March 7, 2015

Forest Garden Hedgerow: Fenced, Gated, & Planting Begun

We had a lovely spring-like day the other day and were able to complete the fencing for the forest garden hedgerow and get started on the planting. If you haven't read my previous posts on this project, the purpose is to divide our one acre front pasture into two paddocks, separated by plantings of nut, fruit, and forage producing plants.

Aerial view outlining the location of the new cattle panel hedgerow fence.

From ground level it looks like this:

The gate to the blueberry corral allows access to both sides of the hedgerow

Looking to the left; enough room for a path and wheelbarrow

The gate at the bottom is wide enough to drive through.

On the other side of the blueberry bush

The walk through gate

I made a long list of planting possibilities ("Planning for Forest Garden Hedgerows"), but of course had to narrow it down to my budget. I decided to start with the canopy layer this spring, since trees are the slowest growing. I'll add shrubs, vines, and ground level forage plants as I'm able.

So far we've planted:
  • 1 Asian persimmon
  • 2 standard pear trees
  • 1 mulberry tree

Ordered but not yet here:
  • 2 chestnut trees
  • 2 aronia shrubs

I chose only varieties described as resistant to drought, heat, and disease.

I've already transplanted (from our property):
  • a wild rose bush
  • 4 hazelnuts

Still to transplant:
  • yarrow
  • comfrey
  • thyme
  • sumac

Hopefully this fall I'll be able to add more from my list. For now, I'm just happy to get a start on this project. 


Kev Alviti said...

It's going to look great when it's all growing. Such a good idea.

Dawn said...

It sounds great and from the ariel view looks like it will make a nice shelter belt too,I am doing a permanent planting area well a few of them scattered around, they are hard work but its nice knowing they wont have to be done again :-)

Dani said...

Winter is meant to be a time of rest - or haven't you and Dan heard? ;) It's looking good - well done!

Leigh said...

Kev, it's a project we're thrilled with in more ways than one. Not only for the forage, fruit, and nuts, but it's a step beyond what I've called our establishment phase. We needed fences to get established with livestock, but this is the kind of improvement that we could only do once the other was in place. We're at last able to build upon what we've established. :)

Dawn, they are hard work but what a great feeling to do it. For us, this is the first of what I hope is many!

Dani, LOL. And we do get some rest, sort of. It is, after all, the best time for planting trees!

Gill - That British Woman said...

you should check out this site in Scotland, you may get some ideas from them:

They are doing something similar (okay not really!!) but on a much larger scale.

Farmer Barb said...

OOOH! I like that fencing! Not permanent, yet sturdy. Can you elaborate about how you get those posts in? I got a spring loaded post pounder and after using it, I couldn't raise my arms for a week. Maybe it is the "little farmer" syndrome. Do you wedge a starter hole first?

I want to divide up some paddocks for the sheep this year so I don't have to drag everything around.

Mama Pea said...

It's amazing how you and Dan continue to get so much done constantly moving toward your goals. 1) Have plans and goals, but be willing to make changes if necessary, and 2) remember the best way to finish a project . . . is to start it! ;o]

Unknown said...

Be careful with the chestnuts. They emit a chemical that impedes the growth of other plants. I am so glad to hear that you are getting underway with your hedgerow.

Rain said...

I'm a little envious of your weather, we still have snow up north and I have to wait a few months more to start planting outdoors. The indoor seeds start in April though and I'm ready to go! Nice pictures.

PioneerPreppy said...

Ifin I was doing it up this aways I would add Plum and Walnut to the mix but those grow like weeds up here. Plum especially.

Hedgerows are the bomb.

Leigh said...

Gill, thanks! Looks like a great site.

Barb, Dan used a standard post pounder and muscle power to sink the t-posts. I can't manage it but he does fine with it. The ground was moist enough for the posts to drive in easily. How sturdy it all is remains to be seen. Goats love to lean into fences for a good scratch!

Mama Pea, I confess I'm amazed too. This project is especially exciting because it's sort of a second tier project. We're finally able to build on the groundwork we've laid before!

Miss Bee, do you have a website for more information on that? I'd be interested. When I first started my research for this project I looked at how various plants would effect goats (i.e. not toxic) and how they would work together. I learned that horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is toxic to animals but that the true chestnuts (Castanea) are used as fodder. For using in permaculture guilds, I found this website, Appalachian Center for Agroforestry. The link goes to their page on "Holistic Chestnut Orcharding" and their chestnut guilds. Would be happy to add to my information data base if you can provide some links. Thanks!

Rain, hello! And thank you. :) Yes, we have beautifully mild winters (perfect for planting things like trees and shrubs) but horrendously hot summers. That's why I only got heat and drought tolerant varieties!

