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Newbie asking for input

 
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Hi everyone,
2 years ago we bought this magical paradise of 116 acres by the river about 5 km inland from the Atlantic Ocean on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. About 7 acres are grass fields with tons of wild blueberries, 7 acres salt marsh (think breeding ground for mosquitoes;-) and the rest is a very messy forest across the road.  We don't plan on acquiring any heavy machinery and are going to keep it low-tech. Hopefully there is a pick up truck in our future to carry logs and rocks around.  So  it's all hand tools, 1 chainsaw and 1 wheelbarrow for now.

We learned how to use a scythe last summer and we loved it!

On my list for this year:
Build a woodshed with covered area for wood processing (splitting, cutting etc).  I am done running after fly-away tarps.
Build a covered porch in the front.  Will have to hire someone for this.
Build a stone patio in the back with a fireplace, which has to be protected from the winds.
Start a veggie garden
Plant fruit trees and transplant some young trees (and figure out how to protect the few oaks that are left on the property from the gall wasp.)

I am a bit at a loss at how and where to start. I have so many ideas and my to-do-list is ever growing.  Where do I put the woodshed, where the gardens?  How do I protect the garden from the crazy winds, should I go for a dome greenhouse?  Should I stay close to the house and let the rest stay/go wild or should I include the whole property into my planning?

How do I tackle the forest, which to my big disappointment is full of trash (rusted cans, tires, glass, etc).  There is an old overgrown forest road, which I would like to reopen and carve out some walking trails.  And I plan on cutting my own firewood.

So I guess my question is: Where do I start?  What basic tools do you suggest for logging, gardening, transporting stuff from A to B, digging etc?

Thanks for your ideas and help.
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Welcome to Permies : )

Wild blueberries! Sounds like you have a nice place there.

Everyone's going to have a different opinion about tools. We log for our own cooking wood/firewood supply and all we've used has been a chainsaw (with sharpener) and a garden cart.

For veggie garden placement, usually we'd try to get it as close to the house as possible. I have my herb garden right near our door, and our veggie gardens close by, further away I might have patches of things I plant once a season and don't need to tend to except for one harvest at the end.

If there's places that have protection from wind or that warm up more quickly in spring sometimes it's worth starting things there even if it is a bit further away, but gardens close to the house are more likely to get harvested often and get more attention than ones further away.
 
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you never know what you might find in the areas with garbage
i know some people who go old bottle hunting

the pick up truck will help with moving logs/firewood

have you seen any of the threads about hugelkultur?
i might make my first one this season....if i get around to it

maybe a rocket mass heater so you dont need to collect nearly as much firewood

over a hundred acres is a lot with no equipment.. starting closest to the home would be good

i would like to make a junk pole fence like they have been to  protect mu garden

i have too many plans also....
 
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My advice is to start small, cheap, and slow.  Follow the zone method, and start right outside the door of your house.  Maybe start a small herbs and greens garden right outside.  I would start a small veggie garden for things you eat right now.  Maybe make one or two or three fruit tree guilds.  To get started, buying your fruit trees is fastest and easiest.  Use natives that you can move from another part of your property if you can for support plants.  Plant some pollinator plants from seed or from free cuttings.  Put in a rock pile or two, and maybe a couple brush or wood piles to get some diversity near your fruit trees guilds.  Set aside an hour or two each day of the weekend or whatever works with your schedule to clean up some trash.  You may find that once you get started, you want to keep going.  That's fine as long as you want to keep going, but don't try to finish it all in a big hurry.  It takes time to build soil, get infrastructure in place, build outbuildings, establish water systems.  Don't put undue pressure on yourself and try to remember to enjoy the process, not just batter yourself to reach a goal.
 
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Chantal,

What a beautiful patch of land!

So taking care of that much land without a tractor or atv or something similar will be a challenge.  You mentioned that you want to be able to move logs.  Have you considered a log arch?  A log arch is a device that can slide over a log at it’s midpoint and then levered up and rolled rather easily by hand.  You might consider a company called logrite.com that specializes in these devices.  Also you might also consider a winch.  There are hand operated ones (those will be slow and laborious), battery powered and gas powered.  Obviously, the gas models will pull the heaviest loads and last the longest, but the battery ones are coming along well.

I wish you luck and would love to hear how your plans work out.

Eric
 
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Hey Neighbour! As been stated start small and follow the zones. Start with Zone zero which is your house. Plant your veggie gardens right around the immediate vicinity of the house for easy access. Ive noticed the land here is rocky with a fine coat of topsoil. We're going with Hugulkultur and Ruth Stout methods for our beds. If you're logging your own wood you'll want an atv, small tractor or truck to haul it. We may have a person who could build your covered porch. Im sending you a purple moosage right away. :)
 
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Once you have a truck, a trailer for it is really great bang for your buck. One that can handle a small winch to drag things onto it it even better. I have used my dumping flatbed trailer to salvage mobile home frames and intact sheds, with just a comealong, hi-lift jack, and a big steel prybar.


Build firewood storage on skids and drag it somewhere else if you change your mind!
 
Chantal Post
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Wow, y'all are really helpful and quick to answer.  I'll research your tips further.  Thanks so much.
 
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Focus on just 2.5 acres right around the house.
Herb garden, then vegetable garden, then fruit tree garden
 
Chantal Post
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S Bengi wrote:Focus on just 2.5 acres right around the house.
Herb garden, then vegetable garden, then fruit tree garden



That seems like a sound plan.  Otherwise it's just too much :-). Thanks
 
Chantal Post
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D Nikolls wrote:Once you have a truck, a trailer for it is really great bang for your buck. One that can handle a small winch to drag things onto it it even better. I have used my dumping flatbed trailer to salvage mobile home frames and intact sheds, with just a comealong, hi-lift jack, and a big steel prybar.


Build firewood storage on skids and drag it somewhere else if you change your mind!



Love the idea of the storage on skids.  I think with the winds we have here, things have to be ankered to the ground.  I have had pallets flying around.  It's not a nice sight.  I research the trailer with the winch.  Great idea.  Cheers.
 
Chantal Post
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Fallon Wilson wrote:Hey Neighbour! As been stated start small and follow the zones. Start with Zone zero which is your house. Plant your veggie gardens right around the immediate vicinity of the house for easy access. Ive noticed the land here is rocky with a fine coat of topsoil. We're going with Hugulkultur and Ruth Stout methods for our beds. If you're logging your own wood you'll want an atv, small tractor or truck to haul it. We may have a person who could build your covered porch. Im sending you a purple moosage right away. :)



Looking into Ruth Stout.  Gotta love her.  Thanks.
 
Chantal Post
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Eric Hanson wrote:Chantal,

What a beautiful patch of land!

So taking care of that much land without a tractor or atv or something similar will be a challenge.  You mentioned that you want to be able to move logs.  Have you considered a log arch?  A log arch is a device that can slide over a log at it’s midpoint and then levered up and rolled rather easily by hand.  You might consider a company called logrite.com that specializes in these devices.  Also you might also consider a winch.  There are hand operated ones (those will be slow and laborious), battery powered and gas powered.  Obviously, the gas models will pull the heaviest loads and last the longest, but the battery ones are coming along well.

I wish you luck and would love to hear how your plans work out.

Eric



Thanks for the link Eric.  I have been looking into log arches and saw that people use them to move anything heavy really, like rocks...

Cheers, Chantal
 
Chantal Post
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Trace Oswald wrote:My advice is to start small, cheap, and slow.  Follow the zone method, and start right outside the door of your house.  Maybe start a small herbs and greens garden right outside.  I would start a small veggie garden for things you eat right now.  Maybe make one or two or three fruit tree guilds.  To get started, buying your fruit trees is fastest and easiest.  Use natives that you can move from another part of your property if you can for support plants.  Plant some pollinator plants from seed or from free cuttings.  Put in a rock pile or two, and maybe a couple brush or wood piles to get some diversity near your fruit trees guilds.  Set aside an hour or two each day of the weekend or whatever works with your schedule to clean up some trash.  You may find that once you get started, you want to keep going.  That's fine as long as you want to keep going, but don't try to finish it all in a big hurry.  It takes time to build soil, get infrastructure in place, build outbuildings, establish water systems.  Don't put undue pressure on yourself and try to remember to enjoy the process, not just batter yourself to reach a goal.



Great advice, Trace, thanks.  I do tend to stress and end up doing nothing.  We have tons of rocks laying around and I'll try to incorporate them.  We have some old apple trees, which with some tlc could give us some sweet harvests.  Maybe build start a fruit tree guild in those locations...
 
Eric Hanson
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Chantal,

I have to say that although I don’t own one of these I have seriously looked at them.  The main reason I didn’t actually get one is that I already own a tractor and can drag with that.  If I had to drag with my own hands, I certainly would have owned one.  Depending on the model one chooses, it could be either pulled by hand or towed by a truck, atv, virtually any vehicle with a ball hitch.

