Dee Rose

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since Apr 18, 2018
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homeschooling kids cooking
I'm just a wanna-be green thumb with a 1/3 acre, working around the crazily planted menagerie of past owners and trying not to kill everything I touch! I'm also a Bible believing Christian (I feel it's necessary to qualify that these days), a wife and a homeschooling mom of 2.

And...most days I don't know what I'm doing, but I enjoy learning until my head feels like it's going to explode, so permies seems like a good fit to me!

I'm assuming this biography should mostly be plant-related, context and all, so I'll just say that I started off wanting to grow fruit trees and berry bushes only, and that's morphed a bit - probably morphed a little TOO much for my first year, but hey, you learn from your mistakes, right?

My son (9) loves flowers, so we are always finding (marked down) perennials (he's frugal and doesn't believe in annuals no matter what I tell him...) and I'm endlessly searching for places around my yard to plant them.

As of right now I have 5 raised beds of varying sizes (that rock bed keeps getting bigger, lol!), trees, bushes, berms, trellises (hello kiwi) and such. The more I learn about permaculture and forest gardening, the more excited I get.

I probably shouldn't publish this. It's all willy-nilly, but that's a little like me! Maybe I'll post a better bio later. Until then!

Western Oregon
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Recent posts by Dee Rose

I pre-apologize if this is in the wrong forum!

I am trying to make a hedge row of sorts and I'm having to work around a giant pine tree of sorts (I don't know what type it is), a big quince bush, huge clump of pampas grass and a dwarf fig and peach tree. I basically have a bunch of gaps to fill in, because all of these plants are pretty much in a row about 10-14' from my fence line. I have a few plants around my yard that I need to either plant or move to work with, but none of them seem to be shade loving. (vining jasmine, forsynthia, european elderberry, blueberry bushes).

I'm wondering what LARGE shrubs (6' tall minimum and preferably wide spreading so I don't have to buy too many. Very limited budget!) will grow well in full or mostly dappled afternoon shade? They can be either evergreen or deciduous. If they are edible, bonus!! One area I have to fill is over 14' wide and another is 7' wide. I am in Oregon, zone 8b. (I do plan on planting Oregon grape holly, but more towards the front of the hedgerow.)

Thanks for any and all help, suggestions, whatever!

I've heard mixed things about forsynthia and elderberry in dappled I'm considering attempting it? Not sure?
1 year ago
Hi guys,
Now that the warmer weather has hit, I realize that I need mulch and I need it fast.

See, I have a garden bed planted across the front of my house that is in what I now know to be mega-clay! I have planted in it rosemary (topiaries...scored after Christmas!!), dwarf azaleas, sage, marjoram, lemon thyme, oregano, some grape hyacinths, creeping thyme (the non-edible ground cover) and a baby mock orange. The was my uber frugal attempt at beautifying my boring front yard (for the most part, I just planted clipping from my herb garden or got mega mark downs at the nursery). Anyway, I had hoped the oregano, sage, lemon thyme would become a lovely ground cover. I didn't want to have to buy mulch.

However, my garden bed is now riddled with what looks like rock hard worm castings (worms LOVE my clay soil in the summer winter/fall/spring - I cannot pull a single weed without some wiggly friends!) all lumpy on the top, and 1/4"-1/2" cracks. This bed is right up against my house, with about 1 1/2 ft. river rock to keep the soon-to-be mulch (?) away from the foundation.

Anyway, I'm thinking mulch is a must.

We just bought a bunch of aged fir nuggets (size small) for our row of juneberries and I was wondering if the same mulch would be acceptable? Just a light inch or so to hopefully help the clay retain moisture and keep the worms from running away?

Also, we have a small and low-ish berm around a mature plum tree (those tiny plums that look like cherries) with some succulents (no idea what kind, they came with the place), a bleeding heart, rosemary, and some little flower plant my son picked out. Will the aged fir nuggets work for that as well?

We bought our aged fir mulch last night, applied it and it looked lovely, then I got online only to find out apparently mulch is a touchy subject. I had NO idea. I'm just wondering if I should get a finer mulch that will break down faster for the front herb garden, or will the small nuggets do (again, hope to be mulch free one day when everything grows together, but for the time being...  

We are broke, don't have access to many leaves, but I am waiting on my neighbors to mow their non-fertilized lawn so I can snag all their grass clippings (who doesn't love raking 1/3 acre? Not THIS girl!)

Thanks in advanced for listening to me ramble, and any advice (ooooh, please keep it simple. I am a total newbie and do not speak full blown permiese :-)

2 years ago
Our "lawn" is full of weeds and we love it. Clovers, pennyroyal, chives, flowers - and a bunch of other things we haven't figured out yet.

