• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Too shady, need help with planning phase  RSS feed

 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ok, so my wife and I have been working towards a goal of creating a livable space that produces significant edible products on an extremely tight budget. Our first foray into gardening of any kind was last year... and we are going to blame our failures on the drought. Needless to say we are inexperienced.

We keep running into the same problem: We need more sun.

Most of the plants that we (and our circle) are familiar with require a minimum of mostly sunny conditions . There are 5 significantly sized trees along our southern property lines. Each of them are too large for my dinky 12 inch electric chainsaw, and even if I were to borrow one, they are too tall for me to safely drop amongst the surrounding structures. Also, I don't have the funds to hire someone to fell them this year, but that is a option down the road.

Let me run down the list of what we have been doing so far.
* We have chickens working for us by breaking down our ample amounts of leaves, i.e. their bedding.
* We are composting all kitchen scraps, chicken manure, guinea pig manure, leaves, etc.
* We have utilized natural "waste" by building 3 hugelbeets (2 planted this year & one the chickens are currently "working in the fertilizer") from nuisance foliage and trees.
* We have a "hugel-berm" to mitigate the flood and erosion from our neighbor's runoff.
* We have planted some perennials (raspberries, blackberries, grapes, asparagus, lavender, mint, & blueberries) and intend to plant more (need advice on WHAT to plant)
* We have naturally eliminated the poison ivy (I hope!) caused from years of neglect.
* We *had* to plant tomatoes in the #1 bed because my wife has an itch to can a bunch of them.
* We have planted a crop of annuals (tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, celery, carrots, cantaloupe, strawberries, snow peas, green beans & sweet potatoes)
* We seeded the entire yard with white dutch clover.
* We have a top bar hive built, and are awaiting a swarm from my father-in-law.


My vague question:
What should we do?

My less vague questions:
* Does anyone have advice for us regarding edible/productive understory plants?
* Is there anybody bored enough to help me plan the best design for our land using free/extremely-cheap materials? I have "ample" woodland material, some rotting lumber, and a slow consistent willingness to work towards a goal. (see images)
* How much leeway is there when plant descriptions say "Requires full/mostly sun"?
yard-layout.jpg
[Thumbnail for yard-layout.jpg]
Map of our yard
yard-layout-with-zones.jpg
[Thumbnail for yard-layout-with-zones.jpg]
Map of our yard with traffic zones
Yard-snapshot.jpg
[Thumbnail for Yard-snapshot.jpg]
Picture of our yard from second floor
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4028
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
172
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Howdy Tom, welcome to permies! It looks like you are doing great work so far, just keep it up. You might have to just plant some things in different places on the property and see where they grow best. Can you reach any of the lower branches with a hand saw? Maybe a ladder and a hand saw?
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks.

I have scared my wife on a number of occasions, climbing into my trees trimming what I can reach with my 20 foot extension ladder. I have almost reached my limit... just... a little... more...

Also, my neighbors are great and have allowed me to take down their unwanted small trees that were competing with my yard for sunlight and I got to keep the wood.
 
Michael Milligan
Posts: 55
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Take your saw around the tree only cutting in a couple inches. It will die but be fine like that this year, letting sun through. Next year, when you have the money, fell it.

OR if it is a nice lumber tree offer it to whomever wants to cut it and take it.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A few more images:


Last year's compost pile, on top of a pile of rotting logs surrounded by fresh cut logs, planted with tomatoes, peppers, and white dutch clover (as a living mulch)... AKA a hugelbeet

Further back, this year's compost pile started on top of where the chicken coop spent the winter. In the fall, this will be pulled back, wood will be laid down, and the wood will be covered with the compost, creating another hugelbeet.

Against the garage, are 6 snowpea plants behind a long log meant to protect them from kids and chickens. Two unused dog kennel panels are setup as a makeshift trellis (I have added a few more panels and stood them up the other way).


it's hard to tell from this image, but this is an old pile of brush (predates our ownership of the property). it had already mostly decomposed into rich soil when I decided to dump some unneeded soil on top. It needs a lot more soil to cover up the remaining sticks, but I couldn't resist planting this bed this year.


Blackberries up front, Raspberries in the back. The carpet is down to kill the poison ivy I planted the raspberries in last spring. I plan to leave the carpet down until next year... I hate poison ivy.


A view of the hugel-berm. For this I dug a hole 8 inches deep 12 inches wide and roughly 20 feet long, filled the entire hole with sticks and "mini-logs" and piled the dirt back on top of the wood. This was done mostly to divert the water from the neighbor's driveway away from the foundation.

Seeded with white clover. Lettuce was planted on top because....why not?


A Hugel-Swale to keep the water from the neighbor's property away from the house. Seeded with white clover.


The chicken run was placed on top of next year's bed to do all the work of shredding the leaves, turning the compost, & fertilizing the pile. This bed was dug 8 inches below grade (to the old gravel driveway), filled with logs, sticks & brush to the top of the blue frame, smothered with year old oak leaves and given to the chickens to eat the bugs to their hearts' content. I have since added 2 trash bags full of leaves and a half bale of straw.

