Homesteading Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate
Joined
·
18,515 Posts
When I was in my 20s, i grew and tended a 3 acre garden. This was while i worked a 40 hour a week job off the farm. I'd get home at midnight and reset the sprinklers and feed the chickens. In the morning, I'd weed until time to go to work and turn on the sprinklers.
Sweet corn, Indian corn, pop corn, cabbage, tomatoes, watermellon, cucumbers, carrots, string beans, peas, lettuce, summer and winter squash, peppers and potatoes.
I used a tractor to pull a manure spreader. I used the tractor to plow the field. I used a front tine roto tiller to work the soil and tear up small weeds between the rows and a hoe to dig weeds. I had 4 eight foot ladders with sprinklers wired to the tip for irrigation.

There were no Farmer's Markets then and I was unable to interest any stores or roadside markets in buying my produce. I canned what I could, sold some to the guys at work and a lot went to waste. I grew fantastic vegetables but was a poor salesman.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,981 Posts
It is going to depend on a number of things beginning with what you are growing. Are you growing something that gets big quickly then gets harvested all at the same time, like corn, or something that is slower and will be harvested over four or eight weeks, like tomatoes? If you want to grow for market, make sure you have a market, then grow items that will give you back your labor in cash. You need to know what will grow well in your soil and climate to limit your options.

Do more research into different ways to garden. For instance, lasagne gardening may work for you, which should mean less weeding and no tilling. If you put your chickens on the garden in the fall after harvesting they will take care of bugs and fertilization. Ducks eat snails.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,488 Posts
It will depend as was said, kinda, what type and kind of implements you have and use What kind of shape there in. IF you have to can and preserve WHILE keeping the garden weeded, ect.
I dont believe you can have enough tools and implements. I DO believe you can have too few.

A person may have an old tractor and plow and disc and harrow, An used tiller, a hoe, push plow, and think hes ready for an acre garden
Im here to tell you that tractors break down, have flats, ect. That a used tiller of unknown vintage and care is GUARANTEED to break down on an acre garden leaving you with hoes and push plows.
I have ALL the hand tools needed at least in duplicate
2 push plows, a high wheel and a low wheel, in which I can see no difference in use.
A Tuffey Troy Bilt tiller with NEW engine instaslled on it
a Simplicitry walk behind garden tractor with plow disc, harrow, cultivator and sickle mower
A Coleman Iron Mule 1 wheel walk behind garden cultivator with different types of shovels and a 10 fingered cultivator
A 1934 Standard Twin Walk Behind Garden tractor and 10in plow.
A Cub Farmall with spring tooth cultivator, 8ft horse disc, and 23 section harrow
2 standard farm type tractors, and all equipment for them.

I consider that I have enough equipment so that if something goes down, I can get by with another while keeping up and not falling behind.

IF one gets behind, especially in a big garden, They wont get back ahead. They will at best limp along, and take what they can get and be satisfied with that,

My worst fault is I live in Okla, and have to haul all my water.

I CANT be letting weeds and grass be drinking iot instead of the intended plants. I spent $100 early this spring for seed from RH Shumways. Thats too much money to stint on equipment to protect and keep it weeded.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,077 Posts
If you can devote yourself to it, 2-3 hours most days, an acre is no problem.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
30,047 Posts
If you can devote yourself to it, 2-3 hours most days, an acre is no problem.
Yep. If you lay down newspapers or other mulch it really cuts down on weeding. Lay the mulch down early before the weeds get ahead of you. And taller or bushier crops naturally choke out weeds.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,488 Posts
Ive raised corn for 30yrs. Never noticed year that the corn choked out the weeds after it got cultivated the last time at around 3ft tall. There was always an amazing amount opf weeds, bind weed, morning glory, sunflowers, pig weed, ect in the fields when I went to pick the corn.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,488 Posts
bushier crops choke out the weeds IF the weeds been kept down till the crops GOT bushy. AND even then, they didnt do a thing for what was between the rows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,003 Posts
That's why folks plowed corn when the ears were slapping them on the head, and the leaves would slice like a paper cut. They done it round here, anyway. They'd have to stop and pull the roots off the sweep.

