TSP Homestead First Year in Review on Video — 51 Comments

  1. Will there be a TSP get-together at Permaculture Voices or is the schedule just too full to accomodate one?

  2. This was a great snapshot of ‘before.’ Can’t wait to see what it’s like after the workshop and then as the years go by. Thanks for all you do Jack!

  3. Thanks so much for this Jack and Josiah! I really enjoyed this and it helped me understand hugel beds much more. Something about seeing it visually. I lived on a 100 acre farm in Princeton for three years and we had chickens – they are wonderful. Once you’ve had them, you always miss them. Loved seeing the geese too. I can’t wait to see the update two, three, five years from now.

  4. @Jack,
    Man, your place has progressed so far. I have been patiently waiting for a video like this for some time now. These videos are fantastic, and more importantly, inspiring. I have a 1/3 acre property in a small town in Kansas. Only time and budget stands in my way. Keep inspiring people, buddy.

    I had a good laugh on your literal comment. 😉

  5. I sat at the lunch table at work, all the usual collegues joined, then we somehow started talking about what we would do if the jobs would end (the company would fold). And I started about, maybe I would start alternative agriculture. Blank stares. I talked about that since 60 years ago, alternative agriculte hasn’t sit still, did make remarkable progress, by now outperforms production/acre! but it is more intensive, meaning more people involved, meaning you can buy a smaller plot and be successfull, meaning the small towns will fill up again. Smiles at the table, the bought it!. Then I talked about how the current system is failing in a way, since fetus in the mothers womb already have agricultural poinsons in their blood! blank stares. Too much information!, I have to learn to moderate. To Jack I will say, My lunch table says “We are not there yet, they can’t comprehend, and their psychological defense (deny, deny, deny) strong!”.

  6. Can’t wait to have some quiet time to watch this video. I added it to the wiki page for the TSP Homestead, Hopefully this page will continue to grow as more workshops are completed and as things grow. I could see it turning into a really cool way to track before and afters.

    I also think I’ll make a workshop page so we can all see have awesome all of the events are in one place.

  7. Excellent work guys! You work well together. The video flowed very nicely. Keep it up.

  8. I enjoyed the summary of your property and processes. What’s your long-term goal for the property? Specifically, are you looking to start then restart somewhere else or follow this property to it’s maximum development. I’d love to follow the process to maturity. Strong work. Great explanations.

  9. like everyone else said, great video. It’s good to have a clearer picture of what you’re working with. Thanks!

  10. Flat out inspiring. Your place is going to stand out from the surrounding properties just like Geoff’s ‘Greening the Desert 2.0’ site does in that brown, barren Jordanian landscape. Amazing stuff.

    And what a big, beautiful boy Charlie has grown into! I love when the dogs are in your videos.

  11. Great Video. I have been filming once a month at noon just walking around my land so I can look back and not only see the changes but, the sun angles at the different times of the year.

  12. So wonderful! And so many more improvements since just October when I was there. I can’t wait to get to another workshop. Thanks, Jack, Josiah, and Dorothy!

  13. Great video! Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I know it took much longer than the 1:19.
    A perfect example of “Leading by example.”

  14. Hey All,

    I’m on a small 3/16th acre standard suburban lot right now, with the dream of having more property in the next 5-10 years. This might sound like a silly question, but I am having a very hard time perceiving how large a three acre property is. In my mind I needed a 10+ acre property to do all the things Jack talks about, but his property seems enormous to me.

    I did some quick Google Mapping, and it looks like one acre would be roughly the size of three of my lots wide, and two of my lots deep (durr, 6 lots of my size, each at 3/16th of an acre is 18/16th acres). To me, that is still pretty limiting to do anything significant. So then I looked at my entire block, and that is 6.3 acres, and that feels enormous!

    So my question to any of you who are doing this, or have significant plans to do this – how much land do you think is enough?

    • Like many things in permaculture it depends. It depends on what you wish to accomplish. If you do not care about larger livestock (goats, sheep, cows, etc) than you do not need much land at all. You can grow a LOT of food on 1/10th of an acre. If you have a small piece you can still grow small livestock like chickens, fish, rabbits… 1/10th of an acre is plenty to grow 80% of your food for a four member family.
      Smaller properties are much more managed than larger properties. This allows for more creative designs and can be a lot of fun.

    • I totally agree with Josiah. It’s a matter of what you want.

      If you’re looking for food production, small is plenty fine. In fact, the larger you get the more of the time it takes for you to manage it all. You need large acreage for at least a few things. Non-Food Resource harvesting/management, “sustainable” animal management, “sustainable” aquaculture, and zone 3 style cropping come to mind.

      You cannot have a small property and expect to get much resources (outside of food) on it. You need space for things like hickory trees, black locust trees (growing them to full length for fence posts), Moso bamboo (for building) and other actual resources. Woodland management for any usable amount of material requires acreage.

      You also need quite a bit of land (and properly designed) for larger animals. I have 8.5 acres of which 1+ acre of it is open/cleared, and I can tell you it, especially in the winter time cannot feed my 2 boer goats (who are also pregnant). I do not have enough brush/weeds in the winter, especially, on this single acre to feed these animals without resorting to haying or purchasing feed. One possibility is increasing the amount of brush that I have on acre, but now I’m sacrificing space for other things, of which when you have 1 acre and you’re doing ALOT of things on it, large space is a premium.

      Another thing that larger acreage gives you is the ability to do zone 3 style cropping like jack has talked about. Growing things like amaranth, millet, and grains in bulk to be able to feed animals in off seasons. Basically fodder without having to sprout seeds. You need space for that. Yes you can grow a little bit, but every bit you allocate towards that, is no longer available for something else.