The chickens are happy to eat all of the bugs, I don't have to turn the pile or add manure and our garden is growing... win-win-win


Celery, chickens, and next year's Hugelbeet material.


Mariah's flowers... they sit there and "look pretty", i.e. you can't eat them, they are not medicinal, and they have no practical use whatsoever.

That is an old gutter attached to the house filled with potting soil.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry about the broken images... they should be fixed now.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael, thanks for the idea, but I can't risk that. If that tree falls on my, or my neighbor's house and I'm the one that killed the tree... I can't imagine how much that would cost me.
 
Michael Milligan
Posts: 55
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, I imagine you'd have a number of years before it actually fell over. Say vandals did it and they city will take it down as a hazard. Hey, they've been taking your money for years right? Isn't it so they can pay for things like that?

My idea about offering it free as a timber tree might work better. Post it on Craigslist and see if anyone bites, no cost to you either way.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4028
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
172
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Tom, you posted this all in the gardening for beginners thread. Are you sure you are a beginner? Looks like some fairly advanced stuff to me!
I was wondering if you have any power lines near any of those trees? If so you might check with the power company to see if they will take them down or trim them. You know to keep them off of the power lines.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Unfortunately, no power lines near the trees in back; and the trees in front only have my personal line going through them... Meaning it's my responsibility to keep it cleared.

I am very new to this stuff. Although I am quick to pick up theory and methods, I still have to build a knowledge base of plant species and their idiosyncrasies... Besides, most of my adopted methods are exercises in laziness... instead of replanting and retilling and reweeding I take shortcuts I read about in these forums and put them into practice because I am cheap and lazy... and probably deluding myself about how easy it all is gonna be.

I couldn't find a good category for my post; is there a better category?
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4028
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
172
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No, No, this is a fine place to post. Just commenting on your ability to put things into action. You are a very good beginer. And being lazy is a way to get more done in the end!
 
AdAstra Shepard
Posts: 10
Location: Eastern KS, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am also a beginner with the same problem. Smallish yard, lots of huge shade trees. I am just doing a lot of plant-it-&-see-what-happens.
How hot are your summers? I've found that in our KS heat, plants that say 'full sun to part shade' actually do better in shade.
Another suggestion is to look to your native local environment. Here in Eastern KS we have quite a bit of woodland area, especially near waterways. So I'm using plants I observed growing well in the understory there, like hazelnut, paw paw trees, elderberry bushes, strawberries, & riverbank grapes.
Hope this helps. I love all that you've accomplished already!
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I live near St. Louis... our weather is highly variable. Last year we had 21 days over 100 degrees (last year's high was 108 degrees), but we have some summers that never hit 95 (very few).

One of my disadvantages is that I had never cared enough to learn about the "native" plants growing up; and as much as I want to now, my brain is not wired to learn species naturally. I require considerable interaction with a plant/animal for my brain to make the connection between characteristics and species identification (i.e. if it barks its a dog). For example, I always thought Pawpaws were tropical species; I can't read "Pawpaw" without thinking of Disney's The Jungle Book. (The Bare Necessities)

I will have to look into getting hazelnut, paw paw trees, elderberry bushes, & riverbank grapes. Where might be the best place to get some of these? Would a local nursery have them? My in-laws ordered the berry plants for us in memory of a my grandmother, other than that we have shopped at a local hardware store that offers the traditional garden plants/seeds.
 
Deb Stephens
Posts: 398
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
23
books dog food preservation forest garden goat trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tom Harner wrote:I live near St. Louis... our weather is highly variable. Last year we had 21 days over 100 degrees (last year's high was 108 degrees), but we have some summers that never hit 95 (very few).

One of my disadvantages is that I had never cared enough to learn about the "native" plants growing up; and as much as I want to now, my brain is not wired to learn species naturally. I require considerable interaction with a plant/animal for my brain to make the connection between characteristics and species identification (i.e. if it barks its a dog). For example, I always thought Pawpaws were tropical species; I can't read "Pawpaw" without thinking of Disney's The Jungle Book. (The Bare Necessities)

I will have to look into getting hazelnut, paw paw trees, elderberry bushes, & riverbank grapes. Where might be the best place to get some of these? Would a local nursery have them? My in-laws ordered the berry plants for us in memory of a my grandmother, other than that we have shopped at a local hardware store that offers the traditional garden plants/seeds.


