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Old January 5, 2014   #1
Redbaron
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Default The Red Baron Project year two

I am starting year two in a different forum because the project is growing and can now be considered a market project instead of a garden project. YEAH! For those following the project, don't worry. I still consider it an organic "green" permaculture project. But instead of "Gardening in the green", it is now becoming "Farming for market in the green"!

The first year can be found here: The Red Baron Project year one

For my project I am using these 10 principles:

Principle 1: No till and/or minimal till with mulches used for weed control
Principle 2: Minimal external inputs
Principle 3: Living mulches between rows to maintain biodiversity
Principle 4: Companion planting
Principle 6: The ability to integrate carefully controlled modern animal husbandry (optional)
Principle 5: Capability to be mechanized for large scale or low labor for smaller scale
Principle 7: As organic as possible, while maintaining flexibility to allow non-organic growers to use the methods
Principle 8: Portable and flexible enough to be used on a wide variety of crops in many areas of the world
Principle 9: Sustainable ie. beneficial to the ecology and wildlife
Principle 10: Profitable

I am still asking humbly that anyone else interested in helping to try it out themselves, even in a small test plot, and welcome them to post their results good and bad here.

Quote:
“Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
― Thomas A. Edison
Yesterday I finally hashed out a deal with a small farm to expand my project. It used to be horse hobby farm, that no longer raises horses. In the past he has also raised wheat, chickens and calves. So there are fields ready for being put to good use. He was a customer to my tiny tomato stand last year and was intrigued when I walked him through and showed him my growing methods. I guess seeing is believing, although even he isn't 100% convinced yet. But he is convinced enough to be willing to offer his land for the experiment at no more payment than all the tomatoes he can eat and can in a year! And he is helping me in ways I never even dreamed because he not only has some farm equipment, he also has a wealth of knowledge and experience! Thank you from the bottom of my heart Carl.

I will start with 1 or 2 acres not to be overwhelmed, and there are plenty of other paddocks available for the future as my project grows. We have already walked off the first paddock and he will mow and build a cold frame in the coming days. Meanwhile I will be getting out the starting trays, seed starting greenhouses and heat mats to start that ball rolling.

As with last year, I will be posting pictures and links to those people influencing my project as the season progresses.
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"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture

Last edited by Redbaron; January 5, 2014 at 03:38 PM.
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Old January 5, 2014   #2
Tania
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Awesome project! All the best to you Scott!

I am looking forward to reading about the progression and results.

Tatiana
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Old January 5, 2014   #3
PaulF
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Good for you Scott. Everything on your list is exactly as I do things except for #10. As mine is a home garden in size and scope, whatever extra grows gets given away rather than sold. Success to you and your endeavor. I keep up on your project.
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Old January 5, 2014   #4
salix
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Best wishes for a successful season, Scott. Am so glad that you were able to get access to additional land and also a knowledgeable 'landlord' - I see the beginnings of a wonderful collaboration.
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Old January 5, 2014   #5
newatthiskat
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What and exciting year you have ahead!
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Old January 6, 2014   #6
ChristinaJo
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Looking forward to reading updates!
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Old January 6, 2014   #7
Redbaron
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Just a quick update so far. Nothing to show for pics, but possibly helpful info for other market people whether part of this project or not.

I have lined up 4 year old wood chips and fresh horse manure for composting and will have a nice size pile mixed with the front end loader working. Won't be ready for this spring, but it is lined up and in the works for future years.

The Norman Municipal compost facility has compost available for free, well composted and ready, I talked to the facility manager and will pick up a trailer load Saturday.

The local Starbucks are giving away their used coffee grounds free and I'll be picking them up periodically. I use them as a dressing on top of the ground, but under the paper barrier, as a food source for worms.

The USDA-NRCS has a program available including grants for organic vegetable producers to provide hoop houses. I will apply when the information package and application form arrive in the mail.

There is a program for carbon sequestration in agricultural fields from them as well. No details yet. Waiting on a reply on the phone.

The Noble Foundation has a free agricultural consultation service geared to sustainable land use. I will apply to be a cooperator. The program includes scientific specialists in every field imaginable related, soil, water, crops, wildlife, pest and predator control, marketing, and includes on site farm inspections and testing by experts through the year. Brilliant program.
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"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
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Old January 6, 2014   #8
Smithma
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Scott
Thanks for the heads up on the Norman Municipal compost facility, I looked it up and I will have to wait for the second Saturday since I'm not a resident
Mike
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Old January 7, 2014   #9
Redbaron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithma View Post
Scott
Thanks for the heads up on the Norman Municipal compost facility, I looked it up and I will have to wait for the second Saturday since I'm not a resident
Mike
Mike, I believe the resident requirement is for dropping off material instead of picking it up after composting. The facility normally is closed Saturdays in the winter. But they are open this Saturday due to the ice storm creating excessive branch falls that need cleaned up, chipped and composted.

