What would you do with two acres?

rosepetalsandcats(9 northern ca.)August 10, 2004

Hi everyone, my question is if you had two acres what would you do with it? How would you use all the space effectively for solar and wind power, a home, fruit trees, vines, bushes, lawn for the kids to have a small pool, vegie garden, and flowers. I would like to hear everybody's ideas. How would you use the space most effectively to get the most usage out of it.

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Eric_in_Japan(z7 Japan)

I guess a lot of it depends on the contour and water supply. I would site the house near the top of the land, hopefully facing southeast, with a gentle slope. I would put a small sized windmill at the top of the hill near the house. I would have a greywater system, probably a wetland but maybe a branched drain/mulch basin system, so I wouldn't have to water the trees so often. Lots of flower beds around the house. The kid's pool would be a swimming hole, dug out in the middle to two meters or so, but with a shallow fringe for cattails and rushes to clean the water for me. Maybe a few fish. I would keep the algae away with barley straw.

The yard would be not so large, bordered with a food hedge like raspberries, grapes, and other soft fruits. I would have a square foot garden three steps from the kitchen door for salad vegetables and a few choice herbs, and a larger vegetable garden with raised beds just to the southeast of the food hedge.

Scattered in loose clumps around the rest of the property in a fairly random way would be at least two more varieties of full standard apples, pears, and cherries, with peaches, apricots, plums, and any other fruits and nuts I enjoy. I would try to guild the trees if possible, with perhaps some goumi or russian olive trees beneath them to feed them nitrogen, comfrey, and yarrow as well Maybe a fava bean or two for mulch (I borrowed all that from Gaia's Garden by the way). I think I would try for a sort of open forest feeling, with some patches of grain between the groves. After the trees have some height, I would plant some kiwi at the base and let them vine up.

In the low, marshy spot, (if you have one) I would make a willow hedge, and on the bank a clumping bamboo. If the marsh was large enough, I would build it up a meter or so in the middle and put a running bamboo on the "island." (runners usually won't cross water)

Of course, this is my vision, not yours. What do you envision?

Eric in Japan, who wishes he had 2 acres instead of just 1/4.

Here is a link that might be useful: Make your own swimming hole

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 12:39AM
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pony65(Zone 5)

Don't want you to think that your question is languishing here, but I have been dreaming and planning and thinking about what exactly I would do with just 2 acres... I may have to upload a diagram... ;)

Pony!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 8:08PM
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markapp

depends entirely on your goals and where it is located. for ideas try looking at some books john seymore writes on self sufficiency on as small as 2 acres an australian author wrote on permiculture. If you try to keep animals on 2 acres you will probably have to import most all the feed. the best efforts are to start by growing the most expensive plants such as fruits berries herbs tobacco if you use it then the vegatables forget the cheap stuff like grain unless you have a few extra acres to spare as well as the machinery. dwarf trees will yeild more per acre than full size as well as be easier to spray thin and harvest. before attempting to use solar or wind power consider the hard numbers on payback and it is probably not worth the initial investment. If you are gonna get by on very small amounts of power you can buy several decades worth for the current price of equipment.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2004 at 6:32PM
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becky3086

Well, I guess that is kind of hard to say unless you know what the 2 acres looks like. But we have just a acre here. We raise chickens, ducks, guinea, quail and rabbits. Of course we buy our feed. The front lawn is mostly taken up by the septic system but we do have a spot to one side for a small vegetable garden. It has 9 cherry bushes around it, there is another vegetable garden on the hill on the other side of the house. Also on that hill is a grape arbor a peach tree and two rosa rugosas. Going down the hill is a strawberry patch, asparagus patch, blackberries and some herbs all in teirs. On that side beside the house are some blueberries and a fig tree. Going down one side of the driveway is a plum tree and two hazelnut bushes. To the front of the lawn are a couple pecan seedling. Behind the house there is a small greenhouse,large shed with all the pens coming off the back of it. There is a quince bush back there and a small bed for some tomatoes and more herbs, some elderberries and gooseberries. I am hoping to put two raised beds back there as well before next spring. Also in one corner between the porch and house there is another herb bed.
Now if I had another acre. I would probably make a much bigger garden and use the garden on the hill just for berries. I would do several more fruit trees and probably goats and pigs if I had enough room.
Becky

