My wife and I are embarking on a "semi-retirement homesteading"
adventure on 13 acres on the central Texas Gulf Coast.
The land has not been in agricultural production in at least 15 years,
this being the time period we've owned it.
When last it was, it was in watermelons. In fact, it is textbook
watermelon land, since it is fine deep sand.
Our reasons are both economic and philosophical. Although we have no
for-profit aspirations we aspire to eventually cultivate at least 10
acres. The reason for this is so that in 5 years we hope to be
elegible for an agricultural use property tax exemption.
My wife loves to garden. Without doubt she'll be the one taking the
lead, but I am also enthusiastic. We have a dinky Farmall Cub tractor,
a 3 row garden plow, and a disk.
We are about to place an order for some seed stock from "Native Seed
Search". We expect to concentrate on "the three sisters" corn, beans,
and squash. But we're eager to companion plant some other things as
As the project evolves I'm sure I'll have lots of additional questions.
But for now, the burning question is: How big of a plot to plant?
An acre, which, if I'm not mistaken, is 220' x 220', contains 44,000
square feet. Therefore, one acre in corn is 44,000 plants! Is this
If even approximately correct, it would appear that hand harvesting a
single acre of corn would be a daunting challenge for two people who
are not mechanized beyond the aforesaid dinky Cub tractor.
I will genuinely appreciate some of the experienced souls in here
providing me a reality check on what our realistic goals should be.
Since our entire 13 acres is already cleared and is all sand, we
thought a reasonable long term goal would be to plant 3 acres each
season, then move over. Thus, every fourth year we'd come back to the
Without asking you to ..er.. "take us to raise" would you please orient
us? If it's to point us to a book or a web site that's more than fine.
In fact, I just ordered "5 acres and independence" but it hasn't
arrived in the mail yet. It may very well have the answers I'm
Finally, and on the assumption we plant a manageable size, can corn be
intercropped with peanuts? I do not think our soil is ideal for corn
since it is somewhat shy of humus. But I'll wager peanuts would grow
like the dickens.
Any other suggestions you care to toss out, especially as to companion
planting, will be greatly appreciated.