and herbs, step up to vine-plants like zucchini, tomatoes, etc. They are supposedly easy to grow and tend to.
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:37 PM   #3
Sean Smith
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Re: All you farmers/gardeners out there

Gardening is extremely easy to start. I would suggest building a box and filling it with dirt. Pretty much a sandbox and fill it with dirt. Go to a local greenhouse and buy some seedlings. When you are sure that it won't frost overnight, stick them in the ground and water them. It's that easy.

Growing a garden is an awesome experience. I am amazed that more people don't have one. Once you stick the plants or seeds in the ground, it's basically free food.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:59 PM   #4
Jason Wallis
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Re: All you farmers/gardeners out there

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Originally Posted by Colin McLafferty View Post
For beginner gardeners, start with spices and herbs... After spices and herbs, step up to vine-plants like zucchini, tomatoes, etc. They are supposedly easy to grow and tend to.
I'd call nonsense on this. Growing vegetables isn't exactly rocket surgery, it just takes a little time, effort, and common sense. I wouldn't try to grow a 4 acre garden the first year, but I'd definately dive right in. If you mess it up completely, you don't have any veggies and you've learned something. If you don't try at all, you just don't have any veggies.
Yellow squash, zucchini, green beans, carrots, peas, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, and sweet corn are all things I think a beginner could handle (though not all at once). Alot of what you grow will be plain personal preference.
Instead of writing out a step-by-step, there are many on the interwebz, I'd be happy to answer any question anyone might have, if I can. Decide if you're going to go with raised beds or a ground plot, what you're going to grow, and go for it! For those with very little room: you'd be amazed at how much food you can grow in a small area. Things like cucumbers, canteloupe, and some beans will climb if you give them something to grow up so theoretically you could have even a viney plant every square foot (I grow mine on the ground, so no experience there).
Plant a berry patch, and an orchard as soon as possible. If I had had the foresight to plant fruit trees when I bought my property, they'd be 8 years old now and producing some fruit.
I think my next project is going to be a small vineyard...
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:43 PM   #5
Marcus Allen
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Re: All you farmers/gardeners out there

As much as I love our garden(currently about 1/3 acre) I prefer the animals we raise.

The count as of today is...
6 goats, including 1 1mo old doeling and 3 pregnant does
2 turkeys, 1 tom and 1 hen sitting on 18 eggs
4 heritage hogs, 2 Red Wattles and 2 American Guinea Hogs
14 laying hens between 1-2 yrs old
46 meat chicks, 8 hens the rest roosters
1 guard llama

We are also expecting 14 ducks at the end of this week.

The goats we use for milk, the turkeys we eat the hogs are 4-H projects and home use, laying hens for eggs obviously, the meat chicks will mostly be butchered but we want to try to keep 1 rooster and the hens for continuation of the flock. The ducks will be for meat and eggs.

We have been doing this for 3 years so I'll answer whatever questions I can.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:45 PM   #6
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: All you farmers/gardeners out there

If you want to do this as a business, rather than a hobby, one of the big decisions to make upfront is whether or not to go organic. Because of the time and expense of getting certified, it's tough to change your mind later on that one.

Contact your local farmer's market as early in the process as you can. They can probably connect you with whatever local resources might be available for beginning farmers. (Washington State, for instance, has a number of organizations trying to encourage more people to farm because they want to limit development of existing farmland.)

If you have no prior experience, it would be worth considering an internship on an existing farm.

Katherine
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:48 AM   #7
Jason Wallis
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Re: All you farmers/gardeners out there

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Allen View Post
As much as I love our garden(currently about 1/3 acre) I prefer the animals we raise.

The count as of today is...
6 goats, including 1 1mo old doeling and 3 pregnant does
2 turkeys, 1 tom and 1 hen sitting on 18 eggs
4 heritage hogs, 2 Red Wattles and 2 American Guinea Hogs
14 laying hens between 1-2 yrs old
46 meat chicks, 8 hens the rest roosters
1 guard llama

We are also expecting 14 ducks at the end of this week.

The goats we use for milk, the turkeys we eat the hogs are 4-H projects and home use, laying hens for eggs obviously, the meat chicks will mostly be butchered but we want to try to keep 1 rooster and the hens for continuation of the flock. The ducks will be for meat and eggs.

We have been doing this for 3 years so I'll answer whatever questions I can.
That's awesome! We only keep chickens, and only for eggs (and entertainment). For me, it's a effort/reward situation in which fresh, local meat is just as easily available as raising my own. In different circumstances I'd definately keep a small herd of cows, hogs, and meat poultry.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:45 AM   #8
Marcus Allen
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Re: All you farmers/gardeners out there

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
If you want to do this as a business, rather than a hobby, one of the big decisions to make upfront is whether or not to go organic. Because of the time and expense of getting certified, it's tough to change your mind later on that one.

Contact your local farmer's market as early in the process as you can. They can probably connect you with whatever local resources might be available for beginning farmers. (Washington State, for instance, has a number of organizations trying to encourage more people to farm because they want to limit development of existing farmland.)

If you have no prior experience, it would be worth considering an internship on an existing farm.

Katherine
Local extension offices are some of the best resources for this. The state universities run them and are usually in most cities in the state.

Also, the USDA offers low interest loans for agricultural properties that are outside of Urban Growth Boundaries. These can be 100% loans for first time buyers.

If you want to be a business farmer on a small scale, I would stay away from organic certification. Focus on the sustanably raised requirements, they are far easier to accomodate, and actually make much more sense than the organic standards.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:55 PM   #9
Jason Wallis
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Re: All you farmers/gardeners out there

I started harvesting lettuce and spinach this weekend. I try to keep it cut back so that there's always new growth. Since we can't save it we give as much as possible away, eat what we want, and feed the rest to the chickens and compost pile.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:50 PM   #10
Brian Androsian
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Re: All you farmers/gardeners out there

Just planted tomatoes, peppers, spinach, garlic, parsley and sunflowers this past weekend. Not a ton but pretty good for an apartment balcony.
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