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arcadianhaven

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Good morning all!

I wanted to share our plan for how we wish to maintain our soils at the ranch for our gardening purposes, and see if you had any feedcback. We are new to this, and have read much, but nothing beats real world experience.

We are going to be doing 15 1 acre pastures that we will be raising sheep, and pigs on. They will free graze and be grass fed (with legumes) solely. We will be using guinea fowl and chickens for pest control.

My thought was this, we have 2 acres for our gardening. Our soil is 4 feet of sandy loam, covered by large trees. I had thought that after we rotate the animals to each new pasture, to gather some of the manure etc, and compost it. We then "till" it into the garden areas in between each crop to help rpelenish the soil. My wife is planning on rotating what we grow so we don't "vamp" the soils to much.

What do you all think, seriously any feed back would be welcome. our intent is to be 100% organic and healthy to our aniumals and our land.

Good morning all!

I wanted to share our plan for how we wish to maintain our soils at the ranch for our gardening purposes, and see if you had any feedcback. We are new to this, and have read much, but nothing beats real world experience.

We are going to be doing 15 1 acre pastures that we will be raising sheep, and pigs on. They will free graze and be grass fed (with legumes) solely. We will be using guinea fowl and chickens for pest control.

My thought was this, we have 2 acres for our gardening. Our soil is 4 feet of sandy loam, covered by large trees. I had thought that after we rotate the animals to each new pasture, to gather some of the manure etc, and compost it. We then "till" it into the garden areas in between each crop to help rpelenish the soil. My wife is planning on rotating what we grow so we don't "vamp" the soils to much.

What do you all think, seriously any feed back would be welcome. our intent is to be 100% organic and healthy to our aniumals and our land.

Evan McGee
Chief Ranch Hand / Owner
http://www.arcadianhaven.com
 

Bootheel

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I surely want to see the methods of poop gathering from sheep and pigs, on pasture. Maybe a battery operated vaccume cleaner or pto powered. Is pto powered organic? Maybe horse drawn, wheel driven powered vaccume. Either way it is going to suck. Staying within the parameters of ''organic'' is as challenging as being a ''vegetarian''. Good luck to you either way.


Bootheel
 

jigs

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my organic neighbor, who is a few sandwiches short of a picnic, never had a bathroom in his house. and he decided to open a bed and breakfast...so, he knew people were going to want to have an indoor crapper.... his plan was to get an RV toilet, put it on the second story of the house, run a gutter spout out the house to a 55 gallon barrle.... then use the contents on the garden the next year....

needless to say, I never accepted vegetables from him again, and it pretty much summed up my opinion on organic operations...

some chemicle is needed, too much is bad...a happy medium is what we strive for,
 

Mike

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Split the garden in half with a fence. Plant & rotate a crop of Sunn Hemp. Mob graze the sheep in on the hemp. You'll get nitrogen from the hemp and other nutrients from sheep manure.

Let the sheep bring the manure to the garden instead of you hauling it in.
 

balestabber

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you can get alot of knowledge on organic farming by visiting a third world country.from collecting poop to irrigation and varmit control.
 

Kato

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To those who think it's fun to put down organic farmers, think about it first. I bet most of the ranchers on this site are darn near organic themselves, and don't even know it. Other than medication for sick animals, and perhaps some ivomec, what's not organic about pasture and hay?

arcadiahaven, I will share with you some things I've learned.

The 15 one acre pastures is OK, as long as you stock them at the right density. The pigs WILL dig them up, and the sheep will eat them down, so stock accordingly, and rotate often. If you want manure for your garden, it will be difficult to get it from your pastures, unless you lock up your sheep for lambing, for instance. The pastures will make good use of the manure anyway. You'll find a way.

If your fences will hold water, they will hold sheep. :wink: And pigs :wink: . This means you must have good fences.

Do you have a plan for predator control?

Guinea fowl are noisy. Chickens will eat bugs, but if they find your beets, you may not be able to locate where the row used to be. :lol: Guess how I know that?

If an animal gets sick, are you prepared to leave the organic world and treat it? Your profit margin will benefit, even if it means selling that animal into the regular market. Some people will try all kinds of off the wall cures, to the detriment of their livestock. Don't let philosophy get in the way of your bottom line.

Check out http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/#livestock-forums

You'll get answers from people who are in your exact situation, and who take such things seriously.

Good luck.
 

gearhead

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I will add that probiotics will be your best friend for trying to stay organic and disease free. At first sign of sickness just give a good blast. I found that probiotcs can stop a lot of stuff if caught early and aggressively administered.
 

S.S.A.P.

