• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Large Property not sure where to start

 
Steve Mosher
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey all my parents have a 15 acre field that they currently only use for hay and they dont even need it all for the 3 horses they have i want to turn some of it into a permaculture garden/food forest we have great soil and 2 7ft tall piles of horse manure with all they hay i could ever use. as well as 2 tractors a disc, 2 rototillers and a large barn 3 horses and 30 chickens. i feel i have all of the major purchases already done and we are wasting the potential of this land with just 700 haybails a year and giving the rest to a local diary farmer for round bails . if anyone has already started a large project like this and has any tips or links to get us on our way it would be appreciated greatly.

Thank You
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Steve


We have begun our gardens in keeps in a polyculture manner in a 12 acre area (zone 7 by chart; actual 7b-8a). It is wonderful that you have your major equipment and your land is a blank canvas! We are still struggling with what to keep, what to move, what to cut down. You need a business plan; your goals, objectives, and strategies. Everyone can give you input...ultimately, it needs to be tailored to you and your family as the unique individuals that you are. While our business plan has stayed the course; Our original layout drawing from 2 years ago is unrecognizable to the plot plan we have now! We did not have the benefit of knowing the natural conditions of the property in each of the four seasons; as you are so blessed to have in your Parents land. Study up on the different aspects of poyculture, companion planting, permaculture, etc. Find what resonates with you! Others who also share those passions will be delighted to share pointers. If your question is more about where do I get all the trees, bushes, vines, herbs etc. A great starting point is your states (or states in same zone) forestry seedling sales program. However, that is a long term investment as they will be 1-3 years old and be some time until cropping. Another great source of free / low cost items grown locally is your local Craigslist farm & garden section and join your local freecycle. Please post your zone / location; it will make it much easier for everyone to give you good responses. Best wishes to you on your new adventure!
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1105
Location: northern northern california
61
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
perhaps try thinking on paper, this is helpful to me.

get a large sheet of drawing paper, and sketch out the general area, then start filling it in here and there...with ideas. dont need to be attached to them, or for sure about any of it, just start putting down anything and everything that you think of

and put down whatever comes into your mind, random notes to yourself, words, trees, sketches, layouts, water

then usually i need to do this a few times, each one getting better till i get a handle on any kind of project....even if it doesnt even end up looking like any of the drawings exactly...but i will have better idea about what i want to do once i am done.

my other advice is to not get ahead of yourself too much, start slow and dont push yourself too much...you know with a big project its too easy to get ahead of yourself-but it all gets done one step at a time, and you dont need to know all the steps at once =)

just figure out what seems the most obvious priority, and start figuring it out as you go. i dont know that other people work like that, but i usually have to do things like that, not much for planning everything out....and i go with what i feel is the most important and what i am drawn to do...then keep doing that till all the steps finally add up to something....
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1105
Location: northern northern california
61
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
plus since you mention bales, i will post some links on straw bale gardening, i think this would be a fabulous way to grow stuff, or some variation on these ideas, in the right climate. mostly people do this with straw, but it can also be done with hay bales. sometimes with hay you can cover that layer with sheet mulch above (to prevent the hay from growing) or rot them, which supposedly will kill off most of the seed. but usually people will do things like this with straw, so theres no seeds.

you can make a hot bed with bales stacked up on all sides and a window placed on top for earlier planting in a cold climate. as the straw decomposes it warms up the soil from the inside.

or just use them one by one on the ground, cut holes into them and grow right inside the bale. you could use lots of manure and loose straw /hay in the center of a circle of bales....then throw some dirt on top of the bales in whatever way you lay them out, or plant right into the bales.

or just make a high one or two bales stacked raised garden bed with the bales as edges and bag dirt/straw/manure/mulch/ compost in the center.

i've had the idea to make a spiral garden this way, with the bales forming the spiral and then a lot of dirt on top with some rocks/concrete or whatever as edges on the spiral. well someday, i have more ideas than time!

you can also use a similar method for winter, in the right climate. by surrounding plants in the ground with a straw bale circle/square/shape and then completely covering the plants with a blanket of loose straw. the warmth factor of the bales would keep the food preserved mostly through the winter, the freeze would prevent the bales from rotting till spring...and you could basically store your harvest in the ground. then come spring you can build upon this, create levels and tiers of new bales....

ultimately it all rots down and becomes great soil.

google says:

http://strawbalegardens.com/blog/tag/hay-bale-gardening/

http://www.growandmake.com/straw_bale_garden

http://homegrownandhealthy.com/straw-bale-raised-beds/
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
decide on your fruit and nut trees and berry bushes and get them in first..and remember to add some forest soil to the holes when planting and immediately put some mulch and some chicken wire or other trunk/branch protection around the baby trees so the critters don't eat them..

after they are in you can gather your supporting plants like some dynamic accumulators, insectories and nitrogen fixers to plant in the perimeter around the wire..or inside the wire if you have enough wire.

if you are planting trees this late make sure they have a lot of water so they don't dry out
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Brenda

He could also begin acquiring them and keep them in pots (larger than the ones their sold in) until spring. He could use the time in between to prep the area and decide if he is doing several guilds and or hugels every where; or, going with a giant food forest sun catch-u layout with other item on the inside of the sun catch-u; planting now at random of anything could mean more work and great losses down the road once he has a plan.
 
