What are we going to do this year? The history of the site and our work can be found HERE. Since the focus in past years has been to: clean up the site, make it walkable and accessible, and plant fruit trees, our focus for this year is to plant perennials and cover crops that will:
1) Support existing fruit trees
2) Keep invasive plants and weeds down
3) Help build the soil for future plantings
The idea is that we begin the process of putting in microclimates that support the food-bearing plants we want to grow. This is going to be an experiment, adapting techniques and principles from permaculture , invasive species management, and repurposing resources available to us to achieve these goals.
Strawberry plants reclaimed from a neighbouring house undergoing demolition and abandoned community garden plots were transplanted into the space underneath the laurel tree last week. As we wait for the strawberries to establish in the area, we have to control the morning glory, blackberry, and creeping buttercup that keeps coming back, year after year. With any luck the strawberries will form the groundcover needed to shade out some of the less wanted plants.
After cleaning up the southern end of the garden of buttercup and crabgrass, we're now ready to plant some shade tolerant plants that will help build the soil in the Orchard. The area tends to get more saturated with rain water, and the shading from the fence keeps the area damp and cool. Bush beans may be great for that - they can fix nitrogen into the soil, and in the fall and winter, will be reintegrated into the soil as green manure
Fruit Tree Guilds!
With five fruit trees on site, we'll want to put in plants around them that support their growth and fruit production. Permaculture practitioners call this mutually-supportive system a guild. It's similar to companion planting, but with more plants that are incorporated in a systematic way. Borage, marigolds, chives, daffodils, rhubarb can all work together to keep unwanted weeds away and attract the pollinating and predatory bugs we want!
Wanna join me?
I'll be there most Sundays and Wednesdays through the summer. Drop by, bring some gloves, and let's garden!
WEDNESDAYS (3PM - 5PM)