Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Hi from another new member!

Expand Messages
  • hermitgaby
    My name is Gaby, and I live in north central Florida. I am trying to grow field corn and oats, only about a half to one acre. Because it is such a small area,
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 29, 2009
      My name is Gaby, and I live in north central Florida.

      I am trying to grow field corn and oats, only about a half to one acre. Because it is such a small area, obviously, I will be doing this by hand and lawn tractor. Everything I can find on line relates to big farms, doing hundreds of acres.

      If anybody has any advice, or websites to visit, please contact me at

      hermit2b@...

      Thanks for your help!


      Gaby
    • Andrew
      Gaby, You don t give any information about your property.  Is it virgin?  An older farm?  What s been grown on it?  Will your crops be for human or animal
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 29, 2009
        Gaby,
        You don't give any information about your property.  Is it virgin?  An older farm?  What's been grown on it?  Will your crops be for human or animal feed?  What's growing on the land now?  What do you wish to accomplish?  (Long range plans?)
        A great place to start is your County Ag Agent.  That person should be willing to come to your property and assist in defining the steps needed to get your land "tillable".  A second source would be the closest university with an agriculture department. 
        Both of the above will be able to point you to reasonable priced seed sources.  Other wise, use Internet searches.
        Here in Southeast Colorado we like Welter Seed & Honey Company for oat and other grain seeds.  They have an on line website:  www.welterseed.com.  They have both "regular" grown an "organic".  (They are located in Onslow, Iowa.)
        Please define what you have to work with.  I am sure there will be much assistance to follow.
        We will test grow 4 types of Hulless Oats and 6 types of very old Wheats in 2010.  These were obtained from the USDA Germ-Plasm site in Idaho.  (Very small quantities of most; but free to US citizens.)  For the next two or three years we'll replant the complete harvest to expand our seed quantities.
        As soil builders, we'll also test grow 10 very old types of Cowpeas (just 1/4 pound of each).
        (Each 1/4 pound should harvest close to #25 next Fall.)  Cowpeas are legumes and "create" nitrogen within nodules on their roots, producing between 100 and 120 pounds per acre.
        Cowpeas have been a staple in the South since slaves broght them from Africa.  Growing them in rotation with other crops will reduce or eliminate commercial fertilizer needs. 
        Good Grain Growing,
        Andrew
        Delhi, Colorado
         


        --- On Tue, 12/29/09, hermitgaby <hermit2b@...> wrote:

        From: hermitgaby <hermit2b@...>
        Subject: [smallscalegrains] Hi from another new member!
        To: smallscalegrains@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 6:28 PM

         
        My name is Gaby, and I live in north central Florida.

        I am trying to grow field corn and oats, only about a half to one acre. Because it is such a small area, obviously, I will be doing this by hand and lawn tractor. Everything I can find on line relates to big farms, doing hundreds of acres.

        If anybody has any advice, or websites to visit, please contact me at

        hermit2b@peoplepc. com

        Thanks for your help!

        Gaby


      • Chris
        Gaby large or small the needs of your crop are the same. 1/2 acre is a pretty big plot to start with depending on your experience as a gardener. do you have a
        Message 3 of 8 , Dec 30, 2009
          Gaby
          large or small the needs of your crop are the same.
          1/2 acre is a pretty big plot to start with depending on your experience as a gardener. do you have a tiller attachment for the lawn tractor and is it capable of pulling a towable tiller?
          do you have neighbors who garden. they would be a great resource even if they don't grow grain.
          try and get the books listed on other post here.
          maybe scale back but don't give up
          chris ;o)

          --- In smallscalegrains@yahoogroups.com, "hermitgaby" <hermit2b@...> wrote:
          >
          > My name is Gaby, and I live in north central Florida.
          >
          > I am trying to grow field corn and oats, only about a half to one acre. Because it is such a small area, obviously, I will be doing this by hand and lawn tractor. Everything I can find on line relates to big farms, doing hundreds of acres.
          >
          > If anybody has any advice, or websites to visit, please contact me at
          >
          > hermit2b@...
          >
          > Thanks for your help!
          >
          >
          > Gaby
          >
        • hermitgaby
          ... I think my place was a cattle farm 50 years ago. It was left fallow, and was full of trees when I bought it. I took out a large quantity of trees, and
          Message 4 of 8 , Dec 31, 2009
            > You don't give any information about your property.  Is it virgin?  An older farm?  What's been grown on it?  Will your crops be for human or animal feed?  What's growing on the land now?  What do you wish to accomplish?  (Long range plans?)