Tom,
I am in Missouri too -- just down in the SW corner near Branson (although I actually hail from up near you - a little town called DeSoto). I've found that for folks interested in native trees and shrubs, you can't do better than ordering through the MO Department of Conservation. They offer all sorts of bare root plants for next to nothing. Most are bundles of 25 and range from $3 to $8 per bundle (although the special multi-species bundles or large-sized trees cost a few dollars more.) You can get the hazelnuts, pawpaws, and elderberries there, and if interested, you can pick up currants, blackberries, pecans, walnuts, wild plums and a ton of other species too. Most people start ordering in November/December for delivery in spring, but if you hurry, they may not be sold out of everything yet. Last day to order for this year is April 30. Check here...

http://mdc.mo.gov/your-property/seedling-orders-and-planting-guide/seedling-order-how

While you're there, go check out the native plant books. (A lot of animal field guides too.) These are great books for learning native plants from trees to grasses and weeds. And they are actually very reasonably priced for the quality. (You can get free pamphlets and small publications as well.) I have at least one of almost every one of their field guides (and for some, I have several -- they update them a lot). I also know a lot about native plants, so if you have a problem identifying something, shoot me a photo/description and I will do my best to tell you what it is.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow! "reasonably priced" is an understatement!

I'm gonna have to get an order together quick. Thanks.

btw, I'll be taking you up on your offer to help with identification.
 
Deb Stephens
Posts: 398
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
23
books dog food preservation forest garden goat trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tom,
Your choice of hazelnuts is a good one for your yard because American hazel actually prefers shade. Same goes for pawpaws, blackberries, currants and serviceberry. By the way, if you have never eaten the berries from a serviceberry tree, you've missed one on Nature's best kept fruit secrets! They are incredibly delicious -- sort of like a cross between sweet cherries and blueberries. It is really hard to get them though because birds love them so much, they tend to eat them even before they are fully ripe. They don't leave much more than a taste for the poor humans who come along later. We have them all over on our land and the national forest next door, but we still seldom get more than a handful. I think part of the problem is that they ripen so much earlier than other fruits (in June) that wildlife doesn't have a lot of other fruit choices then.

Some other thoughts about plants you can grow in shade...
Grow violets -- both leaves and flowers are really delicious in salads, and you can cook the greens as well -- plus they are so pretty as a ground cover and super good for you. In fact you can grow a lot of greens in shade - even those whose seed packets claim they need full sun. Lettuces, arugula, kale, parsley, swiss chard and the brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) for example do better when it is cool. Lately we have had such hot, dry weather in Missouri that I have started growing almost all my greens in the shade just to keep them cool, and they seem to prefer it. I think I am going to grow my tomatoes and peppers in shade this year to see how they do. They got so hot in the open last year that they literally cooked on the vines, so moving them into shade may make a positive difference. Onions, leeks, potatoes, radishes, turnips (radish & turnip leaves are good to eat too), mints, peas, horseradish... hmmm... (still thinking)... oh yeah... tiger lilies and hostas are also edible and do well in shade. There are actually quite a few good choices for shade, so don't chop down those trees just yet. (Unless you have the mixed blessing of walnut trees. I say mixed because on the one hand, you get to eat the nuts, but on the other hand, walnut trees contain juglone -- an alleotoxin that prevents growth of most plants beneath their canopies.)

Those are nice mature trees that I am certain contribute significantly to mitigating the heat from streets and buildings, so I would think twice about cutting them in any case. Trim away some of the branches, sure, but you may regret cutting them down when you are having to pay ridiculous electric bills to cool your house in summer. Just a thought.

You may want to consider lightening up a few areas of your garden using reflected light as well. If you own the house (which I assume you do if you can cut the trees) then consider painting it white or other light color to help brighten up the yard. You can use mirrors or foil or even reflective garden ornaments like gazing globes, to reflect light to smaller areas. Buy a box of mirror tiles and lay them at a slight angle under some of your plants that want more sun. Pools and other water features offer several advantages also -- they reflect a lot of light, bring in wildlife and give you a place to grow edibles that like water or wet areas around the edges. Plus they make great places to relax next to in the backyard at the end of a hot summer day.

Anyway, just a few ideas -- I will keep this in the back of my mind and see if I can think of anything else.
 
AdAstra Shepard
Posts: 10
Location: Eastern KS, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tom Harner wrote:...I always thought Pawpaws were tropical species; I can't read "Pawpaw" without thinking of Disney's The Jungle Book. (The Bare Necessities)

I will have to look into getting hazelnut, paw paw trees, elderberry bushes, & riverbank grapes. Where might be the best place to get some of these? Would a local nursery have them? My in-laws ordered the berry plants for us in memory of a my grandmother, other than that we have shopped at a local hardware store that offers the traditional garden plants/seeds.


LOL. Yup, the tropical papaya is often called a paw paw tree. But that's a completely different species, Carica papaya. The Paw Paw I'm talking about is a North American native tree, Asimina triloba. You wanna make sure you get the right kind! My mom grew up on a farm/ranch on the edge of the Flint Hills in KS and they always had paw paw patches near the creekbeds. That's the only reason I knew what they were. The fruits don't keep & ship very well so no one cultivates them commercially, but for a backyard food source, they're excellent. They're just now starting to be offered by more nurseries. Best sources I've found for these odd / native plants are, as the other poster suggested, state conservation organizations or ag extension offices. Got my hazelnuts from the Arbor Day organization. But there are more and more little nurseries springing up that will ship you various hard-to-find edible plants; you can find them if you are skilled in the art of Google Fu, but prices vary pretty widely.

