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Jared Stanley
Posts: 65
Location: Toomsuba, MS, 8a, 54" annual rainfall
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Hey everyone.

I have settled on trying to get the interior of our loop driveway filled in with plants as the next big project. I would like to fill it in with mostly perennial varieties, though some annual plantings are fine with me as well.

It is, roughly, 80' long, and about 30' wide where it is the most wide.

There is a slight slope. In the picture, the area near the telephone pole would be the high point, with the area near the busted red toy bucket being the lowest. I have not yet measured the incline, but it is gentle. I thought perhaps a short swale/huglekulture type thing around the inside edge of the driveway on the right side might be called for.

The trees that are there are 2 year old apple and cherry trees which were planted from bare root stock.

That said, I have a lot of thoughts for this area, but would like to know yours as well - to help spark other ideas for me to consider.

Thank you.

20130921_150220.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20130921_150220.jpg]
Area I want to grow an edible "forest" in
 
John Elliott
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I would suggest ringing the outside of the circle with Egyptian walking onions, and inside that circle some blueberry bushes. And maybe even have some lower ground cover plants outside of the onions, like strawberries.

I don't have any bulblets for the Egyptian walking onions right now, but next time I get a flush of them, I could send some to you.
 
Jared Stanley
Posts: 65
Location: Toomsuba, MS, 8a, 54" annual rainfall
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John, would any bunching onion do, or is the a particular reason for using the Egyptian walking? Thanks.

John Elliott wrote:I would suggest ringing the outside of the circle with Egyptian walking onions, and inside that circle some blueberry bushes. And maybe even have some lower ground cover plants outside of the onions, like strawberries.

I don't have any bulblets for the Egyptian walking onions right now, but next time I get a flush of them, I could send some to you.
 
John Elliott
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Jared Stanley wrote:John, would any bunching onion do, or is the a particular reason for using the Egyptian walking? Thanks.



You said you wanted perennials. If you plant one stalk of an Egyptian walking onion, in a few months you have 6 stalks. And a few of those stalks will have bulblets at the top that are looking for a place to fall and establish a new cluster. They are kind of pricey if you go looking to buy them. I don't know why, anyone who has them established will have plenty to give away. I got mine from a woman up in Athens (GA) who was giving them away, I'm happy to pay it forward.
 
Jared Stanley
Posts: 65
Location: Toomsuba, MS, 8a, 54" annual rainfall
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That sounds great. I will look forward to you having some to share!

Thank you

John Elliott wrote:You said you wanted perennials. If you plant one stalk of an Egyptian walking onion, in a few months you have 6 stalks. And a few of those stalks will have bulblets at the top that are looking for a place to fall and establish a new cluster. They are kind of pricey if you go looking to buy them. I don't know why, anyone who has them established will have plenty to give away. I got mine from a woman up in Athens (GA) who was giving them away, I'm happy to pay it forward.
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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I would sheet mulch the whole area and plant annuals there for the first few seasons. Vegetables, cover crops, corn, whatever. That will get you out there and motivated to work with the space and provide you with some quick yields as a reward. As you then decide on, find plants for, or propagate your own from seed or cuttings; start adding the perennials and shrubs and trees into the space. These will benefit hugely from the additional water and attention primarily directed at the annuals. Keep on growing garden stuff there until the trees and such start to fill in the space and shade it....meanwhile your garden moves on to the next area. The word for this is managed succession, and it's much more successful than trying to start scattered trees, etc. in the midst of lawn, pasture, thicket or woodland....try to work in patches instead. If the whole area seems too big to tackle, bite off a manageable portion and leave the rest for future rotations....
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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It depends so much on what you like and what you've already got! It looks like the middle part is sometimes used for parking, would you need to reserve that for occasional vehicles?

With the fruit trees, assuming you already have a vegetable garden, I'd think some pollinator-feeding flowers would be good. I had lamb's ears I grew from seed that weren't too invasive and they did well along my old driveway. The ones that grow from seed send up flower spikes that are very attractive to all kinds of pollinators. When they've mostly died back you can cut off and compost all the flower spikes and the plants look attractive and the foliage provides shelter for myraids of life forms. You have to remember that whatever is right on the edge may be driven on from time to time (delivery trucks, visitors, etc.) and it's most likely to be peed on by any dogs that are passing through.

