First time poster here. I'd like to thank you all in advance for your time and energy. This seems like a very cool community! Now for a little background:
I am a touring musician from Columbus, OH. I've grown a little weary of the "traditional" business model of touring, and by that I mean I feel uncomfortable with the idea of dragging thousands of pounds of gear around the country using fossil fuels, eating fast food, and living in overdeveloped hotels for the rest of my life. After a little research, I've discovered that with six properties, I could tour the entire Eastern side of the country and still come "home" within the range of an electric vehicle. These six centers are as follows:
New Jersey ≈ $3000/acre
Columbus, OH (complete)
Knoxville, TN ≈ $4500/acre
Little Rock, AR ≈ $3500/acre
Centerville, TX ≈ $4000/acre
Tallahassee, FL ≈ $10000/acre
My dream is to buy degraded land in each location and start practicing regenerative agriculture. I was hoping that you could point me to resources on designs that can withstand a LOT of neglect. Bonus points if they are focused on any of these specific biomes. I will only be spending about 9 weeks a year at each location. In my current house in Columbus, OH, I've build a small urban "farm" in the city on 1/6 of an acre that consists of a garden, a small orchard, and ranging chickens. It is extremely easy to maintain and my current tenants love keeping it running. I imagine having tenants at each location to provide passive income and to help with maintenance, which I would like to make as easy and foolproof as possible.
Two books that gave me these ideas are One Straw Revolution and Permaculture - A Designer's Manual. Some helpful skillsets at my disposal are construction, (I can build a house from the ground up) and electronics (Arduino automation).
If you could give me some ideas or put me onto good resources so that I can make good choices on acreage, crop selection, and low-maintenance livestock systems, I would be very grateful. I realize that this is a gigantic undertaking and that I haven't given you nearly enough information to properly answer my questions, but I'm sure I'll find something to stimulate my designs and I sincerely thank you for your attempts.
Layer1 - Dutch Clover Lawn/Pasture This dutch clover fixes 250lbs of nitrogren/acres and tillage radish with 6ft aerating roots is the base of your soil/garden fertility.
You can probably automate the stripped cutting of a 1.5acre lawn/pasture, 15 strips going N-S and 15 going East-West, with 1 strip per day.
Otherwise you can pay someone $100 once a month to cut this area for you
Layer2a - Orchard (180 trees/acre on 15ft centers)
In a grid pattern plant 180 fruit and nut trees on 15ft centers on top of the dutch clover layer.
Avoid the rose family fruits because they are not as pest resistance.
When you do plant from the rose family plant native to North America or Native to Asia, not the naturalized European cultivars.
Plant in the fall so that the trees get a chance to establish a root system before the leaves start making water demands.
Setup a sprinkler irrigation system system (probably 6 x 600ft), that sends out aerated compost tea (for pest management + mineral + water)
Aerated compost tea = PNSB-pond water + Chitin (insect frass or crustaceans) + Worm Compost + Kefir (homemade or pill) + EM.
You could plant cultivars that will mostly ripen when you will be there.
25% Nuts (mostly hazelnut, Asian chestnut, yellowhorn, walnut family, etc)
25% Legume/Nitrogen Fixers (edible: goumi, silverberry, seaberry, etc; others:dutch white clover, adler, etc)
25% Rose Family (apple, pear, quince, medlar, juneberry, aronia; plums, apricots, peach, cherry, almond; blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, etc)
25% Non-Rose Family (Pawpaw, Persimmon, Mulberry, Figs, Elderberry, Gooseberry, blueberry, jujube, vines:grapes/kiwi/akebia, etc)
Layer2b - Pond (Bee Hive/Fish/Ducks/Irrigation)
Honey Bee Hive: 4+ Warre hives, so that you can split and replace the 50% that die, you would only have to visit these once per year, and only to harvest
Fish: 1/4 acre fertilized pond giving 100lbs/year or 25lbs unfertilized)
Semi-wild Ducks: They will stay because of the pond, you can setup an island house in the 3ft-6ft pond with a self-feeding station, with some 50lbs feed bag
Irrigation: maybe fill this pond with a sandpoint well, aerate the pond to increase its carrying capacity, and irrigate with diluted aerated compost tea
Wow! What a well thought out and helpful answer. Thank you so much!
I presume that this would work best in Tennessee, New Jersey, and Arkansas. Do you think a similar system would also work in Texas or Florida? Also, do you have any suggestions for resources/readings that would be helpful for local species selections?
Thank you again for your hard work!
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7 AHS:4 GDD:3000 Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
The system/species would actually work in all the locations that you stated. The trick would be finding locally adapted cultivars. Pretty much all of the plants that survive in zone6/7 will fruit in zone8/9. There are a few plants species that will survive in zone 8/9 but will not survive/fruit in zone 6, such as the citrus family, palm family, etc. But I purposely didn't mentioned them.
You can check out local university breeding programs for specific cultivars that they release/recommend. Seeing what a local/regional nursery sells/recommend is also good. Sometimes you can also tell which region a cultivar grows, from by its names like: Chicargo Hardy Fig vs Desert King Fig.
Let me know if those links were any good and if you find any other cultivar resources in your searches.
This website is also a gold mine. I think if you post a questing asking which cultivar of Apple/Tomatoes for someone in South, you will get responses.
You can also visit local food forest in say north florida (via youtube.com or permies.com, lol).
It would be interesting to buy exactly one acre in each region you target (the just right acre). Fence it in such a way as to avoid nosy neighbors. Set up exactly one tiny home for you, and one for your tenant (or just provide a "space" for them). If on wheels, no property taxes ...
Each tenant works the land for you, as their "rent" ... they keep the property going, and you are there to do some stuff 2 months out of each year, making plans, solving problems, and moving on ...
Very reduced infrastructure costs, and you should be able to turn each acre from $3k into $30k or more ...
I did this in Tx, with 3/4 of an acre for $5k. Put a conex on it and built a home in the conex, added services and such, and even had to live there for some months, while working one contract job. When I didn't need it anymore, it sold for $25k some years later ...
Felt like I got all my money back out of it, and then some ...
Location is key, along with the usual for getting the right stuff in property ... little to no rules, regulations, HOA's, and so on ...
TinyHome in your case is whatever small structure you want ... but a true TinyHome on Wheels can really feel big, with the right land, features, and services on it. Same thing happens with conex's, where you step outside into a fancy outdoor space, making 160 sq ft feel like hundreds more ...
Hope this helps ...
You frighten me terribly. I would like to go home now. Here, take this tiny ad: