Gardening

Tyrant Farms’ New Perennial Edible Plants

peach tree against blue sky at tyrant farms
We don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point we decided to turn our yard into an edible permaculture food forest, the oldest and most sustainable style of manmade garden. We fully recognize that this is not something that sane people do on a whim, so we like to tell ourselves that it was a long, drawn-out decision made over the course of an extended period of time (like a weekend).

Santa Claus Loves Permaculture & Edible Landscaping

Having a lot of edible perennial plants (e.g. plants that come back year after year without reseeding) creates a lot less work and makes a lot of sense to the home gardener, especially when those plants are purposefully placed into “plant guilds” or groupings, wherein each plant serves in a beneficial capacity to the other plants in the guild.

Due to the cost and our limited access to the various types of perennial edible trees, bushes, shrubs, canes, vines and ground cover we wanted, we figured that our transition to a food forest would be a slow process. Then Santa Claus came calling (a local Santa, not the magical flying immortal deer-whisperer from the Arctic).

This past Christmas, Momma Julie (aka Santa Claus) kept asking us to get her a list of what we wanted for Christmas. We’re not all that interested in the standard consumer items, so this annual task is always a bit of a challenge for us. However, this year when “Santa” said that garden plants could be added to our wish list, we were like kids in a candy store on allowance day.

Since Christmas, piles of young trees, bushes and vines have been appearing at Tyrant Farms doorstep and slowly making their way into new beds that we’ve made (special thanks to our friends Tim Sterr for providing us with a bunch of perfect organic dirt and John Christ for helping us haul loads of dirt and mulch).

Susan and the von Kittens reusing one of the new plant boxes as a vampire coffin.

Susan and the von Kittens reusing one of the new plant boxes as a vampire coffin.

One Way to Easily Make Rich, Organic Garden Beds

To make the new garden beds in the areas of our yard currently covered in grass, we simply use a shovel to turn over clumps of sod, then put a 1 – 2″ layer of semi-composted leaves on top, then a layer of newspaper or cardboard (to make sure no grass grows back through), and finally we top the whole thing off with about 6 – 8″ of semi-composted wood chips that we get for free from a local tree maintenance business. These modified “lasagna beds” very quickly break down into perfect soil that is teeming with life (we love soil ecology). Where possible, we also utilized another permaculture method called hugelkultur that has also been used for thousands of years. This simple method adds a huge long-term boost to the soil health while virtually eliminating the need to water or fertilize the plants in the bed (we’re planning to write a how-to blog post about the hugelkultur method separately).

Google Sketchup - Landscaping

Google Sketchup has been helpful for getting an idea of where to put the plants and how large they’ll be when fully mature.

What’s going in the new beds at Tyrant Farms? Here’s a complete list of the new perennial plants we’re putting in via RainTree Nursery (and Santa Claus):

A List of New Edible Perennial Plants at Tyrant Farms

Fruit & Nut Trees

  • Nova Elderberry
  • Chinese Chestnuts
  • Northline Serviceberry
  • Autumn Brillance Serviceberry
  • Golden Sweet Seabuckthorn
  • Male Sea Buckthorn
  • Honeycrisp Apple
  • Almata Apple
  • Craig’s Crimson Cherry
  • Black Gold Cherry
  • Tomcot Apricot
  • Hunza Apricot
  • Jiro (Fuyu) Persimmon
  • Adams Elderberry
  • Mishirasu A. Pear
  • White Doyenne Pear
  • Indian Free Peach
  • Theissen Serviceberry

Bushes & Shrubs: 

  • Blanca White Currant
  • Ben More Black Currant
  • Goji Berry Phoenix Tears
  • Achilles Gooseberry
  • Raintree Select Aronia
  • McKenzie Aronia
  • Adams Elderberry
  • Amish Red Gooseberry
  • Jonkheer Van Tets Red Currant
  • Rosa Rugosa Alba
  • Frau Dagmar Rose
  • Orus 8 Goose-Currant
  • Highbush Cranberry

Vines

  • Jupiter Grape
  • Mars Grape
  • Blue Velvet Honeysuckle
  • Blue Moon Honeysuckle
  • Eastern Prince Magnolia Vine
  • Concord Seedless Grape

Cane Berries

  • Triple Crown Thornless Blackberry
  • Chickasaw Blackberry
  • Chester Blackberry
  • Caroline Raspberry
  • Prime Ark Blackberry
  • Jewel Black Raspberry
  • Tulameen Raspberry

Since Tyrant Farms is a 3/4 acre urban yard, our grass is rapidly going extinct.

We would like to thanks Julie von Santa and Bill Mollison (the founder of permaculture) for the new plants and inspiration, respectively. We can’t wait to share food, knowledge and new plants with our friends, neighbors and family. We’ll keep you posted as spring kicks in and things get growing!

Until then,

KIGI,


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