Sean Banks
Posts: 153
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
1. Put up a deer fence....deer a huge threat to food forests
2. Get a soil test...add the manure and any nutrients you are lacking...also keep pH in mind when choosing plants
3. Learn about the layers of a forest (herbaceous, shrub, sub canopy, canopy, emergent, etc.)
4. Figure out what trees/plants are hardy to your climate zone
5. Draw out a plan...include space between plants in your drawing
6. Order plants online or at a local nursery....I prefer one green world
7. Plant this fall or next spring
8. Water garden until established...should be around 3 years for most plants
9. Reap the rewards

*Get as large of a deer fence as you can afford
*include a diverse mix of edible and medicinal plants
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Sean

Excellent advise! Particularly #1! We add more fence as we can; and, everything stays behind the fences we have. Losses to deer (and bunnies) can be huge. I would add find out what natural pests are common to your area and plan as though an invasion is headed your way, lol. Had we done so, we would have saved a lot of Money, Time, and Effort.
 
Steve Mosher
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
woa thanks alot for all the information ive been researching as much as i can about the topics you guys brought up. i forgot to mention in the first post that the property also has about 15 acres of woodland that has alot of maple trees some birch it is usually wet and has alot of trillium and jack in the pulpit int the spring i would like to dig a pond for irrigation. does anyone know how i would find a good location to dig one?.
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Steve

Good to hear you are doing your research...very wise! All Maples are tapable for syrup; if those are sugar maples, you have really scored! We are adding sugar maples here at our place, but, for us they are a beautiful long term investment. We are planning a large pond and several smaller ponds and a connecting creek. For us, we simply are working with our natural topography versus against it.
We have a hardwood forest area that has an existing ponding bog area with two run off creeks and marshy in between. We have watched how the water flows and from where. We are going to dig out the larger creek for the main pond and reroute the water flow to pond the water versus marsh and top soil run off. Observe your forest, see if an obvious area presents itself; if not, then research pond making and see what others have to say.
 
Bob Blackmer
Posts: 30
Location: East Greenwich, Rhode Island
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Where to start in the simplest explanation is as close to the house as you can, no matter what kind of agriculture you do. Become efficient at managing a quarter acre, then a half, and so on. In the mean time I would find someone to responsibly graze animals on the rest. Grazing will add to the soil, haying just keeps taking. With that, take everyone's suggestions and read, read, read. Then prioritize, put it on paper, and do it. Good luck.
 
Sean Banks
Posts: 153
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
for a pond you want to look for an area that has a high water table......natural depressions in the land are another good location.....clay is yet another hint as to where a pond should be placed...the clay will hold the water and prevent it from draining out. If you have none of these you can still build a pond with either a heavy duty pond liner or by adding sodium bentonite to the dug out pond.
 
Steve Mosher
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks all for information and links my garden didnt do so well this year so im going to be spending the fall gathering seed ,researching and trying to make a greenhouse out of old trusses .
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Pie
Posts: 645
Location: south central VA 7B
72
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sean Banks wrote:1. Put up a deer fence....deer a huge threat to food forests


*Get as large of a deer fence as you can afford


You may want to check out "Nite Guard" - a solar powered red beaming light. We're in the middle of a forest - tons of deer and to fence in our gardens would be impossible without a lottery winning. A friend of mine with >50 bee hives told me about this. He was always fixing his electric fence that would ground out regularly and was told about this at a bee meeting. It had been 10 months since he installed them and had no problems with bears getting into his hives.

I bought 4, secured them on each side of a 4X4, added cross timbers at the base. We move it about once a week, so the animals don't get use to it and we have yet to have any problem with deer getting into our garden.


Good luck and please keep us posted!
M

 
Cyndie Montoya
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Look up "One Straw Gardening" on youtube. This may give you some ideas on what to do.
 
Lyvia Dequincey
Pie
Posts: 45
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
People have mentioned studying water patterns, but look at sunlight, too, especially for a green house. I am looking at grading to make more of a southern facing embankment for my eventual greenhouse. You probably want to bury the north side, or at least insulate it well.

Did you say what climate this is?

Draw a map of the property. I traced a lot of outlines off my computer screen, which is a light box. I drew in the 100 foot from neighbors line, the gully, the steep hill, the sunshine, the drainage, the house and barn, the pond/pool, and an collection of tractor/horse pathways and gates, so I could get it all down on one sheet.

Good luck!

 
Steve Mosher
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
im in upstate ny 5b .
 
This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. Now it's a tiny ad:

The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers:
http://richsoil.com/cards


  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic