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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › back yard garden suggestions

back yard garden suggestions

zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 47
OK, I know it's still SNOW everywhere, but I hope these photos with explanations will give you all an idea of my situation and, perhaps, you'll have some suggestions as to how best to build my backyard from grass and weeds to a productive and interesting back yard garden/habitat.
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 49
Sorry all.. Not quite used to Photobucket yet

Here's the album link....

Back yard album
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 100
It looks perfect for forest gardening. Get some fruit trees. Plant bushes like berries around your trees and veggies outside your bushes. Plenty of sun to do most anything. The wet area should easily support cranberries. With all that grass there must be some humus on top. Mix some compost or peat into your tree holes. I have peaches in some fairly tough soil that are doing fine.
Merry & Burl H.
BeMerry
Portland, ME
Post #: 35
David's suggestions sound great and will give you plenty to do right away. The FEDCO tree catalog has a lot of good advice and step by step directions on planting fruit trees, even though it is too late to order through them this year. You can view it online.
I would add, don't just think about your "back" yard, but your whole property. Permaculture can be beautiful upfront as well as outback. See if you can borrow a copy of Hemmenway's Gaia's Garden before you situate things. Also, consider using your wet area to form a real pond, as well as for cranberries and other bog lovers. Water enhances plantlife synergistically. Talk to Lisa personally.
Merry
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 276
Hey Mark - I didn't get a chance to look at the plans you brought to the last meetup, but I think you have alot of shade out front if I recall prior conversations...you were planning various spirals and some shade-tolerant plantings. You have a couple of acres, yes? Worth doing a plan...
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 50
Yes, I have a couple acres. The wooded area in the photos is actually across a stream asnd divides the property. I might try to do something with that area next year...where the tall Maples, Ash and Pines are. The main issue with the area across the stream is the scrub ash. There are also lots of wild, non productive brambles in that area, but I think, with some prep beginning this summer and into the Fall, I can indeed do some nice forest gardening...bring back that area of the property as an orchard or similar. The soil on that side of the stream is also very sandy in many places.

As for the front yard..I have flower beds in the areas that get full sun, and part sun, but very wet, clay soil in front. I was thinking I might actually install a kitchen herb spiral in front, but, of course, one caveat is the shade. I THINK there's an area about 20-30 feet in front of the house that is mostly in the sun, where I can install an herb spiral.

For the back yard I had originally planned to install 6-12 fruit trees, either this year, or next, if my budget is too tight. There is some excellent info out there on back yard orchards, where the trees are planted in groups of 3 or 4, and kept no taller than around 10 feet high (all in reach). An interesting link to backyard orchard culture will be included in this message.

Dave, how would I plan the fruit tree portion in a method conducive to permaculture?

What I was thinking is to plant fruit trees in the backyrd orchard culture means in the area behind the house, but next year to plant them in a more traditional spacing/orchard across the stream, next year and subsequently as I clean things out. I haven't really gone far with those plans though.

Here's the fruit link:
Backyard Orchard Culture

Mark-
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 51
Merry, I've heard from some that the FEDco trees are on the small side and that it might be more efficacious to purchase fruit trees from places like O'donal's later in Spring, when they start going on sale as they are significantly larger and further along.

I'm not sure that is the right thing to do though, what with my thoughts of growing them in the Backyard Orchard culture method of severe pruning.

I didn't realize when looking through the FEDco catalog, that orders closed on March 7th.

I may still be able to get some trees from them...during the Spring Sale, perhaps?

Mark-
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 277
Definitely check out anything you can find on "food forests" or "forest gardening" ... there's a two-book set from Dave Jacke that the interlibrary loan system can get for you.

Don't forget that you can also "train" various fruits and vines onto an espalier to grow a living, food-bearing fence/hedge ("fedge") as well. We have 8 apple trees espaliered onto a 50' fence (4 varieties) that will form the living border between ourselves and the next door neighbor.

(Side note - we had some trees removed to increase garden space and solar gain and mentioned it to the same neighbor - she works at Shaws. She said basically "pretty soon we'll all be taking down trees and turning our yards to gardens if prices keep going...")
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 52
The beauty of permaculture, I think, is that the basic premise is to work WITH nature...to enhance nature, rather than *break* or *REBUILD* IT TO YOUR NEEDS. So, instead of taking down trees, in most cases, I'll be adding trees...but trees that are productive in ways I want. Yes, I'll be removing some scrub trees in forthcoming years, in the back acre, but mostly I'll be adding them which should increase my biodiversity and hopefully create a better natural balance. At least, that's the idea......
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 278
Yes, removing trees should never be done lightly. In this case, they were evergreens planted by the previous owner for privacy only. They were unhealthy, were acidifying the soil in what is the sunniest part of our small plot, and blocking the very critical solar gain that we needed. I didn't mean to say that removing trees is necessarily part of permaculture. I'm not into "breaking" anything either... These wood and chips will be used on site for mulching, construction and some fuel.
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