I know clovers are good for soil, so when I saw these clovers growing out back by my trees I was excited. Then I realized they were rather long - let's say, "eating" into my kill mulch zone by nearly a foot! and had prickly balls all over them. I started to think these weren't the "good" kind of clovers.

As of right now I've just kind of been scooting them off my kill mulch zone.

Do I need to do anything about these, or just let them be? I know I have invasive weeds (hello, pennyroyal!), but I'm not really wanting to have an all out battle unless it's something that will hurt us/our trees. I really don't want to spray.

Advice? Thanks!
2 years ago
Thanks all for the advice and opinions.

I've since abandoned this idea, but now I'm thinking of putting the raised beds around/directly under my trees. I would then plant typical companions (some flowers, herbs, alliums, berries that can tolerate shade and some of my greens - chard, kale, etc).

I have clay soil, I don't know much about soil, but I am pretty sure it's "mega-clay". Mushy mud baths/totally unworkable in the rainy season and giant cracks (not over all the yard, but in certain areas) in the summer. I think, perhaps, putting the beds around the trees (not above the graft lines) may help with the water run off. The reason for the beds vs. just heaping more dirt, compost and mulch is just to make mowing easier for my husband...and because he brought home enough precut free cedar to make beds, and I want them out of my garage.

I stupidly put two raised beds about 2ft from my house when we first moved in, and I'm working hard to get all my edibles out of them and into new beds (I'm mostly done). The fruit trees are at least 70ft from my house. We spray our home due to roaches (me and roaches cannot coexist, so not spraying is not optional in my world) and I don't want to get the chemicals in my food or have to keep covering my plants each month when the bug guy comes. Kind of a shameful thing to confess on a permies forum I'm sure, but it's the truth, so yeah. Anyway!
2 years ago

John Duda wrote:I don't know what you paid, but I've noticed that elderberry plants from Musser Forest are very inexpensive. They are  sambucus canadensis. You have to watch at that site, sometimes you can buy a much larger quantity cheaper than just a few. Anyway the 10 rate there is $1.57 each, they're sold out this season but a lat of nurseries are sold out this time of year.

I bring this up as I think if you're talking elderberries by the pound, you may need more plants. (?)

Thanks for the tip! I am not sure if the canadensis variety has the same medicinal properties as the nigra (European) variety, which is why I chose the way I did. There are varying reports, and I'm far from expert. Thank you for the link though, at that price I'd love to try some out, regardless!

I think 2 bushes ought to be ok for our winter needs, although maybe you are right, since I bought them DRIED, I have no idea how many fresh berries would equal 1lb dried berries (though I plan on using them fresh/cooked, not drying them). The shrubs get enormous and do produce many berries. Also, I think I should have been more clear - we don't eat them by the pound, that's just how we bought them. I only use 1tsp - 1tbsp per cup of tea, or about  2/3 c to make a bunch of syrup. Although, next year I'd probably need 2-3lbs because I would love to be more consistent with our intake (family of 4).

ETA: ooooh! I will definitely be buying some of those elderberries for next year! I heard the american variety grow very easily and the berries are okay to eat right off the bush (and hey, if we don't like them, I'm sure the myriad of birds will enjoy them. Just saying that you again. Bookmarking and stalking that site now :-D
2 years ago
This year we purchased 6 bare root trees, all of which are self-fruitful, the exception being the apple and pear (but we have another apple and pear tree, the 5 variety type, that is presently showing tiny fruits). The trees were actually rather large when we bought them, Some over 12' tall with trunk diameter ranging from 1-2 or so inches (we planted in fall and faithfully - and painfully - pruned about 1/3 of the tree away). So these are not tiny little whips.

The lapin cherry had many blooms, the moyer prune a few, the pudget gold apricot a few, and the asian pear (I forget the variety...but it is self-fruitful according to my research) also had a cluster. The regular ol' apple and pear were empty.

I'm not seeing any signs of fruiting at all on the trees that did have some blooms, but the leaves sure look healthy and lovely. I know typically a tree with take a few years to produce, but is that true even if the trees were clearly already a few years old? In the nursery we purchased from, the woman pots whatever bare root trees don't sell (and they cost a heck of a lot more!) and at the end of the season I saw fruit on those shouldn't I see them on mine?

Just wondering if we have duds, need a companion even though all the research suggests they are self-fruitful varieties or we just need patience.

