I am retiring next year and plan on buying 10 ac or so in South Carolina. I could use some advise on which counties are best for a permaculture homestead and what type of land would be best. I have seen listings stating that there is no zoning, not sure what that means.
I don't have alot of money and can not afford to make mistakes.
Welcome to permies, Steve, it's good to have you here!
I'm fellow grandparent:) .........but in the wrong state to help you on your quest for land. I know we have members from S. Carolina to help out on specifics about that state and other members can help on general land buying stuff. good luck!
I moved your post to the 'small farm' forum and added it to the 'southern' forum also. or should it be 'Appalachia'?
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
Hi Steve, when listings say "no zoning," that's a good thing for you. That means no local restrictions on how you can use your land. There could be state or federal restrictions, but unzoned areas have one less layer of bureaucratic hassles to deal with.
Good luck. I thinkpermaculture is great for any type of land, but certainly some land is easier to work with than others.
I live right on the border of NC/SC near Little River, SC. Horry County, SC is a mix of developed and country. Down around Conway there are a LOT of horse folk...in fact, horses are BIG in Horry County. Even in the Myrtle Beach area, it is possible to do small scale permaculture or you can go just a few miles outside the Tourist Zone and fine lovely farm country just waiting for you to do permie stuff. "Unzoned" means you are clear to do as you please-- farming, ranching, etc. Carolina Low Country is good farming pretty much year around.
http://notquitethereyethomestead.blogspot.com/ --On the highway going from here to there the question is oft asked "are we there yet". The oft given answer is "not quite yet". So it goes with life and with my little piece of it. This is my story. I get to tell it my way. I hope you enjoy it.
Hey Steve, there a lot of things to consider when purchasing land, especially with the intention to farm on it. Things like water availability (well, springs, rain runoff ect.), soil fertility, solar aspect, slope, % forested, where the 10,50,100 year flood plains lie are some good considerations. I'd recommend checking out Geoff Lawton's property purchase checklist here: http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/33811-property-purchase-check-list as a primer on some things to consider. Also talk to as many local people as you can when you've found somewhere that looks good and do some investigative work to see if there's anything significant (pollution or otherwise) that you may have overlooked. Good Luck!
Justin nailed it, those are absolutely great things to look at, I will add one more for you or anyone else who may come across this, in regards to meeting the locals, feel them out for personality. Lots of these small towns in the south will have different attitudes while only a few miles apart. You also definitely want to meet the neighbors and really feel them out well... Nothing is more tiresome than having 2 neighbors who both own their land that are constantly bickering. I would also put it down on the 'con' side if any of the neighboring properties are rental homes. The only issues we have ever had out of neighbors have been renters at the next property over. Luckily since they're renters they are not permanent neighbors, but still having someone there for a year or more that is troublesome is a real pain. We've had everything from people who raised pitbulls for fighting to drug dealers and had to deal with the problems associated with that. 10 acres might sound like alot, but we're on 30 acres and it wasn't enough to separate us from the trouble.
so, in short, make sure you have neighbors you can live beside forever, it might be worth having a bad neighbor for the 'perfect' piece of land, but then again it might not...
Ajila Ama Farm Western North Carolina
A teeny tiny vulgar attempt to get you to buy our stuff