Our family just purchased our first chunk of land in Bonner County, north Idaho. We’re here to soak in and learn everything we can to set ourselves up
to develop our 5 acres into eventually being our dream homestead. For the time being we’re living in town an hour away but will be spending every bit of our free time up there, which will be 4 days a week for the next 5 months. Eventually we plan to live full time on the property but that’s years down the road.
For now I’d love any suggestions on resources specific to our area as we look at improving the land and soil now so that in a number of years we can start to capitalize on it. Any well known successful homesteaders who have blogs or YouTube channels in this area we should follow?
We have pure sand that goes down for hundreds of feet as we’re adjacent to the pend orielle river. The property is mostly all ponderosa, some quite large and old, all level and good southern exposure with one .75 acre south facing steep hillside down to a 5 acre pond that our property is partially encompassing.
I see our largest obstacle being amending the soil after decades of nothing but pine needles and some struggling grasses growing in the shady forest floor. We plan to gradually clear the land and process the trees into lumber for our home and other buildings and sell what lumber we can’t use, we have a bandsaw mill for this purpose.
What are some good resources for soils testing and guidance on amending the soil to eventually be more conducive for pasturing animals?
Any growing we do in the next few years will be in raised beds with topsoil we bring in or amend with compost we produce on site.
If we want to plant fruit trees ASAP what is the best approach for dealing with our existing soil conditions? I am figuring it will be along the lines of digging oversized holes and filling with better soil before planting.
We have so many hopes and dreams but are wanting to take logical steps with a long term plan in mind now as we start out.
Welcome aboard, Steven! Congrats on the property and the determination to give 'er a go! I'm nowhere near you but would recommend your county extension agent (that's the title here, yours may differ). They're usually set up at the county government offices. Ours has pamphlets, classes and other educational material on your particular geographic area. He can help you test the soil and water. He's also a wealth of information concerning livestock and gardening. What he doesn't know he can find out for you.
ETC(SW) US Navy, retired
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