Starting from scratch with 2 FLAT acres - What would you do???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Wannabee, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. Wannabee

    Wannabee Foggy Dew Farms

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    Ok, what would you do. If you were starting from SCRACTH - all you have is a house - what would you do? 2 FLAT acres. What would you do to set up a homesteading operation the fastest way possible?????

    ANimals?
    Garden only?
    Orchard?

    I'll take all your ideas you care to submit! I have about 2 acres with a garden, pole barn, hoophouse, and chickens. What else should I do immediately?????

    I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on this one!
     
  2. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    plant fruit and nut trees!!! but be sure of their location.
     

  3. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    This is a good exercise for me, because there are two acres across the road from my grandmother's house (where we live) that I would like to buy (it's looking like I won't be able to, sigh).

    I would build a very small house for my daughter and I, and a workshop. Right next to the door to the house, maybe between the house and the workshop, would be the vegetable garden, and the herb garden. Around the house for shade and windbreak would be the fruit trees and berry bushes. Outside that ring of protection I'd plant some nut trees (butternuts, black walnuts, and maybe hazelnuts ought to do all right here). I have dairy goats and poultry, so would need sheds for them, and to store hay and equipment. I'd probably end up with an acre or so for pasture, and would plant shrubs and trees around the fence line (a double fence all around the whole place, to keep the deer out -- the shrubs and trees would go between the two fences). Add a few rabbit cages in one of the sheds, some beehives in a corner of the place, and a couple of pig pens (for potbellies, not full-sized pigs). My house would have a composting toilet; there would be a hand pump on the well (I have the hand pump, and the water level here will work with one); cold frames, compost bins, and a hoop house would be next to the garden; a dog kennel, perhaps built against the workshop, for when I get a female farm collie and need to keep her or my male confined. There would be trellises for grapes and some of the berries, and big porches on both ends of the house (west and east ends). The house would be solar heated (and solar hot water) with a masonry stove for backup heat, and a woodshed would also serve as a windbreak across the whole north side of the house. (We get a LOT of wind here.)

    Nothing is fast. If it's worth doing at all, it's worth taking the time to do it right. The first things you should do, after making sure you have good fencing, are plant the stuff that will take a while to start producing, like the fruit and nut trees and the berries. Animals should come one variety at a time, unless you have lots of experience. If you've never kept livestock before, poultry or meat rabbits are a good starting place -- the investment is fairly small, and returns are quick. They don't take anything special in the way of housing, except it needs to be predator-proof. It's not too expensive to feed a few chickens or rabbits, and they don't take a lot of time each day for their care. Once you have your first type of animal all set up, and are comfortable with the routine of caring for them, then you can work on adding another one.

    If you are still in the stage of planning all this out on paper, sitting down with a list of what you want to do, the amount of space each activity or animal will require, their time requirements (and the seasonal variations), will help you to place them on the property. Have you read any of the permaculture books? They are expensive, but your library might have one of them. You'll get lots of ideas from them.

    Kathleen
     
  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Don't try to do it all at once! :eek:

    What I would do is to put in a medium-sized garden and just 2 fruit trees! Don't make the garden too big: if you decide to plant more later, you can unless you are in a really short-season growing area. Things like greens and potatos and carrots really need to go in early, but most veggies you can always add on to if you decide you need to plant more.

    After the plantings are done, then take care of what you have, and any spare energy you have you can use on thingsd like fencing if you want it, repair work if it needs it, and making plans and getting set up for anything ELSE you may want!

    That way, you can get the structures ready without the pressure of having too many things that need to be done NOW!

    What you need to do now is to do the things that can ONLY be done in the spring, then you can do the things you WANT to do! So, do the spring things now, and take your time with the others. You will enjoy that goat shed more-and do a better job- if you don't have to rush it because the goats will be dilivered on Saturday morning.

    Ah, yes. I have found it wise to start dinner before you get started working outside. At least get the meat out to thaw: it is hard to decide what to cook when you are tired. It is EASY to throw a piece of thawed meat onto the grill, but HARD to take the frozen package out and wonder if you can get it thawed in time if you use hot water. Homesteading projects ALWAYS seem to take longer than you think they will!
     
  5. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Terri, that last is really good advice -- a slow cooker is so handy! I like to get it started in the morning, before I start working outside. Without electricity, a solar cooker or a woodstove will do the same thing.

    Kathleen
     
  6. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Establish a cash cycling with fast growing plants such as flowers or similiar, or start a grand garden so you can sell veggies. Allow each crop to carry the exspence necessary to start the next one, only repeat succesful ventures. Fence in the place as soon as practicle. Watch the differances between wants and needs in the spending area, there is no need for a tiller if the garden is only 10 feet square, ect. When you do buy, buy only quality long lasting items, a 3 dollar spot welded hoe will break many times quicker than a 10 dollar forged steel one. You don't have space for larger animals so stick with the chickens and maybe one milking goat. Keep your operations very versitile, only add as you develope the knowledge to handle each type projects.

    My intentions are to start a worm farm, cut flowers, stand of garlic, and anything else that makes the place self sufficant as soon as practicle, when we finally get some place large enought to do such.
     
  7. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Moopups, your advice is really good, except that goats need to be kept in pairs, at least. If you tried to keep just one, it would be screaming it's head off all the time wanting company.

    If someone doesn't have room for the larger goats, there are several smaller breeds -- two Kinder goats will give enough milk for a household, and can be bred one in the spring and one in the fall for a year-round supply of milk.

    Kathleen