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Anna Tennis

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since Apr 18, 2014
Portland, OR, USA, Zone 8b
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Recent posts by Anna Tennis

I'm feeling inspired! I have a huge lovage plant and have used a few leaves here and there in soups, but dried stalks for native bees? Wow! Drying the leaves for later? Fantastic! Shading the lettuce? Of course!

Speaking of large perennial Umbelliferae, who's got exciting uses for Angelica...
In my west-facing front yard there's a large flowering dogwood that hasn't been pruned in a while (I moved in three years ago and I haven't done anything to it). It's getting into the overhead wires.

Recently I obtained a couple of hardy kiwis which didn't end up working out for the space I originally intended them to occupy. A permie gardening friend of mine suggested I pollard the flowering dogwood and plant one of the kiwis nearby, which would then climb the dogwood. I haven't been able to find examples of anything like this online and I have no idea if pollarding a mature flowering dogwood is a good or a terrible idea, nor using it as a trellis for an aggressive vine (which I plan to aggressively prune).

8 months ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:
Some of fruiting plants might not fruit if planted close to the trunk/deep shade, but they will grow. Huckleberries should do well! I have some growing out of hemlock stumps, so if you have enough woody debri underneath, they should do well. One thing that helps is to bring soil from where there's already hucklberries growing, in a nice big chunk, and plant that soil with the huckleberry. I've saved quite a few dying blue hucklberries by transplanting soil from around red hucklberries. I've also successfully transplanted hucklberries quite a few times by just digging up a big chunk of soil with it, and planting it all together. If you were closer, I'd give you some red huckleberry plants, as they grow wild on my property, just growing in the woody soil)

Learned something new about cultivating huckleberries! Thanks for your other suggestions too - I especially like the idea of adding hostas. I'll look into the best edible varieties.
8 months ago
@Chris: Yes, thimbleberry is amazing! It was the first solid food I gave my first child. Love the idea of adding vanilla leaf. I could grow salmonberry - I've just never found the berries that interesting to eat. Oregon grape: yes! I listed that originally (Mahonia spp). Maidenhair fern: great idea! I was thinking of sword and bracken. Huckleberries: I did not know that about cedar nurse logs. So good to learn, both for cultivating them and for foraging.

@Ivar: I'm happy to extend the discussion to include non-native perennial food plants.
8 months ago
I've got one mature Douglas fir at the back of my otherwise open and sunny backyard. I'm keeping the tree, and I'd like to help some native plants get established under and around it: thimbleberry, huckleberry, salal, mahonia, maybe ferns, and others. I think adding large and small woody debris (I've got lots of logs and chips) in the area under and around the tree would be helpful.

Anyone have success trying something like this? What would you recommend?
8 months ago

Kc Simmons wrote:Definitely agree with Anne on planting what you love to eat that will grow in the area.
I'm terrible about planting a lot of stuff that I just don't care for, and wasted so much before I had a lot of animals to feed it to.
Now, I'm still guilty of it (because it's just fun, and seed catalogs, to me, are like kids and candy stores), but I try to make note of the "priorities" when gathering seeds from my personal seed library to cover my favorites first, then plant stuff I'm less likely to devour in the extra or open places in the gardens.

For recommendations, Corn is always easy to do a small block of and get a good yield from; plus some dry pole beans can be planted within the block, and some winter squash over the ground; providing three crops in on space.
Potatoes, onions and garlic are things I use a lot & plant a lot.
Radishes & several greens aren't really "main crops," but they're perfect for early spring and early fall crops when the space isn't growing a main crop.

I am exactly the same about seed catalogs. I've worked hard this year to not over-order and to take a thorough inventory of what I already have first.

I've got a large bed ready to go for corn, beans and squash. With this temporary bed I may just go for more potatoes, since they seem to do okay in sod (or so I hear). I should have said in my OP that I'm looking for low-labor/low-bed-building main crops, since I likely won't be able to use the bed for more than a year.

Eric Hanson wrote:Anna,

Just as a thought, might you consider planting in containers?  The reason I ask is that you could build some soil and then move it when you go to build.

If that were the case then perhaps you could plant something that fixes either nitrogen or carbon.

Just a thought,


This a good thought, thanks!

jordan barton wrote:

I would suggest the company Adaptive seeds who is based in Oregon
Nothing like squash and a fried egg along with homemade sauerkraut for dinner!!

I love Adaptive Seeds! I've ordered from them for many years.

Would that I could eat a fried egg for dinner! We've certainly got plenty of them. They're such a great quick and delicious protein. I'm sensitive to eggs though, so my kids and friends eat them. I enjoy the chicken yields of fertilizer and entertainment.
Thanks! I should have included that I'm in zone 8b, Portland, OR.

I may end up digging pits in that area and burying kitchen scraps, etc and planting cucurbits.
I've got an unused area of my yard that eventually (thought it'd be sooner but now likely later) will have a small house/ADU built on it. In the meantime I'd like to grow some kind of main crop(s) there - and hopefully not get too attached to having it as a gardening space! I'm going to tractor the chickens there for a bit first.

I know potatoes would probably work. Any other suggestions?