            I think my place was a cattle farm 50 years ago. It was left fallow, and was full of trees when I bought it. I took out a large quantity of trees, and now have a few small pastures. The 'soil' is pure sugar sand and very acid. The only thing that grows happily is sand spurs.

            I planted my fields with bahia over the last 10 years, but they arent doing well enough to support livestock.

            I am using 3 50 lb. bags of cracked corn a week, plus chick crumbs, goat chow and layer pellets, etc. Since I am not working, this is quite frankly breaking me. Even though my animals are mostly pets right now, the ultimate idea is to be self-sustaining.

            I have a big veggie garden and am planting various fruit trees around the yard. I raise chickens for eggs, and the roosters will be used for fried chicken. I have a few goats, mostly to clear my woods, and just started with sheep. I had cows in the past, but it takes 3 acres of good grass in this area to support 1 cow, even with supplimental feed. I didnt have enough grass for it. With purchased corn and hay, my beef cost me $5/lb so I gave up on cows and switched to goats and sheep. Currently, my animals are mostly to clear woods, keep down the weeds in the fields, fertilize, and make babies for me to sell.

            With the economy the way it is, a goat that sold for $300 a couple of years ago, is almost impossible to sell for $50. A bag of cracked corn that was $5 a few years ago, is now $9.50. I'm just trying to take care of myself and my family, and not go under.

            My idea is to take a field which currently has skimpy grass and plant field corn in spring, some kind of cover crop/legume in summer, and oats in fall. After the corn is harvested, I will let the goats and sheep eat down the stalks in place. Then I will mow as low as I can, and plant something short term to add nitrogen and organic material, let it get grazed down, then mow. Last, I will plant oats, let it get grazed in place, maybe make a little into homemade hay? and then mow, and start the rotation again with corn.

            I figure I can get a little corn for my animals, fresh fodder in 3 different crops, and maybe add to the fertility of my soil. The best grass I have on my place is in the vegetable garden - maybe I can get my fields better than they are now. They cant get much worse!

            If possible, I want to use a no-till method for all 3 crops. When I planted my bahia 10 years ago, I hired a local hay farmer to 'lightly' disk my land before planting the seed. He figured he knew better than I did, and plowed really deep, to kill all the existing grass. (I assume he was looking at the bahia as a crop, instead of a suppliment to what I already had). My 6 grains of top soil blew away, and nothing grew in those areas for 2 years, including the seed he planted. Between the wind, and the rains (I have rolling ground), erosion destroyed what little there was. I dont want to make that mistake again, and need another method.

            I am considering doing 'three sisters' in some of the corn (corn, beans and pumpkins) to see if that does better. I was also wondering about planting a short cover crop in between the rows of corn, to keep the soil covered and provide nitrogen.

            I have contacted the county cooperative extension service several times in the past but they are only good with horses and lawns. Surprisingly, there are few farms in this area because it has been a horse area for so many years. There are some peanut farms, u-pick fruit, and old citrus groves, but no real agriculture that I can find. When I asked bhe agent, as well as every tool rental place in the area, if they know where I could get a seed drill, they didnt know what I was talking about.

            Fortunately, a really good guy is coming in, from the University of Gainesville, and he is supposed to be great with agriculture. I hope to get him here in the next few months.

            I have no equipment personally, but I can borrow a riding mower, a hand pushed roto tiller, and possibly a tractor, but I dont know what attachments it has, if any. Before I buy anything myself, I want to figure out what I will actually need.

            I expect most of my labor and tools will be hand operated. I know I will need something to shell the corn, and something to crack it. I have found shellers on ebay, but nothing to crack the corn, only to grind it into flour. (Why did Lehmans have to go out of business now?)

            Did I cover all the bases?

