Does size really matter?

gardneto76
gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

Does the size of your homestead really matter or is it more what you do with what you have?

I have been asking myself this question a lot lately as I ponder on selling my current 8,000 ish square foot lot for a larger property. I have big dreams of what I would do with more property, plant trees that provide food, more chickens, & of course goats to milk. I currently have 3 chickens, several tilapia, A compost bin, raised beds & containers to garden in. We both work 40 hours/week, spend approximately 3 hours/ day commuting to our jobs together. I am the main one that does all of the gardening/yard work (because I love it and am to stubborn to ask for help), while he works inside. With all of that I often don’t have much time to spend outside, starting new seeds, planting transplants, cleaning my aquaponics system, watering plants, ect. I would love to live off my land and not have to work, but have not found that happy medium yet.

So here I ponder... should I really be thinking about getting more property and add more things to my todo list, or should I try to be content with what I have and work it to its fullest potential?

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Comments

  • chimboodle04
    chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    I think it has a lot to do with how you use your space - we homestead in the suburbs on .4 of an acre, and I feel like we do a lot! No large animals of coarse, but it has made us much more efficient and creative with the space we have :) If you do decide a move is worth it though, is it possible to get closer to your jobs so your commute will not eat up so much of your day???

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @chimboodle04 that is what prompted us to start looking a properties. After discussion we thought maybe we could kill 2 birds with 1 stone, as the saying goes. @Lisa K I have seriously contemplated a chicken feeding system that I didn’t have to fill as often, but have not thought about a watering system. I should clean out there dish more than I already do so I worry about those issues with a system. I probably add to my chores by electing to let my girls out and run, scratch, and bug hunt every morning while I do my morning chores. I have them trained to follow me back to the coupe as they get a handful of scratch thrown in the coupe, so that I can go inside and get ready for work. It’s actually pretty comical to see them run across the yard when they see me heading that direction. You can hear their little feet hitting the ground as they run. We did have 1 day the oldest hen absolutely refused to go in, so I had to pick her up and carry her molting bottom across the yard. We also have planned to adjust the sprinkler system to fit where we want all of the new raised beds to be. We just have not gotten around to actually getting all the plans down and actually doing the work.

    The aquaponics system pretty much runs independently. All I have to do is feed the fish, plug new plants in, harvest what we need or want from it, keep the water topped off, monitor the water flow with a quick watch and adjust if needed, and the big one is cleaning the system. I drain the swirl filter monthly. After 5 years of running I had to empty all the contents out of one bed and wash all of the grow media off. That was a HUGE pain in my neck and shoulders because we couldn’t just wash it through the system. There was to much build up and we were afraid it would kill off the fish.

    @Lisa K I have been thinking to try8 g to get out of the rat race, see what we could do without, and plan a way to be home to run our little urban farm but worry about dumping the responsibilities of all the bills on hubs. Maybe that’s a conversation we need to revisit.

    Thanks for thoughts and encouragement ❤️

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @gardneto76 Did you Notice that Marjory is Advertising for a position within her company Position Available: Publicist Who Loves Homesteading & Permaculture Would that work for you?

  • maimover
    maimover Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    If growing more food would enable you to stay at home where you are I would probably gather all the information I could from the garden summit, work the soil to be super quality, have the time to work it, and make it happen! If that’s not a possibility would a move that would give you the space to homestead enable you to have the financial freedom to stay at home? I’m looking at some serious issues about moving myself; just different reasons. Work the details, financial and otherwise out and follow your heart...

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow would I love to work for The Grow Network? Without a doubt! Unfortunately I am no where near qualified for this job. I have absolutely no experience with public relations or marketing. But thanks for thinking of me!

