The garden January 1; currently growing lettuce, carrot, radish, beet, chard, collard, kale, holland greens, arugula, turnip, rucola selvatica, fava beans, egyptian onion, elephant garlic, canada onion, cardoon, parsley, garlic chives:
Above the garden several oak trees have died, so we're removing them for firewood and I'm planting native wildflower seeds. Spreading branches on the ground to discourage the chickens from eating the seeds:
The wildflower area is high fenced with sheep fencing to keep out sheep and deer:
I plan to put this kind of high fencing around as many tree groves as I can so we can get some new trees growing. The combination of sheep and Axis deer has been deadly to most of our young trees.
Thank you! It's only recently I've been getting my act together. I really hope to accomplish some goals this year!
1. Brush dams in the creek
2. Exclusion fencing around as many trees as I can manage
3. Set up composting system with chickens 4. Work on future food forest
5. Grow more staple foods and learn to eat them
Looks good. I imagine some of those trees can be helpful in blocking some of the mid-day July sun. I grow and eat a lot of feral vegetables and edible weeds up here, but I bet the ones that would do well here would at least be partially different from what would grow well there.
Finished one side of a new sheep paddock. The sheep are so old they barely move from behind the house, so I'm removing some of the more remote fencing to make tree protection bubbles and this smaller paddock.
Looking at your fencing, all I could think of was climbing beans, sweet potato, and grapes. Everything on my property that is vertical and wire-like has climbing beans, sweet potato, and grapes growing on it.
Sometimes I put fencing around random things just as an excuse to plant climbing beans, sweet potato, and grapes.
Here's the new brush dam in progress, and a log berm I made to slow runoff on this very slightly sloping paddock. I was going to rent a ditching machine to dig some small swales, but I cheaped out. We have lots of logs.
Another project I'm working on is to make fluffy brushpiles around all our small trees which are being attacked by the Axis deer stags who like to rub their antlers on trees of a specific small size. These deer are exotics from Asia; their natural predators are leopards and tigers, and since folks around here don't even tolerate bobcats and cougars, these deer have proliferated tremendously, moving in large herds and eating or destroying much of the plantlife. They are delicious, but wily! My hope is that the brushpiles will prevent the deer from getting close enough to the trees to rub them.
Had that problem last 2 falls. The bucks like to use a native grease wood tree because it deters flies but one of our ornamentals is close enough in smell. He also hit some lilacs. They are welcome to browse the grapes because they need the pruning but being browsers they only do a small section then move on to my berries and fruit tress which can't take that much leaf loss when they are young and dwarf.
Unfortunately the Axis seem to shed and regrow their antlers on a random schedule, so they'll be rubbing trees at any time of the year. They also breed year-round and are taking over the place! I wish they were easier to shoot - our hunter was never able to get a good shot at one this past season. It's open season on Axis, but our hunter was here only during Whitetail season, which is brief. The Axis meat is very good, much like beef, with no off-taste like the Whitetail seem to have. Our neighbors up the road often give us some of their extra Axis meat. They hunt from the open window of a spare bedroom!
Since you are having success with brush barriers, I've started wondering. How high and how thick does a barrier have to be to keep the deer away from a tree? Is it somewhere a densely growing, slightly poisonous plant could serve the same purpose? And if so, how tall would the plant have to be?
I'm thinking specifically of bearded iris. They can form colonies several feet across, but since their roots are very shallow, I wonder if they could companion plant young trees. Especially if the iris is planted and let develop into a thicket and then the tree planted in the middle when it is of sufficient size.
I'm not trying to argue here, just trying to understand. Eventually, if these deer keep multiplying, I might be dealing with the same problems myself.
What differences are you seeing between this working in a food forest and in the wider acreage? Is it an expectation of iris needing more care? is it the reduced human presence away from the food forest? a preference to use native plants in your wilder spaces? Some other reason that I haven't even considered?
The nice thing for me is that all the reasons coming to mind aren't applicable in my yard.
I'm trying to keep non-natives limited to Zone 1, also, that would be a ridiculous number of iris! I adore iris, but, that would be literally tons of iris to plant. I love the idea for the food forest though, and I think I will try it around one of the Texas Persimmons there.
Planted some Sunroots from the grocery store, as well as lettuce, radishes, beets, chicory, carrots, kale. While preparing the sunroot bed I dug up a tuber of the Sweet Potato which is perennializing in the garden, so I put it in a glass of water to grow some slips. Noticed a ladybug going after the aphids on the fava beans.