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Old 01-19-2009, 09:24 PM
 
4 posts, read 11,731 times
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I am looking for a county where I could buy a few acres in Michigan, in the lower half of the lower peninsula. I'm a gardener and was wondering which counties I should look at, ones that have decent soil for gardening. I know that this is not uniform, but some places (like the Lake Michigan shoreline) are too sandy for gardening. Probably somewhere west of U.S. 23 and no farther north than Mt Pleasant or Big Rapids. On my acreage, along with a large garden I want to plant some apple and peach trees, perhaps a few nut trees. Not too much sand, not too much clay. Some type of loam would be good .
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:39 PM
 
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Van Buren and Berrien Counties have longer growing seasons due to warmth from the Lake. They also get more rain. Excellent fruit and berry growing.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by skyl4rk View Post
Van Buren and Berrien Counties have longer growing seasons due to warmth from the Lake. They also get more rain. Excellent fruit and berry growing.
Thanks, Skyl4rk. Do you know what kind of soil they have? In general, that is.
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Old 01-20-2009, 07:05 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 37,485,280 times
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Originally Posted by katieMich View Post
I am looking for a county where I could buy a few acres in Michigan, in the lower half of the lower peninsula. I'm a gardener and was wondering which counties I should look at, ones that have decent soil for gardening. I know that this is not uniform, but some places (like the Lake Michigan shoreline) are too sandy for gardening. Probably somewhere west of U.S. 23 and no farther north than Mt Pleasant or Big Rapids. On my acreage, along with a large garden I want to plant some apple and peach trees, perhaps a few nut trees. Not too much sand, not too much clay. Some type of loam would be good .
Damn, I better tell all the farmers and gardeners around here the soil is too poor to grow the apple, peaches, cherries, potatoes, carrots, plums, onions, corn, various grains, strawberries, and every other kind of fruit and veggie you can think of.

Just trying to say; Don't rule out an area without actually looking at it. There are farms and gardens all along the Lake Michigan shoreline that grow anything you can think of. If it grows in Michigan, it can grow here as well. Plus it extends and moderates the growing season due to the influence of the lake on the weather. There are some VERY GOOD land close to the Lake, so keep looking, and good luck.
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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You have to look at an individual property. Some counties have lots of farms, but a lot of the soil is drained of nutrients due to over farming. My parents live in Oakland county - Not a farming mecca generally, but they have a swamp in the front yard and the soil near the swamp is execellent. Their garden was amazing. The vegetables grew fast and huge. We would bring garbage cans full of food to church to give away Sunday after Sunday.

They had 20 + apple trees (part of a really old orchard) and planted peaches, pears and apricots without too much trouble (the apricots did not produce very well). There were several dozen wallnut and a few hickory trees. The apples grew very well. We ate tons of them, fed them to our horses, gave away some, sold some along the road, and took the rest to the cider mill. 20 trees is more than you will want. As the old trees died, Dad replaced them with dwarf apple trees of more mixed varieties. These still prduced an awful lot of apples (except one tree the produced giant apples - it only generated a few apples each year, sometimes none.)

One thing about trees, you want to find property that already has them. Otherwise you will wiat about for to five years for fruit trees to become productive and longer for nut trees. If you do plant fruit trees, I suggest dwarf varieties. It is not worth breaking you leg trying to get at the tops of full sized apple trees.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Northern Lower Michigan
107 posts, read 263,040 times
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Originally Posted by Bydand View Post
Damn, I better tell all the farmers and gardeners around here the soil is too poor to grow the apple, peaches, cherries, potatoes, carrots, plums, onions, corn, various grains, strawberries, and every other kind of fruit and veggie you can think of.

Just trying to say; Don't rule out an area without actually looking at it. There are farms and gardens all along the Lake Michigan shoreline that grow anything you can think of. If it grows in Michigan, it can grow here as well. Plus it extends and moderates the growing season due to the influence of the lake on the weather. There are some VERY GOOD land close to the Lake, so keep looking, and good luck.

Had to chuckle myself at that. Traverse City is the Cherry capital, but according to the original poster you wouldn't think that.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:41 AM
 
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Most of Michigan has heavy clay soil that is a royal pain to garden in. Avoid Washtenaw County at all costs, unless you are heavily into building raised beds. Livingston County is remarkably light and sandy, easy to amend. Where I grew up in Wayne County (close to where it rubs up against Macomb County) there were about 4" of rich, loamy soil before you hit clay that was much easier to work than the ceramics-quality stuff in Washtenaw. But if you dug deeper than a foot the hole would fill up with water. In Oakland County I only had apts and couldn't garden anyway.

I hope I'm not being too discouraging.
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Old 01-21-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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I lived in Calhoun County for most of my life and gardened there. Liked it fine but did think that the soil had a fair amount of clay in it (of course it did vary, I had a friend across town who had great black dirt loam). That is till I moved to Nebraska. Wow. They have a fine silty clay that is hell to garden in. So I'd say Calhoun County is place to consider.
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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My sister used to live in Stockbridge which is a farming area like Livingston, very likely to have affordable parcels of the sort you are looking for. The land in good and loose, but in some places overworked.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Midland, MI
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Regarding Washtenaw County (probably holds true for many places), the soil really varies. I owned 13 acres and there were areas all on the same piece of property with sand, heavy clay, while others had fabulous black soil. Just depends, although there is a lot of clay there.
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