The New Home Economics

My edible landscape

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Our yard is a work-in-progress, but we are slowly getting the front to where we want it (the back is another story).  After two trips to the Friends School plant sale this weekend, and one freeze where we fortunately did not lose anything, here’s what our front yard is looking like (click pictures to enlarge):

The whole area to the left of the sidewalk is all newly-dug.  In the front (where lots and lots of dogs pee) are three natives “kinnickinnick”, a columbine, and northern bluebells.  I have no desire to eat anything that gets peed on that much, so I stuck with non-edibles for that part.  Behind them are a bunch of alpine strawberries, and then some blueberries and lingonberries.

In this corner: I ripped out some old purple phlox that did not excite me and replaced it with a comfrey plant (a medicinal plant that I moved from another area), German chamomile, and Alpine strawberries.  Also in this picture: a peony, some garlic, various herbs, and a magnolia.

Here is a newly-dug area dedicated to acid-loving edibles: blueberries (one of which is too small to see) and three lingonberries.  I’m using some “organic choice” sulfur from Home Depot to acidify the soil. Behind the newly dug stuff is my couple-year-old perennial area with a rose bush, irises, a couple of sedums, and various herbs.

Here’s another area that was filled with phlox.  It is now home to a Red Lake currant bush and a whole bunch of alpine strawberries.  The bush to the right is an Endless Summer hydrangea.  Also visible: two dying rhododendrons, a bleeding heart, some perennial grass, and a sedum.

Finally, here is my hosta holding area on the north side of the house.  Last year, I dug this area up and filled it with a bunch of free hostas, just as placeholders until I could find edibles that grow in pretty much total shade.  After being warned about the invasiveness of mint by some gardeners and encouraged about growing it in shade by other gardeners, I composted two of the hostas and put in three mint plants, as an experiment.  We’ll see what happens.  The three mints are all in a row, in the upper right corner.

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4 thoughts on “My edible landscape

  1. are you doing anything to prevent rabbits or other animals from eating all your delicious berries? or just hoping for the best?

    • Funny you should ask. The reason I had to buy two blueberries at the Friends sale was because rabbits had mowed down two of the four blueberries I had planted previously. So here’s my current anti-rabbit strategy:

      My particular rabbits seem to like tulips and blueberries the best. They don’t touch my raspberries — perhaps because I have thorny raspberries? I don’t know.

      In the spring, I always cut the rose bush way back, and then take the extremely thorny sticks and lay them in between the tulips. Then I make Adam shave his beard off with a clippers and save the [extremely grody] beard hair, which I spread around the tulips (it has a strong human smell). Then if I’m feeling especially vindictive I will also spray the tulips with a sprayer filled with water, a good T. of cayenne, and 1-2 drops biodegradable soap.

      I am now applying all these same principles to the blueberries. Rabbits seem to like plants best when they are really small and have lots of new growth, so I think I will be able to slack off a bit come summer.

      I really thought rabbits would love all the herbs I’ve planted, but they don’t touch them. Doesn’t Peter Rabbit eat parsley in the story? My rabbbits have no interest in it.

  2. my midwife was just telling me that other day that she started spraying her tulips/berries with a mixture of a spoon full of ivory dish soap, half water and then the other half beer about 3 years ago. hasn’t had any problems since. i might give it a go. i have tried a cayenne mixture and haven’t had a ton of luck, perhaps not diligent enough though.

    happy to hear that you are keeping the at bay!

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