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Land

When we only had Eight Acres we had to make the most of it, and even though 258 Acres seems like a huge amount of land, it can currently only carry about 30 cattle, so we have to work hard to improve the carrying capacity if we are to make any money.  Apart from a general aversion to chemicals, we also don't want to spend huge amounts on herbicides and fertilisers, when we believe that fertility can be increased for free with appropriate management of land and water.



We base our system on Peter Andrews' "natural sequence farming",  Joel Salatin's Polyface farm methods, and Holistic Management.  Permaculture is also a big influence, particularly David Holmgren.

Our system at Eight Acres has been as follows, and this will be the basis for what we do on the larger property:
  • Fence the block into smaller paddocks (1-2 acres)
  • Remove weeds from the paddock that may harm the cattle (i.e. lantana), but leave everything else
  • Let the cattle into the paddock for a few months to clean up (eat and trample everything)
  • When it looks like they've eaten everything they're interested in, slash the paddock (and clean up all rocks and fallen trees) and let it rest for several months, obviously the tractor has been very important for this process!
  • Keep rotating the cattle to move around the fertility (dung and slashed weeds)
  • Also move the chicken tractors around when the land is clear enough
We've had a soil test done at each property, which has helped us to understand our soil and what is lacking from the diets of our livestock.





At Cheslyn Rise we have five dams for cattle water, and have set up a solar bore system, and lots of plans for more tanks and dams around the house yard.  We are working on a system to use that water to improve our pasture.  In the meantime, the dogs love to swim in the dams!






Joel Salatin's books

Peter Andrew's books on Natural Sequence Farming

Permaculture Principles



     
   







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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 and eating chokos (chayotes)

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Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.


The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko a…

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