• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • thomas rubino
  • Bill Crim
  • Kim Goodwin
  • Joylynn Hardesty
gardeners:
  • Amit Enventres
  • Mike Jay
  • Dan Boone

How much land? Water from well?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello fellow permies. We recently sold our home in Southern California and are moving to Southern Oregon in early June. But we haven't found a place to call home yet. This weekend I visited a home for sale that I really like...it has passive solar, a masonry heater, whole house fan for night flushing, and many other great features.

The problem is we're not sure if there's enough land, so I'm looking for opinions on how much land we would need to do these things: 1) large garden, 2) food forest (undefined size at this time), and 3) raise a few sheep (plus chickens and maybe a couple pigs, but those don't take up much space). We don't want to farm for profit, but would like to make our family of three more self sufficient. Do you think it's feasible to do those things on .75 acre? We may be able to buy the lot next door, which would bring the total to 1.5 acres, but maybe not.

Also, the residents in this area (mostly on .5 to .75 acre parcels) irrigate their property using water from a community well. Do you think it's a horrible idea to rely on well water for irrigating .75 or 1.5 acres (assuming we would be allowed a second share of the well water if we buy the extra lot), even if they have amazing ground water in the area? I'm thinking that we could use graywater, do water catchment and earth works, and we could even drill our own well to supplement the community supply, if eventually needed.

This is a really tough decision because the home is so amazing and energy efficient. Most homes we can afford were built in the 70s with horrible insulation as well as toxic building materials, but this was built just 5 years ago with an emphasis on energy efficiency.

I'd really appreciate any insights you might provide.

Thanks so much 
Liz
 
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
301
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is a small lot if you are thinking livestock.  It sounds like a residential neighborhood, so make certain that there are no local restrictions on animals.  Drilling wells in Oregon is expensive with all of the permits required (Health Dept, etc). 
 
pollinator
Posts: 10117
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
280
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with John, it seems very small if you want to do all that. Personally, and this is just my own opinion, I think one acre per person is the minimum for self-sufficiency, and from my own point of view, 20 acres is the minimum size for privacy. 

I would not personally want to have to depend on a community water system. 
 
            
Posts: 77
Location: Northport, Wash.
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with John and Ludi, kind of a small area for much in the way of animals.  Rabbits and chickens, maybe, and you would probably have to buy almost all their feed

Some food for thought: Not long ago I read an article about some testing done to determine how much area it took to feed one person for one year, the results was that it took 4,000 square feet to provide food for one person.  This was an all vegetarian diet, with grains grown for bread, etc.  I have not verified this myself, but this number seems to come up when I research that subject.

Our garden, located in a logged off forested area, is reaching a half acre in size, our well only puts out 1 gallon per minute, so we use a cistern to store water.  We use hugelkulture beds extensively, along with some swales to direct runoff, and work hard to maintain the organic material in the soil so that the soil retains water from the rain and what little we add from the well.  Time will tell how well this will work.

We have 20 acres and are raising right now, 36 chickens, 3 guinea hogs, and have 15 turkeys on the way, and are considering adding rabbits eventually.  We are buying feed while our own animal feed plots are growing.  We will eventually have about 4 or 5 goats for milk, along with whatever babies all the critters generate.  Those will become food for us, with any extra being sold.  We figure it will take a fair piece of the acreage we have to support us and the animals we want, along with a market garden area.  We went with smaller animals since we don't have much acreage.

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10117
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
280
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

KurtW wrote:

Some food for thought: Not long ago I read an article about some testing done to determine how much area it took to feed one person for one year, the results was that it took 4,000 square feet to provide food for one person.  This was an all vegetarian diet, with grains grown for bread, etc.  I have not verified this myself, but this number seems to come up when I research that subject.



This is from research done by Ecology Action over the course of about 40 years, and it is using the Biointensive growing method, not permaculture.  More info: http://growbiointensive.org/
 
            
Posts: 77
Location: Northport, Wash.
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

H Ludi Tyler wrote:
This is from research done by Ecology Action over the course of about 40 years, and it is using the Biointensive growing method, not permaculture.  More info: http://growbiointensive.org/


That could be, I really don't remember where I saw it, and I can't find the links in my bookmarks, the link provided isn't familiar but it could be.  I wonder if the two systems would be compatible, I would think they would be.

I suppose the better answer to the OP would have been: No, you probably can not do what you intend on .75 acre if you intend to raise feed for your own animals.  I just thought that maybe some examples would be of benefit.
 
Liz Schmidt
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the replies. And thanks for the extra information...the more, the better, because if we pass on this home (which looks likely, although I am in love with it) we will need to keep looking and having a minimum acreage will be a good thing.

There's another property we are considering and it has 3.2 acres and a stream-fed pond. Does this sound more reasonable?

Thanks,
Liz
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
301
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Stream-fed pond.  I like that MUCH better than a shared well.
The extra size would certainly be beneficial with livestock.  Every pound of grain you can grow is a pound you don't have to buy.  Backyard chicken eggs are very expensive for those who have to buy all of their feed, litter, etc.  The rule of thumb in the industry is that it takes 4 pounds of feed to produce 1 dozen eggs (the White leghorn does it with 3½ pounds, which is why they make up 90% of the laying flocks).

With .75 acres, you would feel like suburbanites.  With 3+ acres, you can feel like homesteaders.  That gives you enough room to supply just about all of your food that is compatible with the climate.  I feel that it is wise to start with more than you need rather than wishing later that you had gotten more.  Just my opinion.  It is amazing how quickly you will be able to find ways to use it all!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10117
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
280
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

KurtW wrote:
I wonder if the two systems would be compatible, I would think they would be.



Yes, I use elements of both. 

 
Posts: 505
Location: Eastern Kansas
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am not certain, but I recall that you can graze sheep 4 to the acre? At least, during the time when the grass is growing. You would need to buy hay for times during the winter or during dry spells.

By that token, if you only have .75 acres, you could manage 3 sheep IF you had no garden at all, and no doubt you would want a garden. Like some of the other posters, I think that you might need more than .75 acres to do everything.

For that matter, you might want to wait to start with sheep until you know what the growing season for your grass is. If you know a local who has livestock they could tell you, and also give FAR better advice on stocking rates!

On the other hand, that is plenty of room for rabbits, chickens, and bees along with a big garden and some fruit trees.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10117
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
280
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Terri wrote:
I am not certain, but I recall that you can graze sheep 4 to the acre?



It depends on the carrying capacity of the locale.  4 sheep to the acre would be really overstocking in my location. 
 
That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I think a piece of pie wouldn't kill me. Tiny ad:
DIY solar dehydrator - have you built one?
https://permies.com/t/90672/DIY-solar-dehydrator-built
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!