PP, hmm. I should definitely add plums! The only walnut I'm familiar with is black walnut, which rather makes an area uninhabitable by other plants. What kind do you have in Missouri!

Harry Flashman said...

You two are always working on something there. I wonder if you ever take a vacation, go down to Tybee or somewhere, just for a change. Of course, with so many animals that's not easy.

Unknown said...

Looks good! You sure have that red soil :)

Chris said...

There's nothing simple to do when there's goats involved, is there? Lol. But worth it all in the end. I have a mulberry (2 actually) and they have sustained themselves in our dry conditions, since they were first planted. They grow very fast too. I think you'll like the mulberries. I have no experience with the others. Not even hazelnuts!

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Amazing all you have gotten done when I can hardly stick my nose out the door. Although I did go out and open my cold frame today so nicer days ahead hopefully. Things are really starting to come together for you on your little homestead. Nancy

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of an edible hedgerow! If you like berries I would also highly recommend currants and gooseberries. They are a European favourite, but little known in the US. They come in different colours, I love black currants and red gooseberries, but red currants and white gooseberries are very good too. Get a bush each, and then every year when you prune it, take your cuttings and stick them in the soil where you want a new bush and they will root almost guaranteed! I love them because they're easy to propagate, easy to keep, prolific and delicious! :)

Kev Alviti said...

Hey leigh, how about having a little nursery bed to grow some of the trees and shrubs you need from seed to save money, either that or you can buy smaller plants and grow them on before you plant them out. I've been doing it a lot and it's saved quite a bit of money in the long run.

Leigh said...

Harry, yeah, vacations for us are staycations. I confess to being a homebody so I really don't mind. All my traveling days are behind me. And with Dan being a trucker, all he wants when he' home is to stay home. He did a lot of traveling in the military and really wishes he could stay home for good@

Nancy, very red! That's actually our subsoil, which is also clay. We have a sandy loam top soil.

Chris, I'm so glad to hear that about your mulberries. I grew up with mulberries so I've wanted to plant some for awhile. Where we live now can be tough on plants here because we can have long, hot, dry spells, or flooding rains. Here's hoping for the best!

Nancy, this week promises to be mild so I'm hoping to spend a lot of time outdoors!

Naturescookbook, I would love to plant currants and gooseberries, but I think we're borderline in terms of heat. I do have jostaberries on my list however. They are a current x gooseberry hybrid which are zoned 3 - 8. That's pretty hopeful so I'll give them a go.

Kev, that's a very good idea. I need to figure out a suitable area to do just that.

Jans Funny Farm said...

You are as busy as ever. Hope all is well.

Bill said...

I've wanted to do this here too. I'll be following your work with interest!

Unknown said...

Its so cool watching your goals come to fruition. Step by step. I also appreciate how you dont rush things. Everything is done at its own pace when funds allow and you seem happy with that (not resentful - what good would that be anyway). Thanks for popping by my post on Tom's birthday, i just read it to him and he says he might pop by and visit when he gets there. I love my funny man/child.

Mark said...

The hedgerow project is off to a good start! We have enough snow melt that we can just see the tops of our 12" garden beds poking through. Our 'spring' projects will be underway soon.

Cat Eye Cottage said...

If the yarrow at your place is like the yarrow at mine, it won't have any problem surviving and thriving. I'm not complaining though because it is great rabbit forage.

Sandy Livesay said...


How wonderful, you've started the hedgerow project. Oh, I can't wait to see pictures of the plants replanted and your new trees planted.

Anonymous said...

Yes, jostaberries are great too! They propagate as easily as the rest of their family. One or two plants will give you a whole field over time. :)

Leigh said...

Jan! So good to hear from you! All is going very well, and will be all the better once our baby goats make their appearance!

Bill, thanks! It's an exciting step for us.

Lynda, I confess that at times it's hard to be content with the slow life. But nature is never in a hurry! Would love to have Tom come visit. So glad he had a happy birthday, such a great mom, and a happy life.

Mark, this is such an exciting time of year! It felt good digging and planting, sort of a soothing balm for the gardening itch. :)

Candace, yes, I've found yarrow to do very well. I didn't realize that about rabbits. It's good stuff!

Sandy, thanks! Of all the planting we do, trees are my favorite. Not sure why, but nothing makes me happier than planting a tree!

Naturescookbook, thanks for that! Funny that they have different zones than their parents. If they spread, they'll be good for the hedgerow because we'll have nibblers on both sides!

Bateman Homestead said...

This is a fabulous plan Leigh! So excited to see how it all plays out for you.