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Please join me in welcoming Crystal Stevens, author of Your Edible Yard!





Read the review of the Your Edible Yard here!

 


Crystal Stevens will be hanging out in the forums until this Friday answering questions and sharing her experiences with you all.

At the end of this week, we'll make a drawing for 4 lucky winners to win a copy of Your Edible Yard! From now until Friday, all new posts in the Gardening For Beginners forum are eligible to win.
 
To win, you must use a name that follows our naming policy and you must have your email set up to receive the Daily-ish email. Higher quality posts are weighed more highly than posts that just say, "Wow, that's really cool! I want to win!"

When the four winners are selected, they will be announced in this thread and their email address will be sent to the publisher, and the publisher will sort out the delivery details with the winners.

Please remember that we favour perennial discussion.  The threads you start will last beyond the event.  You don't need to use Crystal Steven's name to get her attention. We like these threads to be accessible to everyone, and some people may not post their experiences if the thread is directed to the author alone.
 

Posts in this thread won't count as an entry to win the tool, but please say "Hi!" to Crystal Stevens and make her feel welcome!
COMMENTS:
 
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Welcome Crystal Stevens !!! I will am looking forward to reading your book & hope I didn't mess anything up. My hubby & I have been taking care of our garden since my dad passed in 2014. Lots of ups & downs but we hanging!!!
 
master steward
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Welcome, it is good to have you join us here at permies!

I am looking forward to learning more about Edible Yard and the plants that will work in an edible yard.
 
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Hello! Thank you so much for the warm welcome. I am honored to be here!
 
pollinator
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What a gorgeous cover on your book! Welcome! :)
 
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Your book looks delicious! And very worthwhile. It's what the world needs right this moment.

Poke around this site and you will find lots of like-minded individuals, as well as an amazing wealth of information.
 
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Welcome, Crystal!! I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions you did for the Mother Earth News Fair Online this year. I loved seeing your amazing yard and am looking forward to the discussion here on the Permies forum.
 
pioneer
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Hi Crystal. Thanks for sharing your experience and passion! We are first time homeowners with some weird land... We have a total of 7 acres, but it's split up. 1 acre is boggy woodland... That's no brainer zone 5. One acre is hilly and our house is on it, so we think zones 0-2 make most sense here. Then we have a 5 acre plot about a mile down the road. 2.5 acres of it is an open, South-facing meadow and the rest is protected wetlands on 3 sides. We were thinking a zone 3 orchard and vineyard plus zone 4 woodlot would go well there. We are vegan, so not looking to use animals as a yield or instrument of agriculture.

Given that none of this area has been farmed or worked recently, and given that the soil isn't compacted, has a pH of about 6.5, has good phosphate and potash content, but is fairly low in nitrogen.... Where would you suggest we even start on digging out hands in and getting self sufficient with food production. It's overwhelming because there is so much that needs doing!!

Thanks for your advice!
 
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Welcome Crystal.  Looking forward to the discussion here.

We recently moved to a 5 acre mostly wooded plot in northeast Texas (right on the cusp of zone 8a and 8b).  We are trying to not disturb the original landscape, as some of the native trees are over 300 years old.

So my questions :  how can your techniques be adapted to work with a heavily canopied land?  What species have you found that will grow near well established pine and walnut trees?


Thanks in advance!  
 
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Hello Crystal. I am glad that you are here. I have a question about edible gardens and yards.

I have failed at growing food to feed my family although I have been very successful with my plants. This may seem like a contradiction but I find that my family won't eat most of the vegetables and fruits that are recommended to grow in my region 7b. For example, I decided to grow winecap Stopheria mushrooms, and no one really liked to eat them, but since they were hard workers for building up healthy soil I continue to grow them. Same for peas, which fix the soil but provide enough food for a infant.  Squash grows but we end up with a ton and no one wants to eat squash for breakfast lunch and dinner for a month. So these crops grow and we don't eat them. The same for the other vegetables and fruits. No one likes them. My question is whether you think that one has to acquire taste and force oneself to eat from the garden. We have been conditioned to enjoy certain foods in our society that are grown by big businesses and look and taste artificial as far as I am concerned. Maybe my family is not hungry enough .

Also, second question, can you please name five ESSENTIAL edible garden must-haves for us to check out? THANKIES
 
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Hello - Welcome - Thank you for hanging out with us for a while!
 
