It is way too early to do much in the garden right now. We have forecast of snow today. which has not happened yet but I am sure will to some extent today. Today I will start planting the onions and leeks insides. I have the table, lights and heater set up to begin the process. My cold frame was damaged this winter so I will have to get the parts to repair it later this month or build a new one.
I have finally purchased some of the plants to fill in the areas between the fruit trees for my food forest. These plants will be useful for humans, birds, bees and beneficial insects. Most of the plants I ordered will be bare roots. I wish I could had afford to order more but I am hoping to be able to take cuttings latter to fill in other spots and add more plants at later dates just like my native plums which I will need to transplant new plants soon. They had many of these plants I ordered yesterday 1/2 off so if was an offer I could not refuse. I am hoping they will be good and the company has a good exchange policy if they arrive in really bad condition. I know the plants will be on the smaller size from reading on The Garden Watchdog – Dave’s Garden but I plant to prepare the area well including adding drip irrigation off the tree irrigation pipes. There are lots of choices to make but as I mentioned most are natives or are hardy plants. I will now explain the reason I decided on each plant. I am in the process of also getting two bee hives to set up so I want to make sure I have enough plants for them and the native population I have and for use and others in the future. The plans to my Food Forest is here.
Service Berry– This plant has a lot of other names such as Sarvis or sarvisberry, shadblow, Juneberry, shadbush, shadwood, saskatoon, downy serviceberry, roundleaf serviceberry, wild pear, sugarplum, wild plum, Alleghany serviceberry and Pacific serviceberry. These plants range from a small bush to a 60 foot tree.
This plant produces thousands of lacy white blooms and purple-red berries. If you can get them before the birds you can make pies, puddings or muffins, dehydrate them like raisins, pasteurized juice, mead or wine, or simmer the juice to make serviceberry syrup. I wonder why they are not more popular.
American Persimmon: This is another native tree that grows from Connecticut to Florida and west to Kansas. The 50 foot tall tree also looks great as a landscape plant. Persimmon pollination can be tricky since you will need both a female and male tree. Sometimes you can get grafted trees. I order three trees so I am hoping I get one sex of each. They have a long tap root so you will have to make sure you prepare the area you will plant properly. The also tend to produce suckers but you can add a thick layer of compost. Don’t harvest your persimmons until the fruits are fully colored and soft or they will be very astringent tasting. There asian varieties that an even better in my opinion. I might add some later but I wanted to get some native trees first.
Pawpaw: This is as close to a tropical fruit you can grow in this area.They are 10- to 25-foot trees (Asimina triloba) that are native to woodlands from New York to Georgia and west to Nebraska. The lush, drooping leaves give the tree have an exotic look. They grow best in full sun but can take light shade. They are another fruit that you want to harvest when ripe but you can set them indoors to finish riping.
Hazelnut: Hazelnuts are also called filberts. these nuts can be eaten on their own or made into a spread with chocolate. One well know product is Nutella. They grow in a lot of areas of the United States. You should consider growing the american varieties rather than the European if you live in a colder area. You will need to plant at least two about 20 feet apart since they are self infertile and you might need cross-pollination with other varieties. If you plant them over 40 feet apart they might not pollinate each other. This bushy tree tends to sucker quite a lot so you will have to prune to get a good nut crop. You may have to spray regularly for blight and moths that can damage or kill the trees.
Goji Berry: This is a Chinese plant but are extremely nutritionally dense and high in antioxidants. The bring orange red berries can be eaten fresh or juice, wine and other products. The shrub grow up to ten feet tall and has no known disease problems. Heavy puning keeps keep this plant looking nice.
Nacking Bush Cherry: This plant provides scented spring flowers tasty fruit. This plant is planted for its fruit and used as hedgerows in the Midwest United States. This is a tought but pretty bush.
Passion Flower or Maypop: I remember this pretty vine growing at my parents home but never knew you could eat it. I will be planting this vine as mainly a screen near my greenhouse. They are heavy feeders and will need more water than some of the other plants in this area but is one of the hardiest species of passionflower.
Raspberry: This is an edible berry that is know about just about everywhere. I plant to end up with quite a few of these plants in the many varieties. I ordered the Red Latham to start with because it is very cold hardy. it has small fruit with good color and fair flavor and is moderately productive.
Viking Aronia or Black Choke Berry: This is a cultivated variety of the native plant. They have a high tannin level so are best used in products with other berries or fruits. If not harvest they will give provide for the local bird population. They are self pollinating and extremely hardy and perfect for hedging in the eastern United States. I am hoping it will adapt well here in the food forest although I am a state over from the natural range.