Selecting a Property

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by cnyra, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. cnyra

    cnyra New Member

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    hello there. I have had organic gardens in the past but I only discovered the term permaculture recently as i wanted to do exactly that. I have decided to find some land here in NSW Australia but it looks quite dry. How difficult would it be to turn land like in the photos into some sort of nice garden? I will make sure the property I get has plenty of water resources. Could I have great gardens in 2-3 years working on it full time with basic tools?
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    On the subject of tools I would like to work out what would be some good choices of tools to use to start?
     
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Cnyra and welcome,
    While both of your potential properties look do-able to me, I'd want a bit more information before commenting on the suitability.
    For instance, average annual precipitation would be a big indicator. Both properties look to be essentially flat ... is that the case?
    Would there be local access to animal manures to begin soil building? What is being done on other properties in the area?
    Maybe another forum member with local knowledge will chime in with their thoughts.
     
  3. BajaJohn

    BajaJohn New Member

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    I "enjoy" a similar climate and participate in an effort to create a community garden in the desert just outside of town. This is our first year and I'm astonished at how well the garden has done. Not quite as good as my garden at home but plenty of edible products (tomatoes, kale, basil, cabbage, squash, etc.). Don't have pictures of the garden beds right now but I'll add one of the area. The cultivated area is around the shade structure and the white water tank. Wildlife can be a problem that many people address by constructing a cage over the entire garden. The cage also becomes a handy support for shade cloth that prevents sunburn in the summer.
    The ground is sun-baked clay that we suspect will make a good building material when needed. It has been amended with about 50% compost for individual plants and some raised beds have been made with compost/manure and imported alluvial dirt from nearby Arroyos. There are loads of small farms around, mainly raising goats that seem to do well in the desert. This provides an abundance of manure that farmers are very happy to be rid of.
    We use a Toro drip tube for irrigation (soaker hoses rot quickly) gravity fed from water tanks elevated just a couple of feet. We've tried automated controls - battery operated and other clockwork timer controls that you have to turn on but turn off after a selected time but they don't work too well with the low pressure. We run the water for about 2 hours a day.
    The garden has been worked by hand with just the normal hand tools. A pickaxe helped in our case to get through tough soil and rocks. A chipper/mulcher has been indispensable in my own garden to help compost tree trimmings and the usual garden waste. It was a generous gift from a retiring gardener but I was already intending to buy one. If it is an option for you, a model constructed of steel will serve much better than the models with plastic parts. Especially avoid those with a plastic housing around the blades. I've seen an errant stone blow a hole right through a plastic housing. A water pump comes in very handy too.
    I've also spent time living off the grid (mostly on a boat) which can take a substantial investment if you enjoy your creature comforts.
    Overall, I'm amazed at how well the garden has done and hope you find somewhere as productive for your own garden. IMG_20170228_1356363_rewind.jpg
     
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  4. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    Get chooks working for you best tools you can get they work for free , Pic below shows a fruit tree run I built to beat the birds , those two old chooks incorporated all that matter into the soil in a few months , I used a couple of aged birds as I thought foxes would get them but they lived happily in there for three yrs. If you go for something like this keep the soil damp so the biology process keeps working if you have plenty of water pour it on if not put some soaker drip line underneath and do sections at a time .

    The chook dome veg garden system is quick easy and foolproof works everywhere in all conditions get Linda Woodrows little book "the permaculture home garden" I'm like a broken record with this I tell everyone , best book you will ever buy .

    A property like in your pics will have problems with competition from the big trees have a perimeter track around your garden and get this deep ripped once a year Find a local farmer or contractor to do this it will pay back ten fold what it costs .

    So design design design , put water runoff into swales , deep ripping across the contour will help trap water until you get the organic matter levels you need to do this , deep rip around your garden areas to help get them established .

    Grow as much organic matter on site if possible , find out what your up against in the wildlife area and design to minimise the problems you face in the beginning don't get smashed by kangaroos twice before you address the problem it will wear you out .

    Start small don't build a monster that needs ten men or women to manage .
    Fruit Tree 2.JPG
     
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  5. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    AAA Chook Dome Garden.JPG

    Another great way to start a garden on "Virgin Land" is using potatoes they will cope with piles of organic matter on them , by the time the crop has grown to maturity your of to a great start .

    Pic is my previous property chook dome veg garden , land had been seriously compacted by horses for 20yrs . I moved the fence out to get enough room growth in first yr was amazing .
     
