Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Hello from the other side... of the pond.  (Read 314 times)

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« on: May 04, 2021, 01:37:43 pm »
Hello, I'm what you'd call a smallholder, or what we call a homesteader over here. My land is too big to be considered a yard and too small to be considered a serious farm. I have 2.8 acres on the northern bank of the Ohio River. I'm putting it mostly in trees: fruits, nuts, and copses. I already have 20 fruit trees and 14 nut trees planted. I have plans to build a barn for the KNF method of raising pigs and chickens sometime in the next 3-4 years, and to build an aquaponic rice paddy system (it grows rice in pipes with fish wastes flowing through, the rice cleans the water which is returned to the pond). I also have a large garden for vegetables which is surrounded by a high wire fence to keep out deer. My garden has a new trelise made of pipe and scraps from the wire fence, which is a gothic arch shape.

As I'm trying to learn the art of hedge laying; I figured I ought to probably talk to some folks who know about it. We have hedges here, but not the kind that are laid down and stockproof. The agricultural hedges here are lines of uncut trees made to block strong wind from knocking down the maize. The decorative hedges used for just privacy are simply rows of shrubs. I've got a book on hedges and it recommends hawthorn... A tree I can't seem to find locally. So I'm planting locust, a local thorny tree which is normally made into fenceposts because it takes forever to rot. Locust is also sometimes coppiced which is another good reason to pick it. Oh, and it's also a legume so it enriches the soil. I need a hedge going all the way around my land which is thorny side out so deer don't nibble my copses and so coywolves don't try to have me for dinner again. It's also an added layer of insurance against the escape of pigs which comes with a hefty fine.
Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2021, 04:31:57 pm »
Hello and welcome from Bonnie Scotland.  I'm interested in your hedge plans.  Hawthorn (Crataegus sp) is also called quickthorn and all sorts of other names, but may well not be available in Ohio.  On our smallholding/homestead/croft/parcel of land, we planted hedges of mixed native species, about 60% hawthorn, in three staggered rows to give the necessary density with a view to laying them - we managed to lay about 100 yards before my husband developed RSI in his elbow and we have had to cut the rest with machinery ever since.  You are correct that you need a species which will coppice, but you don't need all the fancy work along the tops, just something enough to give structural support.
Pigs will absolutely not be kept in by a living hedge - they can barge through the best made specimen.  You'll need it tall to keep deer out, and even sheep can jump some of the English fancy hedges.  All our hedges are grown with wire mesh fences as well. Our predators are mainly foxes, and neither hedges nor wire mesh fencing can keep them out.  I don't know about coywolves - are they the same as coyotes? What happened when one tried to eat you?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 04:34:06 pm by Fleecewife »
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Re: Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2021, 05:23:03 pm »
I sort of doubt any creature would attempt to barge through this sort of tree...

You can use the thorns as nails. I know of a fellow in Indiana that used them to put on a roof because they were free. I've also seen them used as points on frog spears and fishing arrows, or as gorge hooks. They're usually 3-4 inches long. But the biggest one I ever saw was 10 inches on an older tree at Chestnut Ridge park.

Coywolves are eastern grey wolf and western coyote hybrids. They occurred naturally in the wild up in Canada and have gotten as far South as Tennessee. They're as big as wolves, they hunt deer mostly, and at that in packs of 4-8 members. There are 2 packs in my immediate area. I've had to run into my house on 3 occasions. The first time I didn't hear or see them coming and they (4 I think) got within about 5 yards of me before I noticed them. I was close to my back door and sprinted in in an absolute panic. They howled a lot and it was an ordeal. The second occasion I was in my garage turning on my lathe and all the neighbors dogs started barking like crazy. I poke my head out the window and there's a pack of about 5 of them coming out of the woods across the street from me. (the woods across the street are part of a wilderness area, which if I recall correctly is about 63,000 acres in size, have a look at the satellite view on google maps, the sheer amount of unbroken forest is awe inspiring). Coywolves are considered varmints and there is no bag limit or set season for hunting them. You can take however many you can shoot or trap, whenever you want. And still they're a problem. My neighbors bought donkeys to guard their cattle and started trapping them. I'm too scared to go out at night without arms. If I have to go out, it's with my sword. I don't have any guns unfortunately. I've also seen some dead in the road. They have reddish fur, are bigger than a regular coyote, and have a narrower face than a wolf but wider than a coyote. My ex girlfriend's dad came up with a coyote recipe to try to get people to eat them so they will hunt them more. I posted it for someone's fox problem because foxes are basically the same, just smaller.
Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2021, 11:04:03 pm »
I'm planting locust, a local thorny tree which is normally made into fenceposts because it takes forever to rot.


Is that the same plant that we get locust beans from? as in locust bean gum?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Re: Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2021, 12:44:52 am »
I'm planting locust, a local thorny tree which is normally made into fenceposts because it takes forever to rot.


Is that the same plant that we get locust beans from? as in locust bean gum?

As far as I know, yes. Black locust is poisonous, but honey locust is edible. It's the way of the legumes. Either deadly or delicious, never in between.
Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2021, 01:03:06 am »
That's one fearsome tree  :roflanim:   Okay, so the thorns are perhaps a teensy bit bigger than hawthorns, which are about an inch long.  But with those coywolves you describe it's clearly the locust you need.  I hope you never come close enough to the coywolves to have to use a sword against them  :o  The mind boggles.
As for laying, handling those trees would not be easy, although when they are still small enough to be flexible perhaps the thorns are a bit less demonic.
Life  is different in Ohio, clearly  :D
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2021, 05:48:42 pm »
Hello from sunny (who am I trying to kid?) Shropshire in the middle of England. I have what I call s micro-holding but others call a back garden. I used to keep goats for milk and cheese, and because I like them, but I am now disabled and, although I managed, with help, to keep going another five years, I had to give up.  :(


I grow a lot of vegetables and fruit trees - not as many as you but I have two plum, two apples, a pear, a nectarine, two figs and a greengage which keep me going. I'm just finishing the last of last year's apple harvest. I also have two blueberries bushes, strawberries, gooseberry bushes and many raspberries. Nothing like going outside in the morning to pick some fruit for breakfast.