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    @gardneto76 It looks like you are making the most of your property! And you do have your plate full. As far as size goes. When we were younger we had a small homestead in a tiny town in the Midwest. It was a block of land. A city block, the town had dried up and blown away during the Depression and never recovered. We bought an old farmhouse and a block of land. The thing was, it had fabulous soil. You could bury your arms up to the elbow in that dirt, it was black and rich. There were several old fruit trees and we fenced off half of it for our goats, kept a few chickens and raised great garden. There were four of us and we ate primarily off that little piece of land. I now live on twenty acres of clay soil and rocks and trees. Don't get me wrong I love it here, but I would give my eye teeth for the soil we had on that small property, it really was much better for gardening, far far more productive. I guess what I'm saying is quality of soil is actually better for production than quantity of soil. If you are satisfied with what you can grow where you are, I agree that making plans and preparation for an eventual move is wise but being content for now is probably in your best interest. Being content is what we call Plan B.😉

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    @gardneto76 Size doesn't matter, what does matter is are you happy? Does your life make you smile? Follow your heart and passion to wherever they lead you.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am finding that I have to balance what I'd LIKE to do with what I have the energy and time to do.

    It's not good to wear yourself out, and if it's necessary to have that full time job, as it is for me, then I have to limit what I take on at home.

    At least my commute is only 6 blocks, but I still have to get groceries, cook, do dishes, take care of the dog and cat, and try to spend at least a little time trying to set up a side gig and - this is nonnegotiable - read a bit before bed. Granted, the garden isn't always lots of work, but at certain times of the year it is. I won't have livestock, as I know I can't manage that much more by myself.

    If my circumstances changed for the better, I would definitely want more property and more diversity. But I know my limits, and it has to be fun, too.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    re "and you do have your plate full" <- I have said that several times, re myself. But that's not really true.

    The truth is more like "Plate spinning = a circus manipulation art where a person spins plates, bowls and other flat objects on poles, without them falling off." <- a CIRCUS of 1 to 7 plates spinning, with me trying to keep up with all 😯 of them. - Well, how long could any of you keep that up ?

    and re "Being content is what we call Plan B.😉" - Really? - how about plan E (like Edit, or Exit, or excellent < this last 1 would be cool :))

    and re "Size doesn't matter, what does matter is are you happy?

    Does your life make you smile? Follow your heart and passion to wherever they lead you." - The passion & the heart-part I've got figgered out pretty good. Now to getting the Better 1/2's Body... on board. But we'll keep trucking away.

    oh darn, I did it again: posting in someone's "Personal-journal" . what a nut, lol

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow Personal Journal category is used when no other category works.

  • wbt.affiliates
    wbt.affiliates Posts: 100 ✭✭✭

    I live in a trailer park. I use the land I've been given for raspberry bushes, elderberry bushes, various herbs some of which are wild, certain root crops, green beans, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and a tiny patch of lawn where dandelions grow. Do I grow enough to care for us all winter? No, but I can also grow some things inside. My office is in the second bedroom where I have an herb pantry, office supplies, a piano and a cello, and a plastic greenhouse for starting seedlings and growing some winter crops. We also grow sprouts for fresh vegetables year round. I'm a firm believer in using what you've been given to the best of your ability. By the way, I grow most of our meds in our tiny space. That's not bad for a couple in their seventies.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @VickiP soil is alway a challenge here since I live in the desert. Most people have rock and cacti as landscaping. No matter what I do I will have to continue to work on improving the soil. Digging holes to plant trees is something else.... wet ground, pick ax to break it up, take out what you can, repeat... water, pick ax, dig. I went with 2 raised beds so far and had to use a pick ax to remove some of the rocks and clay from one bed. We filled with dirt for a few years, upon when we removed the dirt and used the pick ax to make it deeps as all my soil & compost seemed to be disappearing. I was already at the top of the 2 block high bed. I also have containers and an aquaponics system I could move.

    A dream would be to find a home with flood irrigation, because those typically have GREAT soil for gardening it!

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    @gardneto76 Yes, If you are able to move, the Ideal... for any gardening is just Above the BASE of an Erupting mountain, as then the available Minerals... will naturally RE-mineralize your soil continuously.

    This btw is the Only way to get minerals into your body, aside from Supplementing, which from participating in TGN the past 5+ months, very few people seem to know what Specific minerals are mission-critical for the body, & then Supplement.

    The MINERALS that all plants (Trees, + Herbs, + Veggies + Flowers) have, are dependent on the Mineral-rich soil in which they are grown. - Plants cannot 'make' minerals, only vitamins.

    Two identical plants grown in different soils will have different minerals. The books that say a given plant has minerals of x are not correct. Researchers have no control, or did not control where the plant was grown, In the U.S. and most other places. The soil is DEPLETED of micro minerals. So the plants cannot absorb minerals because they simply are not there. Therefore, we must still take Mineral supplements in a most Bio-available form & in a Delivery-system that crosses the cell membrane(s).

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow I agree completely about the depleted soil! I have been working on rebuilding my raised bed soil since I started them. I continue to add my compost and worm castings from my worm bed. I also add things like azomite, epsom salt, pulverized egg shells, and even chop and drop stuff when I can. My biggest battle is high ph, which should lower overtime with the continued addition of the compost and sulphur lime (I think that’s what it is) in the fall and spring.

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    @gardneto76 Yes with clay soil that is what we have to do too. Dig it out and replace over and over I use a mattock. It can get tedious. When you speak of flood irrigation is that from canals? I grew up in the South West in the Rio Grande Valley and they had irrigation ditches to flood the agricultural areas. We would go out and pick from some of the truck gardens. Yeah that land was incredibly fertile. What ever you decide I hope it works out well and you find what what you need/want.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    @gardneto76 - so you live in the (supposedly-barren, but actually only dormant) Desert; - and you are trying to "rebuild soil" with oft-repeated Myths. Just because something gets passed around the internet a few 1000x, does not mean it is Scientifically true.

    For starters "compost & worm castings & pulverized egg shells" will/cannot replenish Minerals.

    Next re "epsom salt" : Yet another myth is to put a scoop of Epsom salt into each hole when planting tomatoes. Some gardeners swear it prevents blossom end rot. What a myth. Epsom salt doesn’t stop blossom end rot—it leads to more of it.

    Blossom end rot is caused by a deficiency of calcium. Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate—no calcium at all. Adding Epsom salt to the soil may create more rot since magnesium & calcium ions compete... for uptake into the plant. The more magnesium in the soil, the less chance that calcium will be absorbed.

    The ESSENTIAL plant nutrients include Carbon & Oxygen & Hydrogen which are absorbed from the air. The other essential nutrients, which are obtained from the soil, (or water in the case of water plants) include:

    That amounts to 20.

    Plants can use additional nutrients which are non-essential. This means plants will use them if available, but they do not need them in their diet. Some of these nutrients are only found in certain types of plants. Non-essential nutrients, which are also called beneficial nutrients, include aluminum (Al), silicon (Si), sodium (Na), and gallium (Ga).

    Useful nutrients is 24. - There are 94 natural elements and plants use 24 of these.

    Next re "azomite": Rock dust does contain a lot of minerals, with Claims from 60 up to 90 different minerals. Azomite http://www.azomite.ca/product-info has 74. BUT there is first no evidence that plants need all of these minerals, & also any # of which in that product you do not want in your body. Are you aware of that ? - iow More aside not necessarily better, can actually be harmful. --


    Thus a Logical question: What exactly do you mean by "rebuild soil" ? - Since that's NOT the same as REmineralization.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @VickiP yes the flood irrigation is brought down from the Colorado River through canals. It’s is WAY cheaper than using a sprinkler or hose style irrigation. One person told me they paid like $4/ irrigation! I would love that kind of watering bill!

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Other than a cheap Waterbill,how would that REmineralize your soil ?

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow I am essentially bringing life back it o the soil with the compost and worm castings. There are tons of minerals locked up in the soil, but. there is nothing there to break it up, ie Bacteria or tiny bugs. In adding compost which contains those things and wood chips to hold the moisture in will in turn work their way down into the natural dead soil that is there so the minerals can be accessed by the plants whose roots can follow the paths the bugs made. I learned about it from some Master Gardeners out here. I am not focusing on replenishing Vitamins or minerals much, but more focused on building healthy active soil.

    There are many arguments for and against the use of pulverized egg shells. I have a plethora of egg shells. More than my hens will eat and I didn’t want them wasted, so study proof right or wrong I figured I wouldn’t do any damage. They also say to put Tums in your hole before planting tomatoes. I very rarely eat tums, but if I happen to have some around I might try that too, just for giggles of course. Epsom salt and gypsum were added together after a completely failed crop upon the suggestion from a friend. The following season I had more tomatoes than I knew what to do with. I very rarely add epsom salt now, but I do add the gypsum and azomite to my newly started containers. The worm castings are applied at least one time per season as a natural fertilizer along with water from my fish tanks.