After reading some of these other posts, I'm going to try & get myself some serviceberries too! I always learn something new on these forums.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Interesting thing about service berries: There is at least 1 species native to every US state, except Hawaii.
(And every Canadian province and territory.)

 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well I am placing an order for 50 wild plums & 50 elder berries. Only a few will make it into my yard... I'll gorilla plant the rest. Next year, I plan on ordering more (hazelnut, pawpaw, mulberry, etc) while they are still available.

The tree of primary concern (the one over the garden beds) doesn't shade the house at all. So no fear there... The ones in front should have been trimmed years ago.

I am thinking we are gonna go with a hybrid approach of taking down the one tree & only trim the rest as needed... at least until I can direct the creation of a new canopy.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, & serviceberries
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We had a bunch of violets in our yard. Unfortunately, the bulk of them were intermixed with poison ivy that I smothered out. I am doing what I can to encourage the ones that are left... Even put a few into a big pot with some dandelions & creeping charlie as a "wild-flower preserve" to help them multiply. Kids & chickens like to walk on & pick the few we have.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm amazed with the chickens and dog that your plants are doing so well! Ours would have been squashed or scratched out of the ground.

I had a native plum "hedge" and loved them! They make beautiful jelly and we fermented some with honey to make a plum meade. The meade turned out a bit sour but when it was just fizzy and not too alcoholic the kids LOVED it!

Which makes me think - you could probably put in a beehive. Then when your wife wants to plant flowers you'll just have to direct her toward the good pollen ones, LOL!

And am I missing it or do you not have rain barrels yet? Around here we can pick up used food-grade 55 gallon barrels for $15, $5 when they have a surplus and put on a sale. I've already set them up to catch the rain water from one barn roof and it meets the needs of our mule and two donkeys. You could definitely water your plants with one or two. I was thinking of trying to set up a low-labor watering system by using something like a soaker hose attached to the rain barrel. Haven't done anything on that yet, tho.

You could plant the kinds of roses that have large, edible hips (good source of vitamin C). The Rugosa roses also have fragrant petals that I've used in salads before and my daughter has played around with making rose water for cooking.

We had red raspberries growing on the north side of the house and they bore fruit well there in almost full shade.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have put netting over the two big beds currently planted. That solved most of the issues. Oh, I did find the dog napping on the lettuce planted near the back door. Keeping the kids/dogs/chickens away from the berries has been a chore. I ended up getting some electric fencing to keep the kids out. (Its not electrified, so don't freak out.) my biggest issue is that my 4 year old boy likes to dig... EVERYWHERE... at random... anytime he is outside. I need to make him a sandbox to keep that in check.

I am planning on a bee hive this year... just waiting on a swarm from my father-in-law. I can wait for free.

I do NOT have rain barrels yet. If you haven't noticed, I am very cheap frugal and am still trying to justify the cost of a decent system... while still trying to figure out what kind of system to put in. I would hate to spend a bunch of money on barrels and cut them up this year just to replace them next year with something that works better. My downspout locations are not the most conveniently located and I would like to store more than 55 gallons for each spout. So, in my spare time I am trying to do cost/benefit analysis and comparison of multiple setups. The main questions:
*How much water storage do I need? ('X' Gallons)
*At what point is the extra cost of a single tank that holds 'X' gallons offset by the cost of the plumbing required between 'X/55' barrels?

 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How much storage you need depends on your annual rainfall and how it is distributed (i.e. how many inches per month in the growing season, when you'd want to use it). You can cut up a cheap garden hose and use it as a siphon to move the water as long as the barrels are level with each other or above where you want to use the water (cement blocks under the barrels helps with that). Siphons sometimes get an air bubble and stop working but mostly you can just dunk the whole hose, block off one end and put it back in place to get it started again.

A lot of people really overcomplicate things with rain barrels - which I think is a shame in climates where it can freeze and burst all your yard work. I'm going to use siphons with mine.

Sorry I did read that about the bees, and yes waiting for free ones is the best!

You may be able to put an ad on www.freecycle.org and ask if you can dig up volunteer berries, there are a lot of nice people who would let you. Anyone who grows them gets volunteers where they don't want them sooner or later.

