Eric Hanson wrote:Hi James,
Nice back yard!
Just by looking, I think you would have plenty of room to put in a garden. If you really want to maximize the output of your garden space, try raised beds.
If you are interested in mushrooms, I suggest wine caps as they actually like a little bit of sunlight. I am a bit obsessive about wine caps, but if you are interested, I can offer some input.
But really, you have a very nice looking back yard.
S Bengi wrote:Around the perimeter you can plant fruit trees and or vines on the fence line.
I really like your recommendation of having 2-3 beehive. With a 50% survival rate for bees at least 2 hives are needed.
Growing some fish and chicken/egg onsite sounds like an awesome idea.
A dedicated vegetable garden sounds like the very 1st step.
Second would be a herb garden: mint/thyme family, garlic/onion family, celery/lovage/carrot family.
I have had great luck with oyster and wine cap mushroom.
Berries sound like the next thing to get a quick harvest from.
Fruit trees and nut trees sound good too. I like to get mines from starks bros, onegreenworld, and a few local places.
There is also the soil building part of things: swales, mulch, woodchip, tillage/daikon radish, dutch clover, aerated compost tea/fertigation
probably better near the creek end of the property. A row of raspberries closer to the house is good, but not too close to the garden plots as they will creep in.
Roberto pokachinni wrote:[quoteI've had blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry plots before. They went wild.]
Jen Fan wrote:I'd say prioritize; transforming the property will be a years-long task. My mind says that trees and shrubs should be the first decision.
Plant some young trees now, and in a few years as the rest of the land is coming together nicely, your trees will start producing, too. Every year you go without planting a fruit-er is one more year you go without fruit Same goes with nuts!
Marco Banks wrote:Work in the order of greatest permanence. So swales need to be mapped out and dug before you start to plant trees. I wish someone had told me this before I went ahead and put 30 trees in the ground. About year three I realized that had I just thought it out a bit more, I could have easily dug swales to capture millions of gallons of water, but I was in too much of a hurry to get those trees planted. Once those trees are established, you can't go back and dig a swale right where a tree is standing.
If it were me, I'd live there for at least a year before I did anything permanent. I'd want to see how the water moves after a big storm. I'd be curious to know the microclimates as you move around the lot, as well as the various soils that you'll find across the property.
You can always buy small bare root trees and pot them in 5 gal. pots. They'll be ready to plant a year from now.
I'd also give some thought to portable infrustructure (chicken tractors, mobile electric fencing) as an intermediate solution before you decide long-term where you'll want to build (for example) a chicken coop or fixed animal fencing. You'd be able to introduce animals right away, and then in a year or two, if you decide to build a stationary coop, no big deal.
Morgwino Stur wrote:raised beds and square foot gardening. some say 50 square feet can feed a person year round that way, roughly 2x as efficient as row crops. I'd also go ahead and determine where you want your perennials going and getting a start on them, same with fruit trees, since they'll take awhile to grow. If you want to do a worm bin with bought worms, get them now. they take time to grow in number. If you want to use local worms, nothing special needs to be done unless you want a captive population, which i did for fishing bait. if you have a wood stove in the house, planting some trees you can coppice could reduce bought wood by a great deal. as for early work, all i can think of is maybe starting a batch of leaf mold or spreading cardboard to shade out the grass for a garden bed. maybe a few beehives?
Legalities allowing, I'd look into drilling your own well (theres a wonderful website on how to do that). maybe for your aquaculture you can use some crayfish and/or minnows collected from the creek? both make good bait.
ETA: almsot forgot about an outdoor kitchen! rocket stove oven or cob pizza oven...
Jen Fan wrote:There are work-arounds to some livestock restrictions. For instance, if you need a meatstuffs but can't have chickens, or livestock in general, and you don't mind flying under the radar, rabbits are a great way to go. They don't make noise unless they're terrified, they don't stink, and they're prolific. One good doe can be producing you 5-10 rabbits a month, each of those rabbits is comparable to a standard chicken in meat provision.
If you want eggs must fly under the radar, coturnix quail would be my vote. The loudest noises they make just sound like wild birds, and it's the male quail chirping out alarms/warning, so the noise can be avoided. Otherwise they're very quiet and make lovely whispering chirps and whistles. They need a much higher protein diet than chickens,but they eat way less. A good hen can produce close to 300 eggs per year, almost 1 per day. Roughly 3 quail eggs makes up 1 chicken egg. So 3 good laying hens can out-produce the standard laying hen. If you got into incubation (or your quail were relaxed/happy enough to go broody) you could also use them as a fast-turn around meat stuff, since they're ready to eat in 2 months and sexually mature in 3-5 months. The other thing I love about the quail is that you can incorporate them into a garden without the destruction that comes with chickens. You'll need to have the garden netted over with bird netting or chicken wire though.
I would disagree with the 50sq ft garden being enough to feed 1 person in the light that it depends on your zone and growing season. If you can grow year-round, yes you probably can. If you're like us and only have 100~ days to grow, no, it's not enough space.
If you have a seasonal creek, you can look into making a pond, perhaps? Are you interested in greenhouses? You could build a fish pond inside the greenhouse and dig it deep into the earth, below the frost line and away from prying eyes. It can be fed by the stream and the greenhouse can be irrigated from it. Or if you can't utilize the stream, and you get decent rainfall, you could catch the water off the greenhouse to fill your pond. Or use the well since you'd be using it to water your garden at that point anyway. You can grow goldfish, koi, or others in the pond and you won't have a mosquito problem. As long as there's nothing abusing it, greenhouse plastic makes decent pond liner, especially in a controlled setting like this where animals and free radicals are limited. Let's say "It works until it gets a hole". We build with 6mil greenhouse plastic. If you don't want to worry about holes, go with HDPE rubber pond liner material, it works awesome, it's just way more expensive.