Posted by Mshathvri on 2014-09-09 16:11:33 UTC and edited at 2019-06-03 08:54:39 UTCPermalink
Hi! I'm Wendy and I live in Livermore, California, USA. I live in the suburbs and have been learning about permaculture for two years now. Right now my project is slowly converting my lawn into a food forest, one module at a time.
I began with a 10x20 starter garden on the north side of my house. I wanted to practice these ideas in private, so no one could see the results if I was a failure at permaculture gardening! Because I was such a novice, I didn't realize how shady this fenced in, northern patch would be. I also didn't realize what a difference that would make!
That first year, I planted a peach tree and a nectarine tree that I found at a local discount store. I also planted apple mint, thyme, oregano, potatoes, strawberries, and thornless blackberries. What I should actually say is that those are the crops that did fine and ended up giving me food. I planted a ton of other things as well, but they didn't flourish and I've forgotten them.
In April of this year, I ripped out the hedges and landscaping plants from my east-facing front yard garden and replaced them with edibles using food forest methodology. That went well, so in July I installed another module of food forest directly in front of it, separated by a stone border. I plan to continue in this fashion every few months until my front lawn is entirely food forest.
To keep my neighbors happy, I am handing out food right and left to my neighbors and to the people who go for walks in my neighborhood. I'm also trying to disguise my front yard food forest as a cottage garden by installing statuary, paths, and benches to make all of the mess seem intentional.
I am so excited to find Growstuff; hi! Say hi back and tell me who you are and what's going on in your gardens!
Have you found any of your neighbors find the handing out food weird? I don't know many of my neighbors (just one next door, and one across the street), but I'm at the end of the block that's near the bus stop, so lots of folks walk by. I was out harvesting cherries from the front yard (a few feet from the curb) and offered a passerby some cherries, and he asked what I did to them! He was suspicious of someone handing away free food.
I'm Mackenzie from Maryland, and I'm interested in permaculture too. I'm mostly working on raised beds (from reading Grow More Food and next year I think I'll add some Square Foot in there) in the back yard, but I need to do something about the grass under the cherry trees in the easement. Getting the lawnmower up that hill is not really possible (battery lawn mower, steep hill, etc.) so we use the weedwacker, but its extension cord isn't that long, and ugh, I'd rather not have to deal with it. I think what goes there will be low groundcover, though. The neighbors are often socializing in that area (and littering...) as they work on their race cars.
Well, the neighbors to the right and left of me seem to find me safe enough. Sometimes the truly random dog-walkers seem confused or cautious, but they usually take something. I don't know. I just try to seem like the right combination of happy and helpless. "I don't know what I'm going to do with all; there's too much!"
But I can see how it could feel weird if someone thought that you were trying to poison them or experiment on them. sigh Feelings.
I haven't read Grow More Food. Did you like it? I like The Vegetable Gardener's Guide to Permaculture and Gaia's Garden. I've watched some videos about Square Foot and I like it, conceptually.
I haven't had any luck with living ground covers yet. I've planted four different types of mint and also a couple of varieties of thyme... and some strawberries... but they all seem to exist in clumps without creeping out and covering over the ground. Keep me up to date on that grass and let me know if you find a solution! I think I'm just resorting to squash plants in places where I want to cover earth, since they seem to get large and leafy during their annual sprees, and I appreciate their jungle-leaf looks (but that's not so good for walking around and socializing). I also just planted half a pound of white clover seeds and I'm hoping that they'll help.
Sector NWRC (Neighbors With Race Cars) is actually a sector I wish I had here, since my two-year-old son is obsessed with cars.
I'm probably going to go with a non-eating groundcover like blue star creeper. I have a quarter acre, so there's plenty of other land to develop! This fall's major project will be the orchard.
For groundcovers I'm a big fan of nasturtium, which in my climate tend to sprawl everywhere and keep weeds down, and New Zealand spinach which is a good perennial spinach substitute.
I share the odd zucchini with my neighbours and they let me have the apples from their tree. There's also a local produce swap once a month, but I can't always get to it I'm afraid.
Hi Skud! Thanks for the recommendations. I planted nasturtiums in April and just a week ago, actually. This most recent time I actually read the directions and realized that you're supposed to soak the seeds first. My bad! So, hopefully the soaked-seed nasturtiums will have more sprawly prowess than my unsoaked nasturtiums--which bloomed, but didn't spread out at all.
I've never heard of New Zealand spinach before; I'll have to look into this! A perennial vegetable! Ooooh! I've been wanting to go to a vegetable swap. I heard of one that happens on Thursdays about a forty-five minute drive from me, and I'm considering it.
Mackenzie, the blue star creeper looks very pretty. Also, I'm envious of your quarter acre.
Whoops, it's called Grow More Vegetables. It's also a no-till thing like permaculture...actually I think it's very heavily influenced by permaculture understanding, and then packaged up into step-by-step and quick tips so people can get started without being overwhelmed by all that permaculture would have you concentrate on (microclimates and wind direction and everything), if all you're trying to do is a small area. Companion planting, don't step on the beds (use a big board if you want to distribute weight over an empty bed rather than compacting it), double digging, etc.