(On a side note our early elberta dwarf tree (not bare root) is going nuts and the neem oil seemed to halt the leaf curl - so I'm hoping for some fruit there - homegrown peaches, what could be better!?)
2 years ago
I just purchased 2 elderberry "bushes" (they don't quite qualify for that title yet) from the sambucus nigra family. I purchased "Instant Karma" and "black lace" (2 so they would fruit). My family and I started making elderberry tea and syrup for wellness during this past/current cold and flu season and it seems to have actually helped. I purchased dried elderberries from Frontier for around $19.00/lb, and when we were close to being out, I went back and saw they were close to $40/lb...I believe they are back to a semi-reasonable price, but regardless, with those kind of price mood swings I wanted to grow my own!

My plants arrived yesterday and look to be in decent condition. They are in small pots (quart, I believe) and are both 6-8" tall and maybe 4" wide. I'm wondering if I should pot them in 3.5 gallon buckets (I have a lot of those) until they get bigger, then maybe plant in the fall? It's starting to heat up here a bit and I'm not sure how they will do in our bit of earth.

We have clay soil - like, super clay soil. Mud in the winter, giant cracks in the summer. However - the soil is very good. I can't pull a weed up without getting an earth worm too. So I don't think the aeration is bad, necessarily. And I know worm castings are the best fertilizer ever (we used to raise them...I have a soft spot for my little blind friends!).

I'm a rambler, sorry. Let me just sum this up:

1) Should I repot my plants until they get larger before planting them in my clay soil.\

2) Will they do okay in morning sun + dappled shade? I wanted to plant them in our front yard (the soil is clay, but less dry out there) under/between a smallish oak and some unidentified coniferous tree, in hopes that in the years to come they'll rise up and create a great privacy screen/natural fence. (We planted a few baby boxwoods out there and they haven't died yet/are actually growing...sloooooooowly growing). If not, I do have another location, but it was supposed to be my juneberry "fence", lol.

I know there is much debate about this, even on this forum (since that's where I read most of it), but I decided NOT to amend my clay soil. I do plant some things in raised beds (mostly because we had a ton of free rocks plus free cedar plants from my husbands work), but bushes, trees and such go straight into the ground. So far my raspberries, blueberries, and all our new bareroot trees we planted in the fall, seem perfectly happy and healthy. I figure things need to learn to adapt, or we just can't grow it (we don't have the money, really, to get all the stuff we "need" anyway). However, we do mulch (clay soil!!!) break apart the ground really well so the roots can stretch far, and are planning on raising worms again specifically for their castings (in addition to our compost pile). And occasionally we will create a small berm area for plants to get their "bearings" before rooting into our soil (hello, kiwis!) HOWEVER...I do really want these elderberries to GROW because they are SO beneficial (and they cost a pretty penny!), so if raised beds or a better location would be wisest, let me know! I can't wait to get those juicy berries!

Thanks permie people! You guys rock! (Really. I very much appreciate all the kindness and wisdom here!)
2 years ago
We've been in this home for about a year now and we have this giant, extremely thorny rose bush in the corner of our yard. I have never really been a fan of roses (in spite of my name!), but we decided to keep it for privacy reasons.

The home we bought hadn't really been taken care of in a decade-ish, (you should have seen the wisteria!!) and so the roses were kind of half alive and half dead and we couldn't see what they'd become. All I knew is I hated the extreme thorns (even with gloves, we had to be VERY careful carrying the stalks out to the burn pile). So, we trimmed it down some and just let it be. It finally has started to bloom and it is actually quite pretty! (The street gets the prettiest side - no fair, lol!). The roses are vibrant and extremely fragrant, and in a pleasant way.

I tried to google this rose and although I found a few things that look very similar (I saw one photo of a Rose du Roi  that looked dead on), but nothing mentions things I think they would - like EXTREME thorns. Plus, 3x3 is a complete joke. Also, they have this sticky sap on their leaves and buds, it doesn't wash off that easily. Just throwing that out as a random ID fact :-)

Anyway, silly as it is - I JUST discovered you can actually do things with roses, haha! I was wondering if this bush would produce usable rosehips (then I'm going to figure out what to do with those...), edible petals, etc. Or, do we just sit back and enjoy the beauty, privacy, and very short-lived cuttings?
2 years ago
Thanks so much for the book/author suggestions! Sometimes I miss living in a city with an amazing library. My county actually SHUT DOWN our libraries (voters choice - boo!) and they are slowly reopening, but the selection is not great.

One day I will own all the books!!!

Now, I just need to control my plant spending to have money for that....hmmmmm... ;-)
2 years ago
Thanks all!

I think I'll let them grow a little more first to watch for those "hairs" mentioned, and then yank 'em if it's safe. I have 1, well actually 2 I guess, small oak trees in my front yard and I don't think I need anymore!
2 years ago