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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

So 2014 marks the year where we pack up all our things and children and move out to a little slice of heaven in the country. We are closing on a house May 9th (Maybe May 2nd), on 4.6 acres. Now, that's not a lot of land. But we are going to try and use it to our advantage.

Follow me in this thread as we take homesteading by the horns, make mistakes, have victories, and grow our family.

Our tentative 2014 plans

Plant an orchard (will eventually be made up of 40ish trees)
Start grapes, berries, nut trees, etc.
Plant over 100 crowns of asparagus
Start in on a 1/2 acre garden plot.
Plant our back 1/3 with woodland to attract deer
Dig a pond in the back 1/3 for deer
Chickens (we've had them before)
Meat chickens (fall group)

Future plans:
Cow
Pigs
Aquaponics with trout
Bees
Cold frame/greenhouse
Mushrooms

This thread hopefully will be full of pictures and how we do things. Please keep me company and root us on!
 

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Good for you! Is there a reason you want to attract deer? My experience has been that they will eat your orchard & garden. I have planted many fruit trees in the last ten years & none survived. I do not have a fenced orchard ( actually I do not have an orchard, since I have no trees). I have fence around the garden, plus electric fence, and motion detector noise maker & still occasionally get deer in my garden.

Have fun, looking forward to your posts!
 

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Hey Winkie,

We want to attract deer to eat em. The property doesn't hold deer well, but hubby is hoping to have them walk through it so he can bow hunt em. :) we are putting up a 6' fence with angled wire at the top. The orchard we don't think will need a lot of protection, just when young. If we see damage tho, we will fence it in the same. We don't think there will be a lot of damage later due to it being up against the road and not a lot of cover for the deer. We shall see!

Few weeks ago I started 100+ tomatoes. I am part of a dwarf tomato project. We are working to stabilize lines of dwarf tomatoes. This is my second year doing it, and I love these dwarfs! They are short, stocky, don't need to be staked and put on as much fruit as the regulars. Here is a picture of the two. The regs are on the left, dwarfs on the right. I let the toms get a bit leggy so when I transplant I can bury them deep.

Started another flat today with another 20 toms, 30ish peppers and 16ish eggplants. Only things I'm transplanting this year. Everything else is going in the ground! image.jpg
 
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Well, that is an excellent reason!
Your tomato project sounds interesting. I have never grown a dwarf tomato. I have just a few tomato plants started, & they are doing ok so far. There are 4 cherry tomatoes & 9 beef steaks. My favorite tomato is Big Mamma, which I started from seed for years, but now the seeds are not available.
 

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Since I just posted that I couldn't get my favorite seeds- which was true last year- I just checked the Burpee site & now they are selling them again. Yeah!!!. Now if I can just get them soon enough.
 

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Sounds WONDERFUL!!! I can not wait to read all about your adventures!!!
 
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Hey Winkie,

We want to attract deer to eat em. The property doesn't hold deer well, but hubby is hoping to have them walk through it so he can bow hunt em. :)
As long as he has permission from the adjacent property owners to retrieve the deer he'll do okay.
 

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I don't know if that would be considered deer baiting or if baiting is illegal in WI, but you might want to keep your reasons for planting deer attractants to yourself! :p :D

Bears love orchards, birdfeeders, berries of any kind, compost piles, anything edible they can easily get to. And, whether you mean to feed them or not, a fed bear is a dead bear once they become a nuisance. A fence, even a house, will not keep them from food if they decide they're interested in eating it. If you're going to be living in bear country, try to plan your property so it's not a bear attractant in order to reduce bear problems and damage. Look into electric fencing and plan its installation so it would also discourage raccoons and other critters who will find your gardens and orchards tasty.

Not trying to rain on your parade. We live in the country and love it, so I understand your excitement at being able to make the move. You're going to love it for so many reasons.

Here's a greenhouse plan that has always intrigued me. It looks fairly easy and relatively inexpensive to build, although I haven't tried it yet. http://doorgarden.com/10/50-dollar-hoop-house-green-house
 

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luck to you..I am sure there will be a lot of learning as well as a lot of fun...I lived in the country for many many a years and It is a lot of work but so worth it..
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Deer baiting is legal in certain counties in WI, the one we are moving to being one of them. :clap: me and DH would never do anything against DNR regs (at least intentionally) we have fully looked into what we can and cannot do, and will continue to do so! :)

Bears aren't a problem down here, more so up north. However we will need to keep bear issues in mind, as we will be buying hunting property up north and there are bears up there. Not many, but they are there. That's a neat greenhouse and looks pretty simple to put up. Says the person not doing it! ;)

Brenda) you bet! We are going to get about 12 layers. Well, we shall see where chicken math leads me! I really don't need more than 12, and if I don't need more than that why have them? We have the old chicken coop from our past house we can use now, but I want to have something bigger and more solid in the future. :)

Went to the property after getting nailed by Rain and even hail the past few days. No standing water on the property which is good. It's not very flat, so I wanted to see how bad certain areas got water logged. Looking good tho as far as between rain and snow melt no flooding, lots of places under water now.
 

