Welcome Aranya! My husband and I are in our late fifties. We don't believe Social Security will be there for us so our only retirement plan is to buy some land and try to live on what we can produce. We are very new to the permaculture concept. Our concern is that it seems to be a decade or so before everything is settled in and producing in a permaculture set-up. Is that an accurate perception? Do you recommend starting with a mixture of permaculture and traditional organic farming?
I'm 61 and my advice is to write a list of every food you currently buy from the store and cross off any that you can't grow on your property (here I can't grow banans and pineapples for instance)..
Then figure which ones you really really could grow on your property and put in the woodies first like trees and shrubs..your berries will produce faster than the trees, but trees really should go in promptly..berries can make a hedge and windbreak.
underplant those trees with perennial crops that you like, say rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries, etc..and also use some chop and drop mulch plants and some nitrogen fixers and some insectary plants, around each tree..leave some room for some annual crops in the spring..
also consider things like health..you MAY want to put in some raised gardens or hugel beds depending on your health and your ability to bend and your climate..
I know for me it is harder every year to reach the ground..but it does keep me active..however..trelllis and arbors are a saving grace to get a few things up off the ground..and I'm putting in a few more raised beds all the time...burying wood in them.
Bloom where you are planted.
Our concern is that it seems to be a decade or so before everything is settled in and producing in a permaculture set-up. Is that an accurate perception?
Like almost everything else, asPaul would say, "it depends".
True, a permaculture setting cannot be set up "as soon as the soil can be worked in spring". Your main 'kitchen garden' can be.
That is a first step that can be repeated each spring for your annuals. That will ease the burden of feeding yourselves until the perennials can kick in and provide a less labor intensive way to put calories/nutrition in the kitchen.
The time frame depends on many factors: climate being one of the most important.
Extremes in weather will determine what can/cannot be expected to perform in your location.
If there is any commercial agriculture in your region, then it is suitable for growing a substantial portion of your food needs.
As Brenda pointed out, concentrate on the things you already buy and eat. But don't overlook things you don't currently buy/eat.
For instance, I've seldom bought winter squash. But it is an easy plant to grow, and produces a lot of food. It is also loved by chickens and hogs, so if you plan to raise either of those, the squash will provide many healthy meals for them when winter shuts down the garden.
Once a kitchen garden is established, begin getting your perennials established. While they may not be 100% settled in, they will begin providing food in a year or two. They will just get better over time.