Hi, I just recently learned about permaculture and the ideas of layering an edible forest. I also just bought a house last year, this year we are renovating and next year i get to do 'landscaping' but i really want to make the most of what little land I have harvest-wise. I have a rough layout idea in mind, and a few ideas for plants but need more than that. I live in Canada, by the way so a lot of plants can't grow here, but a lot can! I already searched my yard and found some peas growing in one area, green onions and chives, and several raspberry bushes which i have been harvesting every other day. we had quite a few strawberries as well, the sweet little wild ones that are soooo yummy. My yard is rather small, i am not sure of the measurements though. probably 50x60 feet. there is also some paved side yard that will eventually be converted as well. right now the ground is lawn that is mostly over run with strawberries and weeds. the back fence is covered in some typical vines like everyone else here has. I just found out clover was edible and tried some the other day. my children tried it as well. i have also found wild cabbage in my yard, but that grows everywhere apparently. there is a patio stone area that will be removed shortly and a sun-shade structure that i will be growing some type of vines on and have hanging basket planters on it as well. there are a couple trees, a blue spruce that is mostly orange, needs help or chopping down(not too sure what happened to it? just moved in), some type of bean pod tree and a honeysuckle tree. i need help figuring out what i need to start, or how to tackle this effectively. there was an old pile of fire wood by the shed when i got here that is pretty broken down and i have been and am saving my yard clippings in a pile with them now. i am planning to rent a chipper/mulcher in fall. i have been collecting large stones from the forest as well. in the future i will be barrelling rain but can't afford the barrels right off the bat. i am planning on doing apple trees, pears, some type of berry tree and some kind of nut tree if i can find any that grow well here. I also realize that i am in for the long haul here. this is just another branch of a total life change i am trying to make for myself and my family. This is just the right thing to do with what i have, and hopefully i can inspire other local people to do something similar. any advice and pointer you can offer me would be greatly appreciated, i am here seeking wisdom.
because of the small size of your propertyt and your desire for fruit, berries and nuts..you really might want to consider multipurpose trees as you NEED pollinators..so two trees of each kind..like two apples, two pears, two walnut..etc..
consider either self pollinating or dual purpose trees (like a 5 on one apple, 5 on one pear, fruit cocktail tree, etc.)..
I have tried the 5 on 1's and as long as they are well protected they do quite well here in my zone 4/5 garden..and are generally somewhat dwarfish..
generally I wouldn't suggest the 5 on 1's for a first choice or dwarfs, but with such a small property really they would be your best choice..unless of course there are pollinators in the neighborhood..you might check around, if a neighbor has a pear tree, then plant another pear variety that would pollinate each other..same with cherry, nut, other fruit, berry etc.
a perimeter hedge would be good to be various berries. I LOVE thornless berries too as they are so much easier to work with...esp the blackberries.
i have a plant list (not updated recently) on my blog below of what is growing here
Bloom where you are planted.
I would personally start in the fall and let your garden burst to life in the spring.
So things like clearing, mulching, planting perennials, tossing out seed that will germinate in spring.
The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
posted 7 years ago
thank you for the advice. Brenda, I will definitely be checking your blog out as i see you are in relatively the same area as me, only south a bit so i think i could probably pull plants you are growing. I am not too sure what is growing in the neighbourhood but i do live in a small retirement community where most yards have a garden and it is fairly rural, i live on the last street in town. everything east of here is forest and about a mile north the forest starts in that direction as well. i will keep the five in one trees in mind and see what is available at the nursery. or should i order my trees somewhere else? I would love to be able to start in fall, i just don't know what to do or how to start. i could plant the trees orchard style, or i could do them in a more asthetically pleasing way. i have a few stacks of paver blocks i want to smash up to make a trail around the yard and then fill in everywhere else with life. i am trying to do this on a limited budget(free if possible) and i know it is going to take years to get finished the way i want it to be. would it be good to raise the beds a bit and fill them in with organic matter? i have enough blocks to do that and i think i will have many more available after construction is over.
Kristine Walker wrote: in the future i will be barrelling rain but can't afford the barrels right off the bat.
In general barrels may be less efficient than larger containers. Typically the larger the container the less expensive the storage per gallon. So it may be prudent to save up the money you might have spent on a few barrels to buy a proper large water tank.
The most efficient water storage is in the soil, so if you have any water issues at all, either flooding or drought, it might be a good idea to look into rain harvesting earthworks in your yard. These need to be installed well in advance of planting. Earthworks include berms and basins (aka swales) and hugelkultur, to name a couple of the most frequently used. It's almost infinitely harder to install these after you've already planned and planted your gardens.
okay, that is a good idea. i have never heard of a larger way to store rain, i have only seen the barrels. perhaps i should look into that now as a good third of my property is going to be dug out in a few weeks for major repairs on the house, replacing the entire foundation and waterproofing it. i knew you guys would know this stuff already. keep the great advice coming please!! the more i know, the more i can share in the future with others
Because you're in Canada, probably most people don't use rain tanks and they may need to be differently handled than ones in warmer climates, for instance buried underground, which might be cost prohibitive unless you can sneak it in during the rest of your excavations!
if i can afford to put one in now, i think i will. first i have to find out how much the other work is going to cost, and how much this would be. i also need to think about if i am going to want to go off the grid someday, ect. something to contemplate.