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Hi Crystal! Welcome to Permies!

My youngest daughter just bought an end unit townhouse with a big yard, and I am so excited to help her sneak in some edible plants and a small garden.
Your book sounds perfect for her, and while chickens are now "off the table" the plants aren't.
This is appeals to my rebellious nature, and I am looking forward to reading your book!
Blessings!
Margie

 
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Hi Crystal, I’m excited to read the comments and your book.  I’m in southern Nevada in a very hot summer and have begun studying how to turn my acre into a food forest or edible yard.  I KNOW you’ll be a most valuable resource
 
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Welcome Crystal Stevens, Author of Your Edible Yard!
I am looking forward to your book. The cover with the beautiful amaranth is lovely. I am especially hoping for some tips on continuing or starting a "yarden" when physically challenged. Thank you so much. Aunt Bea
 
master gardener
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Hi, Crystal! Welcome to permies! An edible yard has been my wish, for decades! I'm really looking forward to your book, and learning from you, here!
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Hi Crystal, your book look fascinating!

I had a largely edible yard that I developed over 27 years of living in the home in a triple city lot. There was a huge back yard with full south exposure where I grew grapes, berries, veggies, apples, pears, and plums. I was also enjoying perennial vegetables like sorrel and sea kale.

That ended this spring, and I am now in a much smaller home with very different light exposure. My south exposure is almost completely shaded by two huge beech trees. The backyard faces north and much is shaded by the house and two huge maple trees on the east and west sides. It has a very neglected garden spot that gets decent sun part of the day.

Any thoughts on plants that will thrive on less sun in zone 5? I am not used to all the shade!
 
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Hi Crystal! My wife and I just got a quarter acre of land in the heart of the city, and we're excited to convert our lawn into the food forest dream. One question I have is if there's any way to use permaculture to reduce sun exposure to the house - I imagine a 30-foot metal trellis that sits 6" off of the house, and running a sun-loving vine with berries that birds eat all up it, as a way to feed the birds and hopefully save some more of the ground berries for us ground dwellers. Have you heard of anything like this? My other question is what to do with a 15x30 foot patch of the backyard that has grass now but has gravel all underneath it? We were thinking of doing clover and keeping it relatively bare for a play area and zone for classes. Thank you!
 
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Crystal I’m having trouble when I integrate herbs into my flower beds they start to take over. Is there a way to stop that?
 
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hi, Crystal can you give me any tips to live with a large slug population without losing my soul or my greens.  ps I live in Wales UK
 
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I live in central Texas on a quater acre lot. I have 7 live oals I would like to grow food plants and fruit bushes under them but I worry about the acidic nature of the soil. Any suggestions?
 
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Hi Crystal. My children and I have enjoyed your talk on vermiculture several different times at the Mother Earth News Fair. Welcome to the Permies forums.
 
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Hello hello Crystal Stevens! How exciting to see that giant "bouquet" of amaranth! Yum! I am excited to learn more about edible yards. I am enjoying sorrel, clover, lambs quarter and wintergreen on my woody parcel of land. I'm pretty shady here and live in Maine so I am i terested to learn about shady edibles. So glad you are here!
 
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Welcome, welcome!

Absolutely adore the cover of your book!

Do you have tips for shade edible gardens in your book? Thank you!
 
master gardener
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Welcome to permies, Crystal! You will definitely find that you are among like-minded people here. I think it's sooo... fun when people admire my Day Lilies and I say, "Yes, the flower pods are great in stir-fry." And then they realize the the frilly "fern-like" stocks behind them are actually asparagus. I hope your book helps to convert all the people out there who don't know what they're missing when beauty is combined with "healthy" food additives, like Rosemary!
 
pollinator
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Welcome, Crystal!  So glad you're going to join us (and what a shame that your schedule conflicted today!  Don't be daunted when you face all the questions at once!).

As are many here, I've been planting up my yard, and foraging it for greens.  I can't wait to hear what you have to tell us!
 
Jay Clayton
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@Y Chirea

Hello.

Have you considered preserving and sharing?

there are many ways to preserve enough for your family during the lean days so you do not have 24/7 squash.

also, I am sure there are those in your community that would welcome fresh vegetables.  Try your local food banks, churches, etc.

if all else fails:  a simple cardboard sign on the road with several bags of vegetables could give life to those less fortunate.

good luck and God Bless.