            Gaby
          • Chris
            Gaby I don t know much about no till farming. But i remember when it first got started farmers had to buy special planters that would cut through what ever was
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 1, 2010
              Gaby
              I don't know much about no till farming. But i remember when it first got started farmers had to buy special planters that would cut through what ever was there, corn stalks or grain stubble. If there is sod or perennials growing allready they will out compete whatever you plant.
              Around here the farmers use what is known as minimum till. On commercial farms both methods use a lot of herbicides to kill unwanted competing plants. I don't know if that is acceptable to you. It's not to me but to each his own.
              when i was gardening 5/8 of an acre it was blow sand and i had to use a lot of chemical fertilizer. had to irrigate right after planting to get anything tho germinate.
              i had the advantage of a couple of tractors. one to disk and one to cultivate. to plant i would mark off the rows with the cultivator and then use a push planter to seed. i grew beans, corn, sunflowers in 28" rows and barley, spelt, oats in 14" rows. I had a neighbor offer the use of his grain drill but i preferred the wide rows for hoeing.
              My big advantage was i was the 3rd generation farming that ground my big disadvantage was that it wasn't my ground.
              My situation has changed now i live in town on a very small lot (tiny small) but when it can get some ground of my own i wound try permaculture as much as possible. but i would as so grow sunflowers they are nutritious for me and my goats loved them. they are easy to grow here and are not hard on the ground like corn. the first grain i would grow would be rye (I live in a desert so this may not be the first choice for everyone) it takes little water and will reseed itself and it builds the soil. I wouldn't try to harvest it but let the birds forage thought it.
              I wouldn't grow corn except some popcorn sweet corn for my own use it is a heavy feeder takes alot of water and is hard on the ground.
              i would grow dry beans they are a legume and enrich the soil. they would be my cash crop there a high value crop.
              just some of my thoughts hope they give you something to think about.
              i would also recommend the book YOU CAN FARM by Joel Solistin i like all his books but start with this one.
              chris ;o)
            • hermitgaby
              ... Chris, I plan to plant beans, pumpkins, corn and sunflowers in spring, and alternate it with beans or summer rye or buckwheat in summer, then oats or rye
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 2, 2010
                --- In smallscalegrains@yahoogroups.com, "Chris" <bobcat4850@...> wrote:
                > i grew beans, corn, sunflowers in 28" rows and barley, spelt, oats in 14" rows. I had a neighbor offer the use of his grain drill but i preferred the wide rows for hoeing.

                Chris, I plan to plant beans, pumpkins, corn and sunflowers in spring, and alternate it with beans or summer rye or buckwheat in summer, then oats or rye in fall. I hope to harvest some of the field corn and maybe some beans and pumpkins for the animals, then just let the animals graze the field. I figure they will eat down most of it, then I can mow. This should leave evenly spaced organic fertilizer and mulch. I dont want to use any herbicides at all, and hopefully no chemical fertilizer. I will need to lime, because my sand is very acid. I figure once I get this up and running, planting lots of legumes and cover crops to be tilled in or left as mulch, should improve my soil even if I grow corn there.

                > i wound try permaculture as much as possible.

                I am trying to use permaculture around my property. I have a 12 foot wide fenced in perimeter where I am planting fruit trees and wildlife friendly scrub trees, just to go wild, for the purpose of providing a wind break, a barrier to keep people from looking at my stuff, and a bird-squirrel-etc friendly food lot. I am planting asparagus, blueberry and blackberry patches here and there in the woods. If I plant enough, maybe the animals will leave me some!

                > the first grain i would grow would be rye (I live in a desert so this may not be the first choice for everyone) it takes little water and will reseed itself and it builds the soil. I wouldn't try to harvest it but let the birds forage thought it.

                So far, I have been told to plant oats rather than rye, but I am still looking into it.

                > I wouldn't grow corn except some popcorn sweet corn for my own use it is a heavy feeder takes alot of water and is hard on the ground.

                I do plan to plant some sweet corn for fresh and freezing, but the whole point of this is to plant something to feed the livestock, and unfortunately, what they eat the most of is corn and hay. I am also researching hay, but I dont have the equipment to put it up, so I will only plant what can be eaten in the field.

                > i would grow dry beans they are a legume and enrich the soil. they would be my cash crop there a high value crop.

                I wont be able to grow enough to sell. I figure whatever I save at the feed store qualifies as my income!

                Wish me luck!

