Hello all. I'm quite new to the permie life and have lots of questions that are slowly getting answered. I'm working on about 1/5th of an acre with a horrible bank in the back yard within city limits. Needless to say, I'm more than restricted. No chickens allowed where I am, no goats, and wife isn't about to let me keep rabbits. Have one raised bed, soon to be 3, and a two-bin pallet composting bin. Getting ready to install rain barrels and have a 10' x 7' greenhouse on a large deck. Thought about terracing the bank, but it's a beast and I'm not sure I would do more harm than good. I'm in the process of looking for land. Anyone else in the area that's struggling with similar issues?
I'm in Wheeling, WV. you can apply for a high tunnel from the department of conservation. Ours is being installed August 2. The grant paid for 7'000.00 of the 10'000.00 needed. That being said, I had added irrigation, fans, vents etc., which pushes the price up there. Labor and delivery was the bulk of the fee out of my pocket. You can probably do it free and clear with the grant. Its 100 feet by 20 feet wide. there are smaller ones available. You cant have more than a 5% grade, so you might have to dig out an area. If you want to watch them install it come on up. I start our gardening in February in the basement growing seeds.
People that visit us think this place is so "cool". Lol . We are on social security, every thing is close to the house because of age, etc. on Less than 1/4 Of the 13 we own.
We make maple syrup, have one big bee hive, many laying chickens, turkeys in June , meat chickens in August. Butcher in October and November. Preserving food as we go through out the seasons.
My point is,. You can do A Lot in a small space. There will be many learning curves, mistakes. Don't give up.
Join you local West Virginia Extention office master gardener program. You'll have to disregard their desires for you to use chemicals on everything but you will learn a lot about vegetables and fruits.
Attend the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Seven Springs, Pa in September. $35 per ticket for the entire weekend . going from class to class. I can't say enough about the information and projects you will learn about. (We stay in Somerset, in cheaper Motels if money is a problem. ).
I see it's been many years since this original post. I hope you have been able to shape your operation to what you really want. It's tough in our region. I'm on a hillside farm in Cabell County, outside of Huntington, WV.
Some things you can do on a small plot is use small animals which dont attract attention to authorities, or might not even have prohibitions. You mentioned rabbits and your wife. I hope she would change her mind as they offer a small footprint, little work and huge production with a very high protein yield. Also consider coturnix quail. They are a domestic variety from japan and NOT covered by the DNR. They also have a small footprint and high protein yield, for both meat and eggs.
Additionally, you could look into aquatics or aquaponics. It would be a side addition to grow much quantity, but you could also raise various fish. You could also do small scale plant propagation to sell starts to other folks. Even prune fruittrees for others to get free scions to graft to your own grown root stock and sell the grafted saplings.
Besides just using your 1/5 acre direct living lot, even if you dont move, consider looking for a vacant lot to use in town, or even a larger plot outside of city limits where regulations may not restrict what you wish to grow. Even without living there,you could go visit the site daily or as often as needed for the chores required. It could even support the High Tunnel that Vickie mentioned. You could purchase such a plot. Or another option might be to coopt that space from a friend or acquaintance who just doesnt use their land. Possibly rent it from them, or maybe just use for the value of keeping up some maintenance. If it meets certain criteria, the owners could benefit from you operating a "farm" on it by qualifying for an agriculture exemption on their real estate property taxes. It's close to a 50% reduction. So if they normally owe $1000 for taxes, it could cut them to paying $500. That value could be worth them leasing you the space for no money out of your pocket.
Best of luck with your agricultural aspirations and pursuits.