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pollinator
Posts: 4339
Location: Anjou ,France
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Well the Land Lord wants to give me some  more land !
He is very happy with what I am doing the problem is I am not sure I want it . As part of an on going dispute with the farmer next door he want the Farmer to shift his cows off one of the field and give the land to me . The land is almost solid clay with a thin layer of topsoil and cow shit having been over grazed since  Adam was a boy   Any suggestions ? Particularly ones that dont cost money
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pollinator
Posts: 10114
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Can you work with the farmer to try some Managed Intensive Grazing to improve the land?  Problem with this is it requires fencing - most people seem to use electric fencing.



 
David Livingston
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The LL does not want the farmer using the land any more ;-(
I would like to animals of my own but I need a partner for that
 
garden master
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David Livingston wrote:The LL does not want the farmer using the land any more ;-(
I would like to animals of my own but I need a partner for that



If the LL is not charging you to use the land maybe you could leave it dormant until you have some animals or work to improve the land by planting cover crops.
 
Mother Tree
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David Livingston wrote:Well the Land Lord wants to give me some  more land! He is very happy with what I am doing



Do you know exactly what it is about what you're doing that he likes?  What has he said about it?  Maybe this will give you some more clues about how to proceed.

In the meantime, I think I'd be busy planting any fruit seeds I could lay my hands on.
 
Posts: 233
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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You said you're not sure you want it - why?  Is it too much work?  Too expensive to improve?  Are you just content with what you have?

If you really don't want the land, you can always say so.
 
David Livingston
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Eventually I would like the land to extend my fruit trees / extra food forest just in a couple of years when I have finished in the rest of the Park and the gardens . My LL who is confusing enough in French ( so I am told ) does not seem to grasp this plus I worry I might not get it offered in the future if I turn it down now . Also the other issue is when will the farmer move his cows ?
Its difficult trying to deal with both the farmer and the LL ;-(
 
Posts: 79
Location: Northwest Lower MI
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I understand your question in the context of "What to do with the Land" (inexpensively) because you would really like to use this land if you had a good idea.

Habitually, I think of perennial woodlands and how small holders could make them productive.  Plant once, harvest for lifetimes.  That's my goal.

Ideas?  There must be thousands.  To name a few?

How about a field of fast growing trees destined for coppice management of small wood?  Good for biomass, food and fiber.  Good for stock food too.  Young willows from coppice form a valuable forage for stock in places like New Zealand.  Nominees would include (but not be limited to) Salix (willow) hybrids and Poplus (poplar/aspen) hybrids?  These can be started by putting sticks in the ground.  Both love moisture and might appreciate the clay/manure combo you have going.

Others might include Castanea (chestnut), Corylus (hazelnut) or Quercus (oak), or Juglans (walnut).  Inexpensive to establish if you can do it with seed you gather for free.  And can be managed for either wood or nuts, or BOTH.

I would look around me regionally and see if I can find the things that are NOT being done, or not being done well, and try to fill the gap or improve the existing practice.  You must have a rainbow of unique agriculture in your region.  What can history teach you?
 
Steven Kovacs
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David Livingston wrote:Eventually I would like the land to extend my fruit trees / extra food forest just in a couple of years when I have finished in the rest of the Park and the gardens . My LL who is confusing enough in French ( so I am told ) does not seem to grasp this plus I worry I might not get it offered in the future if I turn it down now . Also the other issue is when will the farmer move his cows ?
Its difficult trying to deal with both the farmer and the LL ;-(



I think you're saying that you're not ready to work the land into your plan yet.  Is that right?  Is time or money the limiting factor for you?

I understand your frustration dealing with the uncertainty and the dispute between your LL and the farmer.

Burra's idea of planting fruit seeds now makes sense to me, if you can protect the seedlings from the cows - or just plant enough that they can't eat them all!

 
gardener
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I'm in a similar situation. The owner of a piece of land I've farmed in the past asked me to farm his land again. It would double the size of my farm.

I ended up telling him that it's too big for me, and too weedy, but that I would farm a corner of it, and mow the rest  a couple of times per year.

 
David Livingston
pollinator
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I was already thinking something along those lines Walnuts along the north east and north west edges  for example . I am hoping to suggest the LL puts his hand into his pocket and pays for some trees worth an ask ( Mulberry , persimmon peach and maybe pomegranate  etc )  plus some Lidl specials (  a cut price shop here in europe sells fruit trees every year cheap ) plus I have 20 plus  wild plums , 5 cherrys , couple of apples and the posibility of 50 bits of quince to go in the ground . Its a lot of work
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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Joseph
I thought about that too but I already cut enough grass , carbon harvesting  I call it to nurture other parts of the gardens .I have no need for more grass unless I get animals

David
 
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Is it time to take on a good WOOFER?
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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Interesting idea Miles unfortunately my partner is a bit shy of having strangers staying

David
 
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Well I have been doing a few acres at a time and while doing that the others just sit. I've essentially got 30 acres doing not much at all. We do various things on them. We've experimented with various ways of collecting moisture and we've thrown out seed now and then. It's a gradual thing for us. We know we'll get to it eventually. So, if you are afraid you might not get it again then you need to snatch it up and work it real slow.
 
