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We just purchased a piece of property that has 6.5 acres of land, and I’m trying to learn as much as I can about gardening and creating a homestead. What I want, is for there to be enough food on the land for us to eat, but at a minimal of work for us to do. I realize that’s everyone’s dream of course, get more for doing less. What I’ve been finding is that there are lots of different ways that people can do just that. Of course it doesn’t mean that we’ll have NO work to do on the property, it just means there will be less work to do.
One of the first things I’ve learned about is Permaculture. This is the concept of gardening finding the perfect plants for the climate and utilizing what works best for that area. Basically this means you have to figure out what your climate is, including the micro-climates in your land itself, and then picking out the plants that work best in that area. So if you’ve got a lot of shade, picking plants that grow best in the shade. If you have really hot and humid weather, finding plants that grow best in that weather. This type of homesteading takes work in the beginning, but once you have it going it becomes less work.
Another form of gardening that I’ve been reading up on is what is called a “Forest Garden”. Again, like Permaculture, this takes a lot of work in the beginning, but once the forest is created, there’s very little maintenance. The idea behind the Forest Garden, so to literally create a forest that is edible with all the food that you would want to eat. The plants and animals feed off of each other, providing nutrients as the leaves and branches fall off. Allowing animals limited access provides needed manure, as well as natural tilling their scrounging around for food provides. Done properly and the Forest Garden or Edible Forest can be almost zero maintenance and can provide food for generations.
Both of these ideas can be done at any scale, from a small city yard to many acres. Where ever you are will work! It does take a lot of research and patience. So in the mean time, I plan on making a small kitchen her garden right out the back door of my kitchen and will probably work on a small garden to grow some veggies next year as well. Gotta start planning though. Do you have a garden? Have you heard of Permaculture or Food Forest before? Let me know what you think of these ideas below!