    Bookmark   August 24, 2004 at 9:42PM
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tankshill

My dream in a nutshell. How to explain. I think Eric decribed my vision allmost to a T. I feel fortunate. I live in Southern Ca. and am trying to have both, the small homestad as well as my hubbys career to finance us. We have a small orchard, young but promising. A large garden, not used to its potential, and I am about to venture into hens and pigs for the freezer. I agree with the rest about the position of the house as well as the topography of the land. I live on a hill, it determined everything. From where my leach lines went to the location of the driveway. There are so many things to factor in, you really need to have the land first. I lived on my property for two years before my first project was started. This gave me a feel for the area, wind, weather paterns etc... Best of luck to you. Gina

    Bookmark   September 16, 2004 at 12:54PM
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breezynosacek(7VA)

Well, we have a decent sized garden, a large pear tree, a peach tree and two apple trees.

We raise chickens but decided after a year of keeping them in the coop to let them free range. I will butcher most of them this fall.

We are getting 4 mini pigs this weekend. The two sows are pregnant. They are more like wild boar than domestic pigs but they are leaner meat than domestic when fed properly.

We will have rabbits as well, getting the hutches soon.

Would love to get a miniature goat for milking, but might wait until spring for that.

One of the main reasons for getting all of this livestock right now is because it is cheaper to feed these critters and have them feed us this winter than it is to pay the higher priced grocery bill.

The fuel bill for heating went sky high this winter and its either raise our own meat and stay warm or stay warm and starve.

For some reason, this years meats are running sky high in the store. Last year and the year before was extremely reasonable. In fact, it was so cheap last year it would have been crazy to think of raising more than chickens.

One poor little chicken in the store today, didn't look like it was old enough to cluck, was almost $4. I was in shock. Last year they were about $2 something.

This year, meat is so high most of it is sitting in the reduced for quick sale bin and I'm still not paying those high prices. I'll eat veggies first.

I thought I would share this little bit of info with you. See, most people don't think of situations like that but when your hubby is disabled and there isn't any work you can do with your own limitations, then you have to find a way to make it. If you don't have enough land to make it, then you might end up losing it.

Our land started out 1.35 acres. Now, because of the roads, it is 1.18 acres.

One acre doesn't sound like a whole lot. But, we are not even utilizing 1/2 of our property profitably to us or anybody else.

Our land is an elongated piece of land which is good in a way. We don't have long driveways cutting through our property.

I think the one thing I would have changed if I could have would be the placement of the well. But, since we bought our 3 Br/ 1 1/2 BA, 1.18 acre place at a bargain of $15,000. I am not going to complain!

By the way, that came with a double wide carport (we closed it in made a nice cheap barn/garage) and some outbuildings.

Choices!

I will be adding cherry trees and grape vines this spring or next fall.

If, I had been able to buy more land (we bought this as a rental property and ended up having to move here) I would have bought enough to raise a good crop of corn (feed corn) and a good crop of hay. Other than that, I believe our place is just right but another acre would have done it.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2004 at 3:51AM
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Millie_36(Z6b MO)

Depends on many things. If it is unimproved land where I live, you wouldn't be able to do anything with it. Can't have a well on less than 3 acres, so it would end up being a dry campsite. Always go to the County seat and check on restrictions before buying.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 7:42PM
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gran2(z5 INDIANA)

