NE Alabama homesteading-where to start?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We just moved to here and would really like to be able to make our income off of the land. We have 6 1/2 acres and my father in law is buying the 6 1/2 behind us. The county extension agent has not been very encouraging about anything we have suggested and keeps pushing us toward greenhouses with shrubs and trees. This is not what we want. We are trying to look into cattle, goats, ginseng or something of the like as our "major" income. Is anyone in this area, or any advice on how we can do this with essentially notheing to start with except our own hands. We homeschool and it is important for us to have him home as well. I am just at a loss as to where to look and how to start. Any help would be greatly apperciated!
-- Anna Beavers (email@example.com), February 21, 2002
It is difficult to aquire cattle, goats, or ginseng seeds with nothing but your hands. It is what skilled work your hands can do that will get you there. Is your land forested to grow ginseng? Or are you planning on getting into the field of ginseng under shades idea that I see in some areas? The latter I would think would be expensive, and the former requires a certain age, and species mix of trees, that I am not familiar with. Where I live we have devil's club, oplopanax horribilis, a ginseng relative which I am planning to enhance on my property. Ginseng plants are expensive, as are the seeds, and they take 5-10 years of growing to gain potency for the maximum payload in the marketplace. What is the market potential for you?-are you near an urban area? If so, you could try doing veggie market gardening, medicinal herb growing(in this case go with heavy seeding annuals or perrenials that you can divide, thus maximising your seed purchases) Some initial investment is going to be needed, but there are plenty of options. If you are considering going inot the shrub, and tree-landscaping nursery business, as your extension agent suggested then I would suggest going to freeplants.com and checking out Mike's info. In fact you should probably check this site out anyway, as there is so much useful information about growing plants. Check out the archives of questions below all the recent questions on this countryside forum. There are plenty of postings with people giving hints on what to do to make money on the land. Use your imagination, and common sense-together they bring dreams to reality. Nothing is impossible if you set reasonable goals.
-- roberto pokachinni in B.C. (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 22, 2002.
Hi, The magazine Small Farm Today has lots of good ideas and the articles are about people who doing these things. They have a web site: www.smallfarmtoday.com Wishing you the best.
-- Jo (email@example.com), February 22, 2002.
6.5 acres will not support much live stock. I would suggest speciality endevors: boarding kennel, ethinic veggies, cut flowers, nitch farming - white mice for snake owners. Explore your market for what is needed.
-- mitch hearn (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 22, 2002.
If you are skilled at propagation of plants such as roses, you could start a small nursury. You could do Bio Intensive Small Farming for profit (A good book is available at www.squarefootgardening.com for about $15 ). You could raise worms (reference my article in the Sept/Oct 2001 issue of Countryside and Small Stock Journal. You could raise rabbits with minimal cash investment and let it pay for growth on its own viability. Think outside the box, be prepared for slow growth or non-productive success (a failure is only a failure if you don't learn from it) and keep in mind an old saying I saw where I worked once "Good, Fast or Cheap, You can choose only two." Hope this helps you in your endeavor. Good Luck.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL (email@example.com), February 22, 2002.
I see someone didn't do enough research before attempting this project. The county extention agent has to deal with farmers not so much with ranchettes in his district. His advice is probably sound. He doesn't want to see you fail, but wants you to be realistic in your endeavor. Anywhere that's hilly and rocky is not suitable for farming. Herbs require a lot of tlc and patience. Do you have adequate pasture for animals? Do you have a easy to obtain source of water for animals? If you don't, you have a problem. Graining animals is the least desireable, fresh grasses the most.
-- al (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 22, 2002.
I don't want to throw a damper into your plans, but unless your doing show goats it not worth it. I do sheep for meat and the difference from what I get and the show people is big (same blood lines too). My husband says he makes money off his cattle but it is hard to really tell. I would go for the specialy herbs or crops as your extension officer mention. They are not always right thought. I think our Blueberry U-Pick is great and is making money and the extension officer was not to thrilled with the idea. Now we are possiby going to be advertised by the Tulsa today paper. I think maybe you should think of a U-Pick. What is your PH on the soil. I think 3 acres of blueberries will bring in pretty big bucks!!! We also have planted a Chritmas Tree Farm. We want something for all seasons. My husband is trying to take an early out of his job if this all pans out. Good Luck, Debbie in Okie land
-- debbie (email@example.com), February 22, 2002.