I still haven’t figured how to add images to WordPress, so I’ll carry on until I do. Then you’ll have a slew of them to fill out what I’ve been saying with words – hopefully soon!
When I moved here, fully half of the moving truck was filled with potted plants from the previous trailer-park garden. Since the climate here is so different, both hotter, colder and drier than the previous location, I chose specimens that seemed most likely to survive here.
We got here, my plant family and me, on July 16, just after an extremely hot and dry spell. Un-irrigated grass was yellow as I tried to find shady spots to place all those pots with my babies in them. Finding tradesmen to renovate the building took priority over plants (except for what seemed like constant watering). After all, I didn’t want to fall through the kitchen floor into the cellar on day! Then I discovered that the whole place needed to be rewired to be habitable and so did all the water pipes! There was also the matter of heating before the winter set in. I had been led to believe that the place had an oil furnace. Well, it did, but the thing had not been installed and was as old as the hills (very inefficient and expensive to operate). It needed replacing before November and cold weather.
My garden plans had to be slowed considerably as dollars flew out the windows on these other projects. In the meantime, I did what I could and, over the next 3 months I managed to get all of my plants out of the pots and into the ground, even if I didn’t take the time to amend the soil and all those other things one is supposed to do before planting. Just get the damned things in before it freezes!!
Another thing I hadn’t planned on was keeping Willy, my Bull Terrier puppy, in the yard and out of my flower borders. Up went fencing where there were gaps and feet and feet of low garden border fences helped stop him from racing through the borders knocking everything over!
That first summer/fall, I fixed the fences and cut limbs that overhung the roof. Those limbs, once cut into shorter lengths, formed the base of my Hugelbed in the southwest corner of the lot. Then I bought a dump truck-full of mushroom compost and dumped it over them and watered day after day for a couple of hours per day to thoroughly soak the logs.
You see, while I didn’t exactly follow the “correct” directions for creating a Hugelbed, I was in a rush. I was not getting any younger, and fruit trees and bushes take time to produce. I just wanted those slowly rotting logs to help me to avoid having to water constantly in this part of the garden. I needed to get them buried so I could begin planting the fruits I had brought with me.
I had brought 2 Gojiberry bushes, 2 Sea Buckthorns, 2 currants and 2 gooseberry bushes. I bought a nice Peach tree from a local nursery and used it as the centrepiece, then spread the others around it. How pleased I was that this part of the Food Forest was on its way! Later, I managed to obtain several Rhubarb plants (I love Rhubarb) and a couple of free Comfreys (to use for “chop and drop” fertilizing). Certain plants with long tap roots are important in Food Forest-style growing as their roots extend far down into the soil and retrieve nutrients such as minerals which other food plants with shallower root systems have trouble obtaining.
Several times per growing season the gardener chops the tops from these deep-rooted helpers and scatters the leaves over the ground to decompose as the would in a natural forest. As they decompose, the gathered minerals go back into the upper layers of the soil where they can be used again by the shallow-rooted food plants. Neat, eh??
So endeth today’s lesson. Maybe I’ll have pictures for you next time!