& BTW, I LOVE the gutter with the flowers!
 
solomon martin
Posts: 102
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
raspberries do well in low sun. most brassicas do ok in shade. Potatoes like sun, but will grow well in partial sun with patience (try laying them whole on the surface, and covering with lots of straw and hot compost.) shade can be helpful for greens during hot weather. Peas grow in any conditon. I learned to garden in NW MT on a north slope aspect surrounded by tall conifers, dont get discouraged, you can have successful crops. look into using clear plastic pop bottles or glass jars in the early spring to make micro greenhouses to get your tomatoes started. salvage black plastic from a lumber yard (timber wrap, most places will give it to you if you ask) and lay it down black side up, cut out planting holes and use it to augment the sun to warm up your soil. after your seedlings are established, use a heavy mulch to insulate your soil. Often you can make up for low sun by keeping your roots warm. you can ripen green tomatoes in the fall by wrapping them individually in newsprint and putting them in a cool dry place. I have used this technique and had ripe tomatoes in december. If you are really shady, try starting seedlings in a start bed in your sunniest spring location, and transplanting after they have some greenery. Dont treat those shade trees as your enemy, it looks as if you have the potential for a happening garden. Good luck.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Trees are not the enemy; ignorance is the enemy.

Peas... heh... I'll have to plant more of them. I just pulled a bunch of invasive ivy from a fence line, I think I'll plant some peas there to grow up the fence instead.

Everyone keeps telling me to plant raspberries in the shade... Oddly, my raspberries are planted in full sun... They are the most successful group of plants we have.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, today my elderberry & wild plum saplings came in the mail. I already have the front yard planted, 3 berries & 4 plums. Tomorrow, I start on the back yard. I'm over planting so that my problem involves thinning instead of planting more & waiting even longer for fruit.

 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ok so big update this weekend:

I have planted 10 more wild plum saplings in my back yard, & guerilla planted 5 in an unused space behind my property, for a total of 19 wild plum trees that should be accessible to my family.

Also planted 3 more elderberry saplings in my backyard, gave 3 to a neighbor to plant along our fenceline & guerilla planted 3, for a total of 12 bushes.

But, I'm most excited with the swarm of bees that I captured! I am now the proud owner of 30,000+ incredibly tame honeybees & it only cost me 2 bee stings to get them.

I'll post pictures when I get the chance.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So a year later, i have some updates.

* We still have chickens working for us by breaking down our ample amounts of leaves and "weeds".
**We now have a new coop as planned in the above images.
***The materials for the coop were sourced from an old porch that FINALLY met its end during a violent storm.
***The coop has a dug out (12 inches deep) bare earth floor, this cavity was filled with woodchips

* We are still composting all kitchen scraps, chicken manure, guinea pig manure, leaves, etc.
** although we now throw it all into the chickens
* We have utilized natural "waste" by building 3 hugelbeets 5 hugelbeets from nuisance foliage and trees.
** All are planted already.
* We have an extended "hugel-berm" to mitigate the flood and erosion from our neighbor's runoff. It is now closer to 40 feet than the original 20. (Although, there is water seeping into the basement as i type because of all the rain anyway.)
** we have thrown kale, lettuce, chard, beet, and other seeds onto it...

* We have planted some perennials (raspberries, blackberries, grapes, asparagus, lavender, mint, & blueberries) and intend to plant more
** Pretty sure most of the asparagus has died.
** The black berries are alive and growing... but no berries yet.
** My wife and I shared A blueberry last summer.
** No grapes yet of course
** Pretty sure the lavender died... we'll see... already planted its replacements...
** CHOCOLATE MINT IS AWESOME! Our daughter drank the choc mint tea all winter. And we are still kicking ourselves for only putting it in the final batch of strawberry jam we made. Chocolate mint really makes the strawberry jam pop. Will not make THAT mistake again!
*** We got more mint varieties. They will be spread.
** Have since planted sunchokes, true comfrey, rhubarb, horseradish, plum, elderberry, service berry, smooth sumac, malabar spinach, false indigo, and more
** Awaiting deliver of gooseberry, goumi, hazel, pawpaw, nanking cherry, mulberry, pomegranate (to be potted), hardy kiwi, and more.

* We have naturally eliminated the poison ivy (I hope!) caused from years of neglect.
** Confirmed! I have to keep an eye on it though... it is still in the negligent neighbor's yard.
* We *had* to plant tomatoes in the #1 bed because my wife has an itch to can a bunch of them.
** We got a metric shit-ton of tomatoes... some several dozen quarts of tomato sauce were canned.
** We have planted more tomatoes this year...

* We have planted a crop of annuals (tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, celery, carrots, cantaloupe, strawberries, snow peas, green beans & sweet potatoes)
** Winners: tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers (now pickled), celery...
** Losers: peppers, zucchini, carrots, cantaloupe, snow peas, beans, sweet potatoes (although, the water company helped kill the sweet potatoes).
** The jury is still out on the strawberries; they didn't produce but a few berries last year, but they multiplied and are very happy this spring... we shall see. I got a different variety... just in case

* We seeded the entire yard with white dutch clover.
** Felt the need to seed it again... it was pretty thin in most areas that i really wanted it. it did VERY well where i attempted to seed thyme and chamomile along with it... though the thyme and chamomile did NOT germinate.
** I also seeded some annual rye. seems like a waste.

