Sustainable Gardens by Deborah in the UP

Sustainable Gardens

As I walk around my still snow covered garden area, pondering the new plantings to make, I find myself wondering what more can I put in that I don’t have to keep planting, over and over.

The ‘orchard’ is starting to take shape. All dwarfs and self pollinating, the apple tree is now 3 years in the ground, making it 5 years old.. I just might get some apples soon. If not, the neighbor twenty acres over has several that are producing quite nicely. The cherry tree is now two years here, and has given me a handful of semi-sweet cherries both years. (note to self: that fencing needs to be re-done this year.) The peach tree will take a bit longer to produce, but at least I did that fence right the first time, got to keep those pesky deer from munching on the new shoots as well as the ripe fruit. I might add another cherry tree or another peach this year. It will be interesting to see if the extra fertilizer and liming I did last fall helps them this year.

Berry patches seem to be easier to start, but just as much work to maintain. I planted both June bearing and Ever-bearing strawberries, and the birds think the netting is a silly addition because they find a way in anyhow. They must like them since I don’t get very many. The raspberry, blackberry and thimbleberry wild patches seem to thrive without any help from me, thank goodness!! The soil up here is highly acidic, so blueberries should do well. I frequent the acres and acres of local wild blueberries, and am seriously considering digging some up and replanting them here as my front lawn. Why not? I can’t seem to grow any grass there!

Last summer I was finally able to have a few cuttings from the asparagus roots I put in… but that was AFTER I found out that the asparagus did not like the onion sets I put in with them to save space. That is the one raised bed I will leave where it is.. Those hearty roots do NOT like to be moved around! And the harvest just gets better and better every year.

The Jerusalem artichokes, aka sun chokes, don’t mind being moved, since they just leave some behind and keep growing.. Much like the rhubarb. Ever try to give your rhubarb plant away? I did… every year… it always grew back.

I’m considering a hardy Kiwi, but not sure it will survive my harsh winters. I’ve managed to keep a few dwarf citrus trees from year to year, in pots, as they need to come inside for the winter. I actually got three lemons and two Key Limes last Fall!

There are a few vegetables that we don’t consider as being perennials, but they ARE self producing. In the Fall, when I harvest my potatoes, and after the garden is tilled, I take some of the smallest spuds, and replant them. I want the large ones for eating of course! Most of them DO come back up, or it might be the ones I missed in digging.. That happens too, as I’ve found potatoes growing in the strangest parts of the garden! (I think the tilling helped move them around.)

Another late Fall planting is onions and garlic. Both of which will keep coming up if not harvested. After a year or two though, they WILL need to be separated.

Herbs of course are a whole ‘nuther subject.