What a neat question? I'm glad you dredged this one up. I have lots more than two acres but much of it is wasted in greenspace, etc, If I were to start from scratch, I would use 1/2 or more of it for a pasture. An acre is still enough for small animals - goats or lambs or pigs, or even a calf. The pasture should be front to back, so that greenspace along the road would be pasture and not have to be mowed. Big front yards are such a waste and they have to be mowed so often and gas is $2.25 a gallon!!! Let the animals do the work. I'd definitely set fruit trees along the driveway, and even underplant them with wide beds of hostas or currants or strawberries, using the shade and the dedicated areas.
Chickens take very little room and make excellent compost for the gardens. Fresh eggs are marvelous and you'll never go back once you get used to it. They also eat a great deal of garden and kitchen waste, cutting down on feed costs, and trash disposal.
I like the idea of a windmill, and we have a friend with one which is paying out very nicely, but the current prices are a real put-off. Like you said, it makes the pay-out way down the line.

Edible landscape is a great idea, and I love the idea of a kitchen garden three feet from the back door.

So, I'm curious -- do you have two acres? Have you done something wonderful by this time?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 11:07PM
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southerngardengal(z7bMS)

Hi: I am a newbie to this forum. I usually read the farm life forum but someone suggested the homesteading forum so here I am.

We only have three acres and we have chickens, rabbits, a goat and two dogs on it. We have a huge front yard and I love the idea of fruit trees down the drive way. And there is a nice space on the west side of the driveway we could put a calf for the freezer.
We have seven raised beds with veggies or herbs in all but one. That is the one I use to root roses and plant flowers to save for seed. We aren't using half of the acreage we have but I am considering buying some rabbits to raise for meat rabbits and if I do this it will take up a good bit of the space but we still have the large front yard where fruit trees could go after some big pines were cut.

Sorry rosepetal I let my imagination run away with your question. Some good suggestions were made and I could use several of the suggestions on our place.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 8:51PM
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grits10(8)

Yeh, Eric has my dreamscape too. 'Course I'm on flatlands so I can't do the ridge/hilltop thing. But we do have a lot of wind, so we're investigating windmill possibilities. Unfortunately we're finding a lot of restrictions where we are....bummer.

Mostly you just have to do it a step at a time. Draw your plan, make a grid and take it a section at a time (project at a time)...tying them all together as you go. I tried to take on a lot at one time and ended up cofused and frustrated. I'm back to the step at a time thing....lol. Getting much better results now.

Check your State Agricultural College...they usually have programs and classes for people looking at solar/wind/water energy. They help a lot...and they can analyze your acres and location and give good advice.!!! Yea!

Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 4:30PM
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paula11366

We have two and one half acres. The one half is pond, so I don't include it when describing the rest. We have 12 vegetable beds, fruit and nut tress (dwarf on the fruit), a corn field and a wheat field, blueberries border the house, a male and female kiwi grow on either side of our front porch, blackberries, strawberries, grape arbors, raspberries, a large herb garden, chickens for eggs and meat, 2 milking goats, 1 beef steer, rabbits for fertilizer, ducks for fun, 2 pigs for bacon and sausage, etc. We do farm quite intensively on our two acres. You can get a lot our of an even smaller space if you plan and don't mind not having a huge yard. My daughter has a swing set and a pool, and she has plenty of room to play.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 2:11AM
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kamisha100(Z9FL)

Love this Question!
I am currently looking at a home in Florida that has 2 acres of land. I pray that we get it! It will be our dream home. If we can negotiate on the right price. I am so excited about the possibility of what we can do with it all. I hope to have a home orchard and a vegetable garden with my Earthboxes. I also would love to have an inground pool for my kids to enjoy. I am not so big on the animals. So those would not be my thing.
I am loving all the suggestions everyone has made. Keep them coming. Any ideas on the most awesome fruit and pecan tree orchard and how to best maximize my space would be great! The lot itself is long and narrow. Just guessing, but about 150 ft wide and however long to make 2 acres. The house sits in the middle but more forward to front of the lot. It also has one of those long driveways with a planting area in the center of it.
Thanks in advance

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 2:17PM
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