Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by pauloasl, Nov 16, 2010.
This is a very broad question for anyone to answer, it's a bit like asking, 'How long is a piece of string?'. In short, the best kind of land is the one you can afford (which in itself can be very limiting). I think you need to first do an evaluation of what it is you which to do with your land. Define clearly what you mean by 'living off the grid', do you wish to be 'self-sustaining' or part of a community that is self-sustaining? Do you wish to be sustainable in everything? Only when you have answered all of this will you start to get an idea of what it is you need from your land.
My point is that there are as many answers to that question as there are people asking it.
Perhaps you might consider having some 'practice' before you get yourself into something you are unsure of.
Good luck and keep asking questions, you have embarked on a journey that takes years, and I suspect one that you will not complete in this lifetime. I work on the idea that I am starting to learn things now that my children or my grandchildren will benefit most from.
What's the best kind of terrain, soil characteristics, sun orientation, etc...
I haven't much experience buying land but i think i know what you are getting at. There are some general dos and don'ts.
Avoid land that is all rocky. YOu want it with soil, the deeper the better. If it was used for cultivation before its probably good for it again. If it was only ever used for grazing goats, then its probably not much good for you, unless you only want to graze goats too.
Here where i live, in the southern hemisphere, you don't want land generally sloping towards the west but towards the east, ie towards the sunrise. It seems morning sun is preferable. And never buy land that is predominantly sloping north and is in shadow all day. A friend of mine lived on a lovely place but the house was situation in the shadow of a hill to the north for most of the day and it was pretty cold. Maybe that was ok in the summer but not so nice in winter. For all that she had a lovely garden.
Soil characteristics, if you've got time and you probably do, read up a bit on soils so you know what to look for. I'm currently reading a book called DRY Gardening Australia. It explains things like soil structure and type. All that in the first chapter. If you understand this, then you wll know what to look for. Obviously teh best soil will be rich in organic matter. Good soil holds water well but doesn't get waterlogged. Sandy soil is bad because it doesn't hold much water and you will have a lot of work to do adding organic matter to it. A loam is probably the best sort of soil. it is a good combation of sand clay and silt which gives you good drainage and has good texture. So yeah read up about it. If you buy land with a lot of rocks you will have a lot of work moveing them and it probably won't have much soil. If you look at rocky land see how much of it is growing things and check soil depth.
Obviously its good to have water. If you can't have a river or something like that consider a bore as an option. Ask locally or the local authorities about other bores and how deep they are. consider the cost of putting down a bore and then the quality of the water. I guess if no one else is doing it in the area, it may not be viable.
Look at the water catchment area. Is all the slope running out of your land or into it. The more that runs into it the better as you will catch more water.
While river flats are great for farming, they might be prone to flooding. Always check the public records for things like flooding and any other natural disasters. Just because it floods doens't necessarily mean its a bad thing but if it floods some high ground would also be good. I grew up on a farm that flooded. It was in a valley with a river half - we lived on one side. We had no water shortage. OUr house was a hill and the cattle had to be moved up to high ground to prevent them drowning or being washed away. It was originally dairy farming land and we used it to grow beef cattle. It was very rich and very green. A wonderful place but too small for beef cattle on its own. My parents should have considered doing something else on it but in those days people didn't think of that. Before they sold it they tried to buy other properties in the area but that was difficult too.
spend as much time as you can hanging around the place before you hand over the money. And since you probably won't be able to hang around for a year, you should talk to the locals or local officials and find out what its like during ohter times of the year. What are hte issues and so on.
Don't rush. Do your research. There's probably books on how to buy land for cultivation as there are books on everything.
Try to figure out how much land you need to achieve the things you want too so you can avoid feeling hte need to buy more than you need. If you can only afford or find a smallish piece of land, then make most of your production vegetable while if you land is large, then you can go more into meat or wool production too. Or with more land you can grow grain instead but that's probably quite laborious.
I wanted to edit something important but couldn't do it.
So where i say this...you don't want land generally sloping towards the west but towards the east, ie towards the sunrise. in the second paragraph, it should read...
If you are buying land in a valley or on a hillside, choose land with an aspect towards the sunrise rather than sunset. If the land is undulating, i would think which way it slopes doesn't matter too much with regard to the setting sun.
Also.because of our different hemispheres, this might sound confusing.
