My roommates and I live in Richmond and we want to start a permaculture garden. I've done a PDC in another state, but am unfamiliar with this climate. Our yard is a small south-west facing yard that gets a good amount of sun and some shade. Its on a slight grade and the soil is currently pretty clay-y and compacted. Growing now is ground cover which includes: clover, purple dead nettle, dandelion, a couple of what looks like maybe burdock, a few purple flowers that I don't remember what they are, and a bunch of this seedy grass with little flowers that havent opened up yet.
We already started a hugelkultur because... I don't know we had logs I guess. We are tied up though since we really don't know what to grow, what grows well together, what grows well in this climate, etc.
Our goals are to grow consumables (food, herbs, maybe even tea), create habitat for wildlife and pollinators, and focus on native species wherever possible.
We don't have a ton of money to spend. So far we went to walmart and bought a bunch of seeds which I started to seed yesterday in egg cartons. We are tentative about it, though, since we feel were going in blind here.
Any permies familiar with the costal plain climate who could give us some starting points for what to plant together? Any resources or advice on starting a permaculture garden in RVA would be greatly appreciated.
I've found that kale grows really well in my fairly poor soil here. Otherwise, consider rough raised beds with logs, heavy mulches, and anything that breaks up that clay (broadfork, mulches, some tilling, compost, etc).
Pretty much anything will grow here, Anya. Maybe visit a couple of nurseries if you want details on varieties suited to the local area and then buy similar seeds, or just buy the seedlings and pop them in the ground, but basically Zone 7a is a pretty flexible place to be with a pretty long growing season.
I have had very good luck with cabbage, melons, peppers, tomato and squash on hugels, but really whatever you like to eat, go for it! It’s all a grand experiment anyway!
Also, worth googling a planting chart for 7a - what to plant when. Planting season goes on for a long time here, which is nice. Cool weather stuff now, warmer stuff early May.
“All good things are wild, and free.” Henry David Thoreau
http://ediblelandscaping.com/ is located in Afton, Virginia, and is an hour and a half drive west of Richmond. Taking a look at their catalogue may give you an idea for plants. They occasionally offer store credit for coming to volunteer at their nursery, too.
"Be excellent to each other"
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