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Old 09-29-2008, 09:02 PM
 
702 posts, read 2,080,050 times
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I want to start putting a dream into realistic action and would love to hear opinions of others who have a similar dream or who have accomplished such a thing.

I want to purchase a small parcel of undeveloped land, 2 to 5 acres, for under $10,000 cash. My goal is to develop the land into primarily potato crops along with other assorted vegetables. I want to build a small, simple house - something along the lines of a Tumbleweed tiny house, rammed earth, or something else non-traditional and eco-friendly with a composting toilet and alternative forms of energy. Having electricity isn't a priority, but a source of water is. I don't think there's any region in the US that has enough rainfall to subsist on, is there?. So then there's the issue of digging a well or routing irrigation canals.

I've researched southern New Mexico, where there is a lot of agriculture and a lot of cheap land - particularly Luna County. But everything has changed, and it seems they just don't want people moving there anymore, period. From what I gather, to build a house you have to have a minimum of 2 acres and install a septic system, dig a well, and wire electric to the house. I don't want that. I'm looking for unrestricted land rights to live as people did 100 years ago. New Mexico has also just enacted a new well-digging law - which I don't fully understand - but it sounds like it's only more difficult or downright impossible to get water.

I'm talking down & dirty here, temperate climate with a long or year-round growing season. Any ideas?
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,309,418 times
Reputation: 19849
I would insist on a couple things:

1. an area with no droughts, year around water. Both surface water and shallow well water.
[you will always need water. If you must fight to get water, that fight will never end. Even if you find water 400 feet down, you will always be chained to the fact that you can not hand pump it up. A deep well pump consumes a lot of wattage to run, so either a big bill on-grid, or a big off-grid system just to power the well]



2. an area where your farm's property taxes could be under $100 a year.
[I see land owners where their taxes are $5,000 or more. Each year no matter if their farm fails completely they must still pay that $5,000 to continue owning their land. My property taxes have been under $50 a year. It makes a big difference.]



3. don't pay over $1,000 per acre for the land.
[a mortgage sucks. It raises how much you need to earn, before you feed yourself.]
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:43 AM
 
24,841 posts, read 32,882,093 times
Reputation: 11471
Quote:
Originally Posted by fnord View Post
I want to start putting a dream into realistic action and would love to hear opinions of others who have a similar dream or who have accomplished such a thing.

I want to purchase a small parcel of undeveloped land, 2 to 5 acres, for under $10,000 cash. My goal is to develop the land into primarily potato crops along with other assorted vegetables. I want to build a small, simple house - something along the lines of a Tumbleweed tiny house, rammed earth, or something else non-traditional and eco-friendly with a composting toilet and alternative forms of energy. Having electricity isn't a priority, but a source of water is. I don't think there's any region in the US that has enough rainfall to subsist on, is there?. So then there's the issue of digging a well or routing irrigation canals.

I've researched southern New Mexico, where there is a lot of agriculture and a lot of cheap land - particularly Luna County. But everything has changed, and it seems they just don't want people moving there anymore, period. From what I gather, to build a house you have to have a minimum of 2 acres and install a septic system, dig a well, and wire electric to the house. I don't want that. I'm looking for unrestricted land rights to live as people did 100 years ago. New Mexico has also just enacted a new well-digging law - which I don't fully understand - but it sounds like it's only more difficult or downright impossible to get water.

I'm talking down & dirty here, temperate climate with a long or year-round growing season. Any ideas?
Central America. Honduras is nice.
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Old 09-30-2008, 08:28 AM
 
Location: The Woods
17,089 posts, read 22,607,566 times
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Unorganized areas in Alaska. Northern Maine might be good too. Potatoes do good in cooler weather anyways.
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,540 posts, read 55,461,975 times
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You REALLY need to do more research. Potatoes? Why potatoes? They are susceptible to blight, have almost no value as a cash crop due to the massive farms in Idaho, and once a field is infected the area may not be able to successfully handle a crop for years.

Water - do the math sometime on rainfall and you'll be amazed just how much water falls on a 100' x 100' area with even an inch of rain. Roofs with gutters and cisterns used to be common. Couple those with some of the newer water filtration systems, and you can have ample water for household use if you are prudent.

