Todd McCree at Great Escape Farms
Todd McCree at Great Escape Farms is a description about the owner and his journey into forest garden design that spurred several new businesses.
I figured that if you are going to spend time reading my blog, then you should know a little about me, and how I acquired the knowledge to write about these subjects.
First the basics… I grew up and went to school in Pasadena, MD, joined the Air Force for a four year enlistment, then went to the University of Maryland where I got a BS in Computer Information Science and got a job as a Network Systems Engineer. There… that’s out of the way. So what does this have to do with gardening and plants? Not much. It’s the side jobs where I got my experience.
While going to school I held several jobs, some before I was a teenager. I spent several pre-teen and teen years mowing lawns during the summer, raking leaves in the fall, and shoveling snow in the winter. Sometimes I would help my parents or an employer (any neighbor who would hire me) plant trees and gardens. I had a garden of my own for many years and assisted my father with his planting endeavors.
As time went on I graduated to a “real job” in my sophomore year of high school and went to work for a local mom-and-pop shop called Joe’s Plants and Garden Center. There I worked at tending the nursery stock, selling products, assisting customers and every once in a while perform onsite landscaping work for clients.
Then I went on to the Air Force, College, and work. I did a little planting here and there, but not a whole lot. In 2001 I moved to a new house that had a lot of property (about a half acre). I got into landscaping and making the back yard look nice, put in a pond and garden and enjoyed it.
In 2012, my wife and I bought a 10-acre parcel of property in West Virginia. This property had 42 mature fruit trees on it. I was very excited about the thought of fresh fruit, but had no idea how to take care of them. So I started researching and the more I learned, the more I realized I didn’t know.
I now subscribe to a dozen magazines, watch YouTubes all the time, read books at night on many different subjects and listen to about 30 hours of podcasts every week while I drive (yes, I drive a lot).
Recently I have taken two permaculture design courses. I have submitted one project for grading and will submit the other after I pass the first. I have also taken a plant propagation course and I am signed up for a Soil Biology course and a Bee-keeping course. I have attended several seminars and tours on Permaculture and sustainable farming.
I have been on a working farm twice as a Wwopfer (Willing Worker on Permaculture Farm). During these stays we put in several thousand feet of swales and planted into them. I also did day-to-day farm activities with the animals (pigs, cows, horses, ducks, rabbits, chickens, and barn cats).
For the last two years I have been doing plant propagation, both hardwood and softwood, and this spring put in a propagation bed with intermittent mist system. I planted 48 different varieties of cuttings ranging from fruit trees and bushes to ornamental, just to experiment and see what grew. I had fairly decent results and plan on propagating and selling the plantings in 2016.
My ultimate goal is to farm, blog, and sell plants for a living when I retire from my “geek” job in a few years.
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