• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Jules Silverlock
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Jay Angler
  • S Rogers
  • Christopher Weeks
gardeners:
  • Jordan Holland
  • Nancy Reading
  • Cat Knight

Wyoming homestead

 
Posts: 48
12
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I tried to look through but this website is a little confusing for me so while I’m trying to figure out how to look things up better I’ll just ask my question. I grew up in Canada (southern Alberta and have lived a lot of places in both the US snd Canada). I know of people that have grown beautiful gardens in zone 4 Canada, but they have a lot of longer daylight hrs during the summer. We will be moving to northeast Wy hopefully on 40 plus acres in the next 6/8 months. Ive contacted other more natural farmers in Wyoming, more natural cattle and dairy ranchers and they’ve all said the same thing, many have tried to implement Joel Salatins practices and they’ve all failed usually leaving the state. Can that actually be? I realize it has less daylight time then Canada but can zone 4 really be that different just because of latitude? I just want to prove them all wrong and turn what I keep hearing is barren land only good for cattle and some cereal grains into a beautiful food forest. This is our last move, hubby is no longer in the military and is taking a job with a company he’s wanted to work with for 3 years. It’s not the place I’d pick if I could choose anywhere but I believe you bloom where you’re planted and with the acreage we’re planning on purchasing this is where I’m choosing to live out my dream of a fully self sufficient, self sustaining off grid homestead. I’ve been researching, watching, reading, and building skills for it for 15+ years. I know with God there has to be a way to turn a small piece of Wyoming into my own personal Eden. Does anyone have any info on perennial plants, bushes and trees that would do well here? To begin with? I’ve been researching and have found a few but I also want to push the envelope like Stefan Sobkowiak who grew kiwi in Quebec. Thoughts, ideas, and encouragement would be great. Hearing a handful of people all tell you it’s impossible is kind of discouraging.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3586
Location: 4b
1264
dog forest garden trees bee building
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've seen far too many people do things that everyone said they couldn't to believe it's impossible.  Every area has it's challenges.  I think your main issues will be three-fold.  Wind, lack of rain, and poor soil.  I would start by making windbreaks.  I would probably use semi-solid fencing to start with, and plants tree immediately inside those to have living windbreaks as soon as possible.  There are a lot of good youtube videos and books on rain harvesting and water works, and I think you will need to research that pretty well.  At least you have a few months for that.  As far as soil building, I would concentrate on pockets of fertility, and I would start in zone 1, meaning your area immediately around the house if a garden is in the works.  Trees don't need extremely fertile soil, but they will probably need some improvement.  The great thing about making fertile packet areas is that once you make enough of them, you can connect them and you ended up with a large area.  Tara Farm and Nursery is located in Wyoming.  There are blog type posts on the site that offer advice to Wyoming permies, as well as being a commercial nursery.  It may be worth a look.  

Above all else, never let anyone tell you you can't do something.  If you want to, you'll find a way.  Every time something doesn't work, you learn more about what might.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2901
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
506
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Northeast Wyoming gets more snow than we do here in the south but it's basically as barren as we are down here in the southeast corner.

Your problem will be wind and moisture. We get lots of the first and not a lot of the second.

You can grow fruit trees here. There are apricot orchards, grapes (The Sheriff of my county has a grape orchard) and there are old german apple orchards near Sheridan. If you ask very nicely maybe they'll let you get some cuttings from them.

However, if you are looking for lush fields of grass and a food forest without any irrigation it's not going to happen. You have to irrigate and getting permission to drill an irrigation well and the water rights to do so will be a big problem.

If you are looking at east coast food forests or southern food forests you are not being realistic. This is Wyoming. We get an average of 11" of precipitation and a large part of that is snow. Catch it.

Deer and antelope will likely be a problem for you.

Agreed with trace, make a snow fence. Plant on the opposing side of the fence. The snow will water what you plant then.

I know that 40 acres will feed 2 cows, barely. I've had fun with pigs and sainfoin. Horses are great if you ride them but put them on your property and it'll be dead in no time.
 
