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    MissPositive's Avatar
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    How to grokify 2.5 acres?

    My husband and I are getting ready to build a small house on 2.5 acres. Right now it is a wooded lot that will need to be cleared and we intend to clear most of it except for a thicker line of trees towards the property line that we share with our neighbors. I like gardening and I'm really excited about the big space that I can use for raising animals. My quest is to "grokify" the land so I can "hunt and gather" my own food on our land. I'm thinking about a long term plan: start out small and then add a little every year so that after 5-10 years I will produce almost 100% of our own food. What would be the best plan to get there? I have so many ideas that I don't even know where to start. The ideas swirling around in my head are: keeping chicken, raising meat rabbits, keeping a few goats, having a milk cow, dig a pond to raise fish, ducks and geese, keeping bees, plant an orchard and berry patch, planting veggies, herbs and nuts etc etc. So what would be the best plan and how can I preserve all of my bounty paleo style?

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    MarielleGO is online now Senior Member
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    Ooooh I wish i had 2 acres of land.... I could make a little self sufficient heaven out of that.
    I think 2.5 acres is not big enough to keep a whole lot of live stock but you can do chickens and perhaps a few sheep and goats. if you are clever about it you can make a relatively large paddock with a small shed for the sheep and goats. (they will give you wol, milk and meat)
    You can also place a few fruit trees in that paddock. go with different sorts of fruits that ripen at different times in the season. that way you will always have fresh fruits in the summer.
    So the chicken shed close to your house. They don't need much and to really good roaming around free. (they will give you eggs and meat)
    Veggie-patch... find a nice place that gets enough sun but also shade in the middle of the day for your veggie patch. it doesn't need to be big but enough to give you healthy stuff for your family. plant things like carrots, beets, kale, lettuce, spinach, leeks, etc. they are pretty easy to start with. Perhaps a few potatoes for your winter starch and carbs.
    Get a Cat to keep your area free of rats and other veggie stealing animals.
    Plant fruit bushes around the area, berry bushes will do good in sun light but also in the wooded area.
    Bee-keeping is a great idea, it will give you honey and help you grow all the fruits and veggies. However I'm not sure if you have space enough for a cow. perhaps one but cows are herd animals and would do better with more of their own kind.

    I hope this gives you ideas...

    How to go by it... start with creating a paddock and plant the trees and bushes... take the spring to start up your veggie patch. Chickens can be added as soon as you have a place for them. Get some advise about the plants from an experts and make a growth-schedule so you know when to plant what and when it is ready to harvest. it will help you greatly in your first years. I know my grandma used to do that...
    My story, My thought....

    It's all about trying to stay healthy!!!!

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    TQP
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    How to grokify 2.5 acres?

    How much free time do you have on your hands to garden, hunt and gather? Are you GOOD at or experienced in gardening? (Not trying to be rude but just practical!) That would have a lot of bearing on what you should/shouldn't do. 2.5 acres is a lot to manage without equipment if you plan on filling it with produce/fish/bees, especially if you have a 9-5 job. There's a ton of consideration to be made...The nitrogen fertilizers (this includes natural sources like manure/fish bones/etc) would be good for plant produce but bad for the pond. Certain plants grow better at soil pH of 8-9 vs 6-7, certain levels of other minerals, watering conditions, sunlight conditions. Birds and other small foraging animals might forage something before you do. What kind of natural way are you going to keep produce away from bugs/pests? Being someone who helped mom dig up and tow tons of horse and cow shit to the garden each year to grow produce as a kid, I can tell you gardening even just a small backyard teeming with produce + managing small eatable animals is a lot of work and research, and my parents both have master's degrees in botany + mom has a degree in soil ecology... And she has two wiling little helpers and a lot of free time.

    I would research what types of produce grow best in your region (given rainfall, soil alkalinity, sunshine) first. Tubers (beets, carrots, etc) are awesome since you can eat the greens AND the root. Vined produce might look pretty close to your backdoor and provide shade in the summer, if you build the necessary structures. Fig trees, Apple trees, etc are great trees to anchor the soil and also have pretty flowers. My parents garden a lot in their backyard and we always have amazing produce from their gardening efforts, but berries etc never did well because the birds got to it before we did (hence why I recommend tuber veggies for newbies).

