Hi all, first post but been lurking a little while.
I am looking around for a potential site to build a house and establish a permaculture based homestead - though not in any huge rush at this point. my gf and i are both medics and moving around quite a bit while on training schemes - relevant as while i can purchase land now i probably wont be in a position to work the land much other than tilling it (i think there has been significant compaction from horses), seeding it (lots of dock weeds), establishing trees, potential earthworks etc.
anyway a 27acre parcel has come up which is approx 30mins from dublin city centre which is as good as can be expected. i have walked it for the first time today and was reasonably drawn to it, however it is essentially flat, and the shape is a little unwieldy as is is a long rectangle (approx 200 paces wide) with the road access on the narrow edge.
i have included an edited google earth pic...
Here are some of my markings -
north is top; area marked '1' is a small stream which has good flow at present as we've had a decent spell of wet weather - from its condition i'd imagine it is all year round, though probably a trickle in the summer. A small concrete bridge allows access.
the other blue markings are a network of ditches with small streams running currently though i imagine them to be dry in summer.
anyway - my principle question is - is completely flat land like this a disadvantage? - the lack of a hill / reasonable slope prevents decent swales and water collection earthworks however that may be mitigated by living in ireland (zone 9, average daytime temp 4-20C / 40-68 F; av monthly rainfall 50-80 mm / 2-3 inches) , and having a probable year-round stream.
Also, one of the joys of being in the countryside is waking up to lovely landscape every day - i don't include a hedge 100 yards from my window in that...
Any other thoughts? suggestions? observations? anecdotes?
I should probably mention my aims for the land:
Build a home, grow veggies, fruit orchard, chickens (paddock system that the amazing...the wonderful...the gargantuan...paul wheton advocates), permaculturepond is important as both source of fish but also an area for wildlife to proliferate. Use some to perhaps raise a few cattle, cow/2 for milk, possibly have a horse. Ideally establish a food forest.
Generate some electricity, possibly heat my home with wood exclusively in the long-term.
I don't envisage using this as an income generator, though i would like to give excess away to friends, family, neighbours - i would ideally job-share long term. My gf is not exactly farmer material though she would happily live on one.
Looks great to me ! And I expect with the current economic situation a good buy . As for being flat it's not like in Ireland you are going to ever have a dry land climate I can think of no disadvantage other than you cannot put in a hydroelectric scheme
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
You don't need a huge slope to do surface water management. Land can be too flat, but those cases usually result in rather obvious bogs and such. If you have enough of a slope that a small ditch gathers running water, then you have enough slope to control and direct flows. There is a rather wide range of 'happy medium' slope values that will give you enough slope that allows water to flow, but no so much as to flow too fast or make working it hard.
If you're a really eager beaver, then you could also build a motte and style your house as a little castle on top. They were common in something like the 12th century, so we really have few excuses to not be able to do them now.
Great looking property! If you are going to be on a well talk to neighbors about the quality of their water and any issues they might have. Even if you are not going to buy this property, get a topo map of it from your local government (not sure if this is available in Ireland) and plan out the earthworks as if it were yours. This exercise will teach a you a lot about how the shape of the property and the way the contour lines cross it effects what you can do on the property. Go to the property during or right after a big rain and take note of where water runs and were it stands. Do you want to keep bees? You might want to check what the farmers around you predominately grow and see what the spray practices are for that crop. I had a relative this year loose 9 hives to a neighboring farmer spraying his crop in full bloom.
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Thanks for replys!
There is only a small area which seems boggy near the river. Perhaps the Formation of the ditches resulted in the land drying somewhat.
Bees are definitely on my list. While the is some crop ag nearby, its dairy and sucklers beside as far as I can tell. Dairy in ireland typically involves a paddock shift system like paul wheatons chicken example referred to earlier.
Will try get some topographical maps if available...will let ye know what happens!
As far as I know, there is certainly a Geological Survey in Republic. of Ireland. Not sure if that is the exact name-google search is always a good way to find out. Have you checked on zoning/land usage laws? You may not be allowed to farm-on any level-that close to a major city. Also, do a soil check on it. Check for ag services by province, or for a Master Gardeners office near you. If they dont do free/low cost testing, ask them where you can get it done. Whoever does it will tell you how to take your soil samples. The strip of land on top of the road is certainly a spot to test separetely-carbon dioxide poisoning from car exhaust. Also, what KIND of soil do you have? Is it a few inches of dirt on a clay substrait? Those looong rooted 'weeds' are helping to break that up, which helps on drainage.
thanks for the reply - in the end i didnt go for it - mainly because of logistical reasons for work etc, and the lack of a dwelling makes planning permission a pain. am investigating another parcel of land which should improve those areas though
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit