Over here in Texas zone 8 I have similar annoying clay soil and useful frequent rain. Instead of digging proper swales, (My property sloped inwards) I dug a hole into the lowest spot and the high clay content created a slowly draining pond. Then I bought 4 Muscovy ducks and this stuff... https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006IGZCI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 The microbes keep the pond from getting "ducky" and the pond keeps the rain from drowning my yard every time it rains. My next step is to create a shrub willow hedge around the edge of the pond to help stave off erosion, soak up additional yard swamp, and feed the rabbits.
Does anyone have experience using Sepp Holzer's bone sauce to keep the squirrels from taking over the world? I would be more than willing to buy some off the willing soul who would ship it to me if it works. The hubs is on board with many things, but is certain I will burn down the town if I try to do it myself.
Thanks! BTW, I don't know if you have seen this joint, but I thought I would pass it along. http://www.justfruitsandexotics.com/JFE/ They are a great source of information on our particular climate. I have ordered a few things from them, including some paw paws fit for our climate, and they are doing wonderfully. It was a bit pricey, but now that I have parent trees that fit our climate, I can replant seedlings at will. I am hoping to outfit the neighborhood. "Sure I'll buy your girl scout cookies and your band chocolate, but first, let's go plant this free tree." haha. Stealth.
Thanks for the perspectives!! Jennifer, talk about a "stone's throw" distance! I have had great luck with pomegranates and figs. My persimmons, loquats and jujubes are doing well, but they are still babies. Watching them grow (and researching obsessively in the downtime) is so much fun! I'm afraid I haven't had as much luck with pears. Do you grow a particular variety?
According to the California rare fruit growers site, "extreme summer heat is (also) detrimental to the crop". Any one out there have experience with the extreme being mentioned? How hot is too hot? Thanks!!
How lucky are you, Blake! The organic means you mentioned are useless. Their method of attack is really quite ingenious. If they weren't so destructive, I would have a deep respect for them. I have hope in mechanical means, however and am planning on experimenting with them this year. It is work, but the plants are so productive (and so tasty!!) that I consider it a good use of my time. Dan, you are correct, I was speaking of Kaolin sprays. If it works with squash and peaches both, it may go down with DE as a must-have product. Perhaps one of these days my local government will stop being so asinine about owning chickens and I can get a bit of help with my buggy population. I know there are varieties out there that are better to plant, but I am a sucker for zucchini. And acorn squash. And spaghetti squash... All of them!
Has anyone tried applying surround sprays (meant for fruit trees) to the vines of zucchini plants to protect them from the squash vine borer? How about using panty hose wrapped up the stem? I am determined to beat the little buggers this year!!
Thanks, folks. Home Depot had some 'Fantastic' Avocados that really perked my interest today. I had given up on Avocados here in the Brazos. 'Fantastic' is suppose to be hardy down to 15 degrees, though, so I picked one up and made it to the register... where they wanted $40 for the little thing! Not happening. I'll be looking with much hope down the avenues you have provided!
I sure wish I knew the answer to that! My neighbor has a trumpet vine growing over the fence (and knocking it down in the process.) I was incredibly angry with them when we first moved in that they would allow their plants to ruin other people's property. Not to mention the frequency with which I have to dig out the babies that pop up all over creation. Between the bermuda grass, the trumpet vine and the infant I felt like all I did was weed and feed allllll day long. haha! One morning as I drank my coffee, I thought, what a great spot for blackberries?! We took some old pallets and just leaned 'em up against the fence and planted blackberries where they could ramble up against the pallet. The weight of it all propped the fence back up straight and I didn't have to build a "real" trellis in our super annoying clay. Winner winner!! "The problem is the solution"!! Now I look at the vine and see a wall of beautiful flowers. If it is a nitro-fixer as well, woohoo! Don't know why I didn't think to run it over the pergola. That is a great idea. Thanks for the suggestion.
The pergola with the trumpet vine is almost identical to yours, Genevieve. Maybe a little more slender. But I can see now what you were getting at. You guys rock!
Awesome! Yea, he seems to pick up quickly which plants he is allowed to munch on. Mint may have plans for world domination, but it isn't going anywhere on his watch! And basil. The little goat ate an entire plant to the ground in just a few days.
Pruning heavily doesn't bug me too much. I don't have such a large property that the work would overwhelm me. In fact, having something I could count on to provide heavy shade in the summer, that could then provide mulch, has definite perks. I really appreciate being able to bounce my random thoughts off others. Yay for permiwebsites and fellow hippies!!
