March 25, 2015

Planting - Hedgerow and Garden

Lots of rain has meant little planting in the garden. But trees don't mind being planted in the rain. The trees went into my permaculture hedgerow.

Pear trees, mulberry tree, and Asian persimmon. All there
is to see are sticks in the ground and piles of mulch

Pear leafing out (and Waldo)

I started with the canopy layer this spring and will add other plants as I'm able. The trees were planted down the middle, shrubs, vines, and groundcover plants will be planted along the fences. That will hopefully benefit the animals in the pasture with a little foraging through the fence, plus allow me a path down the middle.

2 European Chestnuts, "Colossal", were planted in the other section.

2 newly planted chestnut saplings

I found an article, "Holistic Chestnut Orcharding" at the Appalachian Agroforestry website. After reading it, I will start to transplant some of my yarrow and comfrey plants here.

Transplanted yarrow

The blueberry bush in the middle is sporting little leaves and flowers.

I don't have much to show yet in the main garden, except my garlic is doing well

and my red raspberries are starting to leaf!

So far I've planted four beds:

Planted beds waiting to sprout.

Bed 1 - multiplier onions, Jericho lettuce, and Purple Plum radishes
Bed 2 - Detroit beets, Waltham broccoli, more multiplier onions
Bed 3 - Siberian Dwarf kale and antique marigolds
Bed 4 - multiplier onions and Nantes Carrots

This may sound terrible to you dedicated no-till folks, but I am so relieved to not be battling wire grass this spring in order to plant. Last fall we let the pigs into the garden to do the preliminary natural tilling, then Dan finished the job with his garden tiller. Wire grass is the biggest reason I didn't get much of a fall and winter garden in. Having to deal with this -

March 2011 photo of wire grass roots strangling a strawberry plant

It gets so dense that it becomes nearly impossible to plant anything and is a battle to remove manually. Consequently, I abandoned the permanent garden beds. We're very curious as to how the pig plowing will effect weed growth this summer. That will be the subject of future garden posts.

Speaking of strawberries -

Mine are starting to bloom!

How about you? Is the weather cooperating with your garden plans?


Chris said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing how your hedgerow develops. They're a lot of work initially, but will be an incredible asset to the land in the long run.

You've reminded me to transplant some of my yarrow under the mulberry tree too.

I bet you're sure glad to see green emerging from your garden. Lets hope the pigs helped thwart some of your more tenacious weeds. :)

Jane said...

I was an advocate of no dig gardening until I had real difficulties with nut and cooch grass growing and matting through the garden beds. I have been through and dug these gardens over to try and get rid if all the grasses. This growing season should show if I've been successful or not. The only nut tree I can grow here is a Macadamia and these are huge trees. This tree is not suitable for an urban garden due to its size. Looking forward o seeing how you garden develops.

Sandy Livesay said...


Your hedgerow is looking good, I can't wait to see what it will look like in a several months. When the tree's start to take, and your herbs along with the berries go to town.

In my garden, I've planted Yukon gold potatoes in tires, and lettuce in a raised bed. My onions have taken off, and look really good. My tomatoes, cabbage, and peppers are growing like crazy in the greenhouse. I can't wait to get them in the raised beds. I have several other vegetables to plant, in time I'll get them in the ground.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

That hedge ha been so well planned. I'm looking forward to seeing it develop.
That grass looks like what we call couch grass. We were complaining about this grass as it is the bane of our (gardening) lives and an old guy said that there was no mystery to getting rid of couch grass, you just had to keep digging it out! Right! What I do know about such grasses is that the worst thing you can do is rotivate it in as each little bit of root will grow a new plant.

Tami said...

Just started pulling henbit this weekend. We really neglected the garden last year while the back deck was being built. It's a priority for us now. I'll be busy overhauling walkways, transplanting and throwing more compsted soil in the beds so nothing is planted yet.

27 is forcast for Saturday night. My peach is in full bloom. Any tips to try and salvage the situation?

Crustyrusty said...

Garden? What garden? We could probably start a rice paddy, except it is supposed to get below freezing again in a couple of days.

The 'mater seedlings are starting to come up, though. Just waiting on the peppers to sprout.

This global whatever they are claiming it is this month is killin' me here.

Leigh said...

Chris, me too! I so wish I had the funds to plant more but am satisfied to make a start. The pigs are happy to be rooting around on the other side. That soil will be for mineralizing and planting summer of 2016.

Jane, it seems that its the various grasses that are always the problem. I hope you have been successful eradicating yours! I know how much work it takes to do that (or, as in my case, attempt to do that).

Sandy, I love hearing about your garden. I need to get my cabbage transplants out today! Also need to track down some potatoes, hopefully at the feed store. The 3# and 5# packages from Walmart and Tractor Supply are getting outrageously expensive.

