#edible landscaping

Legume Crop Rotation

lilkittay said: I’ve always been told you should not plant legumes where legumes were just growing. Due to fungus or diseases or some such? Is this true or not…

It depends on the plants you are using, and how you are using them: I grew beans here just this year, and last year there were just 20-year-old clumps of daylilies that I have moved. Between the bean plants this year hid my three young grape vines, and below them, a whole bunch of carrots and strawberries.

This sort of high-intensity intercropping / polyculture gardening, plus using biodynamic fertilisers like compost tea, mitigates a lot of fungal problems. I’m planting two consecutive legume crops, but they are different genera, and flourish in different seasons (the beans like warm midsummer, and the peas like the cool of early spring and autumn).

My beans were also free of any pests: fungal or insect, and I left the root systems of the beans in the ground (only clipping the plant down and covering the stumps of the plants with their own leaf mulch), while planting the peas about 20 cm away.

The environment is also rich in mycelium from the bark mulch and decomposing wood that makes the raised beds and paths, which also suppresses fungal disease. It sounds weird, but I also poured a diluted urine solution, and a very diluted bit of spoiled milk over the leaf mulch. The urine kills most of the fungal pathogens on the leaves, and the microorganisms in the spoiled milk kick-start microbial activity in the area: which is a sort of microbial innoculant (like the aforementioned compost tea). This is not over the new planting, but rather over the mulch area where the beans were.

Generally it is a higher risk, and you have to watch legumes aren’t planted in a soil that is already too nitrogen-rich, but there are a lot of things you can do with your soil and composting practices to make sure that any one pathogen can’t get much of a foothold.

Next year, this certainly won’t be a place for beans and peas: the trellis is designed for grapes, and passionfruits. Planting beans and peas this year is just a mode of enriching the soil so those permanent forest garden features can flourish.

#garden science

#Edible Forest Gardening 101: Keeping organised

Since the food forest I am currently building is on another person’s property, I have to arrange for some sort of accessible knowledge transfer, in order to make sure the people who are using the space can get the most out of it. There should be no guesswork as to what can be eaten or used.

As such, I keep a simple running google doc where I can add “cards” every time I plant a new edible item on the property. These cards consist of:

  • the name of the plant in English, and Danish, as well as the botanical name;
  • a summary of the edible or useful parts;
  • harvest time in the local climate;
  • care/pruning instructions;
  • additional notes;
  • and a visual reference of [at least two of] flowers, foliage, and/or fruit.

These “cards” are updated as the trees and shrubs grow in order to document how well they grow under the local conditions over the years, but can also easily be printed out to form a hard-copy, alphabetised reference book. Keeping accessible, localised records helps others who may want to do a permaculture project in your biome get a head start.

If designing a food forest on public or park land, consider investing in signage and placards and making them as accessible as possible, so even those completely new to plant identification can make use of forest garden spaces.

#bioregionalism #permaculture #edible landscaping #garden science

BiodiverSeed Veggie Bed #1 - Autumn Planting

dirtdoll:

Audra planted this Sumac tree with Urban Habitat Chicago two years ago.  Look how big it is already!

This tree was planted to break up the clay soil and prep the ground for eventually growing food.  Planting a fast growing tree like Sumac gets the ground ready even faster.  And when it fruits, you can grind the drupes into a powder for your hummus or for fuel for your beekeeping smoker

Sumac, you’re so special.


They also make a nice iced tea, that apparently tastes like, "all those [mystery] fruit juice cocktails.”  This tree is usually dioecious, though, so you need a female tree if you want drupes. I just transplanted a male sucker from a local tree, but I’ll plant some seeds this year again to hopefully get some females going.

[X]

I was also surprised to find out Staghorn Sumac (R. typhina) is native to Northeastern North America.

(via mamisgarden)

hyggehaven:

Pterocarya, or Wingnut (a relative of the walnut), germinated from self-harvested seeds in Århus botaniske have (Aarhus Botanical Gardens).

I am unsure of which kind of Wingnut it is: I’ll find out as it gets older. The seeds had a wicked dark brown dye to them that leached out as I soaked them — I think they would do just as well, if not better than a walnut dye for fibre arts (looking at you, hqcreations).

