WHAT IS A CONSULTATION WITH JIM?
A big part of the answer to that question lies with what your needs are, where you want to go over time, and how much time you want to devote to farming or gardening. The following initial questions help determine the ways my services can benefit you, and will help you focus on your specific needs.
WHAT IS YOUR SOIL LIKE?
I do a soil test, take a look at your soil profiles, layering of soil types, the organic matter present, etc. My objective is to make sure your soils have the minerals and nutrients they need for production, on a large or small scale… and to add materials that will build the soil food web, the fungi and bacteria and other organisms that really build soil and feed plants.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO ON YOUR FARM OR GARDEN?
Is this a home garden? If so, for how many people? Is this a farm? Do you want to grow organically, or in a more sustainable way? How much time do you have to devote to food production? Do you have financial goals for the work you do? What are they? Where are your markets?
HOW MANY SEASONS DO YOU WANT TO BE IN PRODUCTION?
We normally think of four seasons in growing…sometimes five if you break spring in two parts: early and late. Each season requires a plan: timing of plantings, what to plant, starting seedlings, and how to overlay production to minimize gaps in markets. Do you want a greenhouse, to do season extension, grow winter crops, or start seedling for spring and fall?
– WHAT IS THE DESIGN OF THE FARM?
Where are the outbuildings, needed to store equipment, harvest and store and clean product, save seeds, pack for market, and for animal containment and placement? How will you manage the overall production? This includes such issues as crop rotations, and timing of inputs, transplants vs. seeding direct, cover cropping systems that build soils, creating insect habitats, making sure you have diversity in your system. What are your irrigation needs, and what installations do you already have? You will want an integrated system that is efficient in use of resources and time.
– HOW WILL YOU MARKET, STORE AND HARVEST?
Do you want to do wholesale, retail, farmers markets, CSA, direct to consumer and/or pick your own? These are critical questions if production is on a larger scale and you want it to yield an income.
HOW DO YOU COMPOST?
As a part of your system, do you import outside manures, compost and leaves? How do you recycle your waste products? Methods can be established to work with your resources, time and machinery. Both small and large gardens and farms benefit from use of these methods.
It is important that you know where you are going and how to get there, to be efficient, saving money, making money, if that is goal. These questions help focus the way I can help, saving time and helping you get what you want from the garden or farm. Usually these questions are covered in an initial interview and site visit….so I can see your place, talk with you, take soil samples and look at your soil profiles, etc.
I have experience in working with lasagna gardening (layering), overlaying principles of biodynamics, permaculture ideas, farm-scaping, and biological enhancement and mineralization, to best suit you and your site.
I also have experience with composting, sheet mulching and vermi-composting (worms).
I can quote you a price when we talk. Some basics:
– A two hour minimum for a consultation. If you want a written report, add two hours to the cost. This is usually enough time to get to the heart of what you want, and determine if you want to continue with my services.
– If you live over 10 miles from Asheville, then a charge is added for travel.
– Prices drop if there is more long term work.
– Soil test costs, if any, would be paid by you, the client.
MY OBJECTIVES FOR YOU
My most important objective is to help you be successful, efficient, productive, and profitable. I have even talked some clients out of farming. I want you to have a realistic understanding of the time, energy and cost of what you want to do.
I maintain an extensive network, so if you need something or someone better suited to meet your needs, I will provide that for you.
I also want you to see the system that is involved, the working of all parts to help you achieve your goals. This expands your understanding of what you do, why, and how it is all integrated. You, your resources, your place, your needs, the plants, birds, bees, insects…all play a part.
My contact information: