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Looking for suggestions for our new homestead

 
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We’re currently closing on a 4.5 acre property in central California. The property has a well that pumps 30 gallons a minute. It is located in what I believe is zone 8.

2.5 acres are on a hill with an east facing slope.

Land has a lot of rocks and some assorted trees but I’m not sure what they are yet. We still have an income and it’s my job to figure out how to make the land useful.

I have some “book” knowledge but very little practical knowledge. We were hoping to have a pond built for a small amount of rainbow trout but don’t know if this is possible or practical.

I also am thinking that on the top of the ridge I wanted to plant two rows of great sequoia and some pine trees
It comes with a small chicken coop as well and is fenced off in three separate areas.

Would love some practical advice or comments. Long time lurker first time poster.
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pollinator
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Hi Johnny, and welcome to Permies!  Congratulations on your purchase; the property looks great.

Are you looking to make the land useful by generating income or mostly for personal use?
 
Johnny Benitez
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Timothy Markus wrote:Hi Johnny, and welcome to Permies!  Congratulations on your purchase; the property looks great.

Are you looking to make the land useful by generating income or mostly for personal use?



A revenue stream of some sort would be nice, mostly I’m trying to be able to source as much nutrition for our family directly from our land and I want to do this as efficiently as possible.
 
pollinator
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I would start off with a huge leafy green vegetable garden
Followed by other vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, squash, radish, etc)
Herbs are another easy one
A bee hive is nice.
A chicken coop, with automatic feeder, so that you could leave for a week is also nice.
bluegill fish pond/pool

With a zone 8, you can plant pretty much any fruit tree. I would aim for native plants and desert/drought friendly plants. While super popular I would avoid apples and peaches.
Now for fruiting vines I like, Grapes, hardy kiwi, fuzzy kiwi, passion fruit
For nuts, I really like Hazel nuts. Pistachios will also do well. Almond is also worth a try too.


When it comes to water. Strawbales as mulch is your friend. Woodchip is even better. Swales on contour to help with rain events is your very best friend, esp at the top of your property. Infiltrating any water that enters your property helps alot.
 
master pollinator
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Such interesting land!  If you've been reading about permaculture, you know that one of your first tasks is to live there and observe.  California flora/landscapes are so foreign to me, and despite the excellent photos I can't observe much so far (!).  Are some of the standing trees dead, or is this a seasonal issue?  Dead trees can make great hugelkultur.

I also notice a lot of aged wood chips near the top of the stairs.  Great!  And a terraced section next to the stairs - but are those treated railroad ties?  That might not be the place for edibles.  (And why do the stairs look so much like an escalator?)

Wherever the chicken bedding/litter was dumped is likely a great spot for a garden, if the chickens have been gone for 6 months or more.  Awesome fertility!  Are you a gardener already?  If not, definitely read up on it.  There is so much to learn, and fortunately, mistakes are usually cheap!  Think about what you and your family like to eat, and learn about what is easy to grow.  Don't try too many things that are hard to grow.  Easy:  brassicas started from seedlings, cucumbers, summer squash, carrots, radishes (the easiest!), potatoes.  Tomatoes can be fussy - they get diseases, need fertility but not excess nitrogen (otherwise the crop is tomato leaves!).  But don't be afraid to try!

I always put in perennials when I first arrive, observation be damned.  I like to get them started from tiny plants or seed, so that my garden starts to fill out the next year.  I wonder how this works in your USDA zone.  Is there winter?  Is there a rainy season and a dry season?  So much to learn.  But I would figure out where a couple of fruit and nut trees could go sooner rather than later, and plant them very carefully.  That way, you're one more year closer to having fruit!  You can plant more later.

Congratulations!  So exciting.  It looks like a beautiful spot.
 
Johnny Benitez
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S Bengi wrote:I would start off with a huge leafy green vegetable garden
Followed by other vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, squash, radish, etc)
Herbs are another easy one
A bee hive is nice.
A chicken coop, with automatic feeder, so that you could leave for a week is also nice.
bluegill fish pond/pool

With a zone 8, you can plant pretty much any fruit tree. I would aim for native plants and desert/drought friendly plants. While super popular I would avoid apples and peaches.
Now for fruiting vines I like, Grapes, hardy kiwi, fuzzy kiwi, passion fruit
For nuts, I really like Hazel nuts. Pistachios will also do well. Almond is also worth a try too.


When it comes to water. Strawbales as mulch is your friend. Woodchip is even better. Swales on contour to help with rain events is your very best friend, esp at the top of your property. Infiltrating any water that enters your property helps alot.




Lots of good stuff in there. We do like peaches and the property comes with some. I guess I also wanted to say it’s on the colder side of zone 8. 1-2 days a year it snows according to the owners.

I wanted rainbow trout because I heard it was like salmon didn’t consider bluegill
 
Johnny Benitez
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Anne Pratt wrote:Such interesting land!  If you've been reading about permaculture, you know that one of your first tasks is to live there and observe.  California flora/landscapes are so foreign to me, and despite the excellent photos I can't observe much so far (!).  Are some of the standing trees dead, or is this a seasonal issue?  Dead trees can make great hugelkultur.

I also notice a lot of aged wood chips near the top of the stairs.  Great!  And a terraced section next to the stairs - but are those treated railroad ties?  That might not be the place for edibles.  (And why do the stairs look so much like an escalator?)

Wherever the chicken bedding/litter was dumped is likely a great spot for a garden, if the chickens have been gone for 6 months or more.  Awesome fertility!  Are you a gardener already?  If not, definitely read up on it.  There is so much to learn, and fortunately, mistakes are usually cheap!  Think about what you and your family like to eat, and learn about what is easy to grow.  Don't try too many things that are hard to grow.  Easy:  brassicas started from seedlings, cucumbers, summer squash, carrots, radishes (the easiest!), potatoes.  Tomatoes can be fussy - they get diseases, need fertility but not excess nitrogen (otherwise the crop is tomato leaves!).  But don't be afraid to try!

I always put in perennials when I first arrive, observation be damned.  I like to get them started from tiny plants or seed, so that my garden starts to fill out the next year.  I wonder how this works in your USDA zone.  Is there winter?  Is there a rainy season and a dry season?  So much to learn.  But I would figure out where a couple of fruit and nut trees could go sooner rather than later, and plant them very carefully.  That way, you're one more year closer to having fruit!  You can plant more later.

Congratulations!  So exciting.  It looks like a beautiful spot.



I don’t know about the railroad ties, that area doesn’t get much sun I was hoping to put some shade tolerant ornamental flowers.

I think it’s likely the colder side of zone 8 I know that the owners said it snows 1-2 days a year
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