Food for thought,

Eric
 
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M. Phelps wrote:you never know what you might find in the areas with garbage
i know some people who go old bottle hunting

the pick up truck will help with moving logs/firewood

have you seen any of the threads about hugelkultur?
i might make my first one this season....if i get around to it

maybe a rocket mass heater so you dont need to collect nearly as much firewood

over a hundred acres is a lot with no equipment.. starting closest to the home would be good

i would like to make a junk pole fence like they have been to  protect mu garden

i have too many plans also....



Hi M. Phelps - I looked into the junk pole fence and love the idea.  With our winds though, we would have to tie everything down.  I'm looking into rustic wooden fences and every region/country has their own style, it's really beautiful.  Since we have plenty of wood, that shouldn't be a problem, as long as they stay put.  I have tried my hands on low wattle fences for raised garden beds and really liked the look.  Not very practical with the soil spilling out between the branches though.  Try and learn I guess.

We do have a great wood stove in the house.  It's a Pacific Energy.  I'll look into a rocket stove for the barn/workshop.

So much to think about and so little time:-)

Good luck with your plans.

 
Chantal Post
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Kate Downham wrote:Welcome to Permies : )

Wild blueberries! Sounds like you have a nice place there.

Everyone's going to have a different opinion about tools. We log for our own cooking wood/firewood supply and all we've used has been a chainsaw (with sharpener) and a garden cart.

For veggie garden placement, usually we'd try to get it as close to the house as possible. I have my herb garden right near our door, and our veggie gardens close by, further away I might have patches of things I plant once a season and don't need to tend to except for one harvest at the end.

If there's places that have protection from wind or that warm up more quickly in spring sometimes it's worth starting things there even if it is a bit further away, but gardens close to the house are more likely to get harvested often and get more attention than ones further away.



Thank you Kate, I think this is the right place to find answers:-)
The blueberries were indeed a super nice surprise.  First year we had nothing, didn't even know they were there and then last year we had so many my spouse was out and about at 7am and picking for hours.  We thought we would have bears coming for a snack for sure, but have been lucky so far.  I think we managed to pick about 15kg, and decided that we needed a berry-picking-rake for this year.  Hopefully they'll come back every year...

We do have a chainsaw and a wheelbarrow.  Some kind of flat card might be very handy.

And about the winds; there is no protection.  It's coming from all sides and our land surrounding the house is on a little elevation.  Planting trees for windbreak won't work as we would have to plant them in the marsh.  When the tides come in, we're basically a little elevated island connected by our driveway to the main road.  Hopefully we're elevated enough to brave climate change and higher sea levels...

Anyway, thanks for your tips.  Chantal
 
D Nikolls
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Chantal Post wrote:

D Nikolls wrote:Once you have a truck, a trailer for it is really great bang for your buck. One that can handle a small winch to drag things onto it it even better. I have used my dumping flatbed trailer to salvage mobile home frames and intact sheds, with just a comealong, hi-lift jack, and a big steel prybar.


Build firewood storage on skids and drag it somewhere else if you change your mind!



Love the idea of the storage on skids.  I think with the winds we have here, things have to be ankered to the ground.  I have had pallets flying around.  It's not a nice sight.  I research the trailer with the winch.  Great idea.  Cheers.



Hm. Wind is definitely a concern. My exposure is moderate, but I spent some time working for a lady whose property was basically a wind tunnel. Outbuildings were literally ripped apart.

The course of least resistance is certainly to anchor buildings to the ground. I happen to really like mohile structures, so I might be tempted into securing them in other ways. Unfortunately the options that come to mind start getting expensive or time consuming pretty quick... My default would probably be some 1500-2000lb rocks secured with cable and turnbuckle to the corners of the roof... but without a tractor to move one big rock, you'd spend an awul lot of time moving 6-8000lbs of rocks! Screw in anchors might do the trick...

A building shaped like a relatively shallow pitched 4-sided pyramid with roof coming very near the ground on all sides ought to do very well escaping wind issues, with nothing to let the wind grab hold...
 
Trace Oswald
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A 6' piece of rebar with the last foot bent over and pounded 5 feet into the ground can go along way securing things inexpensively.
 
Chantal Post
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I'm not sure if I should be starting a new thread or just continue this one...

As mentioned in my initial post, we have a lot of tasks on our hands, and I thought we would start the garden slowly in order to be ready for next year; putting up a fence, preparing soil, etc.

However, with the devastating Covid-19 pandemic happening and who knows what the food situation is going to be like further down the road, the gardens have taken a front seat on my list.  Today we started prepping our first bed, which will be a 8x4ft hugel-raised bed.  At the same time we're harvesting an interesting amount of rocks for other projects:-)  We're going to start small as per advise from several permies. Our soil looks pretty nice and the worms seem to like it. I'm also planing on putting a wattle fence up, or at least start with some panels for wind protection.

