Showing posts with label Potager. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Potager. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Accidental Garden

Moving into our ca. 1900 home 2 years ago this month, I remember vividly a moving truck backed into the drive, below, unloading these potted plants, near midnight, temp hi 80's, humidity hi 90's, and it was the 3rd trip unloaded that day.
I dug no plants to move, the only plants moved are in these pots, below.  Pots not moved since arrival.  Have not gardened yet.  Beloved has spent 2 years removing invasives, clearing for roads, reconditioning pond/dam, grading, renovating sheds, house, painting, irrigation,  etc.
Late spring/early summer Beloved was beyond himself wanting tomatoes.  No potager yet, we walked the garden picking a spot, temporary, for his tomatoes.  On his own, he decided the chosen spot was too far away, and he brought a dozen large black plastic pots to the drive, below.

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Yes, this was a drive, above/below.  What had been a single-car-garage in the real estate ad began life as a single carriage barn, a 2-seat sport model carriage at most, with a long rotted away wood floor by the time we 1st looked at the property.  Seller, realtor, inspector, us, were quite mum's-the-word-on-that-'garage'. Beloved put in the stone wall, stopping the flow of water into the 'garage', which is now a shed.  

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Tree & pots, below, are on the property line.  Typically historic, house near the road, facing east, at a property line, allowing space for an orchard on the other side of the house.

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Chairs, above, still painted the same green from my previous garden.

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From the deck, Beloved's tomatoes, below.  Close to the house, they've earned a permanent spot.  Will prepare potager beds before fall planting, below, trimmed with bricks from our chimneys, alas, removed for safety.  Granite gravel, #89, best with the color of our house, quarry no more than a mile away.

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See the chairs in front of the shed, above?  Nice trick, and an even better place to have lunch or sit late evening with my cats.
Having the potager this close to the house, pure accident.
Garden & Be Well,   XOT
Pics shot yesterday/today.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Reactive vs. Proactive Gardening

In the macro, gardening is reactive.  Perhaps the genesis, in USA, is the bit of landscaping installed at new homes.  A lawn, and bushes, with a tree.  Lots of lawn to cut, bushes chosen typically grow 2 stories tall yet are sited at the home's foundation, serious pruning needed yearly once grown, and hopefully the tree wasn't sited where it will crack the drive or walkway.
Reactive landscapes.
Studying historic landscape across Europe for decades it only took the 1st tour to understand how deeply reactive USA landscaping is.  Gardens in Europe are proactive in the layers, described above, and often in layers unconsidered, in the macro, in USA.  More than proactive about plant choices, they're proactive almost as a civic duty to the community, their immediate neighbors, and in stewardship to whoever may live in their home next, also themselves.
Personally, vegetable gardens nailed me as a reactive gardener in my 20's.  Still makes me smile at the thought of those-days.  What was I thinking?
A few proactive choices for your potager & orchard.  No orchard?  No worries.  A single fruit tree, to my way of thinking, is an orchard.

Dome Roof Decorative Steel Fruit Cage
Pic, above, here.

Best to begin with the expensive proactive choices, above/below.  Once seen, but not afforded, it's a joy discovering how other gardeners take inspiration, often surpassing expensive choices in aesthetics & function.

 Each Ogee Arch Fruit Cage is supplied complete with 16mm mesh heavy duty side netting, shaped 19mm knotted mesh roof netting, a door kit and all the pegs, clipsd and ties required for assembly.:
Pic, above, here.

 Fruit cage - Protects against some kinds of pests that might steal the fruit.:
Pic, above, here.

Pic, above, here.

 My customer was tired of feeding her blueberries to the birds. If the birds achieve access to the blueberries now, they are either very smart or very large! Everything is bolted & screwed...:
Pic, above, here.

DIY Trellis ideas using willow and bamboo.:
Pic, above, here.

 chicken wire "greenhouse" to keep out birds, deer and rabbits Projects X 2: The Berry Barn:
Pic, above, here.

 chicken wire cloches - maybe then I could grow peas and beans without the rabbits eating them down to nubs!:
Pic, above, here.

 How to Build Raised Bed Covers:
Pic,above, here.

Pic, above, here.

