Last year the front yard disappeared a little too late to get a good start on a true permaculture garden. However, we had a pretty impressive annual garden.
Since then, I have been stuffing a lot of random plants into the front yard. I had good intentions of keeping a map and when those fell away I just had the idea to plant in zones, to leave some space free, but then a neighbor generously gave me some bulbs that I had been admiring in her yard and it all went to hell. So, it is probably a good thing that these plants that I purchased today will not be shipped until May 19. I am stealing the descriptions in italics from Permaculture Nursery
Good King Henry: Perennial vegetable, related to spinach. Grows well in partial shade. Medium-sized clumper. Leaves tasty cooked, very bitter if eaten raw. Low-maintenance.
This is a shade-producing plant, which I intend to use as ground cover. It contains an acid which is not digestible when eaten raw and in large quantities. However, the shoots, leaves, flowering buds, and seeds are edible. It can also be used as a green or gold dye.
Gooseberry ‘Invicta’: Small to medium shrub. Delicious grape-sized fruits, but beware the spiny branches. Does well in partial shade. Tangy fruits great for fresh-eating, jams, baking.
While the description says this is small or medium, what that means is 3 to 5 feet. I’m hoping to plant this against the front of the house where it will be in full sun, and unable to shade very much around it.
Ground Nut ‘Improved’
: Medium herbaceous vine, suckering. Native nitrogen-fixing root crop with tasty tubers high in protein. Beautiful leguminous flowers. Cultivated by Native Americans for centuries. This variety has improved tuber size and closer tuber spacing.
I don’t know if I would have chosen this plant if not for the nitrogen fixing properties, and the beautiful flowers which are said to smell like violets and are a bee favorite. I honestly don’t even know if I will dig the tubers except later as a means of controlling this spreading vine later. It may be good for near the pine tree or to climb up the chuppah as vertical space can prevent it from taking over horizontally.
Jostaberry: Medium thornless shrub. Tasty cross of black currant and gooseberry. Tart and sweet, great flavor. Fruits well in part shade. Easily propagated from wood cuttings and seed.
While I know both jostaberry and gooseberry will likely take several years to really fruit I really hope I am able to taste at least one of each this year or next!
Pawpaw Seedling ‘Metacomet’: Medium native tree, suckering to form colonies. Large, delicious fruit, sweet and custardlike with a tropical flavor. Delicious in cream pies and fruit desserts or out of hand. Fruit ripens late Septemer into October in Massachusetts. Very pest resistant. Need two for pollination. This variety was bred in Western Massachusetts.
This was a really stupid decision on my part as these are full size trees that I don’t really have room for. By taking out two of the back beds (which I don’t need any more since I have so much room up front) I was able to add the three additional fruit trees I deemed totally necessary this year. Thats right, they are full sized fruit trees which are NOT self-pollinating. And, I suspect I will not like the taste but whatever I guess I will find out in seven years or so.
Perennial Arugula (Sylvetta):
Relative of arugula, strong flavor. Lovely yellow flowers. Self-sows extensively, plant where it won’t smother anything else. Great bee plant. Delicious fresh, cooked, or in pestos. Small perennial bush in warmer climates.
I have heard this is no substitute for real arugula but am excited to try it.
Perennial Wild Bean:
Small perennial relative of the common bean, native to the Northeast US. Can be cooked and eaten like other beans. Will produce a fair amount of lentil sized beans if many plants are established and seeds harvested in year three. Can grow in some shade, or along a woodland edge.
Again, nitrogen fixing.
Perpetual Sorrel: Clumping leaf crop, wonderful sour flavor. This is a variety that never flowers, so it makes tender greens all season long. Ours comes up under the snow! Great addition to soups and salads (if eaten raw, eat in moderation).
So excited to taste this “sour” green.
Russian Comfrey: Hybrid sterile form of comfrey, doesn’t produce seeds. Great mulch plant and soil builder. Preferred habitat and egg-laying site for many beneficial insects and spiders. Useful medicinal. Edible in moderation. Breaking roots by tilling or digging will result in many new baby plants, choose location wisely.
This is such a bad idea. this spreads so rapidly and can grow an entire new plant in like 3 days. However, it has amazing medicinal qualities (it heals wounds), and I have been told chickens can learn to love it. Additionally, it can serve to fill in some places where we don’t want lawn, want to produce biomass, and have very poor soil. I just need to stay on top of this. My understanding is you top the plant frequently and either compost the leaves or feed them to the chickens.
Sea Kale: Clumping perennial vegetable, suckers if roots are broken by digging. Beautiful honey-scented flowers, fantastic edible broccolis. Ours are more than 10 years old. Shoots also edible in spring, and some tasty leaves can be harvested in fall without weakening plant.
I don’t know if I would have bought this plant except that it was one of the top three recommendations for a starting permaculture garden in Paradise Lot.
It is almost like those guys wrote an entertaining advertisement for their company BUT I LOVE IT.
Anyway, since I know this is riveting I will put up another part of my garden plan soon!