it’s perennial planting time, and it feels like it’s going big time. at work we have something in the neighborhood of 12 trees going in this week, and another 12 next week. this wouldn’t seem like a big deal if it were not for the fact that i planted enough urban trees to know it’s not easy. many of the soils are clay fill dirt, and often you hit large hard items as you go. you can’t be too committed to one spot. i’ve often dough 3 holes just to plant one tree, trying to find a good home for them. today soil seed will go out and try to do our best to make a good layout, then on saturday with volunteers i’ll plant them out. i’m looking forward to having some trees that i can care for a number of years. i have a decent amount of fruit tree care under my belt, but it always been for other folks. i’ll prune them once and never see them again, so the ability to watch them grow will really give me more insight. this plot will feature most of the common temperate tree fruits, plenty of pears, some apples, and a few peaches, cherries, and plums. i don’t have big plans for the space, just an area for the community to harvest fruit, though i’ve spaced everything pretty loose so we should be able to garden inbetween the trees, or put other perennial crops in the understory.
in my own community garden just a couple blocks over from the little house i’ve been working on another garden featuring perennials. some folks might call this a permaculture garden, but i’m calling it a edible perennial polyculture plot. i’m a fan of alliteration. another issue is not wanting to title something permaculture. don’t get me wrong i’m as big a fan of permaculuture as the next guy, actually come to think of it the next guy doesn’t really even like permaculture, so i’d have to say i’m a bigger fan than the next guy. i’ve read most of mollison’s, holmgren’s, and jacke’s books, and i do appreciate all they have to say, but i’m just not that into defining something from a particular world view. much as i don’t like to define my political views or religious views, i’d hate to define my design views. part of this is deflect any criticism. as in some comes up and says that it’s a lousy permaculutre design then i can quickly defend myself by claiming to never call it a permaculture design. another issue is the tendency of those who use permaculture methods to define themselves as a permaculturist. i sure don’t want to be part of a movement that would include me. at the end of the day permaculture is a design method and not a lifestyle.
the plot i’m planting at the local community garden is mostly going to focus on easy to care for plantings. one of the reasons i’m not that big of a fan of most of the common tree fruits is that they require too much care. do you really expect me to go out and spend that much time pruning, spraying, thinning etc just to eat and apple? i’d rather find simpler fruits to grow and focus on other things. this one also has some nuts in it for fat and protein. for a quick harvest i’ve got the hazelnuts, and then for the long range i’ve got the hybrid chestnut. along with that are paw paw’s, persimmions, various service berries, beach plums, wild plums, black and red currants, gooseberries, josta berries, bush cherries, and goumi berries.