                Gaby in cold sunny Florida
              • Chris
                I do wish you luck but in my experience most people have to make their own ;o) It really sounds great. chris
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 3, 2010
                  I do wish you luck but in my experience most people have to make their own ;o) It really sounds great. chris

                  --- In smallscalegrains@yahoogroups.com, "hermitgaby" <hermit2b@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In smallscalegrains@yahoogroups.com, "Chris" <bobcat4850@> wrote:
                  > > i grew beans, corn, sunflowers in 28" rows and barley, spelt, oats in 14" rows. I had a neighbor offer the use of his grain drill but i preferred the wide rows for hoeing.
                  >
                  > Chris, I plan to plant beans, pumpkins, corn and sunflowers in spring, and alternate it with beans or summer rye or buckwheat in summer, then oats or rye in fall. I hope to harvest some of the field corn and maybe some beans and pumpkins for the animals, then just let the animals graze the field. I figure they will eat down most of it, then I can mow. This should leave evenly spaced organic fertilizer and mulch. I dont want to use any herbicides at all, and hopefully no chemical fertilizer. I will need to lime, because my sand is very acid. I figure once I get this up and running, planting lots of legumes and cover crops to be tilled in or left as mulch, should improve my soil even if I grow corn there.
                  >
                  > > i wound try permaculture as much as possible.
                  >
                  > I am trying to use permaculture around my property. I have a 12 foot wide fenced in perimeter where I am planting fruit trees and wildlife friendly scrub trees, just to go wild, for the purpose of providing a wind break, a barrier to keep people from looking at my stuff, and a bird-squirrel-etc friendly food lot. I am planting asparagus, blueberry and blackberry patches here and there in the woods. If I plant enough, maybe the animals will leave me some!
                  >
                  > > the first grain i would grow would be rye (I live in a desert so this may not be the first choice for everyone) it takes little water and will reseed itself and it builds the soil. I wouldn't try to harvest it but let the birds forage thought it.
                  >
                  > So far, I have been told to plant oats rather than rye, but I am still looking into it.
                  >
                  > > I wouldn't grow corn except some popcorn sweet corn for my own use it is a heavy feeder takes alot of water and is hard on the ground.
                  >
                  > I do plan to plant some sweet corn for fresh and freezing, but the whole point of this is to plant something to feed the livestock, and unfortunately, what they eat the most of is corn and hay. I am also researching hay, but I dont have the equipment to put it up, so I will only plant what can be eaten in the field.
                  >
                  > > i would grow dry beans they are a legume and enrich the soil. they would be my cash crop there a high value crop.
                  >
                  > I wont be able to grow enough to sell. I figure whatever I save at the feed store qualifies as my income!
                  >
                  > Wish me luck!
                  >
                  > Gaby in cold sunny Florida
                  >
                • Laurie
                  ... Gaby, I just read your description of your property and your plans for it. May I chime in and make some suggestions? First, you mention starting out with
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jun 26, 2010
                    --- In smallscalegrains@yahoogroups.com, "hermitgaby" <hermit2b@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > > You don't give any information about your property.  Is it virgin?  An older farm?  What's been grown on it?  Will your crops be for human or animal feed?  What's growing on the land now?  What do you wish to accomplish?  (Long range plans?)
                    >
                    > I think my place was a cattle farm 50 years ago. It was left fallow, and was full of trees when I bought it. I took out a large quantity of trees, and now have a few small pastures. The 'soil' is pure sugar sand and very acid. The only thing that grows happily is sand spurs.
                    >
                    > I planted my fields with bahia over the last 10 years, but they arent doing well enough to support livestock.
                    >
                    > I am using 3 50 lb. bags of cracked corn a week, plus chick crumbs, goat chow and layer pellets, etc. Since I am not working, this is quite frankly breaking me. Even though my animals are mostly pets right now, the ultimate idea is to be self-sustaining.
                    >
                    > I have a big veggie garden and am planting various fruit trees around the yard. I raise chickens for eggs, and the roosters will be used for fried chicken. I have a few goats, mostly to clear my woods, and just started with sheep. I had cows in the past, but it takes 3 acres of good grass in this area to support 1 cow, even with supplimental feed. I didnt have enough grass for it. With purchased corn and hay, my beef cost me $5/lb so I gave up on cows and switched to goats and sheep. Currently, my animals are mostly to clear woods, keep down the weeds in the fields, fertilize, and make babies for me to sell.
                    >
                    > With the economy the way it is, a goat that sold for $300 a couple of years ago, is almost impossible to sell for $50. A bag of cracked corn that was $5 a few years ago, is now $9.50. I'm just trying to take care of myself and my family, and not go under.
                    >
                    > My idea is to take a field which currently has skimpy grass and plant field corn in spring, some kind of cover crop/legume in summer, and oats in fall. After the corn is harvested, I will let the goats and sheep eat down the stalks in place. Then I will mow as low as I can, and plant something short term to add nitrogen and organic material, let it get grazed down, then mow. Last, I will plant oats, let it get grazed in place, maybe make a little into homemade hay? and then mow, and start the rotation again with corn.
                    >
                    > I figure I can get a little corn for my animals, fresh fodder in 3 different crops, and maybe add to the fertility of my soil. The best grass I have on my place is in the vegetable garden - maybe I can get my fields better than they are now. They cant get much worse!
                    >
                    > If possible, I want to use a no-till method for all 3 crops. When I planted my bahia 10 years ago, I hired a local hay farmer to 'lightly' disk my land before planting the seed. He figured he knew better than I did, and plowed really deep, to kill all the existing grass. (I assume he was looking at the bahia as a crop, instead of a suppliment to what I already had). My 6 grains of top soil blew away, and nothing grew in those areas for 2 years, including the seed he planted. Between the wind, and the rains (I have rolling ground), erosion destroyed what little there was. I dont want to make that mistake again, and need another method.
                    >
                    > I am considering doing 'three sisters' in some of the corn (corn, beans and pumpkins) to see if that does better. I was also wondering about planting a short cover crop in between the rows of corn, to keep the soil covered and provide nitrogen.
                    >
                    > I have contacted the county cooperative extension service several times in the past but they are only good with horses and lawns. Surprisingly, there are few farms in this area because it has been a horse area for so many years. There are some peanut farms, u-pick fruit, and old citrus groves, but no real agriculture that I can find. When I asked bhe agent, as well as every tool rental place in the area, if they know where I could get a seed drill, they didnt know what I was talking about.
                    >
                    > Fortunately, a really good guy is coming in, from the University of Gainesville, and he is supposed to be great with agriculture. I hope to get him here in the next few months.
                    >
                    > I have no equipment personally, but I can borrow a riding mower, a hand pushed roto tiller, and possibly a tractor, but I dont know what attachments it has, if any. Before I buy anything myself, I want to figure out what I will actually need.
                    >
                    > I expect most of my labor and tools will be hand operated. I know I will need something to shell the corn, and something to crack it. I have found shellers on ebay, but nothing to crack the corn, only to grind it into flour. (Why did Lehmans have to go out of business now?)
                    >
                    > Did I cover all the bases?
                    >
                    > Gaby
                    >