Kathleen Nelson
Posts: 48
12
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Trace and Elle lots of good info and ideas. Elle I saw your post from 2015, and your discouraged last message from last year I think it was. How did things end last year? Ive been reading all the info on the water laws, rain barrels, retention ponds etc and the process needed to make those a reality. I think my best bet is first to do like Trace said and set up wind breaks I know all about those Chinook west winds that are amazing for drying up snowstorms quick but wreak havoc on water retention, so I’m planning on setting up multiple North and west wind breaks of cold hardy fast growing evergreens with a mixture of cold hardy large fruit berry bushes like saskatoon serviceberries (still researching other options) and fruit and nut trees mixed in that will grow slower but get larger then as the fruit and nut trees get bigger we can sell the ever greens as Christmas trees or use as mulch. The tree wind/ snowbreaks will be bermed up with wood chips to help hold moisture for the trees and keep the heat in, in winter to help them grow. Then below the tree berms we’ll dig water retaining swales to collect and hold the water for longer. If they can turn a desert into a rainforest in South America (Gaviotas) by planting trees then I know growing a food forest in Wyoming is doable. We’ll plant soil enhancing plants (for the first few years) between the tree rows next to the water swales, and chop and drop them along with using them to graze our animals on, goats and sheep. Comfrey, nettles, dandelions, mullein, asparagus, and alfalfa all have deep tap roots that bring minerals from deeper in the soil to the surface. Comfrey grows amazing in Utah and the southern parts of Canada and is great nutrient dense forage as well as being an amazing soil amendment. If we run chickens and ducks behind the sheep and goats then that will help spread the manure and reduce parasites, plant pests and all those animals graze on different foliage.
 
Trace Oswald
pollinator
Posts: 3586
Location: 4b
1264
dog forest garden trees bee building
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kathleen Nelson wrote:Comfrey, nettles, dandelions, mullein, asparagus, and alfalfa all have deep tap roots that bring minerals from deeper in the soil to the surface. Comfrey grows amazing in Utah and the southern parts of Canada and is great nutrient dense forage as well as being an amazing soil amendment. If we run chickens and ducks behind the sheep and goats then that will help spread the manure and reduce parasites, plant pests and all those animals graze on different foliage.



If you don't have a Comfrey source, I'll send you some for the cost of shipping to help you get a head start when you're ready.
 
Kathleen Nelson
Posts: 48
12
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Trace that would be amazing thank you. I do not currently have a comfrey source. Ive grown many plants in the past but unfortunately I had to leave them with our last move and we were in limbo for 6 weeks between houses so I couldn’t even take cuttings. Thank you again for your offer. When we’re settled I’ll contact you and we can work out the details. Again thank you
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2901
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
506
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've not had much luck with comfrey at my place. It'll grow a few years, very small, and then die.

Caragana is the first line of defense in tree lines here. Chokecherry also grows well and is commonly used. Pine trees have been having a tough time with pine beetle. We've lost 3 of our pines so far. Evergreens are planted as well. We've had issues with ours lately. The snow loads have been so large that it's broken the top off our trees and many many branches.

Plum trees grow fairly well here. I have a few that have grown with 0 irrigation. My father in laws plum trees are bigger but he irrigates like crazy. I've never had a harvest though.

I can recommend sainfoin. It's amazing.

I do have alfalfa in the swales but it takes too much water to grow elsewhere.

The best thing you can do is try everything. Lord knows I have. I do wish you luck. You are welcome to come by.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4715
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
489
3
hugelkultur forest garden fungi books bee greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Howdy kathleen, Welcome to Wyoming!  HERE is a link to the regonal forum where you might find some others who are growing in Wyoming. What county will you be in ? You might want to check out your county extension agent as well as the local master gardeners. They were always a great help to me. Also the soil conservation service for advise on trees and schrubs at a low price.  What is your property like? All flat, trees, water sheds etc.? Do you have any pictures ?
 
Space seems cool in the movies, but once you get out there, it is super boring. Now for a fascinating tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now FREE for a while
https://permies.com/t/138802/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Manual-FREE
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic