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Homestead in NC (Projects/Plan/Property Detail/History). Zone 7b/8a.

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Mainly just wanted to share my current homestead and projects/plan for the future along with some historical images I've been able to find of the property. Suggestions/commentary is more than welcome! :)

I am on a 13 acre property west of Charlotte, NC. The zone here is on the edge between 7b and 8a. There is a stream and waterfall on the north of the property cutting down across the south/east of my property. There is a good bit of elevation change (~70ft) between the top (where the house is located) and the bottom (where the steam is at on the south/east side before it elevates upwards again on the east (topo below). There are a number of acres that are wooded that need to be cleared out over time, this will be done passively over the years. Right now, the home uses propane for it's fireplace. Changing this over to wood and/or installing a rocket mass heater would be ideal. On the north side of the property, about 25 ft above the stream, there is an unimproved artesian well (currently drains into the stream above the waterfall). Improving that by building a spring house would be an interesting project and allow for electric free cold refrigeration.

Major upgrades over the next several years from an infrastructure perspective: re-pluming house with multi stage filtration, trenching electrical and water across the driveway to garden area (and to parents), geothermal heating/cooling for home/water, wood burning heat source, spring house, root cellar, solar.

I am doing the majority of the work myself with only minor tools (shovel/dump cart/power drill/etc).

This year-- I've planted ~14 types of cold hardy citrus, 4 types of pineapple guava, purple/green tree collards, d'aubenton kale, dino tree collards, mahonia, gomchee, and blue bean trees around the house along with a small herb garden (orange on the first image below).
The garden currently consists of 9 inch raised beds two of which consist of asparagus and 2 are being used to propagate sunchokes and comfrey (beige on the map). The garden will be expanded to ~20 beds over winter, weather permitting.
Food forest part 1 consists of ~50 new fruit trees/bushes about half of which did not make it through our drought this year (dark green on the map).
Food forest part 2 is the main target area for 2020 tree plantings and the north portion of the food forest where I will be setting up shade nitrogen fixers to support establishment of ~50 pawpaws (light green).
Green house is anticipated over this fall/winter via cattle panels and a greenhouse plastic (amber).
A chicken/duck perm structure near the garden is expected to be built over the winter (pink). A small number of ducks for eggs and a breeding stock of chickens for meat.
Propagation area to the north of the house for rooting cuttings and protecting small plants (cyan) to be built in the next several weeks. Semi-shady but close to the house and can see from my office window.

I've allocated an area for my parents so they can move to my property and I can help them out (grey on the map).
An area is being allocated to a 30-40k solar array that will split power between my home and the parents-- likely in 2021 sometime, funds permitting (yellow)..


Layout:

Topo:


Interestingly, I've been able to find historical images of the property to give insight into what was done here in the past. The person's family I purchased from built the home in the mid-1970s. Its fascinating to see the property change over time. I'll be continuing to dig through everything for more information pre-1938.

1997: It looks like they were actively growing on the north and south of the home.  


1984: Looks very similar to what is in 1997 just less tree cover. Image is a lot blurrier...


1968: Full tree cover aside from a small building in the bottom left to middle.


1956: Some type of agriculture being done, small house and road in bottom left to middle.


1951: The home is more pronounced with more defined fields.


1938: Home is still pronounced in the image with defined fields. Looks like some type of forest clearing had taken place recently in the bottom right of the image.
 
garden master
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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Looks like a great property and a great plan Richard.

I'm over on the other side of the state, similar zone 7a/8b.

Would love to hear more or see photos of what you're growing in your food forest.

Best of luck with everything!
 
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thats cool
where do you find historic pictures?
my place is pre civil war and I know about tobacco farm and sawmill that was here previously but would love to find historic photos like that
 
pollinator
Posts: 383
Location: Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Zone 8a - Humid
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It sounds like you have an amazing place. I just moved down to Elizabeth City, NC myself but only have an acre. That being said it will take me many years to max it out. I look forward to future updates from you! Thank you for posting.

On a side note be sure not to take on too much at once. Don't want to burn out! It sounds super amazing though.

That "Cold Hardy" citrus does not really mature to their rating until around year 5 or more I am told. Best to keep a good eye on it during cold snaps and be prepared to save it. For some reason citrus takes a REALLY long time to build up a good bark layer... which is what protects from the cold. Getting a good root system going really helps as well.

What root stock are you running on them?

I want to get some cold hardy citrus as well. Upsize in a pot for a few years... and then put into a protected spot from the N/NW/W Winter winds.

On a side note... I have a Improved Meyer Lemon in a pot that is a good 6 years old at least. They are only good down to around 25F. Anyways, the second year that tree withstood temps in the teens in a greenhouse (Temps inside the greenhouse). Didn't even loose a leave. 3 or so years later it saw temps down in the teens again... but this time out in the wind/ice. That thing was dead... TOAST... all leaves fell off and all branches turned brown. It was a goner. HOWEVER, in very late Spring after everything had come out in full force, new leaves and branches emerged. It was alive! I threw on some fertilizer and it grew back bigger and happier than ever. Just no Lemons that first year from coming back. The part that survived was the part with thick bark at the base. Hence why it took a while to pop out new leaves/branches.

I have since cloned 4 branches in my Aquaponics system. They will be going into pots for a few years... and then in-ground in a greenhouse in a few years after I build one at my new place. They will be fine. I am now in zone 8A.
 
Posts: 61
Location: Appalachian Foothills-Zone 7
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Very nice!
 
Richard Kicklighter
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I'll definitely be able to post some more photos as we go. I tend to take a lot of them as I wander around regularly.

bruce Fine wrote:
where do you find historic pictures?



The county GIS site here in the last several years it seems found/loaded all of their historic maps and county information (streams, soil maps, zoning, etc). I was super shocked to see aerials from the 1930s!

Marty Mitchell wrote:
I just moved down to Elizabeth City,
...

On a side note be sure not to take on too much at once. Don't want to burn out! It sounds super amazing though.

That "Cold Hardy" citrus does not really mature to their rating until around year 5 or more I am told. Best to keep a good eye on it during cold snaps and be prepared to save it. For some reason citrus takes a REALLY long time to build up a good bark layer... which is what protects from the cold. Getting a good root system going really helps as well.

What root stock are you running on them?

...

I have since cloned 4 branches in my Aquaponics system. They will be going into pots for a few years... and then in-ground in a greenhouse in a few years after I build one at my new place. They will be fine. I am now in zone 8A.


Elizabeth city is super close to the water I believe, right? That will be an awesome moderating micro climate!

Definitely trying to keep my taking on projects at a reasonable pace-- just so much I want to do but realistically only so much I am willing to spend any given year to get it all done. ;)

All of the citrus is supposedly on flying dragon, but I had to buy the collection retail so I am not 100% sure. I have Flying Dragon rooting in the basement currently and will hopefully be able to plant it out next year sometime. Around 7 flying dragon, 3 normal trifoliate, 2 morton, and 4 red australian finger limes are being rooted. (flying dragon pictured)


Awesome on the cloning in aquaponics! I really am interested in setting that up as well, but that may over extend me a bit right now! Super cool

As for the cold hardy citrus, I have three that are less unprotected (near driveway with crape myrtle for canopy) than the others but they are rated for zone 7 or better. Varieties: Flying Dragon, Yuzu Ichandrin, and Sudachi Hybrid Yuzu.

Photo after initial planting:


The others I am growing are all zone 8 appropriate, but growing them next to a south facing brick wall with no shade may help. Varieties: Centennial Variegated Kumquat, Variegated Calamondin, Ten Degree Tangerine, Juanita Tangerine, Dunstan Citrumelo, Ichang Lemon, Morton, Meiwa Kumquat, Kuno Wase Manadarin, Hardy Grapefruit (zone 7).

The main collection (with some purple tree collards):

The two outliers still by the house (they've since been fully mulched):


Around the deck of the house, I have 'Favorite' pomegranates planted by the steps:


And, pineapple guava along the path with a few hostas and cold hardy begonias intertwined. I've since wrapped the mulch around into the planting of the pomegranates. Varieties: Robert, Nikita, Mammoth, and Apollo.


From earlier and in no particular order:
Garden after initial mulching:


Ginger/Turmeric/Galangal with a pepper plant I didn't have room for elsewhere. The weeds had grown through the mulch a good bit at this point.


Yacon and Chick peas growing together:


Sunchokes (Stampede, Red Fuseau, and Clearwater) going strong and starting to bloom (sweet potatoes were in the front bed but were eaten back by deer):


Maypop growing on a drought killed elderberry:


Japanese raisin tree (a deer recently decided to rub on it a good bit, I am hopefully it will survive). There is a second planting nearby as well.


