Before and after (spring to fall 2021) of south Fence at our new permaculture farm. Not much to show (since some trees are hard to see but there are spruce trees on the left and a variety of trees on the fence line over the hill.
Year 1 before and after of permaculture on farm land.
Slowly but surely we are converting this bare hay land into a food forest and diverse permaculture property.
This photo is from the far corner of the property showing most of the open area.
Verge Permaculture Summit Banned from Facebook !?! Note that Verge Permaculture is having another online summit (the last one was awesome). It's a free online event and you can listen to experts from around the world! We attended the last event and listened to many of the speakers who were absolutely fantastic. It is a global summit but since this is a Canadian site I will point out that there is a good amount of permaculture information for cold climates which is sometimes hard to find.
Register for their online summit now at https://vergepermaculture.ca/
Permaculture Farm Zone 1 design includes a small shelter/workspace, an outdoor woodstove as a firepit & cooking area, as well as many hemp bales from a local farmer that we are using as early wind shelter and building blocks for our first square bale greenhouses.
Natural Stone Fire Pit needed to be moved and rebuilt as it was too close to the future greenhouse. It has bow been restacked tighter so it is super solid and up to 3 feet high at the back of the old wood stove. This puts off some serious heat and all of the rocks hold it for a really long time.
Watering the old fashioned way on our new Permaculture property. It's been a dry year so far, thankfully we have a natural creek going right through our land. This is my son and I walking down to get some water for our volunteer trees.
DIY Compost Bin (Fully Biodegradable)
I put together this fully biodegradable compost bin from deadfall from our small treed area.
- Built this on a slope to capture rainwater runoff so I don't have to add water.
- Left spaces between branches and dead trees to allow oxygen in.
- Set it up so the strong wind from the North / NorthWest will not blow the compost away.
- Southern exposure so the compost bin receives plenty of sun.
Week #1 of my Permaculture Farm.
So my first week as a farmer went almost as expected. My first task was to go and pickup this tarp shelter someone was giving away, to use as storage or a future DIY greenhouse. Upon arrival we found the shelter was frozen in the ground and surrounded by a mini ice wall. I spent about 4-5 hours smashing the ice and beating on the ground to break the tarp free from the frost while my Dad disassembled it.
I spent a couple of days walking around the property with a map outline of the land, daydreaming about where things would go and drawing out potential layouts for the farm. We brought out an old wood stove we removed from a previous home to have a fire on the new land but it was so windy there was no way we could light it, although this was frustrating it made it clear that we could use layers of trees to the West and North of our main site.
I went down to the local Ag store and purchased a Cattle Shelter for $2400, wheelbarrow, cattle panels (for experimental greenhouses), and some crop seed. The shelter was delivered the following day followed by more wind ensuring once again that there would be no fire. This cattle shelter initially will be a good place to store a few items out of the rain/wind and give us a place for shelter as well. Eventually this shelter will be re-purposed for animals and a windbreak for some of those experimental Greenhouses.
The local County approved our proposed location for the dugout, so the next step will be arranging the equipment to do the digging. I have also been careful observing the spring runoff to get an idea of where we need to build swales and encourage water movement. Once the frost is out I will start to tweak the landscape slightly to encourage water to move to the initial tree planting locations nearby starting at the highest point of the property and then working my way down.
I'm excited for warmer weather so I can get started but I am starting to realize the size of the land and how much grass/hay is going to be growing around me, if I want to accurately measure the contours of the hills I may have to get started before it becomes a hay field. Also need to start thinking about which spots we are going to till early to plant a spring cover crop so we can get some experiments going in Year #1. Stay tuned!
This week I became a permaculture farmer.
I have worked in the computer industry for 25 years, since high school. Despite being a tech nerd for most of my life, I have always had a dream of becoming a gardener, running a tree nursery, or farming. Last year I turned 40, as I was reflecting on this it occurred to me that unless I started working on a plan it would soon be time to admit to myself that this was nothing more than a fantasy. So I took the first step and started to friends and family about my desire to pivot into some kind of greenhouse, hobby farm, or permaculture. I am blessed with a wife who encouraged me to do what I wanted and said she would support me if that's what I want to do next. So we bought the farm. We're fortunate to have saved early and made ourselves debt free, so we were able to purchase land using our savings. We found an incredible property that was within our budget and near our home, 15 acres with rolling hills, and a natural creek which is ideal for permaculture. For the last 2 years I have been binge watching Permaculture videos, training videos, and interviews with successful farmers and producers.
Now it's time to start my new journey.
After 20 years of being a computer nerd, I decided to start a permaculture hobby farm. I want to share my experience, successes, and failures with others but don't want to use the big tech social media sites. I just bought this bare land and plan to turn it into a permaculture "food forest":