And never buy land that is predominantly sloping north and is in shadow all day. A friend of mine lived on a lovely place but the house was situation in the shadow of a hill to the north for most of the day and it was pretty cold. Maybe that was ok in the summer but not so nice in winter. For all that she had a lovely garden.
change to this ....And never buy land that is predominantly facing north in the northern hemisphere and is in shadow all day. A friend of mine here in australia lived on a lovely place but the house was situation in the shadow of a hill to the north east for most of the day and it was pretty cold. Maybe that was not so terrible in the summer but not nice in winter. For all that she had a lovely garden.
Sorry about that.
So which bit of Portugal is currently home? Your English is very good - much better than my Portugese! Congratulations on turning your life around. I'm sure you are an inspiration to the people around you.
Yes sometimes people from other parts of europe are so good at English when they arrive on this forum that i think they must be English ex pats.
I don't really follow your technical stuff. Its beyond my area of learning. It doesn't matter though. This is your thread. Of course i know where portugal is in relation to the tropic of cancer, roughly.
Congratulations on your weight loss. I think its brilliant. What happened in your mind to bring about this change and commitment? So many people who try to lose so much weight, or even a smaller amount of weight stumble time and again.
Boa, Paulo, parabéns!
Hey Paulo, Yes I am. I live in Northern Portugal, not far from Porto. Welcome to the forum!
You probably already know, but they're going to broadcast a documentary you may be interested in watching tonight on RTP, right after the news:
I have read the previous posts with some interest as i am contemplating a similar road to Paulo. It is worth taking one step back from the question and looking at criteria that the surrounding area might need as well.
It is all well and good to have the "perfect" block of land only to find there are external environmental issues like chemical toxins from conventional farming going on next door or run off from the neighbors cow dip.
So at least in Australia, finding a property adjacent to a National Park or possibly State Forest might mitigate some of those risks.
I'm involved with Paredes in Transition alright! Good guessing. I guess that by now you must have watched the documentary. You probably know you can watch it online. Here it is, anyway.
How's your plot hunting?
PS. Aqui escrevo sempre em inglês, por deferência para quem não domina a língua ; -)
I totally agree with your thoughts regarding the documentary. After all the buzz, I was expecting a lot more. Then they had a colleague of mine from the transition movement on a talk show (Praça da Alegria) and it was mostly on "how and why he changed his life" and very little on the transition movement. The subtitles they used below were "unemployment took him to agriculture" !!!
I also share your dream of having my own little farm, but while I have to go about being a city slicker, I plan to be involved as much as I can in helping the community I live in making the transition to a low carbon future. That's what Transition is all about. And I believe we can really have a very positive role on that.
Have fun at Tamera!
Got it. Don't forget to erase your contact! Cheers!
It's great to hear of other people that have the same dream! My husband and I are in Queensland, Australia and have a plan to buy land within 3 years. We are currently in the suburbs and with little room for our big dreams. However, we are taking this opportunity to grow things from seed. I have healthy potted perennials just waiting for their permanent home: we have several slow growing fruit trees planted from organic seeds, asparagus (can take 4 years to produce), etc. I'm also using this time to gather alot of seed from my heirloom annuals. We're only a year into permaculture and as much as we are sure this is what we want, I'm glad we have this time to study the foundations, READ, READ, READ, and practice on a small scale first. There is going to be ALOT of 'projects' when we move to the country so it's good to have some things very healthy and waiting to be planted (and you know they are organically grown).
As a side note, there are three different types of vegans.
Vegan: Don't eat any animal products (meat, dairy or eggs)
Lacto Vegan: Don't eat meat or eggs but have dairy products
Lacto-Ovo Vegan: Don't eat meat but have dairy products and eggs)
Congratulations on your weight loss. It's great to hear your doing so well without eating meat. I may be stating the obvious for you, but make sure you are having 'Complete Proteins'. It is essential for those not eating meat, dairy or eggs. Amaranth, buckwheat, spirulina and quinoa are some complete proteins that have all the 9 essential amino acids that a human body needs. If your after any recipes or more info, it is my forte.
Young Permy Couple
umm I have to comment on that last post
Actually you need to substitute the word vegetarian for vegan for the second 2 definitions, i.e. Lacto-vegetarian and Lacto-ovo vegetarian. These are all different types of vegetarians not vegans.
No worries. I was taught it at Tafe in my cheffing course last year but each to their own.
Plot to sell might feet you
Olá Paulo! vi sua questao neste blog e pensei que gostarias de conhecer este anúncio.
Pessoalmente, vejo neste monte um grande potencial em termos de permacultura...
Qualquer informação adicional, não hesite em contactar 964266603.
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