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David Livingston wrote:Well the Land Lord wants to give me some  more land !
He is very happy with what I am doing the problem is I am not sure I want it . As part of an on going dispute with the farmer next door he want the Farmer to shift his cows off one of the field and give the land to me . The land is almost solid clay with a thin layer of topsoil and cow shit having been over grazed since  Adam was a boy   Any suggestions ? Particularly ones that dont cost money



It sounds like the the land has a lot of nutrients in it, but much of the manure may need to age/rot.  You could add wood chips to plant ground cover mulch to start I think.
 
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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Sounds like it's time to do some worm farming.

I recall Greg Judy doing this on land before he is ready for animals. The point is to sequester carbon in the grass like you say, then mowing it and getting it down in contact with the soil to feed the worms and other organisms. You are essentially building soil and fertility while the land is lying fallow.
 
Posts: 210
Location: SE Oklahoma
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bruce kline wrote:

David Livingston wrote:Well the Land Lord wants to give me some  more land !
He is very happy with what I am doing the problem is I am not sure I want it . As part of an on going dispute with the farmer next door he want the Farmer to shift his cows off one of the field and give the land to me . The land is almost solid clay with a thin layer of topsoil and cow shit having been over grazed since  Adam was a boy   Any suggestions ? Particularly ones that dont cost money



It sounds like the the land has a lot of nutrients in it, but much of the manure may need to age/rot.  You could add wood chips to plant ground cover mulch to start I think.



The least expensive, least labor intensive way to improve the soil is to find tree chipping companies that need a place to put chips and cover it with them. You want to avoid chips from places like golf courses that are heavily sprayed with chemicals. Ask the power company who they get to clear their lines and ask them to bring chips from areas unlikely to have been sprayed.

I understand that it can take up to 5 years to fully decompose into topsoil, but that would keep weeds down and allow the cow manure to decompose, too. Then you could start planting a little at a time.

For those who haven't ever had a large acreage, there are costs involved unless you let it go completely wild (which, if it has been overgrazed would probably result in bumper crops of weeds). At a minimum, you have to have it mowed once or twice a year with when you mow being important if you want to reduce weed spread. In some areas, trees will start taking over and they are rarely going to bve the kind of trees you actually want.
 
gardener
Posts: 4890
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau David, good fortune can and usually does come with "attachments", at least that's the way it seems to happen to me.

If the land is overgrazed, then the soil is also compacted, never mind the manure. This can be a good start for soil building once you address water flow.

In the great scheme of restoration water comes first, then trees (orchards do best when multiple species are planted in the same rows or if mono rows, then alternating species row by row).

I would first have a meeting with the LL, determine what, if anything, he is expecting of you pertaining this plot. Once you know his expectations you should be in a better position to decide to take it on or not.
During this meeting be sure to mention that the best way to improve that plot is to plant cereal grains, clovers and deep tap root plants, let the cereal grains head out then roll them down so the clovers and deep tap root plants take over.

From that point some grazing animals need to come through for a week then they need to move on. Then you will let the non grazed plants continue to grow or you could run a mowing pass (I like to let things grow as long as possible).
The next step would be to turn all that new carbon containing plant matter under, plant some vegetable crops and once those are harvested, repeat the soil building. All this time, your trees are growing.
Once you have gone through a year of soil building you are ready to add diversity such as berry bushes, etc.

Good luck kola

Redhawk
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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Well it looks like the row between the LL and my neighbour is hotting up and they are having a meeting with my self and the LL's agent next month and I hope some UN peacekeeing forces ( only joking about the last group ) I may end up with all 8 ish  acres. I see me playing the "pas parle on francais" card when things speed up  and trying not be part of this .
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 4890
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Wow, this might be a grand time to use observation, perhaps let those folks get past the row before becoming involved in discussion?

Good luck kola and may the fury pass you by without landing upon you.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Here is what has worked for me on several acres of clay one foot flood plane.  My sister had carfuly managed the rotation of the pasture paddocks so it was not degraded but I did not want to maintain livestock so I harvest the fields for mulch. I have an area that is on the edge between the sand/gravel slope and the clay where the seepage keeps it damp all during the long dry summer.

My sister had started accumulating wall to wall carpeting that gets torn out of houses and I picked up some more. I mow the field and pile the grass a foot or more deep and cover it with carpet over the winter. In the spring I transplant into the split between two strips of carpet and let the pumpkins, kale, corn, sunflowers grow. When I finish harvesting shortly I will role up the carpet, move the chicken tractor through then cover with grass and carpet again so the planting will be off set from last year.

You could do this with the manured area and it could be very productive without requiring constant attention.



 
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