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Planting around pear tree

 
                                
Posts: 15
Location: central NYS - USDA Zone 5a
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Hi all,

I've been very interested in permaculture for a couple of years now and even though I don't have a PDC I'm working on converting most of my lawn (which is large) to something far more useful. I have read several books, my favorite being Gaia's Garden but still, when it comes to actually putting a shovel in the soil, questions arise.

So here's mine...

I've put in two pears, a Bosc and a Bartlett. Around the mature dripline of the Bosc I've planted 3 rhubarbs interspersed with nasturtium and 2 'May Night' salvias. The other pear has nothng around it yet, but I have two more rhubarb plants (started in pots from roots), 3 small pots of garlic chives and 3 pots of comfrey. Any suggestions as to planting distances from the pear for the comfrey and chives?

As with the other pear, I plan on putting the rhubarb further out so it will get enough sun for many years.

Also, I have some lupine seeds that I got from Johnny's. Any ideas on how to get them started for nitrogen fixing around the pears? Should I just scatter them in the mulch and hope for the best or start them in pots next spring?

My most common "pests" are rabbits and voles. I love the rabbits but the voles are another story since they're so destructive. I plan on putting hardware cloth around the tree trunks to protect against the rabbits next winter, but other repellent ideas - especially for the voles - would be welcome.

In case it's important, I'm in central NY in Zone 4b. Thanks for any suggestions.
 
            
Posts: 75
Location: Ontario, Canada (44.265475, -77.960029)
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whitepines wrote:
Any suggestions as to planting distances from the pear for the comfrey and chives?


I'm not sure that it really matters because it's likely that you'll move things around until you find the place that they want to be. I'd make sure that the comfrey is Bocking14 and planted in a deep pot  sunk in the ground in order to constrain the roots.

Also, I have some lupine seeds that I got from Johnny's. Any ideas on how to get them started for nitrogen fixing around the pears? Should I just scatter them in the mulch and hope for the best or start them in pots next spring?


I'd do both.  Instead of waiting until spring, winter sow them.  In both cases, you have to help them along by soaking the seeds or nicking the casing. I prefer nicking the casing with a pair of nail clippers.  With soaking, I never know if I've soaked them too much and they've rotted or not enough.
 
Jordan Lowery
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Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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why on earth would you put comfrey in a pot to constrain its roots! specially a bocking 14 comfrey. you defeat the whole purpose of having it "mine" nutrients from below the topsoil when you do that.

i would plant the comfrey about half way between the trunk and the dripline of the mature tree( meaning did you buy a standard tree or a dwarf tree, space accordingly)

chives could go a bit closer if you want
 
            
Posts: 75
Location: Ontario, Canada (44.265475, -77.960029)
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soil wrote:
why on earth would you put comfrey in a pot to constrain its roots!


I wasn't very clear. If you know that you don't intend to move it, I wouldn't. But if you're not sure, I'd suggest care because the deep roots make it virtually impossible to get them all when you dig it up.  And every piece left will start a new plant.  If you're growing it to make a compost tea, then why not plant it in a spot where it's not likely to ever be in the wrong spot.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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Sorry whitepines, I'm not going to be much help to you but maybe you (or others) can be of hel to me....

You mentioned using hardware cloth around your trees to protect from rabbits.  Is that like a sacking cloth?  Do you just wrap it around th trunks and attach with string or such?  Does the tree still function ok?  Would it work against sheep?  My 4 little minature Ouessants are ruing the bark on my tree and posts and netting are such an ugly protection.

soil, I smiled at your response as I'd thought the same thing.  MikeH, glad you clarified.
 
                  
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
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but other repellent ideas - especially for the voles - would be welcome

I've always used "vole guards" to guard my little trees from voles. In case you've never seen one its just a simple piece of springy plastic tube that is split like a spiral and can be wrapped around the base of your tree. I hate using plastic as a solution for anything but, well it seems to do the trick.
http://www.lrconline.com/Extension_Notes_English/pdf/vole.pdf
 
                                
Posts: 15
Location: central NYS - USDA Zone 5a
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Alison Freeth-Thomas "heninfrance" wrote:
Sorry whitepines, I'm not going to be much help to you but maybe you (or others) can be of hel to me....

You mentioned using hardware cloth around your trees to protect from rabbits.  Is that like a sacking cloth?  Do you just wrap it around th trunks and attach with string or such?  Does the tree still function ok?  Would it work against sheep?  My 4 little minature Ouessants are ruing the bark on my tree and posts and netting are such an ugly protection.

soil, I smiled at your response as I'd thought the same thing.  MikeH, glad you clarified.


Hardware "cloth" isn't really cloth at all - not sure how it got that name. It's actually a welded galvanized wire mesh with quarter-inch openings. One inch chicken wire ("poultry netting" will stop rabbits but not voles. The smaller mesh is needed for protection against smaller rodents.

I can't believe they sell hardware cloth on Amazon but here's the link so you can see what I'm talking about. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001E43CLU/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?ie=UTF8&cloe_id=eca2a97f-0287-40c8-8a34-8f1f6b1eb217&attrMsgId=LPWidget-A1&pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0001IMLJO&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0N6C62JM3BS77VHZQM7K
 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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sounds like a very good start and that everything that you have planned sounds completely doable.. if you have some iron bury it around the rootzone of the pear tree early on to help feed the pears as they love iron. YOu might consider adding some allium family such as chives, garlic chives or multiplying onions to the mix..maybe one of the comfrey can go near the second pear tree too?

one comfrey with each pear tree is likely enough..as you'll be chopping and dropping it and the rhubarb for mulch likely.

you might want to start the lupine seeds as sometimes they can be iffy in germination, then you can transplant them..i love lupines as a nitrogen fixer cause the benefician insects also love them..but they do go to seed really fast here in Michigan..you can cut the seed heads off to increase bloom time but i generally want the seeds.

 
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