Six Acre Holding
At the time of writing this we have only just had the idea of doing this. The business cards are printed and we are starting to tell people about this so that we can recruit members. It is a tiny acorn but the shoot is starting to grow.
We are very aware that we are inviting a group of people who do not know each other to share something that can be rewarding but which can also be frustrating, heartbreaking and a challenge. It may be a bit like working with a committee and to get things done we need some good ground rules to start with so that people can happy carry on with the "job in hand". To facilitate this the owners of the land will always have the deciding vote.
We want this to be a happy experience and as we are starting from scratch it is a good idea to have a plan to start with. Obviously soil, the slope of the land and where the sun is will have an effect on where things will go but we would like to follow the plan as set out in John Seymour's Book "The New Complete Book of Self Sufficiency".
This book offers a template for a smallholding as well as chapters which set out the basics that are needed to get started. Of course these are basics, no book could cover everything or it would make the Encyclopaedia Britannica look like a mini book. We will hopefully have people's personal experience but we also have a good library of books, magazines and there is always the internet to find out what to do.
No two smallholdings are the same but having a general idea of what we are going to do would be a good start.
We will have the flexibility to develop the plan which will depend on what the Founder Members are interested in. The Smallholding will also develop. We have set out ideas but if these are not what is needed by the Members this plan can easily be adapted.
The first task that would need to be completed is as always the fences. There are pigs so unless you are really keen on digging good fences will allow these animals to do the hard work for you. They will eat the weeds, turn it into pork and that will then feed you. You will be left with a clear patch which is free of roots and beautifully turned over. This is why it is essential to get Members now. The pigs are ready, willing and able but if you need the land cleared by planting time they will need some time to get on with it.
The soil will need to be tested and it may be that we need to add some lime. We will definitely have to add compost but that can build up. There is thankfully a lot of compost which we inherited when we moved in here and possibly another huge mound of it which was piled up years ago which could be dug up and used. It is well rotted and if we can get it on the land quickly enough it can be turned in by the worms. As the pigs clear a patch it can be composted and covered with black plastic so that next year it will be possible to plant as soon as possible.
We would like to be Organic or at least Chemical Free. It was very tempting to spray and plough when we first got here but we have resisted the temptation. We need to be proven right now and for the pigs to do the work.
There will be plenty of compost every year from the barns. This year we won't have bracken compost available as that needs cows. Goats can't have it as they would eat it! In the spring we will have straw and goat manure prepared compost though.
We will have to purchase or be given tools to get started. To keep them safe we will need to create a Tool Shed so that it is easy to find what is needed when it is needed.
POLYTUNNEL AND SPRING PLANTING
Once we have paid memberships coming in we can buy a polytunnel. We will have to look into the legal position and whether we need to get planning permission. If we have to we will.
We have a good selection of pots already. We have seed trays, small pots and bigger pots. We still have to pick up more so by the time everything is gathered together we should have more than enough to start the spring planting.
We will have to decide the prime spot for putting in a polytunnel and choose which company can provide the best one for the money. It may be possible to build one using blue pipe. The smallholding across the road has built a really nice one in this way.
COLD FRAMES and HOT FRAMES
We need people who can make these. We can provide the materials or scavenge them if necessary.