What should I do next????

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by tat, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. tat

    tat Active Member

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    Hello,

    I live on 30 acres in East Texas and in the last few months I have aquired 6 White rock hens that are laying a few eggs a day + 2 roosters. I have 11 doe and 1 buck NZW rabbits and 12 unit cage that should be here around the first of september. I have thought of getting a milk goat and learning to make cheese and butter. Can someone advise me of something else I could do to utilize my land some more. I am very new to this and would be open to any suggestions.

    Thanks

    Tommy
     
  2. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Gardens ... carefully fenced from the goats! :)

    Sounds like you have a good start, though.
     

  3. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    Yep map out your garden spot first.Then you might also add a little piggy.And eat him when he is a big piggy! ;)
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I would plant fruit and nut trees. Don't settle for just any old tree tho. There are lots of new, more disease resistant varieties of many trees. And many have been developed for specific climates. And lots of berry bushes.

    Put in a huge asparagus bed. It will produce for years and provide you with lots to eat and sell.

    You might want to get some other varieties of poultry, such as turkey, muskovie ducks, and quail, to raise for meat and eggs for the specialty foods market.

    Have fun!
     
  5. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    You've got to get a Great Pyrenees to help you take care of everything. Get the goats for the milk and some potbelly pigs to raise for meat. Muscovy ducks are great and get some heritage breed turkeys for Thanksgiving.

    Don't stop with the asparagus. There are lots of perennial vegetable and berry plants to grow. Strawberries, rasberries, rhubarb, artichokes, grapes. They're all worth a try. Blueberry bushes and figs are two not to be without.

    We're moving next year and will try all of these and more. The little hardy kiwi vines are very tempting to me
     
  6. GRHE

    GRHE Mountain Ogre

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    I think this hits aey point right on the head that a lot of people overlook. Item that take a few years to delelope, but produce for years are good ideas to get started on early if you can. Gardens are a great return on your effort, and I absolutely would put the time in on it, and things like fruit trees an berries will eward you for the rest of your life once they become established,
     
  7. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    How many fruit trees do you think would be a good number?

    Our land is a few hundred miles away so the trees would basically be left to survive on their own.

    Also the same thing with different sorts of berries...
     
  8. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I think the number depends on what your plans are. Just enough for family and a few to share? Or do you want to supply a farm stand? What do you like and how much would you use?

    I would get dwarf trees since they are much easier to care for and produce sooner. They do cost more per tree, but they can easily produce enough for a family. I once had a Red Haven peach tree, dwarf, that in one season I canned 4 dozen quarts, froze a couple dozen gal bags and ate fresh till they were coming out my ears. I had to prop up the branches to keep them from breaking. This was the 3rd summer I had it. So it was 2 yrs old at the beginning of that summer. We moved the next winter so I don't know how it did after that.

    You might want to plant a few extra trees in case something happened to one or more you won't have to wait an extra season for fruit.

    Remember, you will prob eat lots more fresh fruit off your own trees than when you have to buy it at the store. It really does taste better. And don't forget grapes!

    We had an old apple tree that bore way more fruit than we needed. Unfortunately there was a major prob with pests, so few of them were good enough to just eat. I cut out the good parts and canned I don't know how many quarts. Ended up canning with no sugar because I couldn't afford that much. They were still good several yrs later when I opened the last jar.

    In a smallish city lot we had an apple tree a cherry a wonderful plum and two peach trees. The red haven did well, the other one was in a bad spot and got frosted and lost all its fruit. We also had grape vines and a vegie garden.
     
  9. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Ooops sorry should of made my post a little clearer.

    It would be just me and my lovely wife and we are too far off the main roads to have a stand of any description.

    We have six dwarf fruit trees of various types here at home in some REALLY big pots,I have thought of moving them up to the land but we need to figure out where to plant and such things.Also worry about deer eating the trees while they are small.

    Thanks for the advice. :)
     
  10. GRHE

    GRHE Mountain Ogre

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    One thing I was taught as a kid, and I still believe, is don't raise something you don't like yourself. I first go by that with both animals and plants as my first guide (with the exception of I will raise thing my wife likes even if I don't). If you plant an apple orchard but don't like apples, cider, pie, etc., what are you going to do if you can't sell the fruit? You also aren't as likely to take as good of care if it is something you are not raising because you like it, but enough of the philosophy.