Land use laws are increasingly restrictive, especially in regards to water and riparian rights. Good luck on that. One way to increase your chances of success is to find recent settlements of Mennonites or Amish folk. They seek out inexpensive decent agricultural land.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:08 PM
 
24,841 posts, read 32,882,093 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
You REALLY need to do more research. Potatoes? Why potatoes? They are susceptible to blight, have almost no value as a cash crop due to the massive farms in Idaho, and once a field is infected the area may not be able to successfully handle a crop for years.

Water - do the math sometime on rainfall and you'll be amazed just how much water falls on a 100' x 100' area with even an inch of rain. Roofs with gutters and cisterns used to be common. Couple those with some of the newer water filtration systems, and you can have ample water for household use if you are prudent.

Land use laws are increasingly restrictive, especially in regards to water and riparian rights. Good luck on that. One way to increase your chances of success is to find recent settlements of Mennonites or Amish folk. They seek out inexpensive decent agricultural land.
There is a lot of Amish around where I live. They get around a few things by calling their homes a church. But, the heath department is really getting nasty with them now.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,309,418 times
Reputation: 19849
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
You REALLY need to do more research. Potatoes? Why potatoes? They are susceptible to blight, have almost no value as a cash crop due to the massive farms in Idaho, and once a field is infected the area may not be able to successfully handle a crop for years.

Water - do the math sometime on rainfall and you'll be amazed just how much water falls on a 100' x 100' area with even an inch of rain. Roofs with gutters and cisterns used to be common. Couple those with some of the newer water filtration systems, and you can have ample water for household use if you are prudent.

Land use laws are increasingly restrictive, especially in regards to water and riparian rights. Good luck on that. One way to increase your chances of success is to find recent settlements of Mennonites or Amish folk. They seek out inexpensive decent agricultural land.
Everything is susceptible to blight, or virus, or whatever.

Roof collection of rainfall into cisterns works for apartment dwelling for small households. However self-sufficient farming requires a bit more water.

From what I have seen 'land use' laws are often in favor of homesteading and farming.
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Old 10-01-2008, 01:28 PM
 
Location: In the Pearl of the Purchase, Ky
7,772 posts, read 13,223,327 times
Reputation: 32212
As far as an off grid homestead, you need to go to the Tennessee thread. There is a couple with some acreage in east Tennessee who are building an off grid home and she gives weekly reports in the thread ("Going off grid in east Tennessee") about what's been done. We've read along from the digging out the side of the hill to now putting cabinets in. They are going well water, solar and wind for electricity. There are no building codes in their county. I started reading it and couldn't stop!
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Old 10-01-2008, 08:33 PM
 
702 posts, read 2,080,050 times
Reputation: 650
Thank you all for the replies, I am taking them all in.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:01 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 9,944,984 times
Reputation: 3960
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
You REALLY need to do more research. Potatoes? Why potatoes? They are susceptible to blight, have almost no value as a cash crop due to the massive farms in Idaho, and once a field is infected the area may not be able to successfully handle a crop for years.

Water - do the math sometime on rainfall and you'll be amazed just how much water falls on a 100' x 100' area with even an inch of rain. Roofs with gutters and cisterns used to be common. Couple those with some of the newer water filtration systems, and you can have ample water for household use if you are prudent.

Land use laws are increasingly restrictive, especially in regards to water and riparian rights. Good luck on that. One way to increase your chances of success is to find recent settlements of Mennonites or Amish folk. They seek out inexpensive decent agricultural land.
You need to do more research, Harry

I am betting $10 that our guy is thinking fuel. As in vodka. From potatoes. Good math and a good plan.

The hardware intensive rain catchment your are talking about is ok for watering a greenhouse, garden or yard, but fnord is talking acreage -- I would consider some creek/swampish area and dig an irrigation pond.

fnord -- have you looked at the Snake River valley of Idaho? It goes dry in the Summer from what I recall, but tends to be good potato area. dunno, just pondering -- interested in your line of thinking, so let's dig into this. I am looking at doing what you are talking on about 25 acres of family farmland in East Texas -- former Yam (sweet potato) land that has been fallow for about 20 years.
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