Question re garden:  should I keep it really simple and divide this bed up between onions and potatoes, and add more beds slowly with other products or should I add more veggies in this one bed?

I'm prepping the garden close to an apple tree and someone suggested a fruit tree guild;  my question to that is a) how to you harvest the apples without disturbing what's under and around the tree and b) how to the plants under the tree not get bombed and squished by falling apples?

Oak galls

Are my trees savable?

All my oaks have now oak wasp infestation, even the mighty Mama Oak.  Some of them don't bloom anymore and branches are falling.  The Mama Oak started showing symptoms only late last fall, I think.  It's not overwhelming yet, but most branches are infected.  I can't climb up there and there is no budged for an arborist to cut off befallen branches.  Is there anything I can do to help the trees' defence mechanisms from the ground?

As always, thanks for your input.

Stay safe,
Chantal

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Eric Hanson
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Chantal,

If it were me I would plant a little bit more than potatoes and onions, but your instincts are spot on.  Do keep it simple the first year lest you get you get overwhelmed by weeding and other garden maintenance tasks.  Just as a thought, consider some leafy greens (Spinach, kale, Romain Lettuce, etc.) and tomatoes.  I selected these two crops simply because you can get a more varied diet, add more nutrients to your diet, and for tomatoes especially, add a warm season crop.

Your second bed need not be huge, as you can get plenty of greens from a small space and tomatoes can be prolific producers.  HOWEVER, if you do add a second, small bed, consider how it will work into your overall garden scheme.  Would you want to expand your bed next year?  What crops might you put there?  How would cropping rotation look like? Etc.

BTW, looks like you have very sandy soil.  Do/how will you amend the soil.  In particular I am thinking about getting nitrogen and carbon in the soil.  Just curious.

Good Luck and stay safe,

Eric
 
Chantal Post
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Eric Hanson wrote:Chantal,

If it were me I would plant a little bit more than potatoes and onions, but your instincts are spot on.  Do keep it simple the first year lest you get you get overwhelmed by weeding and other garden maintenance tasks.  Just as a thought, consider some leafy greens (Spinach, kale, Romain Lettuce, etc.) and tomatoes.  I selected these two crops simply because you can get a more varied diet, add more nutrients to your diet, and for tomatoes especially, add a warm season crop.

Your second bed need not be huge, as you can get plenty of greens from a small space and tomatoes can be prolific producers.  HOWEVER, if you do add a second, small bed, consider how it will work into your overall garden scheme.  Would you want to expand your bed next year?  What crops might you put there?  How would cropping rotation look like? Etc.

BTW, looks like you have very sandy soil.  Do/how will you amend the soil.  In particular I am thinking about getting nitrogen and carbon in the soil.  Just curious.

Good Luck and stay safe,

Eric



Hi Eric,

Thank you for your suggestion.  I could make the bed a little longer and add spinach and tomatoes.  I didn't think the soil was very sandy, although digging down further does reveal a more silty texture. I'll get a better picture today and do the soil ball/ribbon test. I did find a lot of worms, which seems to be a good sign.  I'm going to add wood on the bottom, a layer of old hay and salt grass from the marsh.  I also just contacted a neighbour who has goats and horses to see if I can get a bucket or two of old manure.  I'll layer the whole with hay I didn't have a chance to cut last year, so it's pretty dried out.  Just have to get the scythe down from the barn loft:). It's still freezing overnight here in zone 6a, so I'm hoping to protect the seeds with the thick layer of hay.

Unless I can find someone to walk the land with me (while respecting the 6ft/2m physical distancing of course), I'm flying by the seat of my pants.  I'm researching apple tree guilds as the first bed is close to one of the apple trees and will likely add more guild worthy plants around the tree. But that's for later consideration.
 
Eric Hanson
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Chantal,

Glad I was wrong about the sandiness.  Really good that you found worms.  They will do a lot of great work for you.  Nice that you can get manure to jumpstart your fertility.

From the sounds of things, you have plenty of land to scavenge for mulch & compost.  Out of curiosity, have you considered planting comfrey?  It’s a great source of green manure.  I grow it just to add some extra fertility to my garden.

I think adding just a bit of length to your bed to grow some extra greens and veggies is a good start.  Start simple and add complexity as you go.

My first garden was only 3 feet by about 20 feet.  It was tremendously fertile for such a small area.  The next year I radically expanded the garden—too fast as it turns out and it was more garden than I was prepared to care for.  Sadly, it was not much of a success.  Today I try to do one new thing per year to see how it works before I incorporate into the rest of the garden.

At any rate, good luck and please keep us posted!

Eric
 
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