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Winkie,

Yes! We released varieties in 2011 and 2012. The ones I am working on are not released yet, but here's a link to the site. Dwarf Tomato Project
If you go to the bottom of the home page, in the right hand corner there is released varieties and where to get seed.

Lemme see if I can dig up a pic...well I don't have one of the actual plants in relation to regular toms except seedlings. Here is a pic of chocolate lightning, one of the varieties I grew last year and am growing again this year.

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Congrats on your move and I am looking forward to following along! :)
 

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Thanks everyone! Picked up some potatoes at the feed store. Yukon golds and Vikings, which is a red potato. First year growing potatoes. Maybe will get one more 5lb bag. Only paid $3.99 for em, and I want a russet type as these ones aren't good storing potatoes. Not sure on the yields, I saw a guy get 20:1 return. Doubt I'll get that. I don't want to spend a lot of money on them, but if I'm great at growing them I'm gonna be bummed if I didn't buy a lot of them! Catch 22 I guess. Even if I only get a 5:1 return, that's still a decent amount of taters.

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More updates...so on the 19th we drove to a few towns over to pick up the start of our layers flock. Got 7 buff orpingtons, but a few are kinda dark and marked differently. I think they may be Rhode Island reds instead, which if so I'll be upset. They are straight run so I'm hoping The RIR are the males ;)

I had a lady lined up for 8 more chicks, but she ended up selling them to someone else. :( she had amercaunas and barred rocks. Oh well, we are gonna test the waters with these guys, see how many hens we actually end up with and go from there.

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Also walked the property and it looks like there are several apple trees, some planted on purpose (have trunks wrapped), and grape vines on our property. Also looks like I will have rhubarb! Gotta see if the apples are just junk apples and same with the grapes. Still a lot you can do with that, I'm excited to see everything in bloom!
 

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Hey everyone, so a quick update!

Started transplanting the toms into red solo cups, I don't have a final count, although I am positive we are over 100.

Eggplants and peppers starting to show, slower germ even tho I have them on a heating pad, they are still in the basement.

We went and purchased some fruit trees! Home Depot had potted fruit trees and in some of the varieties I liked! So I hurried over, hoping to score some honey crisp apples, bing cherries, Rainer cherries. Well, I scored the cherries (one of each) got a bartlett pear as we used to have one at our old home (except standard, not dwarf), but the honey crisp must have took a tumble in the wind of something, as every single one of them had snapped branches on all branches! So I passed on those, which was a major bummer. I love honey crisp apples. I picked up a plum called Toka, also called bubblegum plum.

The pear and plum still need pollinators, but I'm not too worried, I got awhile and want to get varieties I like that will pollinate them. :) the bing will pollinate the Rainer and vice versa, although I want a few more of these trees a piece.

My goal for fruit trees is to get two of each "type" I wAnt as my base. So I need 1 pear, 1 plum, 2 apple, 2 mulberry, 2 fig, 2 peach, 2 nectarine, 2 Asian pear. We will see what finances allow!

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Congrats!! This is so exciting. You can do so much with 4.6 acres!! I watch a youtube channel about a couple homesteading on half an acre! Your property sounds fabulous and I can't wait to read about all your adventures.
 

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More things! Hubby talked me into grabbing some onion plants while we were at Home Depot. None of these are storage onions. He told me today he wanted to get more and I said no! Not sure how large the garden will be this year, we are hoping for 50x50. 50x100 would be great. I don't want to dedicate a bunch of space to onions if I do to have to! Next year hubsters, next year.

Just a quick photo update on the tomatoes, getting large! I started transplanting them on Saturday, and rolled my ankle so I haven't been Down there that often. Chickens are also getting bigger!

Closing may be pushed off until the 9th instead of the 2nd. Not happy!! The listing agent is not responding to the appraiser in request for the lock box code, soooo we can't get in to get the appraisal. Nice.

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