weekend farming

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by hedwig, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. hedwig

    hedwig Junior Member

    Jul 28, 2005
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    Hi there,
    it has been long time since I last posted here, nevertheless I want to start a new thread:

    We are simply trapped in the capital cities and the dream to live on a bigger piece of land remains a dream.
    If one pays significantly more for a house in one of the cities you may end up with 200 or 300 m2 more, lot of money for very
    little. I now try to turn our dream in something achievable. That means buying some acres of land outside, close to a train station (that we will be able to go there if oil runs out and that we will be able to go there in an environmentally friendly way).

    The plan is to live there one day, thus building a simple house would be involved too ( not bigger than, say 70 m2).

    In the beginning, I would like to grow there everything what does not fit in an suburban garden like all the potatoes we need, onion, garlic, maize, maybe sunflowers, dry pulses etc. Secondly all the fruit and nut trees for us and a bit more for giving away and making preserves and wine. And some place for a future venture like a cash crop, timber etc, some bushland as well.

    Maybe there are more people planning the same venture? I would like to discuss the limits and challenges of weekend farming. Or maybe you have got a weekender yet and can tell a bit about it?

    1.) What do you do with your suburban garden meanwhile? How long can you leave your chooks away or do you like to ask your neighbours to feed them each weekend? What about watering seedlings or seedbeds? Are there low cost low tech method to water these while you are away? You may be away for a week or two in holidays.
    2.) The same water question but for the weekender: can fruit trees, potatoes maize be planted without additional watering? Is it sufficient to water these plants once a week or once every fortnight?
    3.) Could dryland agriculture be an option where the only source of water is rainfall?
    4.) What costs are involved? What are typical council rates for small acreage? Are there clever saving rates for public transport? Costs of insurances?
    5) Could you have low maintenance animals like fish, bees or perhaps even ducks or geese?
    6) Are there legal restrictions for moving plants from your suburban garden to the acreage? (Like in QLD the fire ant restricted areas).
    7.) As we want to be close to a train station, have limited means and don't want to be too far from the city, I guess we would not have lot of choice in regards to the land. How about saline or dry or poor or bad drained land? Is it still worthwhile? Or simply a waste of money and work?
    8) Do banks mortgage weekenders or are there problems? Could you buy a bigger piece together with someone else and subdivide or is it a hazzle?
    9) the electricity question: Do you go with or without electricity? If there is electricity at the fence how much will it cost you to be connected, and is it worthwhile paying daily connection fees while you are absent most of the week? What does a minimal solar /wind installation cost in order to have some light and maybe a fridge running or maybe you do without the fridge? And for building purposes is it cheaper to hire a generator? What are realistic assumptions for a pre planning stage?
    ( edited for adding the electricity question)
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

    Jul 10, 2006
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    E Washington, USA
    Semi-Arid Shrub Steppe (BsK)
    Re: weekend farming

    Hello Hedwig! Haven't seen you around for a while, glad you're back!

    It sounds like you're pursuing and idea similar to a dacha?

    Here in the states they'll finance weekend/summer places with no problem. A partner might help solve some of the absence issues mentioned above

    Good luck! I think you've hit on a great idea!
  3. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

    Apr 30, 2008
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    Re: weekend farming

    I've been looking at doing something similar, although only about a 15 minute drive from our home.

    In the end I concluded that it was going to be too much work (I work full time, my wife works part time, we have 3 young children (one with a disability), and we are both involved in charity/community work). But that's just me and my situation.

    I think you could certainly make a go of it, especially if you plant mostly fruit and nut trees that don't need daily care. If you haven't seen it, the Food Forest DVD is pretty good at explaining ways to set this up for minimal maintenance. If you can bring back boxes of fruit and nuts from each visit, you should be able to trade for a fair amount of home-grown vegies.

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