* We have a top bar hive built, and are awaiting a swarm from my father-in-law.
** I got the swarm!
** It died over the winter.
* We had a dump truck full of ramial wood chips dropped off to fill the chicken coop and cover much of the yard with over 6 inches of organic matter. What a difference! The yard is always damp now, and the chickens love to hunt for worms in it. There is so much fungal activity now!
** The carpet has been replaced with wood chips... the raspberries are popping up through them all over... including in the neighbor's yard... i hope he don't mind.
* That big pile of sticks... is still there. though it has shrunk... some.
* The "Next year's bed" that the chickens were on was ready in time for us to plant broccoli, cucumbers and rhubarb in it all performed beautifully!
** We even were able to make cookies out of the rhubarb in the first season from the stalks that the bugs decided to chew off at the base. very good!
* Also, we got 35 walking onion plants... they are small... i hope some survive the transplant.
* Of the 19 plum trees planted, only 8 remain.
* Of the 12 elderberry bushed planted, 11 remain!
* We planted 5 smooth sumac saplings in the area behind our property.
* We have planted 7 service berry trees in our yard, and 3 in the unused area behind our property. (Couldn't resist with the endorsement provided by Deb Stephens above.
* We have 7 more chicks...
*My wife planted more useless plants that she claims look pretty...


I'm sure there is more.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I posted this in a seperate thread, but I should probably document it here too. Following is a list of all of the plants that I have identified as useful or planted in my garden/yard/forest/whatever. The annuals are the ones currently planted and are subject to change from year to year obviously. Of the perennials, only the raspberries, strawberries, dandelions, violets and chocolate mint have produced a crop (last year).

Producing species
Trees/shrubs
Plum
Serviceberry (a.k.a. Juneberry) (a.k.a. Shad)
Apple (Yellow Delicious)
Russian Mulberry
Goji (a.k.a. Wolfberry)
Gooseberry
Elderberry
Nanking Cherry
Hazel Nut
Pawpaw
Currants, Red
Sumac, Smooth
Pomegranate
Sassafras
Peach
Vines/Brambles
Blackberry
Raspberry
Grape
Maypop Passionflower
Kiwi, Hardy
Nasturtiums
Herbaceous
Lemon Grass
Horseradish
Onion, Walking
Asparagus
Lovage
Thyme
Sunchoke
Strawberry
Dandelion
Indian Strawberry
Rhubarb
Tiger Lilies
Violet, Wild
Mint
Apple Mint
Chocolate Mint
Orange Mint
Peppermint
Spearmint
Lemon Balm
Annuals
Tomato
Potato
Pepper, Hot
Pepper, Sweet
Onions (from leftovers)
Lettuce
Radish
Eggplant
Garlic
Elephant Garlic
Watermelon
Pumpkin

Support Species (Chop & Drop Mostly)
Trees/shrubs
Blue False Indigo
Slender Bush Clover
Box Elder
Japanese Honeysuckle
Vines/Brambles
Herbaceous
Comfrey
Clover, Dutch White


I'm sure that I am missing something.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wanted to add some progress pictures... I did my best to take them from similar angles.


















And the new pictures:










 
Simon Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 202
Location: S Ontario, Zone 6/7
40
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nice going Tom! Keep up the good work and letting us know how it goes.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There have been some changes to our plant list. Italics indicate additions.

Producing species
Trees/shrubs
Plum ("Wild")
Plum, Methley
Serviceberry (a.k.a. Juneberry) (a.k.a. Shad)
Apple (Yellow Delicious)
Russian Mulberry
Goji (a.k.a. Wolfberry)
Gooseberry Gooseberry (Replaced)
Elderberry
Nanking Cherry Nanking Cherry (Replaced)
Hazel Nut Hazel Nut (Replaced)
Pawpaw
Currants, Red
Currants, Black
Sumac, Smooth
Pomegranate
Sassafras
Blueberry
Peach, Unknown
Peach, Diamond Princess

Vines/Brambles
Blackberry
Raspberry
Grape
Maypop Passionflower
Kiwi, Hardy
Nasturtiums
American Ground Nut

Herbaceous
Lemon Grass
Horseradish
Onion, Walking
Asparagus Asparagus (Replaced)
Lovage
Thyme
Sunchoke
Strawberry
Dandelion
Indian Strawberry
Rhubarb
Tiger Lilies
Violet, Wild
Mint
Apple Mint
Chocolate Mint
Orange Mint
Peppermint
Spearmint
Lemon Balm
Rosemary
Oregano
Sea Kale
Skirret

Annuals
Tomato
Potato
Pepper, Hot
Pepper, Sweet
Onions (from leftovers)
Lettuce
Radish
Eggplant
Garlic
Elephant Garlic
Watermelon
Pumpkin

Squash
Bush Beans
Lambsquarter

Support Species (Chop & Drop Mostly)
Trees/shrubs
Blue False Indigo
Slender Bush Clover
Box Elder
Japanese Honeysuckle
Vines/Brambles
Herbaceous
Comfrey
Clover, Dutch White
Cover Crop Seedmix
*Clover- Balansa
*Chickling Vetch- AC Greenfix
*Spring Forage Pea
*Alfalfa - Common
*Winter Pea- Whistler
*Oat- Rockford
*Impact Forage Collard
*Florida Broadleaf Mustard
*Nitro Radish- Diakon Oilseed
*Winfred Hybrid Turnip
*Sugar Beet
*Flax- Selby
*Safflower
*Flower Mix





I'm sure that I am missing something.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I will post a narrative update when I have a bit more time.
 
