If you've recently purchased land or decided to use the land you already own to start your small farm, the next step is to get it ready for farming. Cultivation of land involves preparing the soil for crops and/or animals.
This can seem overwhelming if you have never done it before -- and we've laid out the simplest steps to get you started. You may need to seek more details on individual steps, but this will give you an overview of the basics for land cultivation on a farm.
Cultivate Farmland: Start With Your Soil
Before you start plowing up sod, it’s important to know what kind of soil you are working with. This enables you to improve it and amend it as needed for growing the best crops and pasture grasses for animals. The first steps to prepare your land for planting involve looking at soil texture and fertility and adjusting it as needed.
- Test Your Soil: Tips on how to test your soil.
- Improve Your Soil: Insights on how to improve soil quality.
- The Dirt on Soil: Learn more about farm soil.
How to Prepare the Land for Planting
Cultivating the land for planting a large vegetable garden or crops can seem like a daunting task. For small acreage (under two to three acres), you can use a PTO-driven tiller on your tractor to till the soil. You can also hire someone to do the plowing, disking and harrowing.
- Till Your Soil: Learn how to till your soil.
- Choose the Right Tractor: What you need to know to pick a tractor for your farm.
Install Fencing for Animals
There are many types of fencing, both electric and non-electric, for containing farm animals. The type you choose is going to depend upon the animal itself. Goats require a high fence because they can jump -- and they love to do it! Cows need only a few single strands of electric wire to keep them in a pasture.
Poultry and sheep can be temporarily contained with portable “electric netting," a plastic mesh with electrified wires embedded in it that is easily set up and moved.
After choosing the type of fencing you need, the next step is installing the fence posts. A post hole auger for your tractor makes the job easier, but there are also manual post hole diggers you can purchase or rent. For electric netting, simply push each post into the ground as you go.
Electric fencing requires a charger which can be connected to electric power or run on solar power or batteries. The size of the charger is determined by how much fencing you have and the “brush load” or the amount of brush and grasses that will be touching the fence.
- Types of Fencing: Learn more about types of farm fencing.