 12 Great DIY Greenhouse Projects • Lots of Ideas and Tutorials! Including these creative mini greenhouses made from 2-liter soda bottles.:
Pic, above, here.
Before the accoutrements, above, get your garden soil properly amended.  Earlier this month, went to a client's on a Tuesday, and they could not wait for one of our team to get to their small potager that Saturday.  I had taken pics and made a list for our man.  Priority soil.  Theirs was chunky red clay, and needs tilling with granite grit, or river sand.  Saw that potager yesterday.  Planted with vegetables and herbs, chunky red clay threaded with potting soil churned by her local garden center.  No good.  I'll be proactive before fall vegetables are planted, making sure their soil is amended properly.

Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Twig Fencing: Get the Look For Less

Oddly, most often, adding 'more' to a small space, enlarges it.  Another of those COUNTERINTUITIVITIES about Garden Design.  Off topic, but had to mention it.  More, off topic, deer won't jump a fence they can't see thru/beyond.
Twig fencing, below, hard to copy throughout most of USA.  Make it yourself?  Sure, in your spare time.  Great, you've sourced it ready-made, now to afford it.

In the high places of Dorset - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:
Pic, above, here.

Luckily, big box stores sell rolls of reed fencing, below.

Pic, above, here.

 Marmalade Season - Charlie McCormick:
Pic, above, here.
Perhaps reed fencing is now input into your Garden Design vision questing.
Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Beautiful: Form & Function in an Orchard

Aside from the obvious, below, young fruit trees, do you know what you are looking at ?
For decades, I didn't.  Knew I loved the style, and copied.
Not merely pretty meadow, below, under the fruit trees.
We've truly been too long from the land not to know.  No sense whining about how things should be, genie is out of that bottle.  (Some have already labeled our era, "Anthropocene, adjective relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.", Google.)
So, the pretty meadows, below, are form and function.  Targeted mix of plants, feeding the soil & attracting a wide array of pollinators during a specific window of time, increasing yield.  Money.
Done correctly yields can be increased 80%.  Serious money.  More than money in yields, less time in labor.  More money.
You're looking at a guild.  That tall gorgeous meadowy tapestry under the fruit trees is called a guild.
Back to the anthropocene.  I do believe it to be true, yet pulling to the macro view I know Wendell Berry is speaking of a greater truth, and Earth will take care of our anthropocene era, " Whether we & our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals & decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do."    

Looking back, and forward - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:
Pic, above, here.
Guilds are a way of planting eternity in the moment.  Guilds are a small patch of wilderness, if you 'see'.  "Wilderness is beauty beyond thought.", John Muir.  "The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.", Carl Sagan.
Garden & Be Well,     XO T
A guild planting list, below, from here.
SOUTHWOODS FOREST GARDENS: Patio Polyculture Orchard Design:

Article, below, from here, describing parts of a guild.  An exception, for me, to this list, below, I would use no human scat.

