For the sake of throwing around ideas with other great minds, I thought I would snap some pictures of where we plan to have next years garden and see what you would do.
These were taken right out our front door, we want things closer this time and this area doesn't get used, as you can see. I took these at 2:30 pm, early morning this area has no sun yet. It is close to a road but the hedges are blocking that mostly. Behind those hedges runs a stream for half the year, so this ground might have access to water. We plan to chop and drop all these weeds and native grasses and throw down cardboard and let it all rot good all winter to plant in next spring. We will probably also get some small fencing because we do have a lot of rabbits nearby, we watch them all the time and are guilty of feeding them. The property we are on is 5 acres of mostly grasses with some blackberry evergreen shrubbery and one single apple tree. There is also a lot of alder that wasn't very big and got cut down that we can use. We may be able to get enough nearby wood for hugel beds. There are lots of stones, bricks, and concrete blocks allover the property. Along with old wood scraps. I have been collecting seed from every flower that grows on the property, weed or otherwise, to scatter later as well. So if this little chunk was yours, and you had all these weeds and grasses, what would you do?
Obviously, I can't contribute with "help", but I am so glad to see this post! I was thinking of taking some pictures of the area we have still wooded (not cleared) and see what might be suggested! TY, glad to know this is an option, as I do not always read ALL the details regarding what is/is not allowed in a post.
Nice place! Get moving on those grasses though, Aussie fear of fire lol. Do a ph test near the hedge, assuming it's a pine or cypress of some kind, and the soil will be on the acidic side, and normally also hydrophobic. Therefor I'd suggest a path beside them, if it'd make sense (ie, lead somewhere useful), followed by a mix of citrus and blueberries if its not going to cast much shade (the hedge being northerly aspect for you guys), or just blueberry and other acid loving plants if not. I'd then go with a rhubarb, comfrey, horseradish type of mini-hedge followed by the main vegetable gardens. These are awesome at providing great nutrient cycling, mulch, beneficial insects, and soil improving. The bonus of your hedge, and the reason behind locating this for a path, is the clipping material would be a great source of mulch for the acid loving blueberries.
Another thing you should consider is isolating at least a part of this natural grassland for observation. Clearing out all the local wild plants, often before properly identifying what is there, can be a mistake. Get some largish rocks, make a pond, and edge it with this grassland and then watch it for a year or two would be my advice. I mean, when I look at a photo like this, and imagine all the insects that call it home, the amazing little flowers, and deep rooted plants, I see a mini lab in action. So much more inspiring and beautiful than heavily manicured and fertilized lawns.
As to excess water on this side, I would doubt that. A hedge such as that would suck up most of it, and the soil underneath would be a deterrent to any trees tying to get to that occasional creek. In fact, if the hedge and creek are entirely your own, you may want to hugelkultur a good portion of it, especially if the only thing it is blocking (not prevalent high salt laden wind for instance) is the access to the creek.
Oh, and my final piece of advice is, start small. One raised garden bed say 4 mtrs by 1.5mtrs (located close to the house), and a pond, while you get the "feel" of your site is often the best way to go. The first year its good to think about what needs more shade, what areas are best turned over to wildlife, what animals you'd like to keep etc, and develop your overall design. In the meantime at least you'll be getting a start by growing some food.
was wondering which direction the hedge was to the garden, it looks like it would be a wonderful windbreak if it is in the west or north west..do you plan on a food forest or just a low level garden? if you are doing a food forest you might want to get some fall planted trees started right now.
Bloom where you are planted.
Thanks for the ideas and replies everyone.
Unfortunately we are basically guests on a property rented by someone else, and that person charges us to be here. Because of this any trees or berries we bring in will be staying in pots so they can go with us when we leave. The more we think about it we would like to try and plant low veggies in a way that when we leave it can go right back to being a "lawn", LOL. Living here was kind of a stepping stone along the way to our own place, which we are saving for. This was our first year here and we utilized the gigantic atrocious greenhouse that was left here by previous owners. The damn thing is so infested with thrips and spider mites we will not be relying on it as a valued space to grow, as we cannot afford what it would take to undo the problems it has.
We don't like clearing into all the grasses this property has, as mentioned there is so much wildlife in it! But, the property is 5 acres, all overgrown and wild, and we are only going to take this small space so we hope the birds and other critters don't hate us too much. Wind is definitely an issue here, where we live gets light winds pretty much 24 hours a day, from every direction EXCEPT where this row of hedges would block it. Whoever designed this property and the house built on it was a complete MORON. I notice anti-patterns in it daily, they just don't end. Fortunately the travel trailer we live in is 35 ft long so it does block some of that wind, it will mostly only be getting big gusts from the west side.
Some other possible problems we have recently noticed~ The neighbors cats think the beds in and around the greenhouse are cat litter boxes. I never liked (domesticated) cats in the first place so it is making me lean towards mollison's thoughts on cats, and Joe's pellet gun is looking tempting. There is a white streetlight in the middle of this property, it overlooks the greenhouse we have plants in right now. Joe noticed at midnight you can actually see in there, we think this could be an issue but aren't exactly sure. This light will also probably spill to the area we plan to plant next year. We can and will find a way to unplug or turn it off though, as we also assume it is probably costing money to be on every damn day of the year. The water here is a well, I did water tests and all mineral levels are fine, ph is fine, but anyone with a nose can tell you it has hydrogen sulfide BAD. Most of what I read about hydrogen sulfide says it just smells bad but is not harmful, but I have seen claims that it can make people sick. If it can make a person sick my common sense tells me it can make a plant sick too, but maybe I am wrong, anyone know for sure?
When you throw something away, there is no 'away'
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