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First things for a new homestead - Zone 5

 
Posts: 13
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Hi all,

We're (hopefully) buying a property this spring, and are putting some thought into the things we want to get established in the first year. We're conscious of not wanting to over-stretch ourselves, and also the importance of not making major decisions on how to use the land until we've spent at least a year on it, but at the same time, want to get things started which will help us to plant out once we've got our plan in place. Here's our list so far. Would love to get your thoughts on what we've missed, what may not be necessary/a good idea, etc.

Trees

- Korean Pine (pine nuts - take 10 years to produce)
- 2 apple, 2 pear trees
- willow

Nursery

- raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, currants
- rhubarb
- asparagus
- lovage
- horseradish
- comfrey
- alliums - walking onion, chives, garlic chive, lillies
- coneflower, calendula, blackeyed susan, chamomile, hostas, borage, yarrow
- phlox

Herbs

- sage, oregano, thyme
- tarragon, lemon balm, sorrel
- mints

Tools & Equipment

- wheelbarrow
- 55 gallon drums (rain barrel), 5 gallon buckets
- pruning shears
- shovels
- splitting maul, hatchet
- ladder
- t-posts
- hog panels, chicken wire
- 50' hoses & nozzles
- watering can
- lawn mower/scythe?
- thumper/sledgehammer
- broadfork
- pitchfork/potato fork


Thanks guys!

 
pollinator
Posts: 941
Location: Victoria BC
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I read the title and thought, what are you doing in zone 5? Get back to zone 1 where you should be focusing!

But you meant USDA zone 5, right?

A post pounder is a good idea. Putting the top of the t-post into your hand when you miss with the sledge is not the best, and it's faster.
 
gardener
Posts: 1051
Location: Maine, zone 5
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I like recommending a peach tree to folks just getting started at a new site.  They grow like a weed and start kicking out fruit fairly quickly.  You don't need to spray them and you can get fruit from one tree (double check the variety, not sure if they are all self fertile).  Also, they don't tend to be a very long lived tree, so if you later decide it's the wrong spot it's a little less of a problem.  Good luck Mikey, very exciting time!
 
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Location: Denmark/scandinavia
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If your plan is to put nut bearing crops (like pine nuts) in as soon at possible, I would consider some of the walnut species and definitely chestnuts. Chestnuts are a good source of food and various species should work in your zone and in the areas where they naturally appear they often have been a staple food. And at some point hazel, but I reckon they are fast growing so maybe they're not so important to put in at first. Root crops like Apios americana and sunchoke to get some food in the ground rather quickly. And at last but not least I would set aside some mounts of leafs (leafmould) and maybe woodchips if its possible to get them cheap or for free in your area to cook down to lovely compost
 
Posts: 28
Location: Kentucky - Zone6
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Some suggestions:
- Goumi
- Cilantro, easily self-seeds
- Sunchokes
- Gooseberries

Equipment:
- Hori Hori knife

If you have a pond:
- Duckweed
- Azolla

Maarten
 
Mikey Good
Posts: 13
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Thanks for the recommendations guys!

Neat - never heard of Azolla before, but in our area of Ontario, mosquito repelling anything is a great add!
 
pollinator
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Location: North central Ontario
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Where abouts in ontario I'm somewhere between zone 3 and 4 near Bancroft.
 
Posts: 1755
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Not sure about your climate specifically but I'm in 5a and I can't get pears to grow to save my life.
 
Posts: 118
Location: Prairie Canada zone 2/3
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elle sagenev wrote:Not sure about your climate specifically but I'm in 5a and I can't get pears to grow to save my life.



You may have to watch both the variety and the rootstock.  I'm on a border between zone 2 and 3, and have a couple of young-ish (5 years) but thriving pear trees.  

To the OP, Mikey - what are you using chicken wire for?  We've found it is so fragile that it is basically useless, and needs near-constant replacing or repair.  For keeping chickens contained, even plastic snow fence is sturdier.  For actual coops/corrals/chicken runs, I would recommend much heavier fencing that you can also use to keep in (or out!) other types of animals.  Our chicken run is designed to hold goats in, which is probably overkill, but it sure was handy when we needed a place to quarantine a goat.  It has also kept a determined dog out, not to mention the wildlife.  

I would personally start basically two of each type of fruit tree you want, right off the bat - they take for-ev-er to produce fruit.  To your two apples and two pears, if you have the space, I would add a couple of plums, peaches, and sweet cherries (and I gotta say, I'm a bit jealous of your ability to grow peaches and sweet cherries!).  

Regarding equipment, I'd say wait and buy it as you need it, especially if you are planning on buying it new anyhow.  It's easy to get loaded up on tools, and find out they aren't the tools you really needed.  The things we use the most at our place are shovels, spades, pruning shears, and a bow saw; your situation might be totally different.  I have a good collection of nearly-new tools that I thought I would need, but really didn't.  Of course, if you can snag something on a great deal at a yard sale, that's a completely different story.

Best of luck!  Starting out is so exciting!
 
Mikey Good
Posts: 13
Location: Toronto, Canada
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David Baillie wrote:Where abouts in ontario I'm somewhere between zone 3 and 4 near Bancroft.



We will be in the Trenton area, provided that the closing goes well!
 
Mikey Good
Posts: 13
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Jess Dee wrote:
To the OP, Mikey - what are you using chicken wire for?  We've found it is so fragile that it is basically useless, and needs near-constant replacing or repair.  For keeping chickens contained, even plastic snow fence is sturdier.  For actual coops/corrals/chicken runs, I would recommend much heavier fencing that you can also use to keep in (or out!) other types of animals.  Our chicken run is designed to hold goats in, which is probably overkill, but it sure was handy when we needed a place to quarantine a goat.  It has also kept a determined dog out, not to mention the wildlife.  



Thinking as protection for strawberries and other high-value fruit that deer like to browse.

Jess Dee wrote:I would personally start basically two of each type of fruit tree you want, right off the bat - they take for-ev-er to produce fruit.  To your two apples and two pears, if you have the space, I would add a couple of plums, peaches, and sweet cherries (and I gotta say, I'm a bit jealous of your ability to grow peaches and sweet cherries!).  



Budget is always a concern, of course, but the several recommendations on peaches (and my love of cherries) will probably inform November's tree orders...

Jess Dee wrote:Regarding equipment, I'd say wait and buy it as you need it, especially if you are planning on buying it new anyhow.  It's easy to get loaded up on tools, and find out they aren't the tools you really needed.  The things we use the most at our place are shovels, spades, pruning shears, and a bow saw; your situation might be totally different.  I have a good collection of nearly-new tools that I thought I would need, but really didn't.  Of course, if you can snag something on a great deal at a yard sale, that's a completely different story.



Makes sense! We'll also see what the previous owners leave behind! Fingers crossed!
 
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