Siting Vegtable Garden

To get the most from the relatively small farm, a greenhouse will be built for season extension and to winter the laying chickens while they fertilize the garden (more on this later!). Ideally this will be in a South or Southeast facing location in the barnyard. Unfortunately, the only south facing slop in my pasture is covered in trees. Good news for the wild deer and my goats, but bad news for veggies. So I will work with what I have!

Aspect Map of Barnyard Created from LiDAR Data


The east facing exterior of the barn looks like a great location. The downward slope to the road in the pasture provides a good location to build a raised bed that will slowly accumulate soil as the farm builds it.

Garden Location:


The next step is to plan the rows. Avoiding soil compaction when tending to the plants limits the row width to four feet. Incorporating the 2-foot aisles for foot traffic resulted in parallel lines spaced 6 feet apart. The result is shown below

Garden Rows Mapped


Now to plan the vegtables themselves!

General Pasture

Calculating Fencing Costs

Full digitization of fence lines and posts in GIS software makes the basic calculations simple. GIS provides geometry of the digital features including fence length:

Total Length of Permanent Fencing

(In “Sum” field)


Also determined by GIS, I have 26 wooden corner posts and 162 steel line posts in the full phase fence plans. Breaking it down to Phase 1-only shows a need of 23 wood and 119 steel posts.

Those figures alone let me derive most of the other materials needed in simple excel formulas. For example, each wood post requires insulators for both the spark and ground wires, while the leaving the steel posts uninsulated to the ground wire acts to ground it! However I am still trying to research if it is desirable to only leave the steel posts uninsulated at specific intervals. I am also debating if I need to install a gate at every paddock. For now the last question is factored in as affirmative.

For Phase 1 Fencing:

Fence Calc P1

Now with 3 wires added for phase 2 plans, the calculations are as follows:

Fence Calc P2

Other than buying the animals themselves, this should be the biggest investment I have to make!

Side Projects

Fun With Lidar and Local Lore: Sinkholes!

I decided to have a bit of fun to further research a bit of unsubstantiated lore regard the karst land I will be farming. The previous owner mentioned that local lore told that one of the many sinkholes on the farm opens to a 20′ x 10′ cavernous room.

Here is the raw LiDAR:

Raw Lidar


Not much is visible. So when I clip it down so the elevation range is smaller, feature become a bit more apparent:

Clipped LiDAR

However, creating a hillshade layer applies illuminated shadows to the hillshade relief makes the sinkholes pop!


I have no idea how to go about exploring the sinkholes even if I wanted to, but I had fun finding them digitally!

General Pasture

Mapping the Fences

Now that the paddocks are roughly mapped out, I can start mapping the fencing. My plan is to have multiple rows of permanent fencing running north-south with an east-west gap of about 100 feet. Temporary fencing can be laid east-west and moved daily to create new paddocks. Therefore the paddock area can be adjusted if necessary by how far apart the temporary fences are spaced.

Using maps to optimize the fencing uses additional factors than just creating exact areas. Using the parcels as a basis, elevation is also factored in as the most optimal fence will follow the contours as efficiently as possible. To achieve this I downloaded LiDAR data. LiDAR is collected from an aerial source that broadcasts a laser then senses and analyzes the reflected light. It is one of the most accurate technologies to collect elevation data but it is very expensive. Luckily free LiDAR data is available for my farm, but please consider making a donation to show your appreciation if you use free LiDAR data!

Fencing can now be optimally mapped thanks to high resolution, LiDAR-based digital elevation model (DEM).


Now I can do my best to plan the fences based on my paddock area needs as well as keeping the permanent segments as straight as possible and minimizing elevation change where possible.

Fences Mapped:


There will still need to be some manual cleanup to close some ends, accommodate developments in planning and work with the trees in the pasture. Here is the starting point for you to follow along!