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  6. cnyra

    cnyra New Member

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    hey thanks for all the great tips and ideas folks. I'm only in the research stage and still working out what I can afford and what to get in land at this stage. I'm from Australia but my parents traveled a lot as I grew up so I'm not that familiar with the bush here. I guess one needs to be careful of the deadly wildlife like snakes when turning a large outback rural property into gardens. Having good footwear and clothing will be important as I cut through scrub and dense bush by hand. I will be alone at the start so I must be careful as medical aid could be hours away. But I'm excited to have this new plan and to join others who have found a similar love. I already loved gardening and landscaping but just put it off till now as I had to do other things for the last few years.

    I can see where my life needs to be though and that is creating beautiful gardens and living a simple life in the country. I love chickens and animals so I will definitely be getting plenty of chooks around my property. I realize how much animals can do for a garden. I really wish I had all this now but it won't be too long before I can get my land. I hope to get 10's or even over 100 acres of rural land in NSW north. My budget is very limited though so I will probably live in a van for the first year and take a better piece of land over a home. included. I will keep in mind the tips about the tools to get and working small parts at a time.

    The property in the bottom photo is the one that interests me the most, It is 100 metres plus above sea level on gentle slopes. It has creeks and gullies and is on a large block. I think it's one I like.

    Those photos look great too. I will remember the tips about having plenty of organic matter, it makes sense. I will have to watch for it leaking away and get it all mixed in.

    a home I owned a few years ago where I had a small backyard with an organic garden was difficult as it was really sandy. In fact the main reason I sold it as it has slight sink holes in the back yard and whenever I put organic matter into the gardens it disappeared after a short time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
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  7. cnyra

    cnyra New Member

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    i was meant to say yes their is a big organic farm nearby which is a good sign. :)
     
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  8. cnyra

    cnyra New Member

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    my draft equipment list looks like this at the moment for the short term:

    general garden and building hand tools

    farm vehicle

    irrigation lines

    sprinklers and pipes

    pickaxe

    A chipper/mulcher - a model constructed of steel

    A water pump


    Property Requirements:

    · Fertile soil

    · Plenty of fresh water and farm water

    · Flood proof

    · Fire proof

    · 5 acres +

    · slight sloping

    · include bush
     
  9. cnyra

    cnyra New Member

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    What would be recommended in the way of machinery or tools to gather and use my own wood from the forest? I looked into water powered timber mills that you could run in a running creek but could not find much info plus the property would have to have a good creek to use. I would like to mill my own trees somehow and use them for building my home. As long as it's practical and I can find a place with plenty of trees then it should be a good way to save money on building a house. Plus the natural home would be ideal to live in anyway. This is what I'm researching all this for to see what I will need and how to get it working well. I guess a sturdy chainsaw would be a good starting point but these take fuel so maybe there are other ideas?
     
  10. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    I would look at the legal side of this first
    Clearing native veg is a complicated issue that can land you in deep trouble.
    In My state the native veg site talks around in circles like you cant shift a dead tree leaf .
    However if you go to Council or better still CFS site (rural fire brigade) the info is much clearer
    We can clear around permanent buildings and fence lines to some extent UNLESS its a significant tree (formula determines this)
    Of course these are all larger plants / trees .

    If you go ahead just get a saw mill platform and chainsaw from a company like Stihl as it will have good resale value
    Milling timber can kill quick you so make sure you have the training

    Back on land clearing there are changes in the wind in your state second link for more details


    http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/vegetation/

    http://www.news.com.au/national/bre...e/news-story/6ebdfbf259560c95a40457175d8f6ef6
     
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  11. BajaJohn

    BajaJohn New Member

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    Do you know how much power a wood mill requires? Each horsepower requires around 100 meter litres per second. That is quite a creek! And the environmental regulations that Terra mentions may well extend to modifying watercourses. You can measure water flow in litres per second and estimate the height change of the creek across your property. Multiply the two numbers together to get the power in the water. Divide that number by 100 to get an approximate horsepower value.
    Here in Baja people save money on houses by buying old but habitable camper trailers to live in. Are you looking at properties off the grid which will require a whole other set of challenges?
     
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  12. cnyra

    cnyra New Member

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    thanks for all the info and feedback. It does seem rules will be relaxed a bit around my way which is good for me and other home owners but maybe not so good for the environment with companies mass clearing.

    Well this is just the research stage so don't take any ideas too seriously that seem a bit crazy. By the sounds of it then milling my own timber might seem problematic. Plus I will be working alone and it could be a difficult moving large trees. Maybe there is a better way.
     

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