Permaculture Garden Plan

As I spoke of previously, my mother lives on 7/8ths of an acre in Molalla. Adjacent to her property lies a newly constructed wetland/drainage site for the most recent suburban development (that went in after my mom moved there!).

The following list shows our brainstorm session of tasks that we need to accomplish. My mother has divided the yard into digestable segments.

Back Fence (East side)

1. Remove butterfly bushes.

2. Remove old climbing rose.

3. Remove weeds, amend soil, plant native plants.

4. Cut down dead/dying (plum relative?) trees.

5. Chip dead trees into mulch for soil.

6. Amend soil.

7. Plant Black Cottonwood.

8. Fertilize corkscrew willow bushes.

9. Barkdust/mulch area around corkscrew willows.

10. Finish constructing green house.

11. Build strawberry boxes.

12. Prepare garden bed.

13. Remove dirt pile next to garden.

14. Cut grass around blueberry boxes.

15. Create more coop room for chickens.

16. Order & set up rain barrels.

Yard – Back (N X NE corner)

1. Pick up junk scattered around the yard.

2. Dig around marianberries and re-string them up or change spot.

3. Mulch/fertilize marianberries.

4. Decide on compost pile location.

5. Pathways.

6. Amend soil around rusty trellis and plant.

Side (N X NW corner)

1. Create barrier to block view of annoying dog in neighbors yard.

2. Transplant climbing roses or compost them.

3. Dig a bio swale for wapato, cattails, bog cranberry, camas.

4. Kiwi Vine to go on childrens play structure.

5. Childrens garden in former play structure sandbox.

Front (W X SW Corner)

1. Spread out iris.

2. Fertilize trees and shrubs.

3. Weed.

Dream Plants

Keeping in mind subsistence, specifically, native plant subsistence, and also recognizing that things change, have changed, and that integrating non-native species into the land may prove more flowing with nature than fighting it, I have a list of desired plants I wish to cultivate here.

1. Salmon Berry

2. Salal Berry

3. Stinging Nettles

4. Red Huckleberry

5. Indian Plum

6. Bog cranberry

7. Wapato

8. Cattails

9. Camas

10. Black Cottonwood

Immediate Plan of Action:

1. Compost Pile

2. Purchase & plant kiwi vine.

3. Cut down portion of trees, chip, plant cottonwoods.

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12 Comments on “Permaculture Garden Plan”

  1. Hey KMG,
    That’s a good question! Haha. I don’t quite know yet. We have a bunch of compost and woodchips already and I imagine my mom will want to use that. I have issues with importing any more soil/compost/sandy loam/etc. I believe more in ‘using what you have’ but my mom is still pretty old-school in her gardening, even though she has come very very far. I plant to have another talk with her about that. I mean, we still don’t have a compost pile and I am throwing away refuse everyday that could become soil here… I guess that still involves importing soil since I’m buying food from the store, which is basically shipping in nutrients from other soils… I’ll need to think more on that. Haha. But anyway, one of my goals is to chip the rotten plum trees into chips for nutrients and root insulation and myco-food. I don’t know how much soil enhancement I want to do… I’m reading a book on this particular micro-bioregion of “wet prairie” and I’m realizing just how different this land is. Basically, it’s nearly 100% clay soil that locks moisture in the winter causing the water to get trapped on the surface and look all wetlandy, but than in summer it gets really dry and cracks and has very little water. It’s an interesting challenge for sure. Every little bit more I learn I understand the importance of native plants and management. I also am learning that “native plants” as a term can kind of obscure perception. I mean, I know tons of “native plants” that will not grow where I live. Micro-climates and landscapes vary dramatically, even in “native” areas. SO… THe learning curve is very slow, but the more I read about the land/plants/insects/fauna here the more I realized that even permaculture involves more work than necessary.

  2. I’m having a hard time seeing where the rusty trellis sits in relation to the stand of trees including that dying plum. I assume the trellis and planting zone has a good southern exposure to sunlight – and I guess that area currently grows a lot of grass. Good guess? If so, you can stack the functions of composting, amending the soil, preparing plantable beds, *and* killing the grass all in one easy process! Try sheet mulching.

    Just lay down cardboard or a thick layer of newspaper covering the area you want to plant (air/water permeable weed guard), add up to a 6″ layer of mulch (leafy debris, straw, wood chips – aged manure at this stage adds a lot of viable biomass), and plant directly into the mulch (making sure to puncture the card board below each plant you encourage to grow)!

    Unless the soil pH or mineral content veer way out of balance, this fun and easy process will effectively transform an otherwise “empty” lawn space into rich horticulture paradise in one season with a minimum of work.

    Oh, and you have chickens! So fun to feed em table scraps and get the most delicious chicken eggs in return. Any thoughts of making a chicken tractor to aerate and fertalise the soil?

    Awesome plans, Scout. I hope you succeed in growing those native marsh plants in a bioswale. You could create a rewild landscaping business creating edible ornamentals that attract biodiversity…

  3. Hey Williaum,

    Actually, we are planning to sheet mulch! Again, I need to chat more with my mom about all of this as we are collaborating. She was the one pushing to sheet mulch. The trellis is at the edge of the plumb trees near the patio. A stone path actually goes through the plum trees to the nw corner where the old owners had a little man-made pond that we filled in because of misquitos. Of course, now the wetland sits to the east, but whatever. Chicken tractor has been thought about, but not implemented. All in time. 😉

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  5. I would add that horse manure makes a good addition to beds only if it has aged a season and has already mostly composted. This applies to beds you will then seed directly or plant starts in. Fresh manure, as it composts, raises a bed’s temperature too high (even sheet mulched areas) and this can kill seed and damage the roots of young plants. Your milage may vary.

    Stormwolfen definitely has a point about adding manure – fresh or otherwise – to speed up and enrich a compost pile.

  6. if your mom is open to it, you may want to consider setting up a composting toilet, or at least redirecting urine (which is sterile) towards raising the soil fertility.

    i know you said you don’t want to import, but if you’re in an area where other folks set out those big brown paper bags of leaves in the fall, i very much recommend grabbing them. in addition to excellent compost materila, you can also incorporate them into your sheet mulch plans, just rip each bag from top to bottom, then rip the bottom away from the sides, spread the bag out, then push the leaves over the paper till it’s covered. rinse, repeat.

  7. Hey Jhereg, That’s a fucking genius idea! (the yard debris bag) Nice thinking. My mom is definately NOT into humanure composting yet. Penny and I use a pee bucket in the motor home, but I don’t know where to put the pee that will optimize its nutrients.

  8. mix it w/ water at a ratio of 9 parts water to 1 part pee and use to water the garden beds directly.

    i’m trying to figure out something i can take to work that isn’t too terribly conspicuous so i can use the urine that i currently “piss away” while i’m at work.

    that’s a bigger challenge tho’

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