Some research indicates the essential oil extracted from this plant could be beneficial in fighting disease.

#germination

the-world-in-gardens:

1 out of 26 of the old-variety roses, that I recently inherited from a cottage on the street that was demolished.
I was shredded to bits and exhausted by the end of it, but I dug them all up, pruned them, and transplanted them. I will move them around as I figure out what colours they are. They all managed to survive: roses are amazing in how much root-pruning they can tolerate.

I couldn’t bear to see this stunning collection—assembled by a long-dead gardener—mowed over and mulched up. They all lined the exterior of the small cottage: I could tell by their prominent placement by the house that they were a source of pride. The former owner’s son, who sold the property, was happy I asked to take them, because they represent one of the best parts of his late mother. I also came away with hundreds of snowdrop bulbs, and a huge Scarlet red peony that had thrived there for 50 years or more. Her prized blossoms now have a new life, and a new chance to be loved and appreciated: I hope that someday I can pass on the favour.
The colours have been stunning to behold, but having been transplanted this year they aren’t quite what they will be: next year more of them will bloom. So far I have seen bold yellows, creamy whites, voluptuous reds, and shocking pinks.
In my garden, near Copenhagen
14 september 2014

One of the best ways to get free plants is to ask for cuttings or root divisions from other gardeners: it would have cost hundreds of dollars to buy all of these roses in a nursery, and it also would have been less exciting for the surviving relatives to see this garden—that had taken decades of loving work—demolished into nothing.
Roses are an excellent source of food for bees, and produce a number of edible and useful parts: rosehips have 3x the Vitamin C of oranges, for example. These were a very nice addition to the “shrub” layer of my edible forest garden.

the-world-in-gardens:

1 out of 26 of the old-variety roses, that I recently inherited from a cottage on the street that was demolished.

I was shredded to bits and exhausted by the end of it, but I dug them all up, pruned them, and transplanted them. I will move them around as I figure out what colours they are. They all managed to survive: roses are amazing in how much root-pruning they can tolerate.

I couldn’t bear to see this stunning collection—assembled by a long-dead gardener—mowed over and mulched up. They all lined the exterior of the small cottage: I could tell by their prominent placement by the house that they were a source of pride. The former owner’s son, who sold the property, was happy I asked to take them, because they represent one of the best parts of his late mother. I also came away with hundreds of snowdrop bulbs, and a huge Scarlet red peony that had thrived there for 50 years or more. Her prized blossoms now have a new life, and a new chance to be loved and appreciated: I hope that someday I can pass on the favour.

The colours have been stunning to behold, but having been transplanted this year they aren’t quite what they will be: next year more of them will bloom. So far I have seen bold yellows, creamy whites, voluptuous reds, and shocking pinks.

In my garden, near Copenhagen

14 september 2014

One of the best ways to get free plants is to ask for cuttings or root divisions from other gardeners: it would have cost hundreds of dollars to buy all of these roses in a nursery, and it also would have been less exciting for the surviving relatives to see this garden—that had taken decades of loving work—demolished into nothing.

Roses are an excellent source of food for bees, and produce a number of edible and useful parts: rosehips have 3x the Vitamin C of oranges, for example. These were a very nice addition to the “shrub” layer of my edible forest garden.

I have the same thoughts on this as I do guerrillla grafting.

TL;DR:

  • Sidewalks are sites of a lot of toxic runoff (including heavy metals), as well as airbourne particulate emissions from vehicles.
  • People walk their dogs, along them, who urinate and defecate in these spaces. This is not neccessarily bad, as long as it doesn’t touch food. It can be safely taken care of with a worm tower and a poop scoop.
  • People often feel embarrassed, distrusting, or ashamed getting their food from roadside sources, and so the food is left to rot: attracting wasps.
  • Tree roots can disrupt public infrastructure (pipes, roads, sidewalks), which is a significant cost and can damage a community’s public works: this is decidedly not good if said community is already under-served. Call before you dig!
  • Planting flowers and local flora for native bees and pollinators is probably the best.
  • Planting food is best done in places with a lower pollution burden: ie. abandoned lots, rooftops, balconies, and parks.
  • This is not saying “foodwalks” are a bad idea in every scenario, just be careful and think twice, and maybe consult someone before going for it.