Price for compost is free if you load it yourself, or 10 dollars a front end loader scoop if they do it for you. Either way a brilliant program.
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AKA The Redbaron

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture

Last edited by Redbaron; January 7, 2014 at 04:33 AM.
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Old January 15, 2014   #10
Redbaron
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Update:

We went and got the trailer load of compost/mulch. Quite an operation Norman has. I am impressed. If I had 1000 acres I could get all I need there for free! That's how big it is. A huge mountain of partly composted mulch for free, and long rows of more mature compost at 10 dollars a front end loader scoop! I am set!

Next thing is I have been scouring the net for ANYONE doing a similar thing as this project so I can glean any knowledge possible. I found this:

Muth Farms
Blue Heron Farms

Now if you take what this guy is doing with his permanent sod and cover crops, combine it with the methods Helen Atthowe uses at Biodesign farm that I posted last year, and add the wrinkle of my paper mulch method, and it all comes together.

Seeing what all these guys are doing and the benefits they are getting has gotten me excited. The Redbaron Project seems to be the next logical step!
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AKA The Redbaron

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture

Last edited by Redbaron; January 15, 2014 at 01:05 PM. Reason: fix links
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Old January 15, 2014   #11
Tania
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Scott,

I am so excited to watch your project being a success!

I am dreaming about folks adopting the farming methods like this. This thread is a real encouragement for everybody.

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Last edited by Tania; January 15, 2014 at 12:52 PM.
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Old January 15, 2014   #12
KarenO
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awesome. looking forward to photo's and your updates as the year goes on. I hope for great weather for you too.
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Old February 13, 2014   #13
kenny_j
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Scott, I finally finished going thru all of last yrs thread, and this one. You have inspired me to try something similar. I have 3 gardens roughly 700 square feet each, and several raised beds. The problems I had last year were due to too much rain on flat heavy soil, that turned i the gardens in to mud bowls. Hoping among many of the other benefits, a constant ground cover might help to alleviate some of the problems in wet years. Still trying to get my head around all of this, and think I will try what Helen in Montana did. I may put in a couple more gardens either rotate, or make up for using every other row for living cover instead of vegetable crop. I will share what I do here if I can force myself to take the time to photograph and document the process. Thanx for the great ideas and inspiration. Getting totally away from man made chemicals has always appealed to me, now I have the inkling about how to do it from all the great videos you shared. Thanx, Sxott!!

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Old February 14, 2014   #14
Ken4230
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Default You would have been bosom buddies with my grandparents

They pretty much practiced most of what you have been preaching. They had a 12-15 acre market garden with long rows 10' or so apart. Their rows were numbered 1 2 3..etc.
They had a homemade bed builder made from a middle buster and two good sized root plows that took soil from row 2 to help build raised beds on rows 1 and 3.
When they were done building and shaping, all the odd rows were 4' wide x 18" high raised beds and all the even rows were 18" below grade. Or close anyway.

Tomatoes, mostly Buckeye,Dinner Plate, Marglobe and "German" tomatoes were planted down the center of the beds. Peanuts were planted on one side of the beds.
Some types of small grains were planted between the rows, not up on the sides of the raised beds but only in the very bottom of the row.
We had an old "dozer pile" where the manure and residue from the feedlots (and anything else) was allowed to compost.

When the early crops were done, all the residue from those two rows along with a couple of loads of compost and fresh manure was spread in the middle row.
A new raised bed was built in row # 2 using most of the soil from rows 1 and 3. Oats or wheat was planted as a cover crop and it was pretty much ready for next year.

There is one thing that you might find interesting; in their personal garden, they would partially bury small fungus covered rotting logs that they had gathered in the woods.
It was pretty common to see a piece of limb sticking up all covered with mushrooms/fungus.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Ken
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Old February 27, 2014   #15
MissS
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Scott, I have read both of your threads and find this so simple, yet absolutely brilliant!
I can not wait to hear about how your project 'grows' this year.
Thank you so much for documenting this endeavor of yours.
Patti
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