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Is 5 acres enough??

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  Hello, I have been a member here for a while, but until now have only lurked. I decided it is time to start talking, so I'll start with a question.

 My husband and I have been looking for some property here in mid-Missouri and we think we have finally found something that we can work with. We have a choice of a 15 acre parcel or a 5 acre parcel in a subdivision of parcels (all 5 acre tracts). All the properties come with well, septic and electric along the road. Well we have pretty much made up our minds that the 5 acres would be a better choice for us financially (With the low monthly payment it would leave us more money to be able to build quicker). However, we are not sure that 5 acres will be enough room for all the things we would eventually like to do. So I was hoping that you all would be so kind as to offer some advice.

 So..of course there will be our house, approx. 1700sf for us and our four children after we are done adding on, a barn, a fairly large garden, a small orchard, eventually we want chickens, maybe a couple goats and a milk cow. I would also like to eventually get into a bit of bee keeping. So do you think that five acres could handle all of this without being super crowded?

  I know that eventually we are going to get built around as the other parcels are bought up, and that isn't exactly idea for us, but with any luck maybe our neighbors will be nice and helpful.
Thanks in advance for your input.

5 acres should be plenty. We have 3 acres and we don't even use 1/4 of it.

My opinion is that 5 acres is probably enough for what most folks would be doing on their land.

On the other hand having a 5 acre parcel on both sides of your own will afford a larger buffer zone between neighbors. In some places even that would not be enough if it was flat and there were no trees.

I was dead set obsessed with 10 acres when I was first shopping for land.  Then I went and kicked around on a 5 acre piece.  Walking 600 ft x 400 ft was work enough.  I can't see most of my property from either end and it is densely wooded.  That is good enough for me.  Also clearing 5 acres by hand is more work than I could have imagined.  More land = more work.  It does partly depend on how the parcels are divided for privacy and setup if that is a concern.  There is a great book of self sufficiency by John Seymore.  He lays out how to set up a 5 acre piece for a completely self sufficient farm, which he ran for 30 years.  It had everything you want and more.  If you want more land you can always buy it later.  You will have built substantial equity and saved a significant amount of money in interest.  In most rural areas you can buy a few acres that are unbuildable but are good for ruminant animals, trees, or raised beds for very cheap and usually within a mile or two.

BTW with recent subdivisions be mindful of HOA's, covenants, ROWs, and easements.

Given what you're describing for future use of the land I'd say 5 acres is minimum.  But you're forced to find a 5 acre lot that has 5 usable acres on it. 

In the end you'll need to walk it and get a feel for it.

Good luck with the beekeeping.  My wife and I have been doing it as a hobby for about 5 years now and love it.  Right now I have 2 strong hives on my 100'x100' lot in RI!  It can get a bit scary mowing the grass around them though! d*


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