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Goshen Farm
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I have a ten acre field and a five acre field as well as five acres surrounding the house that include a couple of outbuildings and probably two acres of open land. My soil is sandy loam for what ever that means LOL

Farmers in my area are growing pecans, pistachios, sourgum, millet, melons, garden veggies , wine grapes and such.

I know I cant really decide for sure what to do till I get the results on how our well is and can it be made better. It seems we get about 16 inches of rain per year here and are in zone 8a- high desert. We have cool nights and warm days even in the summer. Cooler than most of the rest of Arizona.

It is important to me to get this figured out because some stuff takes a long time to mature...7 years for pistachios!

Looking for practical advice from all you farmer types out there. It is possible the best use of my land is to stick two cows on it...I just don't know. Already have 4 goats, two peafowl, six hens and 15 guineas. TIA sis
 

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Does it get below freezing there between April and June? I'm trying to learn how to grow strawberries; sandy loam (which is considered acidic) and cool nights in spring (but not freezing) are recommended for them. Blackberries and blueberries might be options, too. I wonder if any of your neighbors ever tried growing any of these? I don't know anything about AZ gardening, but your soil type caught my eye. Your idea about cows would be good if you have suitable pasture and water . . . would you be raising them for meat or to sell for profit?
 

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Was that is that a lake east of town? Hard to tell from the google map if it has any water or is dry most of the time.

Are you near any of the pivots south of town? Channel a little water over. ;)

Your climate and soil is about as opposite of mine as you can get, so maybe you would have to do the exact opposite of anything I say or do and would get a good crop! :) it looks extremely dry, dry, dry there.

Guess I've got no advice, but would be fun to live and explore your area for a year, see how things are there. I'd probably be ready for my wet cold clay life after that, but would be a fun experiment.

Good luck with it.

Paul
 

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Goshen Farm
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Discussion Starter #4
LOL, that dry looking lake is the Willcox Playa, it is a dry lake and only gets really wet during monsoons. It is a national bird watching place and was once used as a bombing range during one of the wars. I have not been up close and personal but it looks like a fascinating place.

I am so fortunate to have the time to figure this stuff out....heaven forbid I need to be self sufficient so soon!

Was thinking about a cow for beef if I could find someone to share it with, maybe half a cow for half a pig or something?

I will research the berry idea, love blackberries. The apple and pear trees on the property are all mature trees so I am not sure how well they will produce each year. I planted year old trees of fig, apricot, apple, nectarine and something else, so they could begin producing in 2015-16.

I doubt I would have enough water to grow a field crop that needs constant irrigation...but maybe a combo of dry land cow/goat food pasture and a small orchard? My brain is spinning LOL...my place is about 7 miles south of the Cochise sign on google earth, off the end of the playa.
 

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.............Have you considered pastured pork ? Pig fences are cheap as once the porkies rub their little butts on the hot wires they don't challenge the wires any more ! Plus you need some isolated , covered stalls so mama pig can birth and feed her piglets . You can store their slop in plastic barrels until it is fully ripe . Just a thought . , fordy
 

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Your best ideas will come from looking around you and seeing what the neighbors are able to grow, and how they do it.. Most anything that grows, animal or vegetable, will take lot of water and good fertile soil. If those don't come from Nature, then you will have to supply them, by purchase, scavenge, or theft.....

Nature, and society, with water rights laws, don't seem to have dealt you a very good hand.....

geo
 

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Goshen Farm
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Discussion Starter #8
Indeed, water is a primary issue. I am waiting to find out if I have enough, or can be made to have enough to irrigate an orchard or a field. Since I am currently not irrigating and the pasture is full of grasses and weeds I am thinking that there are some dryland farming type pasture grasses that will work to beef up my pasture. Actually looking at Bermuda...even when it dies, it lives!
 

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40, IF letric fences NOW keep in hogs and pigs, that's a WHOLE lot different than it was in the 60s

Course, most things are lol.
 

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zone 5 - riverfrontage
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I fenced-in 5 acres of woodlot using electric-fence, our pigs are fine out there. One large Black boar [800#] and three Hampshire sows [$300 - 350].

We are also raising piglets in a wood pallet pen with electric-fence wire inside it. So they will be entirely trained to electric before they are released.
 

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agmantoo
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teff will grow where the moisture is minimum. It makes great hay and can be grazed.
 

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Check with some of the farmers on or near Native American lands to see what they're growing and how, that is if they're dry land farming. The first thing that came to my mind was dried beans like Anasazi, Indian Woman, etc. I'm thinking that there are varieties of lots of edible plants that have been developed for, or that are naturally, tolerant of low rainfall conditions and that can serve multiple purposes, i.e., cash crop and/or food for animals and humans. BTW, some of those bean varieties are both very nutricious and delicious both as boiled, dried beans and, if strung first before cooking or canning, as green snaps. Good luck there.
 

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I agree with oeb2 and geo_in_mi, it's definitely a good idea to look at the people around you to see what works for them in this climate, just remember that if you're willing to put enough ingenuity and effort in to it (and enough research time) just about anything is possible. Sounds like you've got the start of a food forest going on which is good planning for the future. A judicious pruning and micro nutrient fertilizer such as norwegian kelp would likely get your mature fruit trees back on their way to production. You should also think about doing a closed system green house, which should lower your water usage immensely. Cows can be a burden or a blessing depending on how you graze them, be prepared for some pretty intensive rotational grazing and before you set a cow on it would behoove you to do some pasture improvements like seeding nutrient rich/grazing tolerant grasses.

Good luck with your endeavor!
 

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your rain fall is closer to 13" per year,

most likely you will need 20+ acres to raise a cow calf for all year round feed,

hard to raise much of any thing consistently with only 13" of annual water a year, (without irrigation),

with at acreage consider how one is going to harvest it?

a lot of acerage to hand pick some thing, and if your neighbor is not friendly and willing to help you harvest say sorghum, millet (combine and truck). and may be lend you the planter or plant it for you,

could consider a cash lease to a local farmer for a few years, and watch how they do it, or a crop share, (in our area land owner get 1/3 and farmer gets 2/3).

(my rain fall is about the same as yours and altitude as well , you have longer growing season is my guess, I raise all dry land, millet, wheat, corn can be raised here a lot of cash need,
some years I do OK and others are disaster, do to the moisture or lack of it, and or when it falls,
 
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