#guerrilla gardening #guerrilla grafting #forest gardening #edible landscaping #health

(via theoreticalpermaculture)

foodwarriornetwork:

The streets of San Francisco are lined with pear, plum and apple trees thanks to ‘guerilla grafters’ secretly grafting fruit-bearing scions onto ornamental, non-fruit bearing trees making fresh fruit free and available to everyone who wishes to pick some.

'All you have to do is make a slit with a knife in a branch on the host tree, insert a branch from a fruit-bearing tree, and secure it with tape.  Once it heals, it connects.” — Tara Hui started the movement and has been grafting fruit branches to city trees for two years now.

How great would it be to see free fruit from guerilla grafters growing in your city?  Want to start a trend?

You’d have to know your stuff to do this right (ie. graft edible apples on to compatible flowering crab apples, graft edible cherries [or other prunus] onto compatible flowering cherries, graft compatible pears onto flowering quince, undsoweiter.)!

I think if you know what you are doing, it could be ok, but people would need to remember to use healthy scion wood and clean equipment, because they could devastate a whole expensive, established boulevard with fungal diseases or pests if they don’t seal their grafts properly, or clean their equipment between uses.

I am also hesitant about it, simply because people tend to not like roadside food: it gets covered in car exhaust and particulate matter, there is significant heavy metal pollution (ie. lead, cadmium, chromium, copper, zinc) in the soil, people feel ashamed or embarrassed about having to get their food that way, and/or people simply don’t trust public food sources (if you grew up with the “razor blades in the apples” paranoia about Halloween candy, you’ll understand). There are a huge number of apple trees growing by roadsides here in Denmark, and a huge number of apples on the ground that rot and swarm with wasps: and then someone has to clean them up. People just don’t seem to want to eat them, or pick them when they are by the road. Ornamental apples have much less biomass and much less sugar, so they decompose more quickly and don’t attract so many bugs.

Moreover, I’ve met people who think the apples that grow in their yard or neighbourhood are “dirty” and they only trust the waxed, store-bought varieties: knowledge about food production, or the ability to identify what is food in the “wild” is rarer than you would think.

These sorts of things are much better situated with public parks that double as food forests, empty lots that have been given a bit of a soil makeover to remove bio-accumulative toxic metals, or dedicated community gardens.

In terms of what is good to plant along roadsides: flowers! Lots and lots of flowers! They will break down soil pollutants over time, and also help the bees. Plus, you can plant native flowers and help conserve your biome’s biodiversity, rather than planting a foreign apple that may not be the right foodstuffs for your local pollinators.

All in all, it’s an idea with good intentions, but it probably won’t have the desired effect. It’s a sort of condescending, impermanent solution to a structural problem. There are a number of people in the communities that are being “served” by these kinds of initiatives who also object to the idea, or rather the manner in which it is enacted.

#forest gardening #edible landscaping #grafting #fruit trees

(via iontha)

This is really awesome: I can’t believe how much they have on 1/10th of an acre (around 400m2). I’ve read of a number of projects that manage to produce 2700kg (6000lbs) of food on this amount of land, with intensive cultivation.

They give a very good run-down of the theory and ecological science behind permaculture, and how this fits in to deep ecology.

#videos #permaculture #forest gardening #edible landscaping

An ode to nasturtiums

Every part of this flower that grows above the ground is edible, and tastes like a sharp cress. The young flower buds can be pickled and used as capers, the flowers themselves make a colourful addition to salads, and the green seeds can be used to add a mustard-y punch to any dish. The leaves can also be eaten, and taste similar to arugula or mizuna.

Nasturtiums can be compact, enormous, rambling, or variegated, depending on the cultivar. Their blossoms are most often orange, red, and yellow, but come in an array of other possible colours.

This year I grew “Ladybird,” “Variegated Alaska" and a "High-Climbing" variety. Lovers of cooler weather, nasturtiums can be planted in the early Spring: they self-seed prolifically during the warmest months of Summer, and sprout again on their own in the cool weather of Autumn.

While too tender to survive the winter here, nasturtiums can be invasive in warmer climes. Check to see if nasturtiums are disruptive to your biome before growing them.

Related: Integrating Flowers into your Vegetable Garden

#edible flowers  #edible landscaping #brassicas