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Old 05-28-2015, 07:13 AM
 
3,362 posts, read 2,282,005 times
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I'm nowhere near the 'expert homesteader' category, but last year, some of my yellow wax beans got too big. I let them dry and harvested the seeds. They came up again this year.

Yes, you can do it. Give it a shot.
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Old 05-28-2015, 07:27 AM
 
Location: Dallas
5,663 posts, read 5,288,569 times
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My grandfather wasn't a farmer, but he had an orchard, garden and yard that was like the Garden of Eden. A lot of his success was probably due to the huge compost pile he cultivated. I would say the most important aspect of farming is the quality of your soil.
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:04 AM
 
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I think I may have used the wrong word in my first post. Instead of family farm, I should have said garden, as an earlier poster mentioned. Although I would love to have a hobby farm someday, I am nowhere near that now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
Those are a lot of good, insightful ideas. Things were a lot different 150 years ago.

All I can add is that I remember my grandfather saving wood ash for the garden. Also manure. Stored in huge containers. My own dad had a big compost pile. You need to be able to make good soil and to enrich it with the needed nutrients and keep it at the right balance, acidic or sweet. You need to know which plants need what certain conditions, especially what type of soil. Things like root vegetables doing well in sandy soil, tomatoes being heavy feeders (lots of compost), and knowing that if your soil is too acidic many plants can't take up the nutrients no matter what! What to do about clay soil?

Don't go to Home Depot. If you need something, make it yourself. (For instance, and everybody knows this) for staking your tomato plants there are actually people who will go to Home Depot and BUY sticks. Then they will BUY tomato ties. But all you have to do is scrounge around and find sticks (old broom handle or just for starters, get some scrap sticks somewhere, maybe a lumber yard. For ties you just cut up old pillow cases into strips. For climbing plants, find some sticks and make a trellis or use a ball of string between two sticks.

Learn how to make a coldframe for starting your plants outside as early as possible. Learn how to store your vegetables after they are harvested. Root vegetables in the cellar, maybe in barrels of sand, onions cured in the sunlight for a few days and then stored in mesh bags hung in a cool, dry place, etc. There would be a lot to learn. I like the old Rodale gardening books.
Wood ash? Okay. I'll look into this. The only manure I have easy access to is the stuff from my chickens.

I do have a three bin compost set-up that I have no idea how to use - it came with the house. I figure if I turn it and water it once in while, eventually, it will turn to soil. Especially if I add some composting worms.

I'm wondering how they knew back then the condition, pH, and whatnot, of the soils in which they wanted to plant?

I am so new at this and this year I just purchased some plants from the local nursery and some things to improve the raised beds. My lettuce and kale look wonderful. The spinach and tomatoes seem to be okay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adams_aj View Post
Find out who your county extension agent is and meet them. Tell them what you're trying to do. So many of them are out there just begging people to visit and get to know them. Some ag extensions will also do free/inexpensive soil analysis and can recommend types of fruits and vegetables that will do well in that soil.

Strongly recommend this. If you are able, you might even qualify for a small grant to start a community garden to help feed your neighborhood.
I've called the master gardeners at the cooperative extension and no one picks up. You have to leave a message. Which I did, and no one called me back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquietpath View Post
My grandfather wasn't a farmer, but he had an orchard, garden and yard that was like the Garden of Eden. A lot of his success was probably due to the huge compost pile he cultivated. I would say the most important aspect of farming is the quality of your soil.
My grandfather too! When I was a kid, though, I didn't want to eat from the garden. I wanted my family to shop at the grocery store like everyone else. I could have learned so much from him.
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:10 AM
 
25,627 posts, read 31,815,433 times
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Well number one you really need to go visit The site:

self-reliance | homesteading | canning | backwoods | magazine

I'm not a self reliant backwoods farmer but it's got a ton of information relative to the topic your researching.

Good luck.
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:22 AM
 
Location: KCMO
2,027 posts, read 1,279,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogdad View Post
Well number one you really need to go visit The site:

self-reliance | homesteading | canning | backwoods | magazine

I'm not a self reliant backwoods farmer but it's got a ton of information relative to the topic your researching.

Good luck.

Oooo...that's a great site! I also utilize BYC/Selfsuffiient/Easy Garden website.


Raising BackYard Chickens, Build a Chicken Coop, Pictures of Breeds

TheEasyGarden.com

SufficientSelf.com
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:49 AM
Status: "The stuff that rolls downhill, also sticks together." (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
13,342 posts, read 8,232,151 times
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As recently as the Thirties, abourt 25% of the population still ived on farms, many of them trapped in the rut of "sharecropping" or tenant farming in still-primitive regions of the Deep South.

Apparently, they didn't have much enthusiasm for the idea, and "voted with their feet".

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 05-28-2015 at 11:09 AM..
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Old 05-28-2015, 10:03 AM
 
171 posts, read 154,587 times
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"successful" farmers in the past just owned the land and had someone else do all the work. it's been that way since the dawn of agriculture
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Old 05-28-2015, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,704 posts, read 51,515,695 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Everdeen View Post
I know they did other things to survive, but I'm not interested in learning how to ...
'Farm'.

That is what farming was, back then.

Farming included: hunting, trapping, fishing, canning, salting, etc.



Quote:
... I just want to know what practices they employed to optimize their family farms without running to The Home Depot.
'Optimize', oh I see you want corporate Ag. That did not exist yet.
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Old 05-28-2015, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,704 posts, read 51,515,695 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nor'Eastah View Post
This is something you may have missed.

If you must have a certain amount of a particular crop, such as potatoes, onions or tomatoes, plant many different varieties. So many times, I have planted just 1-2 varieties of tomatoes, for instance, only to find that I had 50-75% crop failure. Face it: some varieties simply will not grow well in some areas. You need to find out what not only grows, but thrives in your soil. Experience will tell you this.

One more very important bbok to add to your collection: Gardening When It Counts, by Steve Solomon. He's put out other excellent books, but this addresses how to produce a good result during what he terms "hard times". Appropriate reading, indeed!
Right.

Never get into Mono-cropping. All your eggs in one basket will surely fail.
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:10 PM
 
3,362 posts, read 2,282,005 times
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I've also been reading The One-Acre Homesteader on and off. Come to think of it, there are a lot of free or cheap ebooks like that, and some are vintage...which might make for excellent reading. Just look up free ebooks if you have a device for those.

We usually plant potato sprouts...the 'eyes' you'd normally cut out before you eat the potatoes. They grow very well! One year, I bought 'special' seed potatoes. They didn't do half as well as the supermarket kind.
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