Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
Does anyone have any good advice, guidelines or resources on farm design/planning? When we moved here our farm had been out of use for years. It is 21 acres, flat with a tiny pond in the middle. We have a blank canvas. I just want to do my best to start with a design that will let us add or remove enterprises as easily as possible.
Is there a body of literature on farming feng shui I can dig into over the winter?
Are you referring to the physical layout or business plan? If you mean layout, then one thing we learned was to let the land show you what you can use it for. Unfortunately, it would be best to see your land through four seasons before jumping in, but who can really wait? For example, we learned that there are areas of our land where you can't plant anything and expect it to grow. The sun beats down on it and there is no rain run off towards it. On other parts it floods! We could have avoided the hassle if we hadn't planted the orchard in the flood zone and tried to establish grazing pasture in the desert.
I guess that boils down to observation --> patience --> more observation. That is the type of physical layout advice we are looking for. Guiding principles that we can keep in mind as we move forward.
I would first do some goal setting. What is your vision for your farm? Do you want livestock? Will you grow crops? Garden? If you get a good picture of what you want to do on your land then you can start to figure out how to best set it up. You will have to take into consideration the physical features of your property and decide what areas would be most suitable. As Daisy said, you may get some surprises as the seasons change. And your goals may change over time too. Joel Salatin talks about these things in his book You Can Farm. If you haven't read it yet I would highly recommend it.
I agree with everyone, observation and time is the best. If you are growing crops one thing to consider is try to make all of you fields the same length and width. Example, If your fields are all 100' x 100' then you know you will have 25, 4’ wide beds,100' long. This helps with rotation, crop planning, seed and transplants, irrigation, ect. Since everything is the same size you will know that you need X amount of plants/seeds per bed and so on.
We're sort of in the same situation John. Just obtained some property with mixed terrain. Every aspect of farming sounds like something we want to try, but we know there are limitations due to the property size. We felt a push to get all sorts of equipment to establish specific areas and put in fencing, but then local friends just gave us the same advice: go through at least one full year, and see how the seasons work out on the place, and it will help determine what part of the property is best for a specific interest. Meantime, we can work on smaller tasks of settling in, like replacing the rotting wood that forms a wall with rock and starting an herb garden. We've also thought of cover cropping some areas just to enrich the soil that has not been used for several years. I am a sponge when it comes to homesteading and farming books, and have a long list of winter reading that I am sure will give even more ideas!
Us too, Lynn! I want to do so much and the property needs so much work (fencing and cutting down trees) if it will have animals on it. I want to summarize all the things I want to do with what each needs before I start these major projrects. We do not plan on moving there until this summer but the last thing I wish do when I get there is to have my nose in a book!
Another thing to consider while planning, and also when you can't wait and want to jump into farming, is to make things as portable as you can. That way, if you change your mind as you go, then you can always move things around. Of course this doesn't work for planting, but I'm talking about moveable chicken coops and grazers with portable electric fencing. We even used a trailer as our storage shed for quite a while until we figured out where we wanted to put an actual building.
That is simple genius! A mobile storage shed. I am inspired.
Principle --> Portability.
Thank you for sharing all this stuff.
Anybody have any surefire methods of getting rid of a woodrat that has been very busy nesting in an old dilapidated building on the property? All suggestions welcome, especially if it does NOT involve having to handle the creature in any way!! Ewww! I know, I know, the city in me still comes out sometime!! Eventually that old building is going to be put to good use again, and IT has to go!!
My friend picked up some grainular substance from either Home Depot or the farm store to run off some city rats from her moms. I am not sure of the name but I call it Rat Away. Another option would be to use a few boxes of moth balls. We spread 3 boxes in our attic and the creatures left. But just a warning my whole house smelled of moth balls.
Hmmm, moth balls. I'll give it a try. We don't want to put poison down in case a cat or something gets around the area. Although my husband hates the smell of moth balls, it's not in the house, so perhaps it won't be such an issue! And I'm sure he wants it gone as much as I do because the rodent keeps trying to use his truck as yet another nesting space!