Tag Archives: permaculture

Episode-1383- The Forest Market Garden Concept

Last week I did Episode 1379- The Profitable Small Acre Homestead and it seemed to be a pretty big hit.  Today’s show continues on that theme.  The reason I bring this up is 1379 has some business components that apply here and I will not be rehashing many of them, so to get the most from today’s show you may wish to listen to 1379 first if you have not already done so.

With 1379 fresh in my mind I was turned on to a book called, The Market Gardner by Jean-Martin Fortier.  I am currently reading it but one thing that struck me was the constant need for bed prep, soil amendments, seed and plant starting, heavy irrigation, etc.  And this is a book that promises to reduce work by “going small and focusing on intensive production and quality”.  Frankly it still sounds like a ton of work to me.

My view is a perennial style system while taking longer to yield is a lot less ongoing work and requires a lot less ongoing expense and inputs.  So today I am examining this concept in a live thought expirment.  Many of the concepts you have seen developed at TSP came via this type of thinking and planning and many other ideas never made it though the tunnel to the other side.

Hence, today’s show is not a statement of what will work, or even well planned.  It is just what I claim a thought experiment with a lot of work left to be done, but it is one I believe is highly valid and may in fact empower many homesteaders in the future to become profitable on small blocks of land ranging between 2-5 acres.  Perhaps even less.

Join Me Today to Discuss…

  • Why this approach
  • What is the downside
  • What are some of the biggest challenges
  • How might you reduce establishment costs
    • Establish a “beach head” with most planned varieties
    • Propagate and expand over time
    • Develop solid earthworks to reduce irrigation requirements
    • Use irrigation trays like IrriPan to establish, then expand with reuse
    • Thoughts on grafting including patented varieties
  • Thoughts on staggering harvest with fruit tree varieties
    • Apples (mid July to late Oct.)
    • Plums (mid May to early Oct.)
    • Cherry (early May to late June)
    • Apricots and Crosses (early May to early July, and Aug.)
    • Nectarines (late May to late Sept.)
    • Peaches (early May to late Sept.)
    • Pears (including Asian) (Late July to very early Nov.)
  • Thoughts on staggering harvest with berry varieties
    • Blueberries (May to July)
    • Blackberries (June to August plus late crop primacanes)
    • Raspberries (Mid June to July and Mid Aug. to Mid Oct.)
    • Currants and Gooseberry (mid June to mid July)
    • Strawberry (ever bearing and June bearing)
    • Grapes (August – September)
    • Wolfberry (Late June to first frost)
    • Elderberry (July to August)
    • Sea Berry (at least early Aug. to late Sept.)
  • Some cool value adds and how to incorporate them
    • Perennial herbs
    • Squash (winter and summer)
    • Dried berries
    • Mushrooms
    • Potentially reselling other local product in a cool way
    • Honey
  • Final Thoughts – this is viable but the design is still far away

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

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Episode-1379- The Profitable Small Acre Homestead

Homesteading is a dream for a lot of people, a some day idea.  Generally it is usually this way.  I need a job, so I need to be close to work, so we can’t afford a  huge place close enough, so ONE DAY I will have enough saved to make the move.

This can and does work, but one day has a way of becoming a moving target, a carrot before the horse that keeps the cart moving yet never is tasted for many.  So my view is for some at least, the homestead can at least in time become a significant income source.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • Our basic plan and why it might not be right for you
    • Start with eggs, build a customer base
    • Sell other nice items, meal worms, candles, etc.
    • Begin selling plants, cuttings, fertilizers
    • Sell produce as it comes into production
    • Possibly at some point sell poultry
  • What I think you can learn from our plan and how you should build your design
    • Specialize in something that builds a customer base
    • Expand slowly over time
    • Develop DEEP relationships with your customers
    • Let them guide your development
  • What I would look for in a property
    • Close to a reasonable population center
    • Decent internet access
    • Good drive buy traffic
    • No restrictions (unincorporated if possible)
    • Deep soils with pond sites
    • Flat to relatively flat
    • As always it comes down to water, access, structure
  • Thoughts on different revenue elements
    • Paddock shift silvopasture poultry (eggs, meat)
    • Market gardening
      • raised beds of fixed length
      • heavy weed blocking
      • designed to the sun or shade by climate
      • Develop a CSA around it fast
    • Small nurseries
    • Small “orchards” for produce
    • Specialty craft products
    • Bees and bee products
    • Dairy
    • Other stock, cattle, sheep, goats, etc
    • Focus on value added products
  • Some final thoughts
    • It takes time, how much is based on how much you have
    • You can’t do everything so don’t even try to, do one thing then another
    • It isn’t for everyone, that is great!
    • It isn’t easy, but in reality it is simple
    • It is hard to do on your own, a multi family approach has a lot to offer
    • Making a living is better than working for a living