The talking heads tell how they ruined the corn plowing it so late, the old folks talk about big ears of corn.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
30,047 Posts
bushier crops choke out the weeds IF the weeds been kept down till the crops GOT bushy. AND even then, they didnt do a thing for what was between the rows.
I should have clarified. I don't do row planting because of the weed issues. I lay out 4 foot wide beds, long as the short section of the garden. Cardboard on the paths between the beds. When grown in beds, taller and bushier crops do a very good job of choking out the weeds, once they get established. For me, I have found that planting in beds instead of rows makes the garden easier to maintain. Your mileage may vary.

I well remember hoeing between rows when I was a kid. Grandma would save her newspapers and paper feed sacks all year then use them between the rows to keep the weeds down. Sometimes the weeds would get ahead of us, then she used the large weeds to hold down the paper. But still we had to hoe between the rows at times just trying to keep ahead of the weeds.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,488 Posts
Nobody plowed corn when it was past 3ft where I came from, THAT I EVER HEARD OF.

Ive seen pics of farmers standing on wheels the rims being pulled by a horse or mule, cutting off weeds AND pushing dirt up against the corn plants covering the roots preserving moisture. Never heard of anybody doing it at home. NE Kans
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,246 Posts
I did almost 3 acres by myself ONE year, but I did not do the Market. I did work part time in the late evenings. I did alot of canning that year and gave away ALOT of produce. I do have a tractor to get the vegetables planted and cultivate till they got to tall. Then I use a piece of equipment that I would not take a small fortune for if there were no more----I call it a gas operated Mule Plow. It has a 5hp motor, one good size tractor tread pulling tire and It works SO good to keep the weeds under control between the rows. I put a 24" sweep on it and at full speed it will pull itself up and down the rows at a speed of a fast walk. I would run it between the rows once a week to keep the weeds under control(including my sweet corn). It is so much faster than my rear tine tiller which I would use some too for other things.
 

·
Terra-former
Joined
·
1,885 Posts
If your going the handtool route, look into broadforks. Much better then wheel hoes and the like. Depending on methods and crops grown the number of acres can vary significantly. If you stagger plantings of sweet corn and beans and melons or squash as a ground cover for instance, and your working on already broken ground (broadforks dont break new ground well, but once its going they keep it tilled pretty easily) you might pull off 10 acres even. Ive known people who have done it. They had trouble figuring out the right ratios of plants, and the right varieties.... but variations on the three sisters limit weeding in the middle to end of the season, and are rather productive.

So it really depends on what your growing and methods used. Your experience level and even crop varieties.

I also knew a guy who did a few acres in tomatoes, he only weeded it early in the season and by the end weeds were taller then the maters. He didnt anything much in the way of irrigation it is wet where he lives. It made picking a bit trickier but he said it made his job much easier over all, and production was still high.

the more diversity of crops the harder it gets usually. BUT you can make more cash from less land usually.

Also look at perennials. Often there is much less work involved per year but once they are going you just maintain a bit and harvest. A diverse collection of perennials and you will be able to tend much more land.
 
  • Like
Reactions: unregistered168043

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,488 Posts
PD R Is what your describiing a 1 wheel Coleman Iron Mule? Mines got a B & S with a intrigal clutch on it. Iron wheel with 3in cleats.
It too goes too fast for me now. When/if I find my gear puller, Im going to pull the engine pulley and put a bigger one on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,077 Posts
I did almost 3 acres by myself ONE year, but I did not do the Market, [but] gave away ALOT of produce.
If every man would do that but once, in this lifetime, I do believe he'd enter Heaven, a hero. :)
 

·
Brenda Groth
Joined
·
7,816 Posts
if you are doing a no till food forest garden concept you can do a lot more than if you are dong tilling and weeding..read Gaia's Garden or some other forest gardening books, I prefer Gaia's Garden.

once you put in the perennials and then seed in annuals where you pull out weeds and such..it takes very very very little energy expenditure, and the only tools you'll need are shovels and a pitchfork, some good pruners, and a rake ..maybe a few more..oh yeah a wheelborrow.

Also ifyou use wood heat a chainsaw and something to cart the wood with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,169 Posts
When my husband was young he kept a two acre garden. By 50 it dropped to one acre. He planted in rows, used a horse and plow and a hand pushed cultivator between rows.

In his 68th yr. now the whole garden consists of a dozen 40ft long raised beds x 3 ft wide. Paths between the beds are layered with straw. The beds are so much easier to tend, plant and keep weeds down. He does very little weeding. The trick is to get the weeds when tiny with a Dutch hoe. They don't go to seed and multiply. We also solved deer problems by fencing the garden with an electric fence.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top