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First things for a new homestead - Zone 5  RSS feed

Posts: 6
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.


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


- 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


- 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!

Posts: 786
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.
Posts: 540
Location: Maine, zone 5
food preservation forest garden homestead solar trees wood heat
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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!
Posts: 5
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
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