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

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New Video Series Dedicated to Comfrey – Episode One

The sheer number of questions about comfrey since I did episode 1371 has been pretty amazing.  I haven’t had as much follow up questions on an episode in a LONG TIME so I decided to do a whole series on comfrey.  Here is episode one.  The Basics of Comfrey Propagation with Root Cuttings.

Here is a link to the seller I bought from on eBay but now the huge quantity makes sense, apparently I bought a quantity of 2 packs of 10, there was still a SHIT TON of comfrey there, far more than 20 crowns and cuttings.  This is one of the best deals I have found on Comfrey.

Episode-1371- All About Comfrey the Miracle Plant

Comfrey - A Proven Medicinal Herb, With a Undeserved Bad Reputation.

Comfrey – A Proven Medicinal Herb, With a Undeserved Bad Reputation.

Why do I call comfrey a miracle plant?  Well if I said their was one plant that could help heal broken bones, speed wound healing, heal skin ulcers that nothing else could close, provide fertilizer, provide mulch, feed livestock and be as easy to grow as breaking off a piece of a root and sticking it in the dirt, what would you call it?

Comfrey does all of these things and frankly more.  It also has a very undeserved bad reputation as being toxic if used internally.  In fact some over zealous nanny state types even caution against using it externally.  I am not really sure if the misinformation about comfrey is simply tea cup protectionism run a muck or an outright slander campaign.  And while I can’t advise you to use comfrey internally, because it is illegal for me to do so, what I will say is at times I do and I certainly am not dead or ill from doing so.

Even if you plan to never use comfrey internally it is still a plant every person should grow and be familiar with.  Its uses are too many to ignore and further it is so easy to grow and propagate there is no reason not to.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • What exactly is comfrey
  • Why are we told comfrey is toxic
  • What is wrong with the research done to say it is toxic
  • What are the main comfrey types and what does Bocking mean?
  • How do you propagate comfrey
    • From seed (“wild comfrey” only)
    • From root cuttings, crowns, etc.
    • From tiny cuttings (make a lot fast)
    • Growing out cuttings in containers to multiply results fast
    • How I would propagate lots of roots fast if I wanted to
  • Uses for Comfrey
    • As fodder for cows, chickens, pigs, geese, etc. what you need to know
    • As fertilizer
      • Awesome NPK Ratio 1.8-0.5-5.3
      • A Dynamic Accumulator of Si, N, Mg, Ca, K & Fe
      • Making Liquid Fertilizer
      • Mulching
      • Leaf Boosting
    • For Medicinal Use
      • On wounds and ulcers
      • On bites and stings
      • On broken bones and sprains
      • On bruises
      • Internally (this is illegal)
      • Making oils and salves
  • Rules for successful comfrey patches
    • Keep it “clean, cut and fed”
    • Grass can and will choke out comfrey
    • You can graze it, best to do when you would have cut it
    • I prefer a distributed model but might do a propagation patch
  • Sources of Comfrey

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

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Episode-1339- 21 Things I Planted this Year and Why

Things Have Changed a LOT in a Year!

Things Have Changed a LOT in a Year! Click for a Full Sized Image.

The last few weeks have been a wirlwind of activity at the Spirko homestead.  We had a workshop where over 30 students planted about 200 or more trees and bushes.  But it didn’t stop there.  Since that time I have been busy as hell so I can take the next ten days off and soak my butt on the beach in Florida.