Jay Clayton
 
Jay Clayton
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@Cheryl Casker
hello Cheryl.

Good luck in your search for the native plants for your area.

I have had success with a google search

Practical Permaculture –
Planting Under Pine Trees

which provides excellent solutions for shady considerations as well as acidic soil.

best of luck
Jay Clayton
 
Crystal Stevens
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Thank you all for your questions! I will be going through them one by one first thing in the morning! I just got home from several produce deliveries in town (after farming since 5 am this morning). I am exhausted so I think I may just enjoy this blackberry margarita by the fire (if I can keep my eyes open) Thank you all for your patience! I will answer all of your great questions tomorrow! Any suggestions on how to reply to individual posts or is there just the or central reply button at the bottom. It looks like I tag people using their username/handle? Sorry, I am new to this format.
Sweet dreams all!
- A very tired farmer
 
gardener & hugelmaster
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Crystal, each individual post has a quote button. You can use that to respond to questions or just put each person's name in front of each reply in a list of replies. Welcome to permies. Less lawn, more food. That's the plan!
 
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Thanks for joining us for a week, Crystal. I am a container gardener ready to map out a master plan for my front yard and say good bye to grass. I'm in southern California (11A) and would appreciate some resources you suggest on how to get started on conditioning soil (need everything but drainage is strong).

Dream is to build something permanent, educational, healing, and peaceful. Thanks for being with us.
 
pollinator
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Welcome Crystal and congratulations on the publishing of your new book! I hope it reaches millions and gets them to change their grass yards into productive, Earth restorative fruits and vegetables. =)
 
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Welcome Crystal! We own and operate a 100 acre mountain farm in NE Tennessee and are currently converting the front acerage to a good forest. Your new book looks like a wonderful resource for our venture. Thank you for sharing your knowledge ❤️
 
Crystal Stevens
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Heidi Schmidt wrote:What a gorgeous cover on your book! Welcome! :)


Thank you so much!
 
Crystal Stevens
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Elizabeth Fournier wrote:


Thank you!
 
Crystal Stevens
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=Karen Less, Thank you! I miss the Mother Earth News FAIR this year.
 
Crystal Stevens
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D.W. Stratton wrote:Hi Crystal. Thanks for sharing your experience and passion! We are first time homeowners with some weird land... We have a total of 7 acres, but it's split up. 1 acre is boggy woodland... That's no brainer zone 5. One acre is hilly and our house is on it, so we think zones 0-2 make most sense here. Then we have a 5 acre plot about a mile down the road. 2.5 acres of it is an open, South-facing meadow and the rest is protected wetlands on 3 sides. We were thinking a zone 3 orchard and vineyard plus zone 4 woodlot would go well there. We are vegan, so not looking to use animals as a yield or instrument of agriculture.

Given that none of this area has been farmed or worked recently, and given that the soil isn't compacted, has a pH of about 6.5, has good phosphate and potash content, but is fairly low in nitrogen.... Where would you suggest we even start on digging out hands in and getting self-sufficient with food production. It's overwhelming because there is so much that needs doing!!

Thanks for your advice!



Hi! The property sounds very dreamy. I agree. Zones 0-2 near your home is a great idea. Imagin a terraced hillside with a kitchen garden, herb garden, and abundant fruiting shrubs. Check out images of terraced foodscapes online for inspiration.  Observation is key before diving right in. Check out the slope during heavy rain events. Pinpoint how water moves across the terrain. Also, be sure you know exactly where your buried utilities are and mark them (gas, electric, sewer/septic/lagoon) This will determine where and where not to dig as well.
The open, south-facing meadow sounds perfect for an orchard and wood lot. Be sure to choose varieties that don't mind their roots wet since there are wetlands nearby. Heavy rain events could cause flooding near the wetlands so be sure to go out in the rain to see where the water collects in your future zone 3 and 4 areas.

I would recommend adding organic materials to the areas you wish to have future gardens. (leaf litter, chip mulch, compost, grass clippings, etc.)
Best of luck!
You may enjoy the free webinar:)
https://permies.com/t/143790/Free-Webinar-Gardening
 
Crystal Stevens
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Jay Clayton wrote:Welcome Crystal.  Looking forward to the discussion here.