    Especially if you cannot give continual care, you need to look at climate. Many fruits need winter chill, do you have enough or do you need to pick warmer varieties. If you want to grow more tropical, is your place warm enough? Do you have enough naturally water, or do you need to irrigate for a given plant? As for berries, blackberries will grow most anywhere like a weed, so you may want to contain them if you grow them. Raspberries are a little pickier with soil, but still a good bet. Strawberries are a little more work, but are hard to beat and there are warm and cold weather varieties. Most of these are likely to give you a return the second year. I myself can’t picture my farm without grapes, so I’ve got them. Many people do a few currents just to keep the birds away from their other fruit, but I will use them ahead of cranberries with turkey and many other dishes any day. Nuts may eventually turn a profit for you, and are great landscape tree as well. Most nursery catalogs will give a good idea of zones on varieties and species, but if you want a bit of overkill for some folks, try the "Fruit, Berry and Nut Inventory" from the Seed Savers Exchange. It is a composite of many species and verities and includes sources for the varieties. It is too much information for some people, but I like it myself. My copy is a bit dated, and I do not know if they have done an update since 1992, but the information is still good.
     
  11. GRHE

    GRHE Mountain Ogre

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    Oz, deer can be a very real worry, even when the plants are not young. Last year I expected about 4-5 bushels of grapes. I got 4-5 pounds, the deer, quail and foxes ate the rest. At least they left the plants alone though. There are ways to discourage them though, but tender shoots and ripe fruit sometimes overcomes their fears.
     
  12. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    tat,
    Lots you can do on 30 acres.
    My first land experience on about about 25 acres bush and 2 acres was bascially open lawn/weeds. The garden plot was outlined and had plastic to cover areas to kill the growth, followed by rototilling and then a planting of buckwheat (you can also use oats). When that grew up to about 6 inches high, it was tilled in and the process repeated. This helped keeping it somewhat weed free for the first planting of squashes, pumpkins, melons. The large leafed also kept weeds down for an easier time for next season planting of a more multiple variety of vegetables.
    Muscovy ducks are great to utilize for eggs and meat. The hens also are broody to hatch any other chicken or fowl eggs that you might have. Remember the roosters for fertility at about a 1:5 hen ratio. Muscovies also don't need water for swimming like other ducks, and they eat tons of bugs like flies but they won't eat tent caterpillars as we've found out the year of infestations. (I only remember seeing orioles eat those things..../digressing).

    Consider the possibility of a beehive, if that interests you. It's a great idea to help garden and fruit tree pollination for full benefit of production, never mind the honey which you can utilize in comb form. I found it very enjoyable and great learning experience keeping 2 hives and several dozen pounds of honey was welcome.

    If your land has room for trees, that's what I did was plant scotch pine trees. I am in the north, so a different variety might be better where you are. The idea was for xmas trees, though they now are better and more attractive as a windbreak. It takes years to get them tall, so early on in your planting is the way to go.

    If you can, get a Kuvasz. It's a hungarian breed of dog that is the best livestock protection guardian you can have. It's a breed especially suited keeping with goats or sheep and protection from coyotes and other vermin.
    Raise the pup to get used to the livestock, and they will bond better.
    Good luck and have fun.

    Rich
     
  13. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is all wonderful advice that I would agree with. Will you eventually move there and build? How often are you there? Some things need a little more care than others. You may have to protect the trees with netting when producing fruit. I have heard that raising fowl under your fruit trees will help with pests and reduce the need to spray.

    Did anyone mention getting pigs to raise and let them root out the place where your garden will be? Readers Digest book" Back to Basics" mentions the best way to set up a farm. Where you put things can make a big difference as to how successful you are.

    In other words, if your tools are stored far from where you will use them, you will not be able to utilize a quick 15 minutes to do something if it takes you ten to locate the tool.

    If you are taking care of several animals, your feed storage and delivery should be set up for the most efficient way to do this--especially if you have another job and must do this early in the morning.
     
  14. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    our woods is full of mature black walnuts not only do you get all the nuts but the root system give off something that is toxic to a lot of other plants makes for a nice clean woods can walk through them very easy
     
  15. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I've had really good luck keeping hungry deer from chewing my trees by fencing each tree with field fence and t posts. I put 4 posts up per tree, making an area roughly 6 ft across, wrap the fencing on the OUTSIDE of the tposts so the posts will support the fence if a deer tries to lean over to reach a branch. Then wire the fencing to the posts. Mulch the tree well to keep weeds from competing with the roots.
    If each tree is fenced you don't need to fence the entire area to protect the trees, but if you fence the entire area, the deer are likely to jump that fence and stroll right up to the trees for lunch.