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Making the most of my space

 
Xeike Tull
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Hello everyone! I'm new, and I have an issue I'd like to get some help with.

I want to make the most of my space, and I HATE flowers. Especially daffodils. If I am going to put effort into growing something, I'd like it to give back - ideally in food. I have a quarter acre full sun garden bordered with apple and pear trees that, if I can get a good load of venison into my freezer this year, should flourish. lol

However, I am ripping out the flowers from around the foot of my house, and I want to put in something productive. However, the space that is the biggest, only gets sun from dawn until 11am-12pm or so. The rest of the day, it is shadowed by the house.

All my seeds are full sun, and I already have my leafy greens planted out in the main garden. I was hoping to put up some pole beans in this space, but I'm afraid the lack of sun would make the planting doomed to fail.

I'm starting to think I might just have to leave that as a spot for a cover crop of clover or something for my rabbits, but I'd much prefer a vegetable of some sort.

Any ideas? It's on the east side of my house, we're on a hill so morning sun is unobstructed.
 
Leila Rich
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Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome to permies Xeike
I'd be very careful about getting rid of all flowers: as far as I know, basically all the insects we want in our gardens rely on flowers at some stage...
I think you're probably talking more about getting rid of purely ornamental beds though?
There's quite a few threads here about productive plants for shade; here's a few of my favourites from my temperate climate:
raspberries
gooseberries
currants
leaves, especially chard
mountain pawpaw
alpine strawberries (birds don't recognise the white ones)
coriander
parsley
chervil
sorrel
Egyptian walking onions
 
Xeike Tull
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Thank you!

And yes, I meant strictly ornamental.

If we keep the property we're on, I intend to plant about an acre of clover at the foot of the hill, and see about a honey bee hive! I just need my daughter to be big enough that she can be plopped in front of a movie while mama goes to check on the bees. Not quite there yet!

A big problem we have right now is wasps, so I can't really bring honey bees in until we deal with them. I've heard that wasps will drive out or straight up kill honey bees. I'm not sure if these are wasps or hornets, but I'm thinking they're paper wasps, judging by the dozens of little nests I take down and drown all summer long. (Or burn, depending where they are.)

So far, these wasps are the only thing besides deer that really seem to be flourishing on our property. lol One pest at a time I suppose though... Are you sure the alpine strawberries would do well there? I thought all berries needed full sun?

The space is right underneath our living room window, so I'm hesitant to put in raspberries because they'd climb and obscure the view out the window. The view isn't ornamental, it lets me see down the hill to the pasture, and get a clear shot on coyotes that are coming after my livestock.
Stone garden.jpg
[Thumbnail for Stone garden.jpg]
The little partial-shade bed
 
Galadriel Freden
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Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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I just want to mention that early flowering bulbs like daffodils are an important source of food for early foraging bees. Apparently what bees are left in the hive over winter will need to go out to forage on warmer days in winter/early spring as their honey stocks dwindle, or the hive may starve. Also, having lots of early flowers will tempt the bees into your garden to pollinate your early flowering trees and shrubs. Don't discount the value of "ornamental" flowers; bees need these flowers to survive, and we need those bees
 
Leila Rich
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Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I haven't dealt with wasps since I was a kid, so I'm no help aside from making vague mutterings about plagues nearly always being a symptom of an ecological imbalance
Have you had wasp trouble for long, or is it a new problem?
It looks like you're in Washington? That's strawberry country!
While 'normal' strawberries like sun, alpines grow naturally on the forest floor.
There's not much to the fruit, but it tastes amazing.

I agree to avoid raspberries there since they'll block your view of predators. Shame though, as alpine strawberries do well under mine.
If you've got another shady, out-of-the-way spot...
I find raspberries one of the easiest, most kid-friendly fruits.
 
Xeike Tull
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Far as I know, the wasps have been invading here in spades for at least the last ten years. Forty or more years ago, this was cow pasture. Whoever owned it before our grandfather had so many cows on it that it turned the ground all choppy from them being in it all the time. Then once our grandfather bought the place, he didn't do ANYTHING with it. No animals, no sowing, no cutting, no anything...

So we have 10 acres. 5 are wooded (DENSELY) with ultra-thick ground cover in the form of crazy shrubs, thickets, bushes, and vines, and the other half is armpit-high grass, thistles, and filbert trees that never produce any nuts. lol

Then the little quarter acre garden, and the space around the foot of the house to grow in.

And a pond; but it's full of slime and about four feet of sludge, with frogs and salamanders. I want to clean it out and get something in there to keep it nice... but... have no idea how to do that either... Big plans, limited means. lol

And yes, we're in Washington, south of Chehalis, North of anything noteworthy. lol
 
Clara Florence
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Most leafy greens will do well in shade to part shade. Nasturtiums will grow anywhere and they are edible too. The older large leaves aren't much chop but the young tender leaves are very nice either lightly sauted or fresh in salad mixes. As for your pond, get your hands on a few corms of Duck Potato, tastes like water chestnut and grows in muck. Very pretty to look at too with it's upright arrowhead leaves. A quarter acre is actually a very large space to work with, so large you'd hardly need to be utilising every little patch for edibles. I have less than that and have fit in a woodland, orchard, vegetable and flower beds, water garden and ornamental bulbs. I plant densely with flowers planted right in the vege patches and everything mixed. You need less space than you think.
 
Xeike Tull
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The bigger space I'm planting with common must-haves - peppers, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, corn(blech), potatoes, etc... I plan on sharing with a bunch of my friends who can't afford to buy organic. So the space I have I'm hoping will be enough to supply me, them, and put away for canning. Not just my own family I'm feeding.

As for the pond, I don't want the muck to stay there. lol

I'm thinking of getting a sump, and pumping the muck into the big garden to till it in and help enrich the soil. Then I can get a good scrape of muck out of the pond, and see about putting in some plants or fish that will eat any muck that accumulates from there... I haven't decided yet.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I wouldn't give up on raspberries under that window.

Build a trellis out from the bed, and train the canes onto the trellis.
Grow them horizontally, and prune whatever won't.

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