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New garden around a hawthorn stump

 
Posts: 8
Location: Zone 5B
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Some friends are letting me set up a garden at their house! (I have been perplexed with my own growing space and realistically don’t have enough room around my house for much food . . . Like, one 4x8 raised bed plus some full-shade flowerbeds. I’ll ask some questions about that later!)

But, so— the friends have a 20x20 cleared space with a (very recently cut) hawthorn stump in the middle. I planned on double-digging the beds (around the roots?), adding compost, and growing spinach/arugula now, since that’s what we have grow time for here, Zone 5B. Is it OK to leave the stump be and just dig out the patchy areas I can? Square foot gardening be da[r/m]ned? I am a very new gardener and hadn’t even ever seen a hawthorn tree before today. Is it smarter to only work on half the bed this fall and improve the other half for spring?

 
Posts: 100
Location: Dry mountains Eastern WA
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I have stumps.  I have learned from this forum that as they deteriorate they feed the crop/ plant on or adjacent.  I like that.  Work around the stump. I’d just dig the heck out the whole thing..Work the compost in the areas I planned to plant immediately and not worry about working the compost in the areas I don’t plant. Just leave it on top and work it in in spring planting.

Have fun!  You have time to plant sorrel or other perennial vegs..
 
pollinator
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If the Hawthorn has not been poisoned it will regrow from that stump in the spring, not the end of the world, eat the new leaves untill it gives up. I would only do half the area, apart from anything else there is a limit to how much spinach/arugula one can eat!
 
gardener
Posts: 785
Location: Piedmont 7a
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I have used stumps as the foundation for hugels and hugel-ish beds. Seems to work well - I assume the stump will rot faster under dirt than it would exposed to air, and become the moisture sponge/mycelium generator that improves your soil.

I think your original plan is the least work- just plant around it and have a nice looking garden feature.  
 
Beatrice Denham
Posts: 8
Location: Zone 5B
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Thank you all for helping! I couldn’t figure out if I should try to get the stump to decay faster (then there’d be more fabulous fungi?), but seems like I should leave it alone unless there is a problem.

Another question I forgot to ask: apparently there was some poison ivy there (my friend pulled it out of the ground; I asked him to mark the areas with little stakes or something so I would remember it had been there.)

Do I need to 1) leave those small areas alone and plant somewhat around them, 2) leave the entire garden area alone for x amount of time, 3) not ever plant anything there, scream, run away?? Or a different course of action? (The clearing was a former garden — I figured since it was a booming garden in the past, if it still got enough sunlight, it could be a garden again.) I am a little embarrassed this was my afterthought question . . .


 
pollinator
Posts: 239
Location: Chicago
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I don't think there is any reason not to plant where the poison ivy was.  Just be vigilant about quickly pulling up any new PI shoots or seedlings.
 
Beatrice Denham
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Location: Zone 5B
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We got a small fence put up! (Steel posts, green snow fence.) We have approx. 17’x20’ fenced (we could probably expand it, but whatever) and I am going to plant a 5’x7’ annual veggie bed today (fast-growing). Possibly we could sculpt the stumps into toolholders, etc. Too small to carve into planters.

Unlike at my own house, it is PURE SUN, all the time, wide open space, so my brain is slightly breaking: “everything you’ve learned this past year, all the sun-loving food you ruled out since you can’t grow it at your own house, now everything is possible again.” So that is weird. Possibilities!

My other ask: is there a good resource for me to learn what projects could I do there this fall?

So far I thought: add a trellis/arch/something tall, plant garlic, plan a spring layout, analyze the soil nutrients. Fall asparagus and berry planting (IF I could find any berry plants available). Mulch the poison ivy areas. What else could I do? It’s very soothing to be there!



 
Artie Scott
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Location: Piedmont 7a
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Nice work, Beatrice!  Would love to see some pictures when you get a chance.

Sounds like you already have an impressive list of things to do - that should keep you pretty busy through fall and into winter.

Definitely get any trees/shrubs/ other perennials in the ground in the Fall.

And if you do get bored, yes, there are plenty of ideas here to keep you busy - everything from pocket ponds to herb spirals to hugel beds.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 385
Location: Vermont, USA
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My experience with poison ivy prompts me to say, yes!  mulch the hell out of it.  And probably lay down cardboard before you do so.  Always wear gardening gloves and wash often.

Perhaps you are not as allergic to poison ivy as I am!

Also from my own experience:  yes, plant garlic!  I can't seem to plant enough.  I vowed to myself during harvesting this year that if I were ever going to grow a crop for cash, it would be garlic.  SO EASY!  (Though I'm sure there are issues I haven't encountered yet.)

I noticed that Edible Acres has a sale on their plants (including perennial vegetables) beginning after Labor Day.  Maybe perennial vegetables aren't appropriate on your friend's property - that's for you and your friend to figure out, I suppose.  

Best of luck and enjoy!
 
