Farmer, gardener or forester?
With a small patch of land it's best not to pigeon hole yourself and you need to do a bit of everything to make it work, but it's easy to concentrate on one way more than another. There are many sub divisions to them all as well and they all blur together (agroforestry, permaculture, etc).
I always assumed that when I had a patch of land I'd be going down the traditional agriculture route, after all it's the way I brought up - on a mixed farm. I thought I'd get stock straight away, but I've concentrated on other things first, mainly the horticultural side of things.
This was driven home the other day when I had a friend walk round the homestead and she remarked on how much I had achieved in three years, whereas a phone call with my dad earlier that day he remarked that I hadn't done much with the land yet. Two different points of view but my father is very much of the traditional agricultural mindset, and my three fields have only really been cropped for hay so he has a point, the trees and the garden he sees as a sideline.
It's obvious when I think about it now, with a much smaller acreage than a farm any smallholding lends itself much better to horticulture than agriculture. Generally what I do is far more labour intensive and on a much smaller scale than what a farmer would do, but my returns can be much higher in food produced. I watched a video the other day where it said that an experienced gardener can produce five times the weight of vegetables than a farmer growing a cereal crop, I've no idea if this figure is correct or not but it sounds about right, even when I think about the weight of my squash harvest from two 4ftx10ft beds last year and compare that to the amount of wheat I would have got from the same space.
So today (Saturday) I'm continuing with my horticultural endeavours and I'm ploughing another patch of land to grow more vegetables and a small tree nursery (and maybe a small patch of grain as an experiment). I'm hoping to try to make this little patch earn it's keep by growing fruit trees I've grafted myself for sale and some more patches of beans and squashes that I might try to sell.
I am planning on getting stock this year, but, for me at least, horticulture is taking priority over agriculture at the moment.
Which way do you think you lean when it comes to what you do with your patch, no matter how big or small? Would you go in a completely different direction to me?