Brian Shepherd

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since Jul 26, 2011
Building a 40 acre homestead in north Florida for the day I move on from my current job.
Lakeland Florida zone 9
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Recent posts by Brian Shepherd

I live in Polk county and do a lot of experimenting in the yard.
I have a much larger farm experiment in north Florida it am working on as a future homestead. Www.40acrewoods.com
I have found that a mixture of wood and biochar in the ground and mulch on top of the sandy soil is awsome,
I am currently using this in some raised beds and it is outperforming anything I have done in the past.
Also, cover everything in sweet potatoes in the hot Florida summer.
The rest of the year make sure you are doing a heavy poly culture, I plant densely with many layers of plants and herbs to fill all the spaces.
6 years ago
After years of corporate struggle I found myself wondering why I was climbing that job ladder, what did I expect to have, will it make me happy?
I looked around at the world after 9/11, the bird flu, poison in our food, nuclear disaster, the loss of liberty and I started to realize that this was wrong and I did not want my kids to grow up in this world.
I found Jack Spirko's podcast and he reminded me of my Grandparents. I grew up in a poor community of hillbillies in Kentucky. We took care of each other and lived off the land.
Many of the things Jack said about permaculture reminded me of what my Grandparents did on the farm. It made sense to me, I have found something in permaculture that can make a positive change in the world.
8 years ago
I am on the side of eating the squirrels, but I have had some success keeping birds and squirrels out of my fruit by hanging a few big rubber snakes in the limbs. I like to let them dangle a little bit so they move in the breeze. I will usual move them around occasionally just to keep them nervous. Remove the snakes after the fruit is gone so the birds will come back and eat the bugs.

Brian
www.40acrewoods.com
8 years ago
I spent years looking at land in the internet. It helped me narrow my focus and understand what the cost would be for the land I wanted.
In the end I found 40 acres in Madison County Florida. I visited the area and talked with someone I knew who had also purchased land in that area.

I wanted:
Good road access on a county road with easy access to electrical utilities.
High and dry, mostly wooded land with a population of wild game.
Large parcels of land surrounding my property that will not be subdivided into dense housing or commercial use.
Land that had not been soaked with chemicals.

Madison County is great, low population farming county that does not bother me. Taxes are low.
You cannot build a house on less than 40 acres in the area I am in.
I am located near a state wildlife conversation area that borders the Suwannee river.

You can find great land around me for 2 to 3 thousand an acre in 40 acre parcels, most of it is currently covered in planted pines for the paper industry. You can keep the pines or sell them to loggers.
You can get it cheaper for larger parcels or parcels with swampy areas off the beaten track. Watch out for these, they can cost you a lot of money to run electrical if it is not there already.

Brian Shepherd
www.40acrewoods.com
8 years ago
I have never known Sassafras to be allopathic. It grew along roads and fence rows in Kentucky when I was a kid and I have it growing on my homestead in North Florida now surrounded by many varieties of plants. It seems to thrive in bushy areas and I enjoy the Sassafras tea.

Brian Shepherd
www.40acrewoods.com
8 years ago
I use a ample supply of rubber snakes on areas I want to keep the squirrels and birds away from. They work well on my fruit trees. I take the snakes off the tree when the fruit is gone so the birds will come back to eat the bugs. You may be able to control where the nuts are stored by putting some snakes where you do not want nuts.
8 years ago
I have grown sweet potatoes for many years in the sandy soil of central Florida. I have never replanted, I just leave any little ones I find while harvesting in the fall and a new crop comes back. I have only done this in a small garden space shared with many other vegetables. I grow lots of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc. in the space with the sweet potatoes in the winter and let the sweet potatoes take over the bed in the summer when it is too hot to grow other things. I get lots of sweet potatoes and the soil is ready to plant my winter garden after I dig up the sweet potatoes.
8 years ago
http://www.tradewindsfruitstore.com
They have Marula listed on Trade Winds Fruit, I have not purchased from them yet, but they sure have a lot of interesting seeds from around the world.
8 years ago
I purchased 40 acres in north Florida. It is mostly covered in pines, oaks, blueberries, American plums, holly and a few blackberries.
I have been planting loquats, peaches, pears, nectarines, apples, plums, figs, cherries and any other seed I can get my hands on. I plan to plant a lot of pecans this fall when they get ripe.
Question, I have a few camphor tree seedlings. Are there any benefits to adding these to my future homestead ? Some information points out the medical/herbal uses, others point out that they can be invasive.

BSHillbilly
8 years ago