7 Parts of an Apple Tree Guild

Guild, or companion, planting is one of the fundamental techniques of permaculture gardening. It taps into permaculture ideas such as self-sufficient systems, plants providing multiple functions, and maximizing the productivity of a plot. Guilds are typically set up around a central fruit tree. Each plant species in the ecosystem performs one or more functions that benefit others in the vicinity, as well as interacting with animal species and soil microorganisms to create an ecosystem. Below are examples of species that can be used to make an effective guild planting around an apple tree.
Apple Tree
At the centre of the guild stands an apple tree. In a permaculture design, it is preferable to get your fruit trees into then ground as soon as possible, as they can take several years to mature. For instance, if you plant a one-year-old specimen of a standard sized apple tree, you can expect to start harvesting in around five years. Dwarf varieties will take a little less time, producing their first harvest around year three. When planting an apple tree, make sure you add plenty of organic matter and, if possible, some animal manure. This will give the tree all the nutrients it needs to make a robust start in your plot. The addition of organic matter will help keep the soil well structured and so well drained, something apple trees prefer. Most apple trees do not self-pollinate, so for the trees to produce fruit, you need at least two specimens. They don’t necessarily have to be the same variety (you could get some interesting flavours by including different species on your site) but will require pollination between individuals to produce fruit. Golden Delicious and Granny Smith trees are renowned as good trees to pollinate with many other varieties, however, do a little research and find out which species of apple tree are native to your area. They will be best suited to the local conditions. The apple tree obviously provides the permaculture gardener with food, but also offers protection to the plants around it. They may need to be pruned to allow sunlight to reach the ground where the other plants in the guild are sited.
Plants that have bulbs are characterised by short stems and fleshy leaves, besides the underground bulb that acts as an energy store for when the plant is dormant. They are good additions to an apple tree guild as their shallow roots help to suppress grass growth. Grass would compete with the apple tree and the surrounding plants for nutrients, so keeping it at bay is essential for robust growth. The bulbed plants have the added bonus of going dormant in the summer, and so do not take valuable water away from the thirstier apple tree when rainfall is likely to be scarcer. A circle of bulbs should be planted underneath where the drip line of the apple tree will be when it is fully-grown. Alliums such as chives, leeks and garlic are good choices, but arguably the best plant for this role in the guild is the daffodil, because they have the additional benefit of deterring deer and rabbits as the animals find them poisonous.
Attracting a variety of insects to the guild is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it helps to pollinate the plants (and so, in the case of the apple tree, producing fruit), while secondly, it prevents any one species of insect becoming a problem, as different species predate on one another. Dill, fennel and coriander plants are known to be particularly effective at attracting insects in an apple tree guild. (The apple tree itself will also attract birds to the guild, which will also help keep insect populations in check, as well as filling your permaculture site with beautiful birdsong.)
Of course, besides attracting predators, the guild can also include plants that repel potentially damaging insects. In an apple tree guild, nasturtiums are the go-to species for this function. They seem to be particularly adept at keeping insects that may damage apples away. Indeed, many commercial apple orchards plant nasturtiums around the base of the trees to help protect their crops. Nasturtiums also provide colour to the guild, while their flowers are edible too.
Adding plants that naturally provide mulch to the guild will save the gardener time and energy. Utilizing species that you can slash the foliage of and leave on the ground to rot into the topsoil means the soil retains good structure, helping aeration and water percolation, and provides nutrients that all the plants in the guild can access. Comfrey, artichokes and rhubarb all work well in this regard in an apple tree guild.
The permaculture gardener can add species to the apple tree guild that will increase the nutrient content of the soil. Like the mulching plants, this lessens the need for manually adding nutrients (by composting, for instance) saving time and energy. Accumulators are plants that send roots deep down into the soil profile to bring up nutrients such as calcium, potassium and sulfur. These nutrients are used by the plant and by neighboring specimens as well. In an apple tree guild, planting yarrow, chicory or dandelion can perform this function.
Besides the nutrients secured by the accumulators, it is a good idea to add plants that will up the amount of nitrogen in the soil. After apple tree guildwater, nitrogen is the most important element to plants, as it is essential for key activities such as energy production and photosynthesis. Leguminous plants have special nodules on their roots that form a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria to help ‘fix’ nitrogen Clover, vetch, peas a, beans and alfalfa are all regarded as fine nitrogen-fixers.
Besides the plants in an apple tree guild, the permaculture gardener may also want to consider adding (or, at least, not removing) stones and logs in the vicinity. These can create habitat nooks that will attract animal species. A pond will do the same, attracting frogs, different bird species, and insects, which will add to the effect of keeping insect populations balanced and protect the fruits of your apple tree guild.
Robin saysOctober 25, 2014
Thanks this was very helpful. I would like to see more very practical well laid out guild ideas like this!
David Cameron saysNovember 2, 2014
Great suggestions, just need a bit more space to fit it all in
Karen Pusin saysNovember 3, 2014
I have an apple tree that survived a tornado…
Red Brady saysNovember 3, 2014
We’ve just planted the first two native apple trees in what will, we hope, be our forest garden (currently a large grassed paddock). Working out the rest of it is proving to be fun!
dhalsey saysDecember 8, 2014
Here is a polyculture page at the Natural Capital Plant Database:
Ground cover whatever the plant is important in all these guilds. Occupy the soil space and absorb the sun into organic matter. Dan
Keshet Miller saysDecember 8, 2014
Mmm some very useful knowledge here…. they didnt mention the importance of a gazebo though! Heheh 🙂
Jock McClure saysJanuary 17, 2015
My tree might certainly benefit from this info! I owe it some consideration.
Betsy Beard saysJanuary 17, 2015
What kind of guilds are they talking about here? Do they mean to say ‘guides?’
Bernice saysJanuary 17, 2015
Would like a natural way to spray or keep worms from cherrys and to keep robins out of my cherrytrees
Daniel Laporte saysJanuary 17, 2015
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haecklers saysApril 11, 2015
How do you prevent insect pests by picking up dropped fruit to break the lifecycle with all those plants under the trees? How to you get to the fruit to harvest it? Those two are what’s been keeping me from planting guilds under my trees!
Anonymous saysSeptember 20, 2015
Very helpful.I have learned much

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