We recently moved to a 5 acre mostly wooded plot in northeast Texas (right on the cusp of zone 8a and 8b).  We are trying to not disturb the original landscape, as some of the native trees are over 300 years old.

So my questions :  how can your techniques be adapted to work with a heavily canopied land?  What species have you found that will grow near well established pine and walnut trees?


Thanks in advance!  



Thank you for the great question.
Here where we are in the midwest, folks are focusing on agroforestry.
There are farmers growing elderberries, ginseng, goldenseal, and shitake mushrooms.

I think mushrooms would be a great investment.
Phoenix oyster mushrooms grow on pine.

Blueberries grow well in acidic soil so planting them in an open area near the pines could work.

Since your forests farely canopied, it may be necessary to purchase large pots of perennial fruiting shrubs to grow in the understory.

Here are some resources:
https://centraltexastreecare.com/2010/05/12/how-agroforestry-works-for-everyone/
https://tasfragriculture.com/
https://shop.mushroommountain.com/collections/conifer-pine-loving-species
https://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-blueberry-bushes-under-pines-46539.html
https://extension.psu.edu/landscaping-and-gardening-around-walnuts-and-other-juglone-producing-plants
 
Crystal Stevens
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Y Chirea wrote:Hello Crystal. I am glad that you are here. I have a question about edible gardens and yards.

I have failed at growing food to feed my family although I have been very successful with my plants. This may seem like a contradiction but I find that my family won't eat most of the vegetables and fruits that are recommended to grow in my region 7b. For example, I decided to grow winecap Stopheria mushrooms, and no one really liked to eat them, but since they were hard workers for building up healthy soil I continue to grow them. Same for peas, which fix the soil but provide enough food for a infant.  Squash grows but we end up with a ton and no one wants to eat squash for breakfast lunch and dinner for a month. So these crops grow and we don't eat them. The same for the other vegetables and fruits. No one likes them. My question is whether you think that one has to acquire taste and force oneself to eat from the garden. We have been conditioned to enjoy certain foods in our society that are grown by big businesses and look and taste artificial as far as I am concerned. Maybe my family is not hungry enough .

Also, second question, can you please name five ESSENTIAL edible garden must-haves for us to check out? THANKIES



Great questions!
May I ask how old your kids are? My daughter really enjoys cooking. I walk through the garden with her and have her create her own recipes with what she gathers from the garden.
It may sound cruel but I never really gave my children choices when it came to food. They have autonomy with tons of other things but I sort of forced them to eat what I cooked since they could eat and they are both great eaters. Perhaps let them pick out some spices from a spice shop that they may enjoy.
Maybe have them pick out 10 new recipes to try and cook together as a family.
For us, when we get tired of squash, I just cook large batches and freeze for winter. We make squash lasagna, ratatouille, and squash noodles weekly.
I am not sure if eating from the garden is an acquired taste. It most likely varies from person to person. I would just suggest making it fun. My daughter sources a ton of inspiration from cooking shows.
Soups are a surefire way to incorporate all the garden veggies. Maybe your family can come up with various soup recipes they can season themselves and freeze for winter. Gazpacho is great for this time of year.
Best of luck!
 
Crystal Stevens
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Margie Curtiss wrote:Hi Crystal! Welcome to Permies!

My youngest daughter just bought an end unit townhouse with a big yard, and I am so excited to help her sneak in some edible plants and a small garden.
Your book sounds perfect for her, and while chickens are now "off the table" the plants aren't.
This is appeals to my rebellious nature, and I am looking forward to reading your book!
Blessings!
Margie


Thank you!
 
Crystal Stevens
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Jessica Selser wrote:Hello hello Crystal Stevens! How exciting to see that giant "bouquet" of amaranth! Yum! I am excited to learn more about edible yards. I am enjoying sorrel, clover, lambs quarter and wintergreen on my woody parcel of land. I'm pretty shady here and live in Maine so I am i terested to learn about shady edibles. So glad you are here!



Thank you!
Serviceberries grow well as understory trees:)
I have heard great things about high bush cranberries but have never tried one.
Growing mushrooms is a wonderful solution for shade!
https://shop.mushroommountain.com/collections/sawdust-spawn

Here is a great resource for you!
https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/pesticides/yardscaping/plants/swcdplants/shade_plants.pdf

Best of luck!
 
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