A tree nursery? "How am I going to do that on less than a third of an acre in suburbia?" is probably what you're thinking right about now.
I know, I know. I asked myself the same thing over and over, too. I've also heard it a thousand times from various internet gurus as well. There's no way I can grow trees with this little space.
Perhaps they have a point. Or perhaps they are just too discouraged to try, given that almost nobody thinks it can be done. There are, however, a few individuals who are doing the exact same thing I want to do, despite conventional wisdom that claims it isn't possible.
Mark Shepard runs an agroforestry farm in Wisconsin that applies permaculture in practical ways on a large scale. I would consider him one of my role models. I've been reading and listening to a lot of the notes taken from his lectures and interviews, and he has plenty of great advice that I have made of use. Perhaps my favorite quote from him is the line:
"One person making a real change in the real world is worth a thousand virtual feel-gooders."
That's why I've decided to try and get at least something happening on an unproductive piece of my property. I've got nothing to lose but time, and plenty to gain by just going out there and trying. At the very worst, I'll have spent a little effort on clearing some overgrown brush off a potentially nice piece of my land. If things go a little better than worst-case-scenario, I might get some new fruit trees varieties and make a little money on the side, all while improving the ecosystem around my house. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Yesterday, while searching for more material from Mark Shepard, I ran across an interview with a person named Akiva Silver. He's a man who is passionate about growing plants, and no one was going to discourage him from trying to grow what he wanted (trees) on his small piece of property. That's what was so inspiring to me.
You can listen to the whole podcast over at PermacultureVoices.com to get some extra details on his operation.
Silver apparently grows an estimated 4000 trees seedlings on less than 1/2 an acre of property. It's far more than what I have to work with, for sure, but I'm not going to let the space issue discourage me any longer. I plan on starting with fruit trees, more specifically apples, but I eventually want to grow a variety of fruit trees and even later perhaps chestnuts.
|A shot of the sky at my future tree nursery|
I'm also planning on documenting the whole process in a new series of posts that I will be writing for the blog very soon. I will show you exactly what I do to try and get this business running. There's definitely a lack of information on this subject, and I plan to correct that by showing my readers what to do, each step of the way. If I succeed with my ultimate goal for this project, other people who might be in a similar situation can copy my work for themselves and also succeed. If I fail, well, that sucks for me, but at least I will be able to warn others not to waste time doing what I did.
Stay tuned for my next article, the first of a series, detailing each step of the way of my attempt at starting a agricultural-based business. Wish me luck.