Gill, I've given up on winning the war against our wire grass. You are so right that even a smidgen of root rapidly turns into a tenacious marching army. And it's true that tilling only chops it up to let it keep on, keeping on. What I have found, however, is that it's the only way I can get enough of the root system out to give me a chance of a harvest. If I can just stay a couple steps ahead for the season, I can at least garden! LOL

Tami, 27!!!! Rats! And a big sigh but thanks for the heads up. Seems that's the problem every year, losing our fruit blossoms and buds to some unwanted nose dive in the temperature. The only thing I know of are smudge pots, but I've never tried that. I see a couple listed on Amazon, however. I reckon we're both in the same boat.

Crustyrusty, LOL, it's killing all of us! All joking aside, spring weather has definitely become a nuisance in terms of its uncooperativablity in terms of gardening.

Lucía Moreno-Velo said...

It's snowing here in the mountains near Madrid. I planted potatoes, peas and garlic last week and now I'm afraid they'll freeze. I planted them deep, put cardboar and straw over them, but you never now. Our last frost date here is May 22nd, so... Sigh. I'll start seedling in beds covered with glass next week and hope for the best.

Lucía Moreno-Velo said...

Oh, and I heard of a remedy for resistant creeping grass: you put *fresh* chicken ahem... feces on the area and then put a see through plastic over it, attaching the edges to the ground with lots of dirt and then you leave that under the sun all summer long. Apparently, everything dies if you do that.

Melanie said...

You are inspiring!

Mama Mess said...

I planted our "top" garden, which is right outside the front door with beets, green onions, two kinds of lettuce, turnip greens and kale on Sunday. So very nice to be in the dirt again! The Man broke ground on the "bottom" garden last weekend, and tilled it again last evening. If the weather cooperates I'm hoping to get my 'taters in the ground this weekend. It's so nice to have my hands back in the dirt! Things are looking good around your place!!

Ed said...

I love that you are creating a hedgerow. Like barns, they too are a dying breed around the countryside. Straight barbed wire fences just don't have the same appeal.

Farmer Barb said...

Garden? GARDEN? 3/4 of my meadow is still packed in SNOW! I dream of gardening. Daily. I am going to lift my strawberries and put them in a large raised bed to keep the chipmunks out. Did I mention I HATE chipmunks?

I am eager to hear how the pigerator works for you, too. I'll be waiting!

Leigh said...

Lucía, last year I planted potatoes too early and lost the plants to a freeze. The tubers kept on growing, however, so I still got a harvest. Hopefully it will be the same for you.

Interesting about the chicken manure, although to get rid of our wire grass I'd have to do the whole yard, LOL

Melanie, thanks!

the Goodwife, that must be your new blog header. Here's hoping for good weather for all of us!

Ed, pretty sad about the changes in agriculture all around. :(

Barb, oh my, no gardening in the snow! Do you have cats? They help quite a bit in keeping strawberries safe. Will do updates on pig effectiveness in the garden. :)

Harry Flashman said...

Wow, Waldo has turned into a prehistoric Dire Pig over the winter. He sure got woolly.

Renee Nefe said...

the brussel sprouts were attempting to come back but then we got hit with another frost... It is snowing right now, so who knows what will become of them.
The onions all seem fine and I either have baby onions or chives all over...I just let them "go wild" as they're for broth and it doesn't matter what they look like. Same with the carrots.
I planted some garlic and had 3 come up but now I only see one. I hope the others are still there, but who knows. I'll get some more to plant and check out what's going on once it stops snowing.

Post Grad Penny Pincher said...

I was thinking along the same lines as Lucia. Maybe this summer you could dig a border around an area and build up a mini wall with sand and bricks or railroad ties etc. and then cover it with black tarp (or something like cardboard). Throw some mulch on top of the top for the summer and it should suffocate and burn all the weeds in that area. Then next summer you would have a designated garden area minus the weeds. Just a thought :)

Cat Eye Cottage said...

We've had so much rain lately that I can't get out and do what I want to do. And don't get me started on the mud pit that is the animal yard. Your hedgerow is going to be wonderful!

Nina said...

totally jealous that you can start planting! The frost isn't out of the ground yet, we have a bit of snow and dropping below freezing at night and some days. The only good thing is the sap is running and the Maple syrup is really good this year. I look forward to seeing the greening of your garden.

Leigh said...

Harry, he's quite the pig. Every morning he and Polly run over for their daily scratch. Piggy bliss!

Renee, snow! Ah well, winter isn't over yet. Hopefully you'll have a good growing season this summer.

