You’ve been living the urban life for thirty years and dreaming of retiring to the country someday. Every weekend you drive down country roads and imagine that it’s you on that tractor, riding that horse, tilling that garden. Now it’s time to make it happen and you jot down your priorities. They have mostly to do with peace and quiet, character and charm, reaping what you sow.
Here’s the first in a series of posts that will highlight a couple of details I’ve noticed over the years that are often overlooked when making the decision to buy a country property.
It’s easy to be impressed with bright green grass jumping up from freshly raked soil or golden grasses swaying in the summer breeze. It could be that green grass, however, is just winter rye enjoying a heavy dose of fertilizer and that golden grass may well be broom sage indicating acidic soil.
If you are planning on using the land in some specific way, planting grapes perhaps, raising livestock, growing Christmas trees, the soil underneath it all is a critical component. Grapes need well drained soils and elevation, livestock need good pasture and water, Christmas trees can thrive on marginal soils found in the mountains.
It’s pretty safe to assume that if you are in an area where horse and cattle farms are common that the soils are suitable, but it makes sense to do a little research and confirm what lies under all that grass.
There are excellent resources available to help you understand the soils best suited to your requirements. There are detailed soil maps available through your local extension service office and Virginia Tech has volumes of information on agricultural suitability. Here are a couple of links that can help:
Have more questions? Feel free to contact me to discuss your country property needs.
Stay tuned next week for a look at what to consider when purchasing country property if you have (or hope to have) horses!