any farmers or gardeners here?

Submitted by mockingjanthony in permaculture

im in maine just outside lewiston, zone 5b

live in a rural subdivision, not quite as dense as a common trailer park, but a semi private neighborhood mostly consisting of nicer double wide and prefab homes. about 30 folks in the circle we live on. we are renting from my partners mom, her husband owns across the streets. trying to talk both into letting me cultivate the lawns. we have about 4k of cultivatable space, and i estimate across the street there is twice that and also a south facing slope. i could grow 30k in produce a year, year round, with about 5k worth of startup, but they are bourgoise fucks who want to grow grass to mantain their property value. my sister works in mortgage, has for 15 years, and she says you can till up every square foot and it doesn't effect property value. if anything its a niche benefit that will attract passionate buyers and allow you to close faster, not necissarily for more though, just because the housing industry doesn't function like a market, due to brokers gatekeeping.

anyway, so im starting slow, got permission to cultivate the backyard. thinned some of the woods to let in more light, plan to grow some mushrooms at some point in the woods. we have about 1 acre, most of it wooded.

the beds are as follows:

  1. 10'x2' ground bed, just planted 250 peas to overwinter, expecting to harvest early to mid january, if its a mild or late winter into the end of january. will be used for squash corn and beens come spring.

  2. 4 ground mounds, 2 or 3 squashes in each. 3 mounds acorn squash. 1 mound blue hubbard. these were planted in the spring, are not producing very well. were very prolific but the grasshoppers have been eating most of the blossoms before they can fruit. at least 3 fruits so far have been eating into also, either by mice or the grasshoppers. still producing close to a dozen acorn squashes, and only 1 hubbard squash, but its going to be a big one! going to plant red onions to overwinter when the squashes are done. the onions will be ready to harvest in april, when the beds will be planted with squash, corn and beens.

  3. 4x10 hugulkultur raised bed(hkrb). 10 indeterminate cherry tomatoes, some about 10' high, growing up through the bird netting i have over the main garden. 3 large leaf basils, 1 rosemary, 1 thyme. probably 50 lbs of tomatoes are ripening. im gathering about 5 lbs of ripened fruits a week now, should continue to until mid november. the basil has all been harvested, made a quart of pesto, gave a bunch away, froze some. ate nothing but pesto everything for a week. pesto pasta, pesto pizza, pesto toast, pesto crackers, pesto yogurt, spoonful of pesto. i didn't prune the tomatoes, and i used too much nitrogen apparently, because they are so bushy/leafy. they have a good amount of fruit, but its taking forever to ripen. they are also getting some lower leaf fungus issues, so i did an emergency pruning yesterday. its mostly just delaying the inevitable now though. wont be able to enjoy the fruits as long as i might have. going to have to harvest most of them green and pickle them or something.

  4. 4x10 hkrb. 8 beafsteak tomatoes, 1 small leaf basil. doing pretty good. got some huge green toms, none have ripened yet. planning to jar a bunch of salsa and sauce, and make fried green tomatoes to freeze for the winter with whatever ones dont ripen in time. going to be for cukes, dill, hot peppers and cilantro come spring.

  5. 4x10 hkrb. 8 green beans and 4 green peppers. doing well. should have planted much MUCH more beans, 5 times more i think. could have planted 2 more peppers also. but they are doing well. actually going to get peppers, which is suprising. never had good luck with peppers in maine, even in the warmer coastal areas ive lived. was going to give up on them, but now im convinced enough to grow at least some each year because you never know. climate change is making maine a pretty great place to garden sometimes, but also unpredictable. have to diversify more.

  6. 4x10 hkrb. 10 cucumbers. 2 roma tomatoes. planted too close together. someone gave me 2 tomato plants late in the spring, and i had everything else planted. i should have planted them in buckets, but didn't have cash for soil, so just squeezed them in between the cucumber rows, which were already too dense, lol. anyway, still happy with the production, but getting a lot of leaf mold issues like the cherry tomatoes. just did an emergency pruning yesterday.