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I visited the website and I am wondering when the photos were taken. Are there some open meadows, because there doesn't look to be much growth under the trees? It also says you do not move in/take possesion until August. Hopefully the place is more productive than those photos indicate.
 

gcreekrch

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S.S.A.P. said:
I visited the website and I am wondering when the photos were taken. Are there some open meadows, because there doesn't look to be much growth under the trees? It also says you do not move in/take possesion until August. Hopefully the place is more productive than those photos indicate.

Those were my thoughts also.
 

RSL

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If it were me, I would consider fencing a portion of the garden and bale grazing organic hay to build some tilth and organic matter in the soil. That would provide ample manure, nitrogen, etc. concentrated on the site.
I don't view organic as being off the beaten path. There are some tremendous market opportunities in the organic/local marketplace.
We are not organic but one of the advantages of organic that I see, and we try to implement here is that you are forced to ascertain what is causing a problem, rather than just treating the symptoms. Eg: what is causing the weeds becomes a real question that must be solved, when a chemical application is not an option.
I would also PM Pure Country, as I believe their operation is certified and he has done a bunch of work on soils.
 

arcadianhaven

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For those who offered serious replies, thank You. I appreciate the input, as our site says we are just getting started and are hoping to avoid as many of the mistakes that you all made as we can :D ..

I prefer to seek wisdom then act, so we are just starting our operations, and our plan will be getting tweaked a bit thanks to your input!

The site is currently a lot of trees, and we are de-vegging the scrub etc, but am hoping to keep as many of the trees as we can, and then get some nice legume grasses etc growing under them.

When we say organic, we aren't sure if we will certify in 3 years or not, sometimes I think certs. can get in the way of goo healthy practices. Until then though we will be working as an organic farm to allow us that opportunity should it prove sound.

Thanks again for the serious replies, I can only assume those were the serious ranchers.

Evan
 

Larrry

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Oh, everyone is pretty serious on here. There is always some yahoo who comes on here with motives of some sort. Some people just want the newcomers to prove they are serious first.
Hope your endeavor works out
 

LazyWP

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arcadianhaven said:
For those who offered serious replies, thank You. I appreciate the input, as our site says we are just getting started and are hoping to avoid as many of the mistakes that you all made as we can :D ..

I prefer to seek wisdom then act, so we are just starting our operations, and our plan will be getting tweaked a bit thanks to your input!

The site is currently a lot of trees, and we are de-vegging the scrub etc, but am hoping to keep as many of the trees as we can, and then get some nice legume grasses etc growing under them.

When we say organic, we aren't sure if we will certify in 3 years or not, sometimes I think certs. can get in the way of goo healthy practices. Until then though we will be working as an organic farm to allow us that opportunity should it prove sound.

Thanks again for the serious replies, I can only assume those were the serious ranchers.

Evan

I am going to be a bit nit picky here, but as far as I know, there are no legume grasses. I do applaud your desire to try this, but give yourself room to use chemicals if the need arises.
 

mrj

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Best wishes for your dreams to be fulfilled at arcadianhaven.

We can't really get a picture of what your preparations have been, what your knowledge of organic, or any other farming involves from your current website content, so........basing my comment mostly on your dreams, I hope you can find some good help from people such as NRCS and ag colleges in your area. Even Master Gardeners could be of help.

From your description of your soils, you may not need the soil building help of a popular crop in 'north country', which is a mix of seeds of turnips, radishes, and livestock forage crops. The plus for you would be in quick feed for your animals, and even some 'people' food', as well as the 'green manure' to till into your gardens and pastures.

Are you so fortunate as to have pecan trees among those we see in your photo's? That could be a great cash crop.

Networking with other organic farmers in the area could be valuable to you if you are new to gardening and raising animals. Even volunteering or getting a job on a respected, successful organic farm could be helpful.

Hopefully, you are not so 'green' at this concept as you appear. If you are, you will need tons of luck to weather the mistakes even veterans still make!

Obviously, you are having fun. Here's hoping you fulfill enough of your dreams for that to continue.

mrj
 

PureCountry

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I highly recommend testing your soils first, and amending them as needed. Get yourself some books, such as:
"Biological Theory of Ionization" by Dr. Carey Reams
"The Albrecht Papers" by Dr. William A. Albrecht, available through AcresUSA.com
"Grass Productivity" by Andre Voisin
"Secrets of the Soil" by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird
"Fertility Pastures" by Newman Turner.
Also check out gsrcalcium.com as their products will balance your soils as fast as any on the market.

Educate yourself on what balanced healthy soil is, then do it on this property BEFORE trying to grow crops or livestock. You have the advantage of starting from scratch. Do it right, start with the soil while making your living doing whatever it is you currently do.

When Calcium, Magnesium, Phos and other trace minerals are in proper ratios in the soil, you will grow crops and raise livestock that do not need chemical band aids. Trust me, do it right, you won't regret it.
 

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