edible gardening

Sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) leaves emerging

Not to be confused with Ohio Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), Sea-buckthorn is also known as Sandthorn, Sallowthorn, or Seaberry.

The bright orange berries of this plant contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits, and have been studied for medicinal applications that range from fighting tumours to regenerating tissues.

They are, for all intents and purposes, a superfood.

I transplanted a few dozen from local plants to the forest garden, and above you can see the leaves are preparing to burst forth. These plants are dioecious, meaning they require both a male and female plant to produce fruit: hopefully I have a good male-to-female ratio.

The fruit is difficult to detach from the branch, so harvesting protocol usually demands pruning off a whole branch, freezing it, and then removing the berries. [x]


More sea buckthorn, medicinal plants, and edible landscaping

There was a festival of flowers, but it just seemed what I expected of Disney to look like all the time. The gardens were really impressive though. They had this edible garden, a vertical garden filled with herbs and strawberries, and an aquaponic system. #epcot

Someone left a seed packet of beans outside at my local garden centre. It had rained and the packet dissolved, leaving sprouting bean seeds on a plastic shelf! I scooped them into the artichoke seedlings I bought and planted them when I got home (about a week or so ago).

I have no idea what kind of bean they are, but I guess I’ll see soon!  

Yay free mystery beans!

Polyembryonic Plum Germination

I observed a polyembryonic plum seed in one of my communal stratification pots back in January, and three months later, one of the embryos has begun to germinate.

It remains to be seen if these seeds are “identical” or “fraternal” twins, or even if one is a clone of the parent (Nu+): I am not sure about the botanical peculiarities of polyembryonic Prunus seeds, so if there are any resident botanists that would like to enlighten me, they should be welcome to.

I planted both directly out in the forest garden, because at this stage of germination, they have a better chance of forming a healthier root system when planted in their “forever homes.”

I’m planting them in “clusters” of similar seeds, so that I can graft them all together to one trunk using a gentle technique called inarching. As with the peach seedlings, I want to trial as many seedlings as possible, but don’t have orchard space: grafting allows the genetics of multiple seedlings to exist on a single tree.

4

I pursue this self-reliant and sustainable lifestyle to be the change I want to see in the world, but I’m not big on preaching to others. That’s not to say I don’t feel a little warm n’ fuzzy when I’ve inspired someone else. My MIL has always kept a little plot for growing edibles, but she has over 2acres that’s really not doing much else. At 60+ years old, I’m surprised that she frequently hits us up for advice and asks what we do for our garden. I mean, what the fux do I know? She’s been probably been gardening longer than I’ve been alive. This spring, MIL leveled up to four large garden boxes, drip irrigation, and a protective fencing. (But she also paid someone to do all this, so it’s kinda cheating:-) Really happy to see her take on more this year.

6

Stormwater Pond and Mallard House

Denmark // Zone 8

Many things have come together over the past few days, allowing me to almost finish landscaping this area for free!

I salvaged stone and concrete from a few local construction sites (after asking first, of course), and my partner made a ladder to the mallard house when we found some scraps of treated wood.

I’ve been sealing the banks of the pond with successive washes of a clay paste, dug up from the subsoil layer.

To build and plant everything, I emptied out sediment-heavy water, and I’m temporarily diverting rainwater from a rainbarrel connection into the pond in order to fill it back up again. This setup will be removed when I lay a pipe from the end of the swale to feed stormwater into the pond, but that depends on how soon someone throws out a pipe!

I took some time to make the shape of the pond edges a little irregular (trying to channel that wabi-sabi aesthetic), and planted bearded irises, dayilies, lupins, perennial geraniums (cranesbill), and angelica around the margins (divisions from plants I had already). The hügel behind is seeded with small fruit shrubs, gourds, and as of today, a tall and vining annual flower mix.

These plants join my two Asian persimmons, four multi-grafted pears, three multi-grafted plums (as well as several seedling oaks, quince, and a chestnut that I will be using for topiary work). None of the trees are more than 40cm tall, so the perennials add some bulk while the trees in the system mature.

Inside the pond, I planted semi-aquatic irises: the local Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus), Japanese Iris (Iris ensata syn. Iris kaempferi), and a Southern Chinese Iris (Black Iris, Iris chrysographes).

Between the clay, stones, semi-aquatic plants, and plants on the embankment, I believe I almost have erosion under control.

My last step to create a sustainable little ecology was to “seed” the pond with organisms from the local wetland.

The algae and plant life in the bag is presumably what the ducks are always dabbling at, so in order to attract them and convince them to nest here, I need to have good eats on hand. Hopefully this little slice of wetland biology changes the chemistry of my system for the better.

It took over two years to assemble all the materials to build this all for free, and to allow the processes of ecological succession to slowly begin, including planting trees from seed, grafting wild trees, building up biomass for a hügelkultur mound, making mulch, and slowly finding all of the stones and gravel.

The fact that I’m not allowed to work in Denmark–and have been in immigration limbo for three years now–has more or less forced me to learn how to do everything in the garden from scratch, and not fall back on synthetic crutches like pond fabric: I am perversely kind of grateful for the way my situation has forced me to read in-depth about primitive processes like gleying ponds, so I not only build landscape structures, but also understand the science behind making them work. I’ve learned that biomimicry is the most efficient way to design lasting landscape systems.

I look forward to seeing the system mature over the years, especially as blossoming and fruiting trees begin to become established.


For more in this series, check out the Edible Forest Gardening 101 archive

Plans for the Mallard House here.

Moar accidental growing, lol! I planted some sunflowers about a week ago but accidentally left the unplanted seeds outside. When I saw the seedpacket, I picked it up to bring it inside, only to obviously notice something had managed to sprout!

That one little seed managed to go wild! 

So of course I took it out and went ahead and put it in soil. 

We’ll see how it does! I’m honestly amazed it managed to grow so much with virtually no water or soil.