Part time farming

Finding land, working a small plot or anything else countryside related
Shizuman
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Re: Part time farming

Post by Shizuman » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:44 pm

Thats really awesome mate!
i think we are working roughly the same size land, although i dont have a forest to manage!
all the best mate im looking forward to hearing how you go.

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Part time farming

Post by Zasso Nouka » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:15 am

Had a butchers at your blog man and the forest clearance seems to be going well, you look proper kitted out with the helmet and googles and a wise precaution when felling bamboo of that size.

Bamboo can take quite a while to break down as it has anti microbial properties but if you are in no particular hurry then it will start after a few years. That can be an advantage as we use it to keep our firewood off the ground and some of the poles we have used are still good after 5 years of direct ground contact.

Killing off the rhizomes isn't as difficult as it first might seem. Once you've clear cut the area you want to keep free all you need to do is snap off new shoots at between 1 - 2 metres high and leave them. So long as the pole has no leaf bearing branches it will consume more energy from the roots than it produces gradually weakening the roots. Luckily with taller types of bamboo they have a limited period for sending up shoots so outside of the time frame you don't have to do any further work.

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Re: Part time farming

Post by Funasshi » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:06 am

Wow... 5 years wait for the bamboo to decompose. Didn't see that coming.
Oh well.
Actually I read in several different blogs where people tried different approaches to fight off bamboo, that the shoots stopped coming out in areas where thick tarp was on the ground by accident, or cardboard, or similar covers. And that eventually after a few years the roots weakened.
Originally I wanted to do the same thing, to cover the whole lot (over 1000 sqm) with cardboard. But I think that would have lasted 2-3 years at best if not torn apart or moved by the weather before that.
Now that I have all this long lasting bamboo... I will lay them all side by side to cover the ground. That way I will have blocked the sun for say 5 years, while the bamboo breaks down naturally. The old fallen bamboos that have already rotted in my plot are really porous and nice and fall apart by just touching. I guess good stuff for the worms and trees, and increases the soil quality if the whole lot is covered with it. :D
Of course I will keep kicking over any shoots that defy my wooden flooring... and by the time the bamboo is now more covering, my saplings should have established themselves.

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Re: Part time farming

Post by Zasso Nouka » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:38 pm

Well hopefully yours will break down a bit quicker as they are out there in the sun and rain, whereas ours are inside a shelter so less exposed. Best of luck :thumbup:

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Re: Part time farming

Post by farmingnoob » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:54 pm

Funasshi, is all the bamboo next to your house? Or did you buy a separate plot of 山林 land?

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Re: Part time farming

Post by Funasshi » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:57 am

farmingnoob wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:54 pm
Funasshi, is all the bamboo next to your house? Or did you buy a separate plot of 山林 land?
I wish...
No, actually I bought these forest plots first, and then started looking for a house nearby. The closest house I found which I bought is 2-3 minutes bicycle ride away, and has a pretty large garden where I plant some veggies and keep chickens.
These plots do not allow buildings, even though they are sanrin. Unfortunately...
I would love to build a house on the smaller one and live there. I tend to get lazy if the land I am supposed to work is not right under my nose.. hehe

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Re: Part time farming

Post by Shizuman » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:26 pm

Gday
Thought i might give an update on my part time farming adventures!
So background, im farming on 800sq m, all rice fields, im using a low till methodology, woodchip paths and as organic as one can be surrounded by rice fields. My main sales are through a JA farmers market, 2 cafes and about 10 direct sales customers. My farm is classified as agricultural land (農地)but as i am managing it for the owner, its totally cool with the local farmers group.

I work 2 English teaching jobs - 40hrs ALT job and 6hr Eikaiwa job so farming happens in the evenings and on weekends. I have as of this week reached 1/3 of my sales goal for this year.

Lifesaving tools
- Shinfuji kerosene burner, this saves me tonnes of time keeping the weeds down at the field, in spring i used it about once a month. Get a few raised eyebrows from the older ladies in the area though.

- Oscillating hoe - awesome for keeping the beds clean, i usually try to cultivate once a week.

Failures
- because of my work schedule ive found it really hard to manage hardening off seedlings before transplanting, ive had a lot of shocked plants this year.

- Bootstrapping an irrigation system. I built one from scratch using parts i could get at the home center, i really wish i had of spoken (or known about) an irrigation supplier, i rekon i spent more money than needed setting it up. There was a fair few suppliers at last years agricultural convention though.... my bad.

- Bootstrapping a poly tunnel in a valley between hakone and Mt fuji - Wind, nuff said.

