Hello all, happy to be here! Planning our recently acquired 4 or so acres in beautiful central NH Lakes Region. Don’t know what we have to work with yet as the weeds begin to sprout. Counting 75+ existing blueberry bushes, 30+ Christmas trees, a partially cleared lot, plenty of room for food forest, lots of weeds....and moles 😳!
Forgive me as we are new to this, both in posting to the forum and the adventure. We’d love suggestions on where to begin, specifically concerned with salvaging the blueberry crop... thinking crop cover like clover? Now it just looks like weeds and grass between the bushes. Guessing the soil is fairly acidic due to the conifers but plan on testing.
Not sure where else to post about next steps. The cleared lot was originally 30x60. Some is now grown in with grass/weeds which is where something like keyhole gardens or fruit trees may find homes. Really want to use what is still cleared but no way can I tackle that in a single season.... a tilling I must go, maybe just some sunflowers to start or 3 sisters if I’m lucky. There are smaller areas closer to the house (zone 1, right?!) where we are putting herbs, kitchen veggies.
Hope everyone is safe, healthy, productive!
Also hope it’s ok to attach a pic.... essentially a clean slate so far as we can tell
Hi Deej; Big Welcome to Permies!
I have added your post to the homestead forum and made it the primary forum.
So any future post's to this thread will be seen in both forums.
Please add all the pictures you like. We like pictures here!
You can add up to twenty photos at a time as long as their size is not overly large.
Your new land sounds great! It will be awesome if you could share your adventures with us!
I suggest you learn all about Hugelkultur's while your just starting. Might be a good time to see if they could benefit your plans.
Also I suggest you learn all about Rocket Mass Heaters as it gets mighty cold in central N.H.
Come back often and keep us posted! We will leave the light on for you!
That’s so great, thank you. Yes, we quickly discovered that it was too cold to plant outside up until about 5 days ago, but yesterday was 90 degrees! We’ll need the heat... and the hugel. I just went out to till a little and very quickly changed my mind! Thank you.
I don't know how much experience you have with Permaculture. If you're truly starting from scratch, don't start any new perennials this year. Instead...
1. Buy Bill Mollison's book "Permaculture, A Designer's Manual" and read it cover to cover. AND
2. Consider taking Geoff Lawton's online PDC this winter , or another reputable, in-person PDC this summer or fall. It's an investment, but it should cover every possible question you may have, and help you start to make your site map.
While you're doing the above, consider your goals. Is this just for you? Are you hoping to do a PYO thing with the berries? Are you going to sell at farmers markets? Is this going to be a hobby, lifestyle, or business?
Bill Mollison used to say "if you don't know what to do, don't do anything." I don't follow that advice often enough, myself, but it's still good advice.
That’s great advice, Karl. I’m a do it right or don’t do it at all kind. I have some pots we can use for immediate use close to the house and figure out the rest. We are in for the long haul here. Thanks so much
Deej Glynn wrote: I’m a do it right or don’t do it at all kind.
I'm a do it right now or don't do it at all kind of guy. If I want a new coop I just call someone up and buy some birds. Then I have to build a coop. I get a new coop and new birds.
I've got some raw land that I've got to get productive. I think it's best to pick one project and get it done and then move on to the next. I also think it's best to have everything ready before you get new animals. I sound pretty smart; it's too bad I never listen to myself.
I understand the reasoning behind not growing perennials the first year, but I'd suggest starting as many as you can with the understanding that they'll end up somewhere else. Pick a spot to start a nursery and let the plants develop as your plan does. It's probably a good idea to grow persistent plants in containers, like comfrey, mint, etc. Also try to have as much patience as possible and keep reminding yourself that it will take years for the property to get to where you envision it but, year after year, you'll see improvements and reach milestones.
Congratulations on your purchase and on starting your journey.
A piece of land is worth as much as the person farming it.
-Le Livre du Colon, 1902
You do sound smart, Tim! I’ve got plenty of room to experiment and room for pots. There are existing beds near the house large enough for perennials. I can get some things started there. I bet the previous owners had stuff planted that we don’t even know about yet. Thanks!
Timothy Markus wrote:
Pick a spot to start a nursery and let the plants develop as your plan does.
Timothy, I actually love this idea! It's the best of both worlds. My one caveat would be to make a conservative budget and commit yourself to either selling or passing along whatever you don't use. I can't tell you the number of times I've gone crazy with plant orders in February only to kick myself when they all arrive in April! Where did I think I could fit another fig tree??? Haha!
So one of your primary aims is to rejuvenate/improve your blueberries and you said that you have a lot of Christmas trees. I would think that all those needles would make a wonderful mulch around your blueberries.
Soil testing is a good idea. NH has so little top soil it is heart breaking. I am south of you on the western side of the Merrimack River Valley. We are on glacial sand and it is taking us forever to build our topsoil. Everything drains too well and it is so easy to lose nutrients. Have them also check the soil for heavy metals when you get it tested. New England has a lot of land that used to be orchards that can have leftover contamination of lead arsenate. It was used for over a 100 years and it is worth the piece of mind to have it tested.
Get your well water tested too. So many wells are contaminated with arsenic and radon due to the decomposing granite hare in the Granite State.
This has been a crazy spring with snow on May 9th and upper 80 degree temps 2 weeks later. It is not the easiest spring to start a garden or a food forest. It is also really dry recently which is driving me crazy.
I would start observing and making notes on about your property. Wind directions, water flow, frost pockets, solar aspect, dry areas and wet areas. Getting to know the land will help you in the design and planning.
Check your local transfer station and see if they have free wood chips available. Our town does but not all of them do in NH. Spreading a layer of compost and wood chips on top of that as mulch will help the blueberries. Since they are shallow rooted and it looks like we will have a dryer than normal season the mulch should help a lot. Our bushes are only a few years old and they love the mulch.
When you are ready to start putting plants in the ground check out the NH State Nursery. They have a great selection of trees and shrubs available to order in the winter and pick up the seedlings in the spring.