Beatrice Denham
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Location: Zone 5B
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Artie, any garden photos would show enthusiasm but definitely not a careful eye for harmonious attractive design — But maybe once things start growing I won’t be as embarrassed and will post a pic!

I feel very conflicted about if I should’ve solidly deer-proofed it from the start or not. We have a token shortish (5’) fence. Normally I am an extreme non-risk-taker about things but I guess I didn’t want to have the fence quality be the nicest thing about the garden, if that makes any sense.

We put down plastic, cardboard, mulch, and brush (to remind us about the plastic) on top of the poison ivy areas and I hope that does the trick.

Yes, I’m going to add asparagus and also garlic and I am super excited about both! We figured out a cheapish drip irrigation system to add (later) and shadecloth for a heat wave (a sheer curtain from Grandma’s house twenty years ago, thankyouverymuch). For now we’ll have rain for days. I really hope we will have some food in 30+ days’ time.



 
Anne Pratt
master pollinator
Posts: 385
Location: Vermont, USA
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When I was eradicating some very persistent poison ivy with smothering, I asked a friend for advice.  "Cover it with black plastic for two summers (and the intervening winter etc.)."  I was stunned, but then knowing how many times PI has come back after being sprayed, dug, apparently smothered, etc., it turned out to be good advice.
 
Anne Pratt
master pollinator
Posts: 385
Location: Vermont, USA
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And look around at photos here of gardens. Some are aesthetically divine, others are more of a Jackson Pollock jungle. If you ask for advice, you’ll get frank advice, but shaming is not allowed here. So if you have a question that should be illustrated, add photos!

We were all new once. Not something to be embarrassed about!
 
Beatrice Denham
Posts: 8
Location: Zone 5B
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Now I’m getting bogged down by possibilities. Asparagus spreads . . . so should we put it outside the fence? Should garlic be in its own little bed since we’ll plant in October and harvest in July? In spring I’m going to try growing all the annual veggies I couldn’t grow at my house. I don’t have a good perennial plan yet.

Trellis in the center around/over the hawthorn stump? Or if it’s in the center will it shade the smaller plants that want sun? Not sure if I can upload photos here (in this case, a drawing of the site) or if I need to use photobucket.
 
Beatrice Denham
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Location: Zone 5B
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Ah-HAH! I did not see the upload function last time (though I wasn’t logged in so maybe that’s why?)

The greens are planted in a slightly awkward location 1) to stay away from the PI and 2) it was easiest to dig up all the tree roots/weeds there. This fall I’ll get the rest of the soil ready for spring.

Thank you, everybody. I have been reading a ton but I don’t know enough to solve my own questions yet.
228C7FDD-6D67-44E7-882B-BF92426268FF.jpeg
Garden plot for planning purposes
Garden plot for planning purposes
 
Anne Pratt
master pollinator
Posts: 385
Location: Vermont, USA
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In my experience, asparagus spreads slowly.  I'm growing a variety called Jersey Knight, I think.  It hasn't spread yet! except to add a stem or two, in two years.

I like to put garlic around the outsides of my raised beds. It does get in the way a little bit, but it repels a number of pests.  Deer repellent that you buy in the store has a lot of garlic in it.  

A trellis on the stump will shade some of your bed.  It isn't until late in the summer that my beans, squash, and cucumbers are thick enough on their trellises to create real shade.  The carrots, kale, and tomatoes that catch a bit of shade don't mind it in August.

Your first garden won't be perfect.  Hooray!  Worry less!  
 
Beatrice Denham
Posts: 8
Location: Zone 5B
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Moles!! We have moles. Solar mole repellent stakes seemed like the best solution initially so we’ll try those. Any mole-blocking advice is welcome; we could dig a perimeter trench and bury L-shaped hardware cloth if it comes to that.

Irrigation: I wanted to try the buried 20 oz or 2-liter plastic bottle drip ideas to last a couple days or even a day. Some people suggest that’s fine for ornamentals/shrubs but maybe not veggies due to chemical leaching. So hmm. Glass, we could try (carefully) drilling holes into recycled glass bottles? Sacrifice some our better/sturdier plastic bottles? Is there a consensus about which categories of plastics are safest to bury? I found one article suggesting milk jugs were OK. That’s cool except we don’t drink milk. Lately almost any info I find online can be negated within about 3-5 other articles (ARRRGH) so I try to stick to better info sources, but I still hate doing the exact wrong thing. Bottles above ground, algae can be an issue. Bottles below ground seem better.

Otherwise, I think I may take some of the underperforming container plants from my house and take them to Hawthorn Acres (or whatever I should name this little garden place . . .) to see if that helps any of them. This is yet another nice benefit!
 
Beatrice Denham
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Location: Zone 5B
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Our greens are growing well enough! Moles staying away. The S portion of the garden area has definitely been getting some shade . . . if it turns out to be too shady for most veggies, that’ll be about a third of our space. :( :( BUT it’s still an improvement. Here’s our growing area:
FCDD818F-B14B-4FD9-B274-E48C947645F6.jpeg
Greens
Greens
 
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