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Re: Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2021, 03:01:12 pm »
Hello from sunny (who am I trying to kid?) Shropshire in the middle of England. I have what I call s micro-holding but others call a back garden. I used to keep goats for milk and cheese, and because I like them, but I am now disabled and, although I managed, with help, to keep going another five years, I had to give up.  :(

I grow a lot of vegetables and fruit trees - not as many as you but I have two plum, two apples, a pear, a nectarine, two figs and a greengage which keep me going. I'm just finishing the last of last year's apple harvest. I also have two blueberries bushes, strawberries, gooseberry bushes and many raspberries. Nothing like going outside in the morning to pick some fruit for breakfast.

It's not often sunny here, and I would move somewhere foggy if it were. I can't stand sunny days. I get bad vertigo if there's no clouds or mist. It was a big part of my reason for moving down here to the Appalachian Foothills region... sunny days put me in a bad mood.

I'm also disabled myself an am often in the hospital. But had to give up my chickens. I can do chickens again if I do it the KNF method, but as I was doing it on pasture, it was too much work for my family to move them and stuff in my absence. My grandmother tried to do it on her own and fell. So we sold them. It's one reason I do so many trees. Trees don't demand your attention every day all day long. It's just in the fall and winter really and then only a bit of it. Gives me time for going to all my appointments and stuff. The KNF method houses the chickens so they're not hard to deal with like that. You don't have to put on snakeproof boots and go for a long walk in the pasture. Just pop on over to the barn and toss in some bedding (they will spread it themselves if you mix some grain in with it), then toss in a scoop of feed and make sure there's water. Collect eggs if they're not meat birds. That's something my grandma could do. But having them on a pasture rotation is a lot of effort.

That's one fearsome tree  :roflanim:   Okay, so the thorns are perhaps a teensy bit bigger than hawthorns, which are about an inch long.  But with those coywolves you describe it's clearly the locust you need.  I hope you never come close enough to the coywolves to have to use a sword against them  :o  The mind boggles.
As for laying, handling those trees would not be easy, although when they are still small enough to be flexible perhaps the thorns are a bit less demonic.
Life  is different in Ohio, clearly  :D

I live in the one really wild area of Ohio. Most of Ohio isn't this crazy. I just live across the street from the largest wilderness in the state.
Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Recruiting now - please send border-guard applications to ...
Re: Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2021, 08:34:29 pm »
Hi and welcome to the forum @naturelovingfarmer - some interesting projects for you.  As regards Locust trees, some can be quite invasive by seeding easily and throwing up suckers from the roots.  I would be most concerned about the suckering (seedlings can always be managed !).
« Last Edit: May 06, 2021, 08:36:45 pm by arobwk »

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Re: Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2021, 05:00:31 pm »
Locust is native here, so not an invasive species. New shoots come up from the root crown instead of buds on the main stem, that's fine. If it came up from elsewhere like bamboo, it'd be a problem. But locust has no rhizome, so it's not of any concern. If a stem comes up a bit too far from the main stem, I'll just summer cut it and make it into biochar. Summer cut stems usually don't return. Winter cut stems return as coppice the following spring. The roots of locust do have nodes with symbiotic bacteria in them. Same as beans and peas do. And gypsum can help it sequester more atmospheric nitrogen. As I want a nice thick animal-proof hedge, I don't mind root crown stems. I have to plant about 8,316 trees if I'm making a standard hedge. It'd be a boon to me to have a wide base of stems so I don't have to plant 3 stems per foot. Forcing the locust to form multiple stems from the crown means I only have to plant a single row instead of 3.
2,772 locust trees is a lot less work to plant, and a lower cost. I have seeds for 150. By the time it's ready to be laid, my persimmon copse will be ready to provide stakes and binders. I'll also be thinning the hedgerow that exists, to let in more light for my laid hedge. It's wholly made of standard trees. I could lay it, but there'd be nowhere to lay it down and with the size of the trees, it would be dangerous. So I'll thin the southern side, and let in light. I have to hand dig a drainage ditch, or more correctly, repair one from the 1940s. It's been silted up. I'll save that work for the fall season when there's no biting flies. But then the ditch would be between the hedgerow and the barrier hedge. Here, unlike in Europe, the ditch is not considered the boundary line. Ditches have to be on your own property. So the mud dug from the ditch will form a low mound into which I will plant my hedge. The space between the laid hedge and the hedgerow will make a corridor for wildlife, but exclude them from my crops. I plan to remove and recycle the old wrought iron fence which is a hazard at the moment. I'm formerly a blacksmith by trade and currently a hobbyist, so I intend to make things from the fence myself. The fence is the boundary marker so I have to replace it. It's been there for 90-140 years based on the type of posts it has which were invented in the 1880s and went out of style in the 1930s. The sale of things made from the old fence will finance a new fence and the hedge.
Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Hello from the other side... of the pond.
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2021, 08:20:53 am »
Wow! And I though the foxes were bad!  :o
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

 

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