Skip to main content

Where should I start with a new property?

I got a question from a reader about where to start with a new property.  Pete and I have started two new properties and this is what we have learnt so far.

eight acres: where should I start with a new property?


Like I wrote back in this post about designing your property with permaculture, step one is "do nothing" - just observe your property for at least a year, figure out what you want from it and what it can do, then start planning one small project at a time.

When it comes to figuring out what you want and what your property can do, this post about "What to do with eight acres" might give you some ideas (adjust them to fit the size property you have).

If you have more than a few acres, you might find Keyline design useful as well, it helps with placement of roads, fences and water storage on larger properties, by considering the terrain (or keylines) of the landscape.

I find permaculture is the best design tool, you can read my post about David Holmgren's 12 permaculture principles here:

Observe and Interact


In my experience, the first priority in this sub-tropical climate is to sort out your water source.  We don't have reliable rainfall here, so you really need to know how much water you will have from groundwater, catchments and rainfall.  This will dictate what you can grow, so make sure you have that set up first.

If you're not living on the property, you can at least think about tree-planting and establishing pastures and other useful perennials, because these take the longest to grow.  You can also start building fences and infrastructure for when you get animals.

A few books that might help:

One Straw Revolution

You Can Farm

The Keyline Plan

Five Acres and a Dream - the book

The Permaculture Home Garden

The Biological Farmer


Where do you start with a new property?  What changes if you're not living there right away?

Comments

  1. Good advice Liz. It is such an individual thing. Depends on your wants and needs and the property itself and of course no matter what, there will be mistakes made. Always learning something new every single day... I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I thought what you wrote previously, was all great advice. I will add what I have learned from personal experience.

    Get your access roads in, based on the natural landfall. That should have been our first step. We let the builders decide our main access road and it was straight down hill! We didn't know about proper design of access roads on slopes, back then, so we thought they were doing us a favour. If you have a poorly drained access road, and its not constructed according to the landfall, you'll spend countless money on repairing it.

    To get a good access road built, you'll want to consult with at least 3 different earth movers in the area. Don't go for the cheapest. Go for the one who can point out all the well constructed roads in your region, and all the ones made with short cuts. They will tell you why the well made ones work, because they'll know the soils in the area and how the land drains.

    If you don't get this part right, you'll limit all the activities you want to do on your property. Which will become frustrating, because you'll have all this land and no dependable way to access it all. I know Geoff Lawnton recommends a good access road, as the first design stage of any property. Because from that, stems what you can actually do on the property.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

Getting started with chickens - Tanya from Lovely Greens

Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Farmer Liz: You will remember Tanya from Lovely Greens from the first series, she lives on the Isle of Mann and added chickens to her garden about a year ago.  You can leave comments for this post on Tanya's blog.



How many chickens (and other fowl) do you keep, what breed and what do you use them for (meat, eggs, slug control etc)?
Tanya: Around the same time that we were initially thinking about having hens another friend beat us to the punch. She went to the local pet store and bought a flat-pack hen house and chicken run combo and found a local farmer who had dozens of semi-feral chickens running around his property. One night he pulled three down from the trees and my friend took them home in a pet carrier. She named them Miracel, Carmen, and Geraldine and though they’re probably related they were all…

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing mushrooms in my kitchen!

I’ve been wanting to try growing mushrooms for some time. I LOVE mushrooms and we buy them from the supermarket every week, so I was keen to find a way to produce them at home to reduce waste and potentially cost as well.





A few years ago I found out that you could grow mushrooms from the spent mushroom compost from mushroom farms. So we dropped in to a farm on the Sunshine Coast and picked up a couple of boxes for $2 each. I diligently kept them dark and sprayed them with water, but in our climate, I just couldn’t keep them damp enough (and I had to keep them outside because our shed was too hot). I never managed to produce any mushrooms from those boxes, but when I gave up and tipped the compost out onto the garden, mushrooms sprang up everywhere. I wasn’t confident that they were the right mushrooms though, so I didn’t harvest any of those. As the proverb says, All mushrooms are edible, but some only once! I am generally a bit nervous about unidentified fungi.

Since then, I had…