State (as of last late winter) of the forest on the north/east side of the property (I need to lean out some of the dead wood and open it up a bit).


My favorite old tree on the property (I just wish there were not so many names carved into it). The trunk is about as wide as my truck's front end.


I'll have to find more photos later, but also a number of mulberries, aronia, goji, apples, almond, and cherries have been put in this year. I have a Chicago Hardy Fig that is potted up and will be going out next spring along with several cold hardy kiwis.

I just put in giant miscanthus grass in a raised bed so I can propagate more next year and the year after for on site compost production. Additionally, got some chinese artichoke growing and turkish rocket for perennial broccoli substitute.

This weekend will be digging up the sunchokes and replanting each variety in its own bed (hopefully saving some tubers). And, getting some cattle panels setup as trellis arches for groundnut (lsu improved variety) and chinese wild yams.
 
Richard Kicklighter
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More photos I've been able to pull down from the cloud for here. :)
sweetpotatoharvest.jpg
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The lack luster sweet potato harvest after drought and deer this year.
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The biggest two sweet potatoes are quite large!
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Prickly pear cacti need to get put in the ground, they produced fruit this year without any soil on their roots just sitting in a half sun location.
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Yacon is still moving along, though didn't get as tall as I had expected.
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Thai fire and Music garlic are coming up a bit, I have ~250 cloves planted pretty tightly.
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Walnut harvest from a few weeks ago.
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Tasmanian mountain pepper and Szechuan pepper arrived, need to get them in the ground this weekend.
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Milkweed in late summer with the butterflies around.
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A cold hardy aloe growing in ground in my herb garden.
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A super early calamondin fruit!
 
Richard Kicklighter
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Been raining like crazy this week, ~2 inches this week alone. But, intermixed in there-- was able to get a delivery of wood chips and logs from Chip Drop (after waiting the last 7ish months). Some more of my seed tubers arrived-- dioscorea batatas and LSU ground nuts. Along with some yellow potato onions. I am hoping to get all of those in the ground this weekend. Also received some carolina african runner peanuts for next year.

I tend to make raised beds with just compost, but for the peanuts after last frost-- I'll need to get source some sand and get it mixed in as well. Most of my property is think red clay so building the soil into something more usable and pleasant to work in is a priority. Until the soil is in that state however, raised beds of mainly compost will be the solution.

Sunchoke harvest will be soon as well, they are barely hanging on with our temps dipping to 34 last night and continuing that trend through Sunday evening. I am building four additional beds for sunchokes (one for each variety i am growing)-- the stampede, clearwater, red fuseau, and a new variety I purchased this week that should arrive in the next week or two... a red dwarf sunchoke from the cultivariable folks.

Starting the ordering process for some additional yacon varieties as well (crystal and morado) plus some oca to play with for next year.



carolinaafricanrunnerpeanuts.jpg
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Peanuts from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
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LSU Ground Nut from Interwoven Permaculture Farm
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Yellow Potato Onions from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
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Dioscorea Batatas (Chinese Wild Yams) from Interwoven Permaculture Farm
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Large oak logs dropped off from Chip Drop.
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Wood chips dropped off from Chip Drop.
 
Richard Kicklighter
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Harvested the sunchokes this week. Replanted new sunchoke beds, got the onions in the ground. Still have some blooms around and calamondins are ripening still. I have some kumquats as well that are still green. Hopefully they'll be ripe by December!
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Calamondin fruit is nearly ready.
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Chicory is flowering.
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Sunchokes grew so thickly in the compost they made essentially a carpet of the entire raised bed. They did go into the clay underneath pretty good as well!
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Stampede sunchokes did the best, nice yield per plant.
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Total sunchoke harvest.
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I have a few brugmansia planted around that will be die back perennials likely.
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Dahlia imperialis has a rough time this year, it died back in the super hot summer with the drought. It is coming back up now, hopefully it'll do well in the coming months/years!
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New garden beds that are housing yellow potato onions and one bed dedicated to each type of sunchoke I have currently. *need to add a fourth soon for that dwarf red sunchoke...
 
Gray Henon
Posts: 61
Location: Appalachian Foothills-Zone 7
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Keep it coming!  
 
I think I'll just lie down here for a second. And ponder this tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
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