Before I jet out in the AM, I figured a quick little recap of some of the more unique things I planted this year and why I planted them might make for a fun and more lighthearted show then we have recently had.

The goals I have had for the TSP homestead are really two fold.  One of course is simply a diverse and heavily producing system.  To accomplish this I planted a lot of the usual suspects, peaches, pecans, pears, apples and plums for instance.  These plants are proven producers in my climate.  The other goal though was to have an average person come on site during peak season and be able to actually eat a half dozen in season items that they had never even heard of.

The reason is that really opens up peoples mind as to what is possible.  Some of this unusual stuff is really hardy for my climate and we know it will do.  Others are marginal and we are using select micro climates to try to establish them.

Join Me Today As I Tell You About These Plants…

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

 

Episode-1325- Taking the TSP Homestead Forward in 2014

Charlie and Ralph Nap after a Long Day on the Homestead

Time for a simple old school style TSP that is basically a chat with Jack.  Today we take a look a what 2014 has in store for life at the TSP homestead.  The first year here was mostly an infrastructure establishment phase.  We installed swales and hugul beds.  We also built facilities for our livestock, systems to move they though the land, etc.  We installed garden ponds and many other systems.

The entire first year of establishment is actually available in a 90 minute video we filmed that you can find here.  The key is the first year was like building the roads and bridges, 2014 is going to be more like when the houses, buildings and shops go in, metaphorically of course.

This year is going to be awesome, Josiah will be off building the flagship PermaEthos farm which will require at least one trip by me up there for a major earthworks course and installation.  Other than that though Dorothy and I will be back to it just being the two of us and frankly even though we love Joe like family we are looking forward to it.

We are moving into a new phase, one of tweaking, edge expansion and management.  Shifting from changing the landscape to working with it.  Dorothy is even considering starting a small homestead business or businesses of her own.

Join Me Today As We Discuss…

  • Once we plant 300 plus trees this week then what
  • Plans for more mobile chicken fencing and a mobile coops
  • Charly’s progress and the BS that a dog that kills a chicken must be beaten, etc.
  • The geese “herd” is being expanded
  • Ducks into the system
  • A new “pond” near the big hen house how it will add to our system
  • A new crop in the garden ponds, Chinese water chestnut
  • This year we go big on perennial medicinal herbs
  • Bees are coming, I have no idea what to do with them but I will figure it out
  • Dorothy is considering an egg business, perhaps a plant business too
  • Pasture restoration 2.0, one horse equals a LOT of poop and hay
  • Final decision on the west pasture has yet to be made
  • Plans for our future abundance

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

Join the MSB Today

Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

 

Guerrilla Podcast – My Presentation from Permaculture Voices

So this is kinda sorta a guerrilla podcast.  The majority of the audio in today’s show is from my “run through” of the presentation I gave last week at Permaculture Voices.

It covers many ways to build a business in permaculture, some really sound and basic business concepts that many new entrepreneurs often overlook.

As for myself and Josiah we along with two yet to be named other folks are getting on airplanes today to go see to something that should have us officially launching the first PermaEthos farm and a very cool educational opportunity in about one month’s time.  More on that on Monday!

Episode-1318- Lessons and Stories from Permaculture Voices

What a week, I am tired, worn out and for a yet to be fully disclosed reason about to be on a plane again on Friday.  So I figure I better do my review of the happenings at Voices while everything is still fresh in my mind.

The people are Voices were awesome and I have to say even the few that are what Paul Wheaton calls “purple breathers” there were pretty cool as well.  In fact I have found that many of the “purple breathers” seem to be breathing less purple over the years.  Perhaps Obama has done some good, by being so lousy at his job?  It seems years of “getting what they asked for but not what they expected” may actually be pushing some folks from the left, not to the right but OUT of any belief in “the system” at all.

The overall tone of most of the conference was very entrepreneurial and very libertarian leaning.  There was actually almost no talk of actual politics, rather it was more here is where regs are in the way, this is how we are getting around them.

