I haven’t been posting that much because it is a very busy time of year for perennial food tree planting. I have planted hundreds of trees, shrubs and herbs this spring and have been tending gardens. The Westwood Ambulance Corp is growing really well as well as projects at Native Earth Teaching Farm and Sassafras. For anyone doing permaculture inspired gardens in public spaces i recommend planting as many pretty but useful herbs and flowers. Some of the herbs we planted at the ambulance building are starting to flower including tansy, yarrow, daylily and more. We have also eaten the first strawberries from the garden. We planted three varieties: seascape, earliglow and sparkle so we will have strawberries for most of the season!
We had some dry spells in April and was worried about the plants but it has been raining often. I have also found that fresh woodchips tend to suck up nitrogen (aged woodchips are a better choice). You can tell if this is occurring if new leaves on plants are yellow and pale. In response to the nitrogen deficiency I brewed some comfrey tea for fertility. Comfrey has large tap roots that mine nutrients from the ground and make those nutrients available around them through decomposition of its leaves.
How to Brew Comfrey Tea
- Gather a bundle of comfrey leaves
- Place comfrey in a bucket and fill the bucket with water
- Weigh down leaves with a brick or rocks
- Cover bucket so bugs don’t lay eggs
- Wait a couple weeks and dilute tea with water 1:10
During Memorial day break I spent my time at Native Earth and Sassafras planting trees. We mostly planted Hybrid Hazels (soybeans) and Chestnuts (corn) purchased from Mark Shepard at New Forest Farm. Mark Shepard is one of leaders of perennial agriculture in the US and grows chestnuts and hazels along with hundreds of other plants and animals instead of corn and soy. Mark uses what he calls the STUN breeding method which stands for sheer, total, utter, neglect to breed his plants. He told me in an email that his plants rarely have a problem with eastern filbert blight. Mark is one of my biggest inspirations, he does so much great work and he also has a band that sings about food issues!
More to come soon, gotta plant some more food trees.