    Chickens and rabbits are pretty easy to raise for meat/eggs. Rabbits really DO multiply like crazy, but you would need a structure (research this) to keep them from eating your planted stuff.
    Last edited by TQP; 01-18-2015 at 03:33 AM.

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    I'll also say chickens, we've had them for years and they're great little guys. If you also plant fruit trees or bushes, you should put chicken wire all the way around the trunk about 2 feet from the base. Chickens like to scratch and if they get the chance, they'll pull all the soil out from around the roots and it'll kill the plants.

    I'm also going to risk being super unpopular here and say don't get an outdoor cat. Now, I like cats, I've had them in the past (as indoor kitties), but I'm also a wildlife biologist and any biologist worth their salt will tell you, cats are tiny little ecological disasters. If you have rodent problems, set traps please, but cats are trouble.


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    My first thought on 'grokifying' it would be to encourage wild tree growth to try and turn it into natural woodland. Then I read it already is natural woodland but you plan to clear it all

    Have you looked up permaculture / forest gardening?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaveBug View Post
    I'll also say chickens, we've had them for years and they're great little guys. If you also plant fruit trees or bushes, you should put chicken wire all the way around the trunk about 2 feet from the base. Chickens like to scratch and if they get the chance, they'll pull all the soil out from around the roots and it'll kill the plants.

    I'm also going to risk being super unpopular here and say don't get an outdoor cat. Now, I like cats, I've had them in the past (as indoor kitties), but I'm also a wildlife biologist and any biologist worth their salt will tell you, cats are tiny little ecological disasters. If you have rodent problems, set traps please, but cats are trouble.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TQP View Post
    Cavebug, that's super interesting about the cats. Any links?
    Domestic cats are a huge destroyer of wildlife | The Wildlife News

    https://strangebehaviors.wordpress.c...oor-house-cat/

    my b/f lived on a couple acres when his kids were growing up. they did have a veggie patch and berry bushes that had been on the land when they bought it. they kept chickens and sometimes 2 goats. they had a male dog who preferred being outside so spent a good amount of time marking his territory and predators were rare. he did kill a few woodchucks and got into it with a fox. as soon as he died there was an almost immediate shift and critters were killing the chickens on the regular and both the peacock and his hen got disappeared too.

    i'd recommend a dog over a cat for the op. no lack of love, i have owned both in my life.
    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

    Ernest Hemingway

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    First off, arm yourself with some Permaculture books, and prepare to spend a few years growing into your garden/homesite. Since design is about the most important thing you can do, eliminate as much as possible all the newbie expensive flaws that accompany excess enthusiasm and money to burn. Most older farms were laid out in similar fashion for a reason. Find your reason sooner rather than later.
    One book might be "The Pioneering Pig. Won't work if you won't eat pork.;-)

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    +1 to Paysan's idea. Do explore permaculture.
    Check out Permies: a big crowd of permaculture goofballs -- a really interesting site that has lots of real-world (and some off the wall) input on plants, animals, home building/heating ideas, and generally living close to nature.
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    The easiest thing to do is start with fruit or nut trees and berry bushes if the climate is right. I grew up on a farm, and we processed our own meat - up to pigs anyway, or the occasional deer. Butchering and processing cows was a pain though so find a slaughterhouse if you don't have an experienced friend with the right equipment! You have to let it hang for a while (32 to 48 hours I think for grass-fed?) and if you don't have a nice place to let it do that...no fun. My mom raised sheep for a long time, and she lost quite a few from lambing, not to mention coyotes and bobcats. Goats seem to do much better - and they have more sense, in my opinion. Chickens....so easy, and delicious! My dad tried turkeys for a while, but even the heritage breed he tried was stupid enough to drown in the rain or in a puddle if they weren't watched closely. We also had meat rabbits, which is the reason I was momentarily vegetarian when I was a kid...

    The fruit and nut trees are a "for the future" thing, but it feels good to get something started immediately. I've left a trail of pawpaw, pecan, and walnut trees in my wake, not to mention blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry bushes. (I've moved a lot). It's just a feel-good start that you and future anyone can enjoy.

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