  7. 10x2 hk ground bed. fall beets and carrots, two plantings staggered a month apart. to be harvested november and december. after each doing another seccession with a hoop for winter harvest, covering with more and more mulch as winter kicks up. should be able to harvest end of january and if its not too brutal through to mid or late february, otherwise the roots will just stay mulched and harvested early in the spring. then id like to plant perennials there, asperagus and scallions.

  8. 4x20 raised bed. fall greens, romaine and chard. also scallions and leaks. planted everything 1 month ago, and planted another row of romaine and chard yesterday. going to make a low hoop for this bed so i can harvest greens through january, with the help of abundant straw mulch mounded up between all the rows. going to continue growing greens here as it gets good shade in the summer, the greens wont grow as big as fast, but will also not bolt and will taste better longer, for ongoing harvest throughout the summer and fall. will rotate in onions the following year then strawberries for 2 years.

im hoping this opperation will show concept to my GFs mom and get her to let me cultivate the front yard space. because i could do so much more with that space.

i want to turn one 50x50 section of the lawn into seasonal fruits: strawberries, blueberries, pumpkin, rhubarb, apple and peach

and the other 25x75 section of lawn into market veggies, growing with an emphasis on italian food to market to chefs in northern new england, and stuff that can be made into value added products, and using hoop houses, solar hot water storage system, and hot beds to extend the season as much as possible without the use of fuels.

also building a greenhouse in the back yard, where the current beds im using are. its a simple cold frame, but working on a concept for a super efficient design, integrating a 3 season porch into the greenhouse itself, so that heat loss from the house into the porch room, will help warm the greenhouse. surplus warmth from the greenhouse can be harvested by opening the porch door and letting it in on sunny winter days.

i plan to grow microgreens year round in the 3 season porch room once the greenhouse is built, im confident with the use of hot water barrels propping up the benches they are grown on, i can grow microgreens year round. need to build the 3 season porch though also. hoping to talk the landlord into making that happen, buying the materials and getting all the code approval, ill design and build it for free

with the current settup i plan to grow 15% of our food each year, after giving half it away. could grow closer to 25% with more diversification, and more focus on storage. with the plan for growing for market, if i can get permission, i can grow closer to 10k worth of produce out front. the landlords husband owns across the street, and thats a yard twice as big, also south facing. could order 3 truck loads each of loam and compost, and stuff to build 3 hoop houses, and have 3 13x100 growing areas and produce upwards to 100k worth of produce a year.

really itching to get this started, but need members for a co-op. and to work out the negotiation for access. also looking at other properties, but can't afford to buy a place without forming a co-op with folks.


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ziq wrote (edited )

I've got around 100 fruit trees, fruiting cactuses, perennial berries, etc in the mountains, West Asia. Lowest temp in winter is -2 celcius.


username462 wrote

Storage and waste are two of my biggest problems with growing food. When I get mangoes, I get hundreds of pounds in less than a month. If I don't use them right away it just turns into mushy mango waste. Instead of letting them go to waste, I make jam and wine and use the seeds to start new trees that I can graft and give away at later times. I give away as much of my produce and jam etc as I can because I'll run out of space for it and I'd rather grow and have an abundance to share than not have nearly enough and have to buy more food. I have just under an acre and I have mango trees, avocado trees, figs, pineapples, starfruit, papaya, and about 150sqft of raised beds. This is Florida btw so we can grow fairly tropical here.


ziq wrote

I freeze everything I can't eat and blend it later


username462 wrote

I freeze a lot of my produce but I run out of space in my chest freezer pretty quickly. It's easier for me to can and trade food than keep it frozen for an indefinite amount of time.


zzuum wrote

I've got a tiny garden in my rental house where I am currently failing to grow snow peas (Northern California). I'm looking into starting some hydroponics soon.