Tom Harner
Posts: 95
Location: St. Louis, MO
6
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So another year later, I have some more updates. I added dates for posterity.

(2015) * I took geoff lawton’s Permaculture Design Course (link to discussion) and my wife and daughter watched the lectures with me. I expect it will have an influence on my yard in the coming years. In fact, it kinda negates my original question as I realize that I was asking many of the wrong questions.

(2013) * We still have chickens working for us by breaking down our ample amounts of leaves and "weeds".
(2014) **We now have a new coop as planned in the above images.
(2014) ***The materials for the coop were sourced from an old porch that FINALLY met its end during a violent storm.
(2014) ***The coop has a dug out (12 inches deep) bare earth floor, this cavity was filled with woodchips
(2015) **** These woodchips were excavated in October, 2014 and spread out onto various garden beds as needed and new free woodchips were replaced… this process needs to be repeated again, estimating 6 month cycle.

(2013) * We are still composting all kitchen scraps, chicken manure, guinea pig manure, leaves, etc.
(2014) ** although we now throw it all into the chickens
(2013) * We have utilized natural "waste" by building 3 hugelbeets 5 hugelbeets from nuisance foliage and trees.
(2014) ** All are planted already.

(2013) * We have an extended "hugel-berm" to mitigate the flood and erosion from our neighbor's runoff.
(2014) ** It is now closer to 40 feet than the original 20. (Although, there is water seeping into the basement as I type because of all the rain anyway.)
(2014) ** we have thrown kale, lettuce, chard, beet, and other seeds onto it...
(2015) ** Even with all of the rain this year, no seepage, just dampness
(2015) ** This berm is under-utilized, it has been planted with lettuce, kale, lemon balm, lovage, nanking cherry, spearmint, peppermint, strawberries, beets and less directly: comfrey and false indigo

(2013) * We have planted some perennials (raspberries, blackberries, grapes, asparagus, lavender, mint, & blueberries) and intend to plant more
(2014) ** Pretty sure most of the asparagus has died.
(2014) ** The black berries are alive and growing... but no berries yet.
(2014) ** My wife and I shared A blueberry last summer.
(2014) ** No grapes yet of course
(2014) ** Pretty sure the lavender died... we'll see... already planted its replacements...
(2014) ** CHOCOLATE MINT IS AWESOME! Our daughter drank the choc mint tea all winter. And we are still kicking ourselves for only putting it in the final batch of strawberry jam we made. Chocolate mint really makes the strawberry jam pop. Will not make THAT mistake again!
(2015) **** the dog dug up the chocolate mint it is still alive but much less vigorous
(2014) *** We got more mint varieties. They will be spread.
(2014) ** Have since planted sunchokes, true comfrey, rhubarb, horseradish, plum, elderberry, service berry, smooth sumac, malabar spinach, false indigo, and more
(2014) ** Awaiting deliver of gooseberry, goumi goji, hazel, pawpaw, nanking cherry, mulberry, pomegranate (to be potted), hardy kiwi, and more.
(2015) *** Gooseberry, goji, hazel, pawpaw, mulberry, and nanking cherry didn’t make it… replaced the Gooseberry and hazel this year. I don’t think they are going to make it again… I am NOT impressed with this nursery.

(2013) * We have naturally eliminated the poison ivy (I hope!) ] caused from years of neglect.
(2014) ** Confirmed! I have to keep an eye on it though... it is still in the negligent neighbor's yard.
(2015) ** I still find poison ivy seedlings from time to time… but I am almost certain all of the roots are out/dead

(2013) * We *had* to plant tomatoes in the #1 bed because my wife has an itch to can a bunch of them.
(2014) ** We got a metric shit-ton of tomatoes... some several dozen quarts of tomato sauce were canned.
(2014) ** We have planted more tomatoes this year...
(2015) ** We decided to not plant any tomatoes this year…
(2015) *** We were gifted 10-12 tomato plants (from two different sources. Thanks Mark & Tina)

(2013) * We have planted a crop of annuals (tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, celery, carrots, cantaloupe, strawberries, snow peas, green beans & sweet potatoes)
(2014) ** Winners: tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers (now pickled), celery...
(2014) ** Losers: peppers, zucchini, carrots, cantaloupe, snow peas, beans, sweet potatoes (although, the water company helped kill the sweet potatoes).
(2014) ** The jury is still out on the strawberries; they didn't produce but a few berries last year, but they multiplied and are very happy this spring... we shall see. I got a different variety... just in case
(2015) * Last year we planted (tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, lovage, more strawberries, snow peas, broccoli, onions, garlic, radish, okra, swiss chard, kale, sweet potatoes and more)
(2015) ** Winners: LOVAGE! (we are never planning celery again OMG it is awesome and perennial), LAMBSQUARTER (“weed” that provides an excellent source of spinach-like v), zucchini, tomatoes, garlic
(2015) ** Losers: cucumbers, carrots, snowpeas, radish (went straight to seed), okra, chard, sweet potatoes
(2015) ** Jury is still out on the strawberries (not much fruit to speak of but looks very healthy), and kale (came back this year, nothing last year)