- Properly ventilate a pump - Melted the petrol tank on a pump, dont know how and nor does the maker (Honda) but probably should have run the exhaust directly outside and provided more ventilation.


Lastly
weekly time at the farm
between 10 and 18ish hours a week

Hopefully going full time next year, its a lot of work.
Interested to know what you guys think
Cheers

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Part time farming

Post by Zasso Nouka » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:11 am

Shizuman wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:26 pm
- Shinfuji kerosene burner, this saves me tonnes of time keeping the weeds down at the field, in spring i used it about once a month. Get a few raised eyebrows from the older ladies in the area though.
Total lifesaver but you so rarely see anyone else using them.
Shizuman wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:26 pm
- because of my work schedule ive found it really hard to manage hardening off seedlings before transplanting, ive had a lot of shocked plants this year.
It's sometimes a hard choice between getting an early start with transplants or going for a later direct seeding run. I'm lazy so quite often take the convenience of a later direct seed but you do loose the advantage of transplants and if you haven't totally cleared the bed of weeds then sometimes the crop has to fight against weeds rather than shoot ahead of them.
Shizuman wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:26 pm
Bootstrapping an irrigation system. I built one from scratch using parts i could get at the home center, i really wish i had of spoken (or known about) an irrigation supplier, i rekon i spent more money than needed setting it up. There was a fair few suppliers at last years agricultural convention though.... my bad.
Irrigation suppliers you say ? Sorry I should have posted some links earlier on.

Agri Power

Drip tubes and fittings

Drip Tube dot Com

Sun Hope - For Dosatron's

EMV for more drip tubes

For small fittings and filters you are sometimes better off ordering from the States and having them posted over.
Shizuman wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:26 pm
Bootstrapping a poly tunnel in a valley between hakone and Mt fuji - Wind, nuff said.
That should increase your productivity considerably.
Shizuman wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:26 pm
Hopefully going full time next year, its a lot of work.
Interested to know what you guys think
Cheers
Best of luck with that, I really do hope it works for you man.

Something we are just beginning now is supermarket sales, in their local farmers corner. Michi no Eki sales were good for us in the past and do provide an easy first sales route but they can change and sometimes very quickly. Our first one had a change of management and that discouraged some of the professional farmers which then meant lots of part time farmers surged in to fill the gaps. Their quality wasn't good and they would keep dropping prices to undercut full time farmers which led to a vicious circle driving away more full time farmers and leading to less customers so prices were dropped even more as less and less customers came. Now it's a pale shadow of itself where we sometimes only sell one or two items a day and it's hardly worth spending time going there to put stuff out.

We had a meeting with a new supermarket that is opening up nearby and they have some strict rules for farmers, like no part timers and no price undercutting. They strongly believe that their farmers should be able to make a living from what they produce. They also don't want everyone growing the same thing as that leads to price wars so they will request that people grow different things and won't accept new farmers if they are growing something the chain already has enough of which means current farmers can be assured of sales and not undercut by someone new coming in. They also try to source as many fresh products from within the prefecture the store is located, so if you are growing something they don't have a local supplier for you can end up supplying all of their stores in your prefecture or as many as you can grow for.

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Re: Part time farming

Post by dayunbao » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:15 am

Funasshi wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:06 am
Wow... 5 years wait for the bamboo to decompose. Didn't see that coming.
Oh well.
Actually I read in several different blogs where people tried different approaches to fight off bamboo, that the shoots stopped coming out in areas where thick tarp was on the ground by accident, or cardboard, or similar covers. And that eventually after a few years the roots weakened.
Originally I wanted to do the same thing, to cover the whole lot (over 1000 sqm) with cardboard. But I think that would have lasted 2-3 years at best if not torn apart or moved by the weather before that.
Now that I have all this long lasting bamboo... I will lay them all side by side to cover the ground. That way I will have blocked the sun for say 5 years, while the bamboo breaks down naturally. The old fallen bamboos that have already rotted in my plot are really porous and nice and fall apart by just touching. I guess good stuff for the worms and trees, and increases the soil quality if the whole lot is covered with it. :D
Of course I will keep kicking over any shoots that defy my wooden flooring... and by the time the bamboo is now more covering, my saplings should have established themselves.
Bamboo is pretty incredible as a material for crafts (I'm thinking of the bamboo baskets, etc., that are made in Japan, like this Maybe it's worth looking around locally for some craftspeople who work with bamboo? They might be happy to take it off your hands. Maybe you could also use it to build a shed for tools, or something like that?