Post Grad Penny Pincher, we did try solarizing a large area against the wire grass several years ago. We used black plastic. It kept the area grass free for close to a year. We learned that a large border is needed because neighboring grass will quickly spread into non-grass areas. It's nondeterminate, so the rhizomes keep on growing and growing, both above ground and below. I've had it grow right on up and over raised beds. I've had it grow through heavy leaf mulch. I've had it grow over cardboard mulch. I had it totally bond landscape cloth to the ground in the same place we'd solarized with black plastic. It's a booger.

Candace, that's the hardest part about rain, when it makes a mud yard for the animals. . :(

Nina, I'm totally jealous of your maple syrup!

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

No, the weather is not co-operating with my garden plans! Looks like you are getting a lot done though! Nancy

Unknown said...

I hope you are not planning retirement any time soon because im looking at your food futures and seeing alot of work harvesting and preserving. Its going to come in by the truck load.

PioneerPreppy said...

Man your strawberries are already blooming. I hate you :)

Looking good there Leigh!!!

The Cranky said...

We're still so far from being able to plant out that it's just a distant dream... but at least I can enjoy it vicariously here.

I'm trying a few new things this year: Black Vernissage sauce tomatoes, Gelber Englischer custard (summer) squash, and Zlata radishes. Can't wait to get my hands in the dirt!

Leigh said...

Nancy, have to take advantage of good weather!

Lynda, we're not ever planning retirement. :) Not in the usual sense anyway. You're right that it will take awhile, but I'm hoping a lot of what grows and is produce will directly benefit our critters. Extra for us will be the bonus!

PP, LOL. Just wait until the heat of summer when my entire garden is in a heat stupor. Our growing season isn't so enviable then. :)

Jacqueline, what's in a name! The names of those veggies sound too good to resist. I think that's half the fun of browsing seed catalogues!

John said...

Hi Leigh,
Just came accross your fine blog from Pioneers Preppy's blog. Hope you don't mind if I tag along awhile?

Rosalyn said...

Well, I suppose the weather could be said to be cooperating! We are supposed to get up to a high of 4C today, and we've had two sunny days that have started a bit of melting at about +1. That feels so tropical I have honestly been driving with the windows open! With 15+ feet to melt though, it might be a while!
I'm also really interested to see how your hedgerow goes. I'm trying to identify places in our wooded backyard where I could stick fruit and nut trees and they will get enough light. I would like to try to grow things that are unusual or rare around here that would be fun for me primarily, but that also may have some trading value one day. For example, I found a nursery in Ontario that sells pawpaw and a hardy pecan variety so I'm excited about that prospect. I also want to plant hardy kiwi, haskap berries, and a few of those multi-graft apples and pears. :)

Leah said...

Wow! Your garden has so much growing! I wish mine were doing anything. We are waiting on a stretch of warmer days to jump start my seeds. Can't wait to see how the hedgerow turns out it looks pretty awesome!

Leigh said...

John, welcome! Very happy to visit and follow your blog as well.

Rosalyn, the sun always makes a day seem warm and wonderful! Very interesting that you may have access to some unusual fruits and nuts. I understand the hardy kiwi is quite hardy! (My concern is whether things can tolerate our summer heat!). Trees take awhile to establish, but what a joy they are to have around.

Leah, I almost jumped the gun with a few warm weather veggies but then we had a forecast for below freezing this weekend. I'm glad I waited! This is the hardest time of year, waiting for planting season to arrive.

Kev Alviti said...

Your garden is a little head of ours but things are budding up and the gooseberry has got some leaves on it.
That hedge is going to be great, I always wonder what people will think in a hundred years when they find a random edible plant and are enjoying the benefits of it! hopefully they'll be some random ones here that will make people think!
I planted about fifteen chestnuts when I first got here but they haven't done very well, I don't think they like the clay soil.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Nice work Leigh! We love using our Red Wattle pigs to plow up future garden spots. This year we'll be taking some to our new farm to start gardens up there. It's been years since I've had to put in a garden on "virgin soil" I am both worried and excited as we get ready to start over (again) at age 55!

Quinn said...

You are delightfully green and way ahead of's been snowing here all morning.

Leigh said...

Kev, I know that whomever had our place before loved to plant and landscape. I've found landscape plants everywhere and sometimes wish I could have seen it them. Of course, they didn't do permaculture so most of the choices are ornamental rather than edible. Sorry to hear about your chestnuts. After I ordered mine I read that they are a bit challenging to grow.

Donna, wait, new farm??? Does that mean you've sold your current place? I'm terrible at keeping up with blog reading and hope that's the case! After what you've been doing, starting over will be a piece of cake. :)

Quinn, I know, every time I visit your blog there are more photos of snow, LOL.