Under the fruit trees you'll want something you can walk on because they'll need pruning and when they begin to bear fruit, thinning, etc. so an area of clover or low-growing herbs like thyme that you can walk on might be best there, at least under the apple trees - cherries are usually done pretty early in the season and then you don't need to go under them much again.

The loop inside a driveway is the perfect place to contain something that could otherwise be invasive, too, like grapes or raspberries. But you'd want to keep them away from your fruit trees. I planted rugosa rose along my old driveway and they did stay contained (on the driveway side, on the other side they sent up shoots in the neighbors' lawn!) They're good as pollinator food, have fragrant petals for cooking, and very large edible hips as a good source of vitamin C.

If you'll be selling to the public you'll probably want an attractive entrance, but if you and your friends are the only ones who will see it you can get a lot more functional and do something like raised beds or hugel mounds.

A pond right there would be pretty cool tho and the ducks would like it.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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This kinda looks like a zone 1 or 2 location ... maybe right in front of the house. It will naturally get a fair bit of attention from both residents and guests. So, this would not be the best spot for stuff that needs attending only a couple of times a year. This moves you in the direction of the annual veggies/kitchen garden, berries that need to be picked daily when in season, housing for small animals, etc. Also, perhaps a place for things that are vulnerable to pest pressure from things like possums or squirrels that may pause at going out in the open (especially if a dog is around).

Also, consider that the circular driveway creates a natural edge where lots of sunlight gets into the center. You could build your 7 layers inwards from the driveway towards a grove of small trees at center... or go with Renate's idea, pond in the center.

You could put a medium sized nut or fruit tree (chinese chestnut?) towards the north side of the loop to create a couple of nice shady parking spots for summer, without shading out other productive area.
 
Jared Stanley
Posts: 65
Location: Toomsuba, MS, 8a, 54" annual rainfall
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So, treat it like a backyard garden and work in perennials over time. I suppose the only problem with that is if I can manage to suppress my own urges and wait. I have another area where I am already planting annuals.

I am not so interested in quick yields as I am in smart long-term planning. I am only 31 and I want my grandchildren to eat from this property.

Alder Burns wrote:I would sheet mulch the whole area and plant annuals there for the first few seasons. Vegetables, cover crops, corn, whatever. That will get you out there and motivated to work with the space and provide you with some quick yields as a reward. As you then decide on, find plants for, or propagate your own from seed or cuttings; start adding the perennials and shrubs and trees into the space. These will benefit hugely from the additional water and attention primarily directed at the annuals. Keep on growing garden stuff there until the trees and such start to fill in the space and shade it....meanwhile your garden moves on to the next area. The word for this is managed succession, and it's much more successful than trying to start scattered trees, etc. in the midst of lawn, pasture, thicket or woodland....try to work in patches instead. If the whole area seems too big to tackle, bite off a manageable portion and leave the rest for future rotations....
 
Jared Stanley
Posts: 65
Location: Toomsuba, MS, 8a, 54" annual rainfall
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True - more information would probably be helpful. Sorry for leaving it out.

As for the parking - parking _should_ be done just off camera to the left - but people see the large yard area and do using for parking. Namely, UPS.

We definitely want to incorporated some plants that are attractive for pollinators. We have bees somewhere naturally, but would love to see even more of them around as I find too many undeveloped veggies which I presume is from a lack of pollination.

It is interesting that you mention keeping the grapes away from fruit trees, as I have heard of others using trees as trellising for grapes. Perhaps they were not fruit trees. What is your thinking on this?

We do hope that the general public will be coming by. The apple tree at the head of the driveway (where it forks) is a grafted double delicious (both yellow and red apples) - that was my idea of flashy.

Renate Haeckler wrote:It depends so much on what you like and what you've already got! It looks like the middle part is sometimes used for parking, would you need to reserve that for occasional vehicles?