    I had to relearn a lot about gardening after moving from a place that had phenomenal soil to here which has rock and clay soil. When I first built my garden I took advice from ANYONE. I have learned to be a little more selective, as we all do. When I bought my property I had 4 trees (only 1 producing food), grass, and several types of cacti. Very rarely did we see any wildlife other than an occasional hummingbird. I have added all my raised garden beds, 4 trees, several containers and get visits daily from several different types of birds and now a squirrel!

    That’s part of my conundrum about possibly moving. I know I will have to start all over again, unless I can find that perfect piece of property that has healthy soil! At least this time I know what I am doing so I can make it happen faster!

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    @gardneto76 - True, you are encouraging 'life' back to the soil. - But that is not the same as Mineralization <-- this is my whole point.

    Anyway, at this point, with your comments " When I first built my garden I took advice from ANYONE. Selective, I learned from Master Gardeners, & I am not focusing on replenishing minerals ...." <- I got your intent, loud & clear.

    And until you are the least bit Open to yet continue learning, even from someone such as me, who you may think ' She doesn't even know what I know ', - there is no point for me to Attempt to share any further Science. - And Factually I continue teaching Master Gardeners about Minerals, they have no clue about. Why? - Because they get their "learnings" from the very same universities that teach people to be "medical doctors". Yet the Humanitarian nightmares that industry produces speak for themselves.

    So I will leave this discussion.


    Anyway, Good job with all your successes you are so very Satisfied & HAPPY with. HAPPY Autumn.


  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow sorry if I came across as unwilling to learn. I was trying to do a better job of explaining what I was trying to say/do. I don’t know all of the terms yet. I think it was just a misunderstanding in terminology. I know very little about remineralizing! I didn’t even know that was something I may have to do, unless that is somehow combined into what some people call amending the soil, which again I am still just learning about. I recently heard the term remineralizing in an aquaponics group. I have not had time to look into it. Can you explain to me what that is?

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow

    Also, should we start a thread about remineralizing in case others want to learn as well? Not sure if it falls under my original post.?

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @gardneto76 Thanks for coming back & saying you are yet 'Open to learning more', as am I as a Long-life learner...

    Each of us is a Learner, while at the same time we also all can help each other learn new awareness 🙂 & too uncommon skills, would you Agree ?

    re your "Start new thread", if you (unknowing) judge what I would like to share, to be 'Out of place', I am happy to leave. And start a new discussion, maybe. - Again, Enjoy the Best that Autumn can bring...

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    I was just thinking about if other might like to learn about remineralizing as well. They might not be able to find it in this thread. Also unsure if it fits under the original size thread. I will start a new thread. And Thanks for being willing to continue the conversation with me!

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @gardneto76 I would say use what you have and grow biotensively and strive to utilize as much of the available space that you can. My brother and I are leasing two acres and ultimately we would like to have at least 100 different species growing on it in the next 5-10 years.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @Obiora E I am definitely trying to pack a lot of things into my grow beds! I have also put in a few trellis like structures for my climbing plants. In one aquaponics bed it is so full you cannot even see the grow media. For some reason I struggle with being that successful in my dirt gardens. I think I need to focus more on the health of the soil, thus the questioning of remineralization. I don’t think I have been aggressive enough in taking care of my soil or my plants that I did plant would be doing better. Of course more time might be helpful with that.


    We are considering a place with more land closer to work. The big questions now are, can we do it? And should we do it? Make the move that is. I guess at this point it is up to the banks. If they say no. We wait and save and make the best with what we have.

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @gardneto76 Sounds like a good plan of action. There are many ways to improve the health of the soil but ideally you have a biological soil test done of your soil to know about the microbes (in particular) that currently exist along with the different minerals. It will help you to better understand the health (or lack thereof) and they may offer you suggestions on what you can do to improve.

    We get our soil testing done by CSI (Crop Services International).

    Good luck!

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    @Obiora E thanks! I heard my local master gardening program may do it, but I have to check I to it. I have heard of CSI before. I think I used to take samples for farms back home and send them in. I just collected leaves from plants and dropped them in an envelope with the farms names and field on there. Someone else from the office actually sent them out, but for some reason CSI sticks with me.