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Heart of the Earth Farm: A Plan for Sustainable Self Sufficiency  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 190
Location: Otway, Ohio, USA
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Heart of the Earth Farm is my family's farm-to-be. It makes use of zones of production, is going to supply most food needs, and will eventually will provide income, though that part isn't really nesesary what with my disabilty stipend and my grandmother being retired. So we can focus on becoming productive for the first few years before having to sell produce. The name of the farm comes from a sermon about radical acceptence by a priest in my faith. I think it's good as a foundational philosophy, to be accepting of what the situation is, and thinking in terms of reality.

We intend to have the full productive capacity set up by 2024. Products of our labors will include:
Goat milk cheeses, butter, and milk
Pork and lard
Vegetables
Corn
Bamboo (timber and shoots)
Tea
Herbs
Apples and hard cider
Cherries
Maple sugar
Wild game
Leather
Annual fruits
Eggs
Chickens
Fish (from the river across the street)
Pottery (made in the winter soas not to interfere with other productive pursuits)

We will have to buy:
Coffee
Salt
Spices we can't grow
Bulk wheat berries
Olive oil
Sesame seeds
Soy sauce
Miso (I may try to make this at some point)
Rice (my original farm plan had rice paddies, however the land we are buying is not suitable for this.)

 
Ryan Hobbs
pollinator
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Location: Otway, Ohio, USA
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The plan for this fall and the first full year is to construct needed infrastructure such as the barn, summer kitchen, smokehouse, rainwater collection, carport, guest cabin (nearest motel is in Portsmouth, 20 mins away), bread oven, and clear and prepare the acre garden. I will also scout out and mark maple trees for sugaring. Timber for these constructions will be obtained from a few stands in the forest, and these spaces will become food forest eventually. We start our food production with chickens rotationally grazed in silvopasture.

Year two will see us planting vegetables, fruit trees, and herbs. The herb garden area is immediately adjacent to the house, and will be terraced as it is on a steep hill. Veg will go in the previously prepared acre of garden beds. Fruit trees will be planted in guild groups in the gaps in the forest caused by cutting timber for building projects. One gap in particular near the road will be planted wiyh timber bamboo.

Year three will see the adition of nubian milk goats and accquisition of needed supplies for dairy processing such as cream seperator and cheese press, and a curing room dug into the hillside. We plan to make two spanish cheeses: queso fresco and queso aƱejo; as well as butter and canned milk (canning skim milk makes it easier to store).

Year four sees the adition of pigs and all the crazyness that goes with them. We plan to pasture them in the forest, with supplimental feed of fodder beets, apple pulp left over from making cider, and grain soaked with whey. We are interested in old lard breeds.

Year five will see the integration of all systems. This is the year when the rhythim of life takes over. In nature, all things work together for the common good. Here is where we fine tune our system, review data, create new strategies, find solutions to problems we didn't know existed before we got started...



 
Posts: 74
Location: San Diego, California
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This sounds like a great plan!! I am so happy for you that you are able to take the plunge

If you can swing it and can take care of plants during your building period, you could plant your trees in year one - they will take years to become productive, so you'll wish you planted them sooner.

since you're already planning on doing lard and goat's milk, you should look into soap-making; an easy value-added product to your business.

Also depending on your needs, you may want to switch the order of your annual vegetable planting and your animal acquisition:

BEFORE: pigs and goats can clear the land of vegetation via browsing/rooting, and provide free manure for the first plantings.

AFTER: you can grow feed crops in advance to feed the animals, or have them clear your food plots after your first harvest.

Please continue to update this post with your progress (and pictures); I want to live vicariously through your experiences!!
 
gardener
Posts: 2160
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:We will have to buy:
Bulk wheat berries
Olive oil


I don't want to give you more work but depending on your acreage, growing wheat may not be too hard.  Growing hulless oats is quite doable in my experience.
Also, depending on your need for oil, could you manage with sunflower oil or a nut oil?  Then you could grow and press them yourselves.

I normally wouldn't suggest more stuff since you already have an exhaustive list but it seems like you're aiming for as much self sufficiency as possible.

Be sure to post lots of pictures and updates, this sounds like fun!
 
Ryan Hobbs
pollinator
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Location: Otway, Ohio, USA
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Mike Jay wrote:

Ryan Hobbs wrote:We will have to buy:
Bulk wheat berries
Olive oil


I don't want to give you more work but depending on your acreage, growing wheat may not be too hard.  Growing hulless oats is quite doable in my experience.
Also, depending on your need for oil, could you manage with sunflower oil or a nut oil?  Then you could grow and press them yourselves.

I normally wouldn't suggest more stuff since you already have an exhaustive list but it seems like you're aiming for as much self sufficiency as possible.

Be sure to post lots of pictures and updates, this sounds like fun!



We will have lard and butter. I can't grow olives in zone 6, I just won't have the room or time to make my own vegetable oils. Only one acre is able to be used for gardening, So I have to focus on veg, corn, and annual fruits like tomatoes and peppers that we eat all the time. I may collect nuts and buy a sheller and expeller press at some point in the future, but it seems best to me to wait for kids to be available to do the picking, shelling, and cranking. I'm only making our own sugar because there are 21 acres of maple dominated forest on the land, and sugaring seasons are not concurrent with the growing season.

Something I did not mention before was that I intend to make and can my own coffee creamers out of skimmed goat milk, maple sugar, spices, and hazelnut flavoring. What with 2 nubian goats expected to give us about 1-2 gallons of milk a day, we will have plenty for our dairy needs. The kids will be raised for meat. My family had a tradition that was stopped in the 80s where on my dad's side, they would bbq a goat in a pit and serve itwith salsa, tortillas, rice, and other things in a big feast with extended family. We intend to bring this event back, partly in rememberence for my paternal grandparents.
 
Posts: 11
Location: Tasmania
goat homestead wood heat
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Sounds like a great plan.

We raised our first pigs this year and it is a wonderful feeling to have so much meat and lard. Goat dairy is great to have too, and it fits in well with pig raising when you have whey to spare. You could raise either (or both) animals on a smaller scale from a much earlier time in your plan if you don't mind bringing feed in for them, and you get the benefit of their manure for the garden that way.
 
Kate Downham
Posts: 11
Location: Tasmania
goat homestead wood heat
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Sounds like a great plan.

We raised our first pigs this year and it is a wonderful feeling to have so much meat and lard. Goat dairy is great to have too, and it fits in well with pig raising when you have whey to spare. You could raise either (or both) animals on a smaller scale from a much earlier time in your plan if you don't mind bringing feed in for them, and you get the benefit of their manure for the garden that way.
 
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