With the fruit trees, assuming you already have a vegetable garden, I'd think some pollinator-feeding flowers would be good. I had lamb's ears I grew from seed that weren't too invasive and they did well along my old driveway. The ones that grow from seed send up flower spikes that are very attractive to all kinds of pollinators. When they've mostly died back you can cut off and compost all the flower spikes and the plants look attractive and the foliage provides shelter for myraids of life forms. You have to remember that whatever is right on the edge may be driven on from time to time (delivery trucks, visitors, etc.) and it's most likely to be peed on by any dogs that are passing through.

Under the fruit trees you'll want something you can walk on because they'll need pruning and when they begin to bear fruit, thinning, etc. so an area of clover or low-growing herbs like thyme that you can walk on might be best there, at least under the apple trees - cherries are usually done pretty early in the season and then you don't need to go under them much again.

The loop inside a driveway is the perfect place to contain something that could otherwise be invasive, too, like grapes or raspberries. But you'd want to keep them away from your fruit trees. I planted rugosa rose along my old driveway and they did stay contained (on the driveway side, on the other side they sent up shoots in the neighbors' lawn!) They're good as pollinator food, have fragrant petals for cooking, and very large edible hips as a good source of vitamin C.

If you'll be selling to the public you'll probably want an attractive entrance, but if you and your friends are the only ones who will see it you can get a lot more functional and do something like raised beds or hugel mounds.

A pond right there would be pretty cool tho and the ducks would like it.
 
Jared Stanley
Posts: 65
Location: Toomsuba, MS, 8a, 54" annual rainfall
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You are dead on. From the far right edge of the driveway to the house is about a 20 foot space of grass. And, while we have a few dog on the property, that has not stopped opossums, raccoon, and even a fox from stepping foot in our yard.

The entire area receives full sun - with of course the understanding that those fruit trees are supposed to get about 12' wide and tall, each (they are grafted for staying dwarf).

I like the layer idea leading into the trees, but not the pond. There are other areas on the property where a pond would be better suited.

yukkuri kame wrote:
This kinda looks like a zone 1 or 2 location ... maybe right in front of the house. It will naturally get a fair bit of attention from both residents and guests. So, this would not be the best spot for stuff that needs attending only a couple of times a year. This moves you in the direction of the annual veggies/kitchen garden, berries that need to be picked daily when in season, housing for small animals, etc. Also, perhaps a place for things that are vulnerable to pest pressure from things like possums or squirrels that may pause at going out in the open (especially if a dog is around).

Also, consider that the circular driveway creates a natural edge where lots of sunlight gets into the center. You could build your 7 layers inwards from the driveway towards a grove of small trees at center... or go with Renate's idea, pond in the center.

You could put a medium sized nut or fruit tree (chinese chestnut?) towards the north side of the loop to create a couple of nice shady parking spots for summer, without shading out other productive area.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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Grapes grow really fast and can swamp a young tree, smother it, and break the branches if you don't stay on top of pruning, and the tendrils make it hard to remove vines once they've grown. I'm sure grapes do fine in more mature fruit trees that can hold them and have thicker branches so you can apply some force pulling off the vines as you prune.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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The first thing I would do is to figure where the path through it would like to be and put a place to sit, like a bench, a couple of chairs or a big rock if I had it. I'd sit there and think about what I wanted to grow, what I wanted to see.

Do you have deer issues? Do you expect children to visit? Is it zone 1 or farther out?

It does look like the kind of area that thyme would like. I bet comfrey will have its place as well.
 
Jared Stanley
Posts: 65
Location: Toomsuba, MS, 8a, 54" annual rainfall
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Have been thinking about the paths and a bench as well.

Deer are in the area, but no problems with them. We have 5 children that are homeschooled and other homeschooling children visit - so, that's a clear yes. I would call it zone 1.

I'm not so worried about what I see - it doesn't have to be pretty in the sense of a botanical garden. I want to eat out of it, make teas out of it, etc.

Matu Collins wrote:The first thing I would do is to figure where the path through it would like to be and put a place to sit, like a bench, a couple of chairs or a big rock if I had it. I'd sit there and think about what I wanted to grow, what I wanted to see.

Do you have deer issues? Do you expect children to visit? Is it zone 1 or farther out?

It does look like the kind of area that thyme would like. I bet comfrey will have its place as well.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Aha! A place for children to play safely in an acceptable way while you sit and think and later while you are working in your lovely herb garden.

Do you have cats? I love catnip for cats, for tea, and for children to nibble. It is nutritious and supposedly relaxing. I say supposedly because my kids are so energetic pretty much all the time!

The idea of designing for child pressure is something I've been doing for years, but it's only very recently that I'm thinking of it consciously. I homeschooled my oldest until she was 12 and I'm planning to homeschool the three little guys at least at first. I intend my farm to be the best habitat for kids AND adults and eventually elders that I can design.

I don't have a PDC but this site, my reading, and long and patient (and sometimes frustrating but always interesting) observation and experimentation, is teaching me a lot.

Do you have a source of good sized rocks or bricks? A herb spiral would be nice, and the kids could help you haul rocks. Going to a friend's garden or to a greenhouse to pick herbs would be a fun field trip. Maybe you could sit and think for the winter and move rocks and offer the kids tea tastings to think of what herbs would be good to have. I find tastings to be a good way to get kids to try new flavors. If you offer one thing, they say yuck, if you offer two and ask which is better they taste more carefully. If you have older kids who like sports, designing an elimination chart (like people do for football pools. Whatever those are.) Is a fun homeschool project. And will give you an idea of what herbs you might be able to use.

An herb spiral is pretty good for culinary herbs but for tea it had better be big big big if you want enough tea to drink.

Perhaps a long curved hugelbeet behind the apples would give a good place to grow tea herbs (catnip gets big) and make the area seen safer to play in. I would want a safe little tidepool of flow in the center-ish.

Gravel is a small child attractant. A pile of it is very fun.
 
Jared Stanley
Posts: 65
Location: Toomsuba, MS, 8a, 54" annual rainfall
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3 cats. 2 stay outside, 1 stays inside. We do want catnip - but for me at least it is because it is supposed to be a deterrent for weevils, which just love to lay eggs in my crowder peas.

No rocks or bricks readily available, but I do want to do the herb spiral. I mean, it's just too fun, right?

As for gravel... you see the driveway... it IS a playground. I actually tell them "put my driveway back where it belongs" when I catch buckets of gravel walking away.

I like the "which of these is better" idea, very smart.

The top of the drive there is about 200' from the road, and it is against the rules to go "past the loop", so not so worry about safety. We have 7 acres and the children are always out in the woods.

[quote=Matu Collins]Aha! A place for children to play safely in an acceptable way while you sit and think and later while you are working in your lovely herb garden.

Do you have cats? I love catnip for cats, for tea, and for children to nibble. It is nutritious and supposedly relaxing. I say supposedly because my kids are so energetic pretty much all the time!

The idea of designing for child pressure is something I've been doing for years, but it's only very recently that I'm thinking of it consciously. I homeschooled my oldest until she was 12 and I'm planning to homeschool the three little guys at least at first. I intend my farm to be the best habitat for kids AND adults and eventually elders that I can design.

I don't have a PDC but this site, my reading, and long and patient (and sometimes frustrating but always interesting) observation and experimentation, is teaching me a lot.

Do you have a source of good sized rocks or bricks? A herb spiral would be nice, and the kids could help you haul rocks. Going to a friend's garden or to a greenhouse to pick herbs would be a fun field trip. Maybe you could sit and think for the winter and move rocks and offer the kids tea tastings to think of what herbs would be good to have. I find tastings to be a good way to get kids to try new flavors. If you offer one thing, they say yuck, if you offer two and ask which is better they taste more carefully. If you have older kids who like sports, designing an elimination chart (like people do for football pools. Whatever those are.) Is a fun homeschool project. And will give you an idea of what herbs you might be able to use.

An herb spiral is pretty good for culinary herbs but for tea it had better be big big big if you want enough tea to drink.

Perhaps a long curved hugelbeet behind the apples would give a good place to grow tea herbs (catnip gets big) and make the area seen safer to play in. I would want a safe little tidepool of flow in the center-ish.

Gravel is a small child attractant. A pile of it is very fun.[/quote]
 
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