The sun sets directly on that driveway on the opposite side from the house. In the summer, it goes down closer to the road and in the winter closer to the house. It gets hoooot! I tried some scarlet runners on the fence over on that side just to see how they would stand up to the summer. No go... The sun is just too severe. Or maybe I didn't water them enough. Who knows?! Muscadines and passion fruit may be the only thing that can handle the brutality of the blazing assault, but kiwi would be amazing. Don't hardy kiwi need a bit of shade? They may not make it in that location. I gave pecan seedlings to all the neighbors. Here's hoping we have a bit more canopy in a few years!
The hubby gets suuuuper annoyed with cars in the driveway, so stained concrete is more of a problem. Does wisteria fix nitrogen? It would be substantial enough to balance out something aggressive. I'll have to look at designs that mix media with an eye to your warning. You might be right about the clunkiness. Isn't daydreaming fun?! A woman's version of measure twice, cut one. hahaha! Daydream all year for a weekend's worth of work.
Genevieve, I love the simple lines on that one. It seems a bit chunky... Like it might out weigh the house. (I know... completely not a permiproblem. Still, art and the beauty of things are good for "care of people" right? ha! My powers of self-justification warrant a cape.) Do you suppose I could build the bottom frame out of metal and keep the top crossbars wood? It might sound like a stupid question, but what metal material would resist rust? Also, you are right. It should prolly be the color of the siding. Thanks for the thought!
Thanks! Here is a pic of the front yard and two of my pride and joy. (I had the camera out, and I just can't help myself!) We moved in last year, and I spent the year watching the sun, rain, and wind, installing a veggie garden in the back, and making friends with the neighbors. I worked on mixing edibles and native flowers in the front beds to help people become comfortable with the idea of food in the front yard. Everyone enjoyed the okra and strawberries, so I moved on to step 2! The front yard was just grass, and I have planted (although you can't see from the view, and the size of the saplings) 2 pine trees, 2 figs, 2 pears, 4 pomegranates, 2 loquats, and some elderberries so far. 2 apples, 3 plums and 3 jujubes should be arriving any day in the mail. The apples will go in the blank spots in this pic, the jujubes down near the road (since they hold onto the tree), and the plums somewhere in the shadier spots behind where I am standing. My extended plan is to make the guilds contain a high number of native flowers to keep the front yard looking like flowerbeds more than anything. Since the yard is super flat, I plan on digging in a hidden river from the down spouts to the more thirsty trees... hiding the river with wood chips among the flower beds. The "yard" will continue shrinking slowly until the hubby shrieks. He's like a frog in boiling water!! Too much too soon and he'll jump out of supporting my "weird obsession."
As you can see, the home has a repetition of simple, straight lines. The popular pergolas are too textured for the look and age of the home. I need something far more "americana". What do you think? I like the idea of putting a prettier vine closer to the street to help "the view".
Thanks for the response. I agree, pergolas sans greenery look a little ridiculous. I actually don't have an HOA, I just have quite a bit of respect for my neighbors. If what I put in doesn't look classy, their home values will be effected. With this in mind, the ratio of the large pergola needed to go over a standard driveway to my smaller home will be aesthetically off-balance. While my addition may be better for the environment at large, it will impact close friends negatively. I prefer a win-win scenario. Concern over a design element of this nature may not strike a chord for most within the permaculture movement, but I hoped someone out there may have already considered the struggle. I worry that we may be shooting ourselves in the foot when we move in and immediately jump on the food forest wagon without considering the effect it has on the folks next door. If a neighbor's first interaction with this vast wisdom is not positive, it will color the way they see future effects. Our beautiful oasis may only be a mass of tangled vegetation. Our water catchment system merely ugly barrels. Our morning walk to harvest stinging nettles just a reminder that a crazy person lives next door... Recognizing the vantage of others and empathizing with their current level of understanding frees them to interact positively with the new paradigm. So. Pergola. I need it to hold a vine. I want it to hang over an otherwise useless space. I would love if it could match the style of my home and neighborhood so that the idea spreads.
I am considering planting a living fence to separate the annual garden from the rest of the backyard in the hopes that we can one day have a puppy without destroying the tomatoes. Any suggestions on the tree? Also, how far apart should I plant them?
It is possible that your mulch is tying up nitrogen as it tries to decompose. Add some source of nitrogen that won't burn the plant (coffee grounds, urine, rabbit manure...) and see if that helps out. From what I hear, that is the biggest mistake "back to eden" newbies generally make. As to the sun issue ~ I have peppers growing like weeds in the understory of an oak tree here in central texas. They get direct morning sun for about 4 hours, but then the tree and the house partially shade or completely block the sun for the rest of the day. EVERYONE who saw me put them in told me it wouldn't work. Suckers. I'm glad I ignored them. Good luck finding your solution!
Here in central texas we have blazing summers. I would love to run kiwi vines up and over the driveway to help cut down on the heat sink without offending the sensibilities of the neighbors. Any ideas or pictures of a pretty, "HOA approved", carport/pergola that would manage such a thing?