My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, ... thank you!

Permaculture Planning for our 2 acres

I talked with a lady from our local county extension office, and came away with some unsettling news. Not much grows out here. For nuts: only black walnuts (whose roots poison other plants so must be "isolated") and hazelnuts. For fruit: blackberries, raspberries, apple trees and currants. Really?

We received a copy of a free local paper, and in it found an ad for Holly Acres Nursery, a local nursery. I called the owner, Kelly, and she answered my questions. Basically, the only nuts that she carries is walnuts and they take 7-10 years to bear. No other nuts, but if I find something that will grow, let her know. Fruits she carries and recommends: pie cherries, peach, plum, apple (if the correct kind), raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries, serviceberries, vibernium (sp?), elderberries, gooseberries, and the native chokecherries and currants. She also said that asparagus and rhubarb do well here. She is trying to find a blueberry that will work.

So... it looks like I'll get some walnuts, filberts/hazelnuts (hope hope) and almonds (hope hope). We'll have those for protein (eventually!), as well as beans, peas, lentils, chicken and quail eggs, and goat milk products. Should work ok.

Looks like we'll have lots of fruits to choose from. I've never had some of these like chokecherries (supposedly bitter skin but sweet inside, and can use as a windbreak and hedge) and never had serviceberries (supposedly tastes like a grape). But we love many of the other fruits she mentioned.

The Kid will be disappointed that his favorite fruit, pear, isn't on this list. It could have been an oversight because her website mentioned different varieties that work. I think I'll get some pear trees anyway, and just mulch mulch mulch. Perhaps keep pruned to be a very small tree that we can cover in the event of a late or early frost. Perhaps we can nestle them in with other more hearty fruits to offer protection.

Really need that greenhouse. Two actually. One for growing and eating (and perhaps selling) fresh veggies and herbs and edible flowers year round. The other for growing non-cold-hardy trees like citrus, avocado and perhaps dwarf nuts like an almond and a hazelnut I found.

I found the elevation for our property. Our house is on a ridge, and slopes down both in the back and front. There's a difference of 23 feet in elevation from the bottom front to the top of the ridge, and a difference of 39 feet in elevation from the bottom back to the top of the ridge. Plus we get some major winds up here, almost year round from what I understand.

The really tall trees will need to be combined with shorter hedges to help protect them. We also need to protect the property in general so we'll be putting lots of thorny fruits (blackberries, raspberries and even roses) along the perimeter to keep out the deer, foxes, coyotes and a mountain lion that has taken up residence in this neighborhood.

So much to consider.

= = = = =

Updated 12:45 p.m.: The neighbor in the back sent the Kid home with a dozen eggs, fresh from their chickens. Very thoughtful. Sent over their number too, so I immediately called and thanked them. This morning I made little muffin-ettes and just walked them over with the Kid. Talked over the fence for a few moments about chickens and goats and homeschooling. Very nice. Good to have like-minded neighbors.


Updated March 31 2014:
. Found out that more than what I had originally thought, will grow here. However, we had a lot of health issues arise since I originally wrote this post, so, although we did plant some trees and berry bushes, we have a LOT more to do! We are planning a "food forest" on as much of our property as possible.

In the girl goat pen, the back acre, we will be planting English walnuts, sugar maples and oak trees. Of course, each will need to be fenced off so the goats won't eat them!

In the front half acre, pine trees (cuttings can feed the goats), hazelnuts/filberts, almonds and maybe butternut.

In the other front half acre (less, actually), where the boy goat pen is, we will plant another sugar maple and maybe an oak. Give them shade! We already have some pear trees and berry bushes there.

In the food forest thinking (see pic to right), each large tree (like an oak, walnut or maple) gets a smaller fruit or nut tree near it. Then under it, berry bushes. Under them, crops like strawberries and annual vegetables.  And finally, vines like grapes and even cucumbers, small pumpkins and beans, climb and encircle the tree, using it for support.

Using this method, one can have a large amount of food growing in a smaller space than people expect.

Meanwhile, we have a large garden in our back yard for annual vegetables, but also rhubarb and asparagus. We have a few raspberries, blackberries and blueberries alive, and a few fruit trees that should be bearing fruit this year. Hoping! But we are planting a whole lot more berries this year. Oh, yum!


Bellen said...

Learning the micro-climates on your property will be the 'make or break' information on what to plant. The temp difference of 10-20 degrees will dictate what will grow and what won't.

I had chokecherries on my land in CT and found they had little flesh and a big seed. I made juice from them, and then some jelly and saved the seeds to make cherry pit warmers. Really nice to heat the for those cold nights.

Good luck in everything you do - hard work but so rewarding.

Anonymous said...

We had a black walnut tree when I was little - they were hard to crack, hard to peel down to where you could crack them, and the only nut I remember tasting was so bitter that I lost interest in the whole process. I recommend that you find out whether or not you like the variety of fruit before you bother planting them.

You might also plant trees for other uses: Christmas trees (Douglas fir), firewood (locust, ash, ...)

pyrocantha is a thorny bush (pyro cantha is Latin for fire thorn) that has an irritant on the thorns that gives one an additional reason not to get stuck. It has pretty orange berries that the birds seem to like.

Chokecherries grew wild along cherry creek (hence the name) and are good for jams, wine, liqueur, but not for eating raw - very bitter.

Vikki and the Kid said...

Bellen: Good idea. Cherry pit warmers ... kinda like a heating pad? Or eye reliever? Hmmm..... light bulb!

Anon: we do plan to try chokecherries, etc. before we plant them, even if we don't like them, they would be good to feed our quail and chickens. We don't want to plant firewood-trees because we intend to be fully solar/wind within the next couple of years. I like the idea of the pyrocantha... will look into it. Thanks! V