                    Gaby,
                    I just read your description of your property and your plans for it. May I chime in and make some suggestions?

                    First, you mention starting out with corn as the first crop on ground that is barely supporting grass. I think this will not work out too well. Corn is a very demanding crop, nutrient-wise. If your grass is poor, corn will be poorer. You must first and foremost improve your soil.

                    The fastest way to put quickly available organic N in the soil is with animal manure. I suggest chickens in portable pens ("tractors").
                    You move the pens every day, creating an even covering of manure in the field. You will be amazed at the way the grass will take off. You can run the chickens across the same area as soon as it looks pretty clean, and now the birds will have more grass to eat, reducing your feed bill and improving the quality of their meat.

                    The time of year you finish the birds will determine what crop to do in that spot next. Or you can just let the grass go crazy for a while.
                    Everything likes to eat grass.

                    As for planting cowpeas or other legumes for N-fixing, they will not be able to do a good job without the proper bacteria in the soil, so an inoculant is in order. It's very cheap to buy and easy to use. Get the right kind for the crop you are growing.

                    My comment on green manures:
                    God didn't design things with the idea of growing, green plants to be plowed into and under the soil in great quantities. Think about it. Does that happen in Nature? No, only a tiny bit, when a burrowing animal takes some food into its tunnel or something like that. What's normal is for plants to die above the soil line, and the dead tissues to lie there and decompose ON TOP. (Yes, the roots are underneath.) Many people are now rethinking the whole green manure thing, as I think they should. Lest you think I'm judging, I do some rototilling myself, because I tend to let the weeds get so bad in the summer that I have no choice.

                    I think you might be very inspired and helped by reading Joel Salatin's books. He is my hero when it comes to farming. I think "You Can Farm" might be the one to start with. He took a run-down piece of land and absolutely transformed it just by using animals and good sense, putting things together in ways that make everything work like a well-oiled machine. I dare say he is the best farmer in the country. Look him up. Use his name, and Polyface Farms. He is in VA, but his principles work anywhere.

                    I wish you success.
                    Laurie
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.