    • I moved to five acres 18 months ago. We used less than 1/2 acre of it last year, and will use almost an acre of it this year. Last year I had 2 zone 1 gardens, 25 chickens, 15 turkeys, a large garden including corn, and 1 large zone 4 hugelbed (70x12x4 feet). This year we’re putting in 400 feet of swale + food forest (150 trees) zone 4, two small hugels in zone 1, grape arbor, mushroom logs, and doubling the size of the garden to 6,000-8,000 sq feet. When most people think “garden” they think 100-500 square feet. An acre is 40,000 square feet.

      The other 4.5 acres we just hayed last year, and this year our neighbor will probably graze his beef cattle on the 4 acres we’re not using. An acre is plenty for us, but we’re happy to have the extra room for more zone 4 type stuff and to be able to do large animals if we want.

      Hope it helps.

    • For me, the biggest “it depends” when you are talking about what and how much you can do with a property, is how much water it gets- but I’ve spent a good part of my life in arid climates. When I went from high desert to the lushness of North Carolina, even in what they thought was a severe drought, I was able to do much more on much less land.

      If you want to develop a better idea of how much land is in certain size parcels, look up your local parks- mine all say on the city/county/state/whatever website how big the park is in acres, so you can just go and walk two acres, five acres, ten acres, etc.

    • Thanks again for all the comments, this has helped tremendously! I cannot fathom a 6000 square foot garden though. 🙂 I have two 12’x6′ beds, and it is a good chunk of work to handle just those. Thinking of 83 of those beds makes me faint… But again I am only at the point of growing for my family and only just started canning/jarring. I know a lot of folks are growing to sell, or to have significant stores. One of my co-workers just finally ran out of the last of his canned tomatoes (in late March), so he had 5+ months of canned tomatoes, which is awesome!

      I went to a friend’s new house this past weekend on six acres, and that definitely seems like a good mix of more than enough property, but not so far out in the booneys that my wife would be convinced an axe murderer would be around every corner. I think ultimately I would like a more rectangular property, so you aren’t a half mile away from your nearest neighbor, but still have a ton of property in the back for a play area for the kids and beyond that the zone 2-4 growing areas.

      Unfortunately our kids are young, so we do have to consider schools. But to give you guys an idea why you should move to Michigan – this property is 20 minutes from most many major cities in southeast Michigan, had an unbelievably large house (5 bed, 3 bath, 4000+ sq feet), on six acres, and sold for $60k! And as Jack always mentions, we have some super deep topsoil here. 🙂

      • This is a type of system you can only manage with such little man power by using two things.

        1. Animals
        2. Perennials

        Tune in to today’s show for more.

  15. who here can provide a link to the tool jack mentioned at the end of the video called the “fukensteimer”.


    • Ive never seen one online, Sepp Holzer described it at an event I attended.

  16. What a great video! I need to watch it several more times just to absorb all the ideas. Your enthusiasm for growing things and improving the soils is contagious. I did a search for the fuchensteiner hoe but could not find it.

  17. It was great hearing how excited you two got tying this up at the end. I can’t wait until we can visit again.

  18. Oh, and I want to be one of Jo’s resident farmers!

    Making that German Hoe video you used at the end was one of my favorite videos we did during that first wood-core bed workshop. Thanks for all you guys do – whether you know it or not, you are a big part of my life and inspiration.

  19. Wow is all I have to say. We have a small plot 90×125 with a 2 story on it. Dogs fenced yard on septic. Pretty been like this for the last 23 years. But I love what you have. I live in one of those counties in Florida here you are only allowed 4 hens.

    But double thumbs up #jack

  20. Jack, where did you get that non-electrified portable poultry net fence? Any chance of getting a link to that?

    Also, it seems that some folks are more savvy with the comment-system than I. How do I log in and set up a profile picture?

  21. Try the Pixie Crunch apple if you want an apple that tastes great with low chill hours. It is my favorite apple in the world and grows in SW GA! Kind of like Gala – but better . I think we got ours at Gurneys.

  22. Great video. Wonderfully informative. You must have awesome instincts and or you lucked out with Josiah, Jack. Looking forward to more. – D.

  23. Jack or Josiah, I noticed you guys used wood as the boundary for the base of the second water tank. Is that pressure treated or otherwise protected wood or do you guys just not have to worry about termites due to the shallow rock you have? If I put in a structure like that here in Georgia, and didn’t use some kind of significantly resistant wood, that structure would be gone in 3 years.
    This is the same worry I have using significant amounts of wood chips as mulch. A couple of piles I have around waiting to be used are already infested with termites after only months of sitting on the ground. I don’t mind so much when it’s a few hundred feet from the house but right up near the foundation I have to be careful. Curious what your situation is. Love the show and all the updates.

    • Great question GA Mike. Yes, the wood around that water tank platform is treated lumber from Home Depot.

      While we do not have to worry about termites, we do have to worry about water from the tank rotting the wood. It would be difficult to have to replace the wood as they are all staked together and support the weight of the sand and tank.

  24. Jack, that was awesome! It was so fun to see so many ideas in action in real life! So helpful instead of just reading about them in books. Thanks for sharing what you’re doing. I’m going to show my husband and girls tonight.

    We have heavy equipment coming tomorrow to help dig more swales on our raw land. My daughters homeschool and my oldest is doing permaculture for her biology lab. Your video will be part of her school today (as was your Backyard Orcharding podcast yesterday). Thanks!

    Love your show,

  25. Jack, great video so far. I had to stop listening 10 min into it as I have to keep switching my head phones around. You speak through the right channel and Josiah is on the left (or the other way around). No biggie, except I can’t hear in my left ear. Would be nice if you both came through on both audio channels.