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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Companionable or not?

Companionable or not?

user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 138
Dear friends,

I'm looking for an additional spot to plant Sparkle strawberries. Am considering planting strawberries near foxglove (which is considered poisonous.) I heard/read somewhere once last year that one shouldn't plant edibles near foxglove.

What do you think?

Secondly, how important is it to avoid planting edibles in an area close to the road?

Our front and side orchards (once lawns) got sheetmulched last summer and are now planted with perennial non-edibles except of course for the fruit trees and garlic beneath them. Following Julia Yelton's recommendation for all of this, I planted geraniums on the street sides to take in toxins from passing cars on our two side streets. One has a bit of traffic, the other even less.

I'd like to include some edibles in the sunnier parts of the orchard that the woodchuck might not eat (realizing of course they're omnivorous, which is why I'm gradually turning pathways into woodchuck edibles like white dutch clover. We'll let him/her "mow" those paths.

So would strawberries 3 to 4 feet from the road, but near foxglove be okay?

user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 42
Hi Elaine.

"So would strawberries 3 to 4 feet from the road, but near foxglove be okay?"

I would not plant a low edible that close to a road simply because of the dust problem; not to mention toxins...and then...what kind of mess do the plows make?

For me, that's too close to the road.


user 6954726
Sullivan, ME
Post #: 19
elaine, do you have an herb spiral? or a rock garden of sorts? i ask bc you might consider planting the strawberries in between rocks (ie in the spiral) and letting them runner out. in most of my flower beds i employ this method, with a strawberry plant between all the rocks which helps prevent soil from cascading over the side. the yield may not be as high as if you were planting in straight rows w/ more room, but if you're already having trouble fitting them in....

and i'm sure you know this, but another happy strawberry snatcher is the squirrels!

also, to be clear, are your fruit trees with the garlics planted close to the road (ie 3-4ft)? if not this would be another place to try, as the strawbs have shallow root systems and the garlics do not.
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 141
Dear Tree and Alder,

Thank you! The input from both of you is helpful. Not all but most of our fruit trees circled with garlic are within 3-4 ft of the road. Luckily knowing where the biggest pile of snow would build up (near the driveway) we planted one of the two peach trees a bit further, but it still got buried with snow, this year, high up to its branches. And I saw how road salt corroded markers of daffodil bulbs closer to the road

I did think about the spiral, actually, Alder, so I'm glad you mentioned it. It's in the middle of the garden where this year I'll be planting fewer herbs and more vegetables. So when the two planned patches of strawberries rather close to the pond get filled, I'll go ahead and add some to the spiral.

And for the rest of the roots, I'll give them to our friend Matt up the street who gave us compost this morning in exchange for our surplus strawberries.

I had expected to get at least half of them planted today but spent time instead uprooting witch grass along the fence. I enjoy working slowly rather than rushing to get it all done as soon as I'd like. That'll be tomorrow's job.

Thanks again!
A former member
Post #: 115
Elaine I would be very, very surprised to find that there is any danger of planting foxglove with your strawberries. I believe it has been used in the past for cardiac problems before we had yet learned to make synthetic digitalis.
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 366
Mary is right. Foxglove is considered poisonous primarily if you ingest too much and have a cardiac reaction. It's a gorgeous and worthy plant for a permaculture garden drawing wonderful pollinators. It always reminds me of the hedgerows of Ireland:)
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 146
Thanks both of you! I agree, from photos I've seen, it's gorgeous. How good to learn it draws pollinators and that we'll now have the joy of watching it unfold close at hand!

A former member
Post #: 116
The elves use them for little caps you know. If children are around draw a little face on your fingertip and put a cap on it to show them how they look.
Gorham, ME
Post #: 154
Mary, after reading up on Foxglove since you mentioned it I want some! I should have bought seeds of it! Where did you get yours?

user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 151
Mark we planted 2 or 3 as perennial plants last fall. As they mature and (I presume) need to be divided, you could have some.

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