This is the most exciting project list I have ever got to make. I love gardening and can’t wait to actually get to do some. I’m also thrilled that I get to start my orchard (again since my first attempt failed). This is the list that convinced me to turn my life upside down and move out to the middle of nowhere. The 2016 Planting List!
- Annual garden. I have been slowly preparing garden beds with all the branches and small trees that were left behind by the logger. This huge mess has actually left me with a ton of materials. I hope to get a very rich garden going to provide us with food for the whole year. This will be my first attempt at a garden this size, but I will have the need for it, so I should do alright. The kids will be able to help a lot this year too, so hopefully that will encourage them to take part in the eating of the vegetables. I will share more on this later.
- Orchard. This will be on the list for many years to come. I want to plant a few trees each year and set up guilds around them so that they can grow at optimal levels. The trees I plant this year will incorporated into the annual garden because this will eventually be an orchard only, but this area is the sunniest spot we have and by planting in the garden I have less preparing to do. The trees will be small this year and shouldn’t block any sun from the annuals. By the time the trees are big and do block the sun, we will be getting closer to moving in to the big house and the annual garden will be relocated closer to that house. We will see how this plan actually works.
- Beneficial bug garden. I have an area near the house that will be a garden just to attract beneficial bugs. I plan to plant some flowers throughout the garden as well, but this will be an area for butterflies and hummingbirds to come so that we can watch them as well as provide them with food.
- Mosquito garden. This will be a garden around the house to scare the mosquitos away. I will plant various herbs that offend mosquitos so that they will not congregate around our living area. I have already started collecting tires to make planters for the herbs.
- Herb garden. This is going to be a big deal in the near future for us here. I am very interested in learning more about healing herbs and maybe it will even turn into a source of income for us. I am going to pick a few different herbs that we use now and plant them throughout the garden or in their own spots. I’m new to herb growing, so I don’t really know what to expect.
- Perennials. These will also be very important to us in the future. These will be planted along the edges of the future orchard which will be the annual garden this year. Again as we move away from the tiny house in to the big house, the annuals will be relocated, leaving the perennials in a rich garden area. The placement of these plants will be as important as the placement of the trees. We likely won’t get much of a yeild from these this year, but once they are established, we will have them for a long time.
- Yard. We have nothing but clay and rocks right now. I will not be able to plant grass this year, but I will start with planting green manure cover crops to begin to enrich the soil. The main thing I will plant will be clover. This will also provide something other than mud for us to walk through. A couple years of growing clover to enrich the soil enough for us to be able to plant some sort of grass. I hope.
- Grapevine. I had already started this project, but it will have to be relocated in the spring to the new area that I have started preparing. After the logger went through, it opened up the land to us so that we could really observe our surroundings. I had the chance to rethink my plans and decided that there was a better place to put the grapevine. It is going to become part of the living fence along the outside property line. This will be a tough project because we will have to build an arbor in solid rock. I’m thinking a 5 gallon bucket placed on the rock with cob or something to weigh it down. As always, I am open to any other ideas people may have. We have plenty of logs down to make posts, I just need to figure out how to get them standing.
- Blueberry Hill. This is going really well so far, but I only have 3 plants started. I have prepared the spot pretty well, I just need to get more plants in the ground.
- Living playground. I’m thinking that part of the kids playground will be a hut of some sort with vines growing up it. If I grow them a bean house, they may even eat the beans while hiding in the hut. Maybe
- Duck forage. We will end up with a duck pond and of course ducks at some point. All I want to do with this this year is pick a location for the pond and plant some forage for the ducks so that it will be there once we get the ducks. Pea shrubs are on the top of this list.
- Living fence. This is another one that will be on the list for years. This year I plan to move some of the downed wood to the property line and plant some trees that will do well in the shade that will likely always be there. This should be a quick and simple project. Hopefully I can find enough trees and bushes that like the shade that are also edible or medicinal. I plan to relocate some sugar maples and white pine (free!) which will provide us with sap for various different products like syrup and pine tar soap and shampoo (good stuff).
- Jewelry garden. I’m planting some gourds in the garden anyway. These can be used for various decorative projects once they dry. There are also bushes and things you can plant whose berries naturally dry into beautiful beads. I am still looking for ideas for this.
- Rose garden. Mostly rugosa roses for their medicinal value. I think these are what the locals call wild roses, not sure though. I am a little of a freak about “Alice in Wonderland” and the rose garden will eventually be a croquet court. I do like croquet anyway, so this will work out well. As long as you don’t hit the ball into the roses. Anyway, I really just want to get a couple rose bushes planted so that I can propagate more for free when it comes time to really put this garden together
- Bog. We have tons of bog area. I would like to find a few plants that I can grow well in these conditions that will provide us with food or materials. Bamboo may be an excellent option if I can contain it.
That is my huge planting list for the year. Many of these are being started this year just so that I can get a couple years into the plants before I try to take cutting to propagate more. It would be far to expensive to buy enough plants to set up the living fence I want, but if I can propagate the majority of the plants, the cost decreases dramatically. I clearly still have a lot of research to do and will be very busy doing so. I will also have a very busy spring. Stay tuned for the results…