Join Me Today as I Discuss…

  • Flat out Diego Footer hit a home run with Voices!
  • If they do this again, I will go back, it was that well done
  • I think people put to much weight on single sentences of the “experts”
  • If there is a Voices 2, I would like to see some speakers “step it up” on the solutions side
  • The guys I want to go visit now are Greg Judy and Mark Sheppard, awesome!
  • Joel Salatin is a good farmer, and a brilliant businessman, think fiefdoms
  • If you want to speak at conferences, you might want to join toastmasters
  • Some big opportunities are out there, top ones I see now are
    • The nursery business (big or small)
    • Grazing cattle, sheep, chickens, etc on OPL
    • Alley cropping during “orchard establishment”
    • Taking education beyond the “PDC”
    • Taking an internship with an established farm
    • Developing new varieties (plants, trees, birds, etc.)
    • Urban design consulting
  • I think “transition” is taking on a new meaning and a new momentum

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

 

TSP Homestead First Year in Review on Video

So it seems crazy but we have been on our new homestead about a year at this point.  In that time we lost our friend Blackie and gained an incredible new one “Charlie Daniels Spirko“.  We ran our first ever internship program and were so lucky to have chosen Josiah Wallingford as our intern who has become part of the family.

As to our property for our first year we focused mostly on infrastructure design.  Right now we have over 100 fruit and nut trees in damp sand waiting for our April planting workshop with a hundreds more on order.   When you look at the property now it doesn’t yet have the hundreds of varieties of plantings and frankly it is still winter so a lot of stuff is still brown, but when we really took it in, the first year was quite incredible.

We decided to document the entire property for you guys.  Likely it is a good thing we did so because in a year or two I don’t know that anyone will ever believe how this property started out without seeing it for themselves.    I am providing this video which is over an hour and 20 minutes in full 1080i HD in place of a show today.

Ill be in California until Tuesday so there won’t be any episodes officially until Wednesday next week but I will be uploading some raw audio and video from California and will try to put something new up every day for your guys.

Episode-1317- Building the Backyard Orchard

The Loquat, Citrus Hardy to Zone 7!

The Loquat, A Citrus that is Hardy to Zone-7!

Today is sort of kind of a permaculture episode, but not necessarily one.  I think we have a lot of people in the audience that want more food production but do not necessarily really care about “permaculture” as a concept unto itself.  I think this show will make both camps pretty happy.

The truth is we have lost a lot of knowledge about growing fruits and nuts in our nation.  We have equated trees with large giant things you could never reach the top of. We see trees as things to climb, hand ropes from and build a fort in.

Due to this many seem to feel a large variety of productive trees could never exist on a small piece of land, such as the average 1/10th  – 1/5th acre yards most suburban homes have. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Today I will discuss the basics of setting up an intensive perennial system based on mostly trees, bushes, shrubs and vines.  How to get multiple yields across a full season, keep the work load minimal and even tell you about some species you have likely never heard of.

Join Me Today to Discuss…

  • How fruit was grown at “Manor Houses” in England
  • How trees really “work” and why you can treat a tree like a shrub
  • The importance of balancing top to root structure
  • Why you should “thin” fruit at times
  • The importance of heavy mulch
  • Cultivation of mushrooms
  • The role of shrubs, vines, bushes
  • Why I have changed my view of multi-graft trees to positive
  • Some Unusual Trees/Plants to consider
    • Jujube
    • Sea Berry (awesome medicinal)
    • Paw Paw
    • Cornelian Cherry
      • Cornus Mas (red and yellow)
      • Cornus Kousa (sometimes called big apple kousa)
    • Dwarf Mulberry (Morus Alba Issai)
    • Elderberry (awesome medicinal)
    • Honey Berry
    • Chinquapin (like little chestnuts)
    • Hazelnuts – Filberts
    • Loquats – (citrus in zone 7)
  • Potted trees for citrus and other things
  • Final thoughts

Resources for today’s show…

Sources of Many of the Plants I Mentioned Today and Other Cool Stuff

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

Join the MSB Today

Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.