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DH and I are about to move to a 4 acre property. We are a couple of very naive suburbanites, looking to play homestead, with lots to learn :)

Half the property is taken up by the house, fruit trees and our future food garden and chicken run. The other +/- 2 acres has been used as a pasture, and there is a stable already built.

We are planning to take some time to get used to the property and new lifestyle before we decide what to do with the pasture. We don't know if we'll get goats, a cow, geese, pigs... or maybe grow some grapes for hobby wine-making.
What should we do with that space while we make up our minds? Would it be worth the resources to put a cover crop on it, or just leave it empty? It's not irrigated, and we have water restrictions (central CA). The ground has a lot of clay and rock.
 

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If its 2 acres of clay/rock that is currently pasture (pasture isn't just a fancy word for grass ya know?) and it is suited to livestock then I'd put chickens and a steer out there, and stiffen it up with some more legumes.
 

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Depends on the location, but if it was right, I'd build 2-3 other houses on it, sell them for a huge profit as 'mini-estates'(after renting them for one year.....15-20% long term capitol gains versus potentially 50% or more ordinary income tax w/ SS), along with selling the house you just bought, then buy more land farther out.....like Idaho :D
 

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I think you should leave it alone and maintain the pasture by mowing a couple of times a year until you figure out what you want to do there.

Right now it has grass cover. You don't want to start digging or tilling in your good grass and end up with bare rock and clay. If it doesn't have a good grass cover on it, your goal should be to get that ground covered so any soil you have doesnt wash away. You want growth. If the ground is bare try a buckwheat cover crop to start. In the meantime dig out the stones, stumps and whatever else you've got there. You might consider having a load of manure dropped and spread. Take a soil test before you do anything, tell you cooperative extension what you plan to do with it, they will give you some amendment ideas.
 

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When I read the thread title, I was going to suggest "fill them with love. (Ie goats)."

But then I saw your own idea--grapes. That sounds pretty good to me! Do what you like, not what is expected.
 

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I'd leave it alone too for now. Get used to what you already have planned and see how that goes first. If anything, you might get someone to plug or slice the pasture, like you would your lawn. That would break up the clay a bit and allow the grass that's already there to spread it's roots. How does it hold up without irrigation? Clay is actually great for holding in water.
 

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I love TnAndy's thinking. Somebody actually tried to do that on our neighboring plots but the community banded together and stopped him.:nono:
Now we are surrounded by unoccupied 2 acre lots.

The seller says it's covered in grass in the spring time, so I think we'll let that grow for the next 1-2 years, adding a cover crop if needed. I definitely want some kind of animals on it in future, I just have to convince DH. The only thing he's willing to consider is goats, but I don't want to eat goat meat :umno:
 

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Have you ever had a Greek Gyro? They're made out of goat meat.

We haven't eaten any of our goats yet and don't know how we'll do when that time comes. We have them for the milk but you have to breed them to get milk so we'll have to do something with the babies if nobody buys them.
 

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I love TnAndy's thinking. Somebody actually tried to do that on our neighboring plots but the community banded together and stopped him.:nono:
Now we are surrounded by unoccupied 2 acre lots.

The seller says it's covered in grass in the spring time, so I think we'll let that grow for the next 1-2 years, adding a cover crop if needed. I definitely want some kind of animals on it in future, I just have to convince DH. The only thing he's willing to consider is goats, but I don't want to eat goat meat :umno:
Goat is my fave meat. It is truly delicious and tender when done right.
 

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No acreage is really 'empty'. If you have any interest in
Nature then birds and wildlife use the land. I would simply
plant trees. With that you got windbreak , and possible future
use as lumber or product like fruit or nuts, etc. At the very
least trees are carbon sinks helping to purify the air and
produce oxygen.
 

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DH and I are about to move to a 4 acre property. We are a couple of very naive suburbanites, looking to play homestead, with lots to learn :)

Half the property is taken up by the house, fruit trees and our future food garden and chicken run. The other +/- 2 acres has been used as a pasture, and there is a stable already built.

We are planning to take some time to get used to the property and new lifestyle before we decide what to do with the pasture. We don't know if we'll get goats, a cow, geese, pigs... or maybe grow some grapes for hobby wine-making.
What should we do with that space while we make up our minds? Would it be worth the resources to put a cover crop on it, or just leave it empty? It's not irrigated, and we have water restrictions (central CA). The ground has a lot of clay and rock.
Considering you have water restrictions, I wouldn't do anything this year. When you are expecting some rain, you could plant some perennials or trees... When my GM was doing dishes, she would use a dishpan, and she would rinse her dishes in another dishpan. The rinse water would always be used to water her flowers. I'd collect rainwater, use that to water with, too. I know it doesn't rain that much, but when it does... When you shower, use the stopper in the tub to trap the water. You could use that for watering (5 gallon buckets at a time...). I am sure you could come up with more ideas...
 

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They told me the Gyro was beef and lamb:huh:
Depends. Sometimes they are, but the best ones are goat. I prefer goat to beef, except for the beef steaks. You have to cook them low and slow, and often have to add a little extra fat, but goat meat done right is delicious

Mary
 
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