(2013) * We seeded the entire yard with white dutch clover.
(2014) ** Felt the need to seed it again... it was pretty thin in most areas that i really wanted it. it did VERY well where i attempted to seed thyme and chamomile along with it... though the thyme and chamomile did NOT germinate.
(2014) ** I also seeded some annual rye. seems like a waste.
(2015) *** It was.
(2015) ** This year I purchased a covercrop seed mix from https://greencoverseed.com/smartmix. I am very happy with this. Cover Crop Seedmix: Clover- Balansa, Chickling Vetch- AC Greenfix, Spring Forage Pea, Alfalfa – Common, Winter Pea- Whistler, Oat- Rockford, Impact Forage Collard, Florida Broadleaf Mustard, Nitro Radish- Diakon Oilseed, Winfred Hybrid Turnip, Sugar Beet, Flax- Selby, Safflower, Flower Mix

(2013) * We have a top bar hive built, and are awaiting a swarm from my father-in-law.
(2014) ** I got the swarm!
(2014) ** It died over the winter.
(2015) *** Still dead, my father-in-law’s hives had several collapses this winter, so I’ll get no swarms for a while
(2014) * We had a dump truck full of ramial wood chips dropped off to fill the chicken coop and cover much of the yard with over 6 inches of organic matter. What a difference! The yard is always damp now, and the chickens love to hunt for worms in it. There is so much fungal activity now!
(2014) ** The carpet has been replaced with wood chips... the raspberries are popping up through them all over... including in the neighbor's yard... i hope he don't mind.
(2015) ** We received a small load of wood chips in October, 2014 that were used in the chicken coop. I was lucky to catch a tree trimmer in our neighborhood.
(2015) ** We had another dump truck full of ramial wood chips dropped off…
(2015) *** The first yard or so were used to build a compost pile… My wife really got interested in making compost/soil during the Geoff Lawton PDC we took together.
(2015) *** Paths were laid in our far back yard with the next several yards to make it more accessible and defined
(2015) *** the remainder will be used to swap out the chicken litter

(2014) * That big pile of sticks... is still there. though it has shrunk... some.
(2015) ** Gone! It was folded into several garden beds and the remainder was burned for enjoyment… and smores.

(2014) * The "Next year's bed" that the chickens were on was ready in time for us to plant broccoli, cucumbers and rhubarb in it all performed beautifully!
(2014) ** We even were able to make cookies out of the rhubarb in the first season from the stalks that the bugs decided to chew off at the base. very good!

(2014) * Also, we got 35 walking onion plants... they are small... i hope some survive the transplant.
(2015) ** some did… they are in the process of walking as I type.

(2015) * I was able to spread Comfrey by root division... we now have 2 STRONG comfrey plants, 3 weak comfrey plants, and 2 mediocre plants. I plan to divide at least one plant later this year.

(2014) * Of the 19 plum trees planted, only 8 remain.
(2015) ** The same 8 remain, but the trees that were planted in pairs have clear winners/losers… I expect 3 to die off either this or next year. This is not a problem.

(2014) * Of the 12 elderberry bushed planted, 11 remain!
(2015) ** 3 produced berries, though due to our absence at ripening time, we were unable to harvest them… the same 3 are already producing flower buds, so that is promising

(2014) * We planted 5 smooth sumac saplings in the area behind our property.
(2015) ** They are still alive (some at least)

(2014) * We have planted 7 service berry trees in our yard, and 3 in the unused area behind our property. (Couldn't resist with the endorsement provided by Deb Stephens above.
(2015) ** These are all doing verywell… though I did torch one while killing some honey suckle off of the fence line… it didn’t make it.

(2014) * We have 7 more chicks...
(2015) ** we now have ~30 chickens (started with 6), ~10 are planned for slaughter, the remainder are in 3 various stages of laying productivity: pullets, prime, post-prime (still laying). We are preparing to cycle through the older layers when they begin to slow their production

(2015) * We planted an apple tree last spring (clearance)… it flowered this year

(2015) * We planted a Methley Plum last fall (clearance)…

(2015) * We planted a Diamond Princess Peach this spring (clearance)…

(2015) * We picked about a dozen morels in our yard... me and the kids liked them (tase like fried chicken skins)... my wife, not so much

(2014) *My wife planted more useless plants that she claims look pretty...
(2015) ** not this year… muah ha ha ha
 
What a show! What atmosphere! What fun! What a tiny ad!
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!