Perpetual, affordable food supply

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by monkeyman, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I was just wondering if anyone here who owns a house, be it in the city, burbs, or 100 miles from town, has done edible landscaping? I'm not talking so much on gardening per say as orchards, berry bushes and so on. I have thought about this other times as well but especially since I sat around looking at a catalog that has a web site at as well as and they have some really cool stuff.
    One of the things I looked at was houseplants that grow bananas and oranges and so on from houseplants that only grow to a couple feet tall. Just think how valuable an orange or lime would be in say North Dakota if there was no supply system like there is now.
    If you have a yard that's say 30 foot square then you could get 3 of the postage stamp orchards that for like $50 you get a red apple tree, a yellow apple tree, a peach tree, a pear tree, a cherry tree, and a nectarine tree that are all dwarfs so they start producing a lot quicker and in less space, still produce heavily and the fruit can be reached. This whole orchard only needs an area 10'x20'. So you could plant 3 of these in a pretty small yard. They also have what they call fruit cocktail trees that produce 5-6 different fruits from the same tree for like $20 and start producing by about 2 years old.
    So now that there's several bushels of fruit being produced from the trees in the yard (that also look great as ornamental) then maybe you want so nice looking, or maybe thorney bushes around the house for privacy and or looks. So instead of standard shrubs why not do blackberry bushes or the cherry bushes (yeah they have bushes that grow them too) or some other berry or fruit bushes that can be had with thorns if wanted for added security under windows and such or without for easier picking and such. You want some vines to climb a trellis? In addition to the option of grapes (that could be eaten, made to jelly or made to wines as any fruits or berries could) these places also have vines that produce peaches and others that produce tomatoes and will climb trellises on their own. Could plant some of the kiwi plants that are bread to handle climates as far north as Canada and as far south as Florida and still produce well. Maybe plant a couple larger trees in the yard someplace if you have room like the paw paw trees that produce a fruit similar in taste and smell to bananas but with a lot firmer texture. If you still have some room left you could even add a couple of nut trees.
    So with a fairly small yard, say 50'x30' in back and 25'x50' on the front and 5-10 foot on each side of the house then you could have a REAL substantial berry patch (think a different kind on each side of the house for about 3 feet out from the house up to the walls), 4 postage stamp orchards (24 fruit trees), a fruit cocktail three on each side of the door out front, a pair of paw paw trees out by the street and maybe a pecan tree or t some place out front and still have room left over for hanging out in the yard to BBQ or to turn into a garden if wanted.
    The great thing about doing the landscaping this way is you can be having fresh fruit about 6 months or more out of the year and don't even have to do all the weeding and so on like you would in a garden and even watering is not as much of a concern. Then you have more fruit than an average family could even think of using so you have top notch barter goods that not to many folks have access to in most areas, not to mention that while wild life would get scarce quick in an emergency situation, it will also draw deer and other wild life to your property most likely even in the city.
    Something I plan on doing here as money allows, but for $500-$1000 you could pretty well landscape your whole yard and have food produced by nearly all the plants that would also be making nice pretty blossoms in the spring and very attractive the rest of the time.
    chelloveck likes this.
  2. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I have apple trees, pear, cherry, and peach, raspberry and blueberry bushes. They all produce enormous amounts of fruit with very little maintenance other than pruning and never any chemicals. I've tried dwarf indoor varieties with no success. It may be that I didn't put enough attention to their care and feeding but the indoor inedible mock orange grew to about 8 ft over several years.
    chelloveck likes this.
  3. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yeah, Ive heard mixed reviews on the indoor fruit tree, but as far as the outdoor dwarf varieties have heard almost nothing bad about them. I hope in the next year or so (if things go well maybe this spring) to plant an orchard here. We have loads of gooseberries and blackberries growing wild here on the farm.
    chelloveck likes this.
  4. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    In addition to using them fresh, I use them all to can, freeze, or make jam. There is no pleasure in the world to equal freshly made raspberry jam on the still warm heel of freshly made bread. Well, there may be other pleasures as good but I live a limited existence! ;)
    chelloveck likes this.
  5. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    At my old house, I had about every variety of herb or mint and cone flowers I could lay my hands on. Unfortunately when I sold the house, the new dwellers thought they were weeds and pulled them all up by the roots.
    chelloveck likes this.
  6. Northwoods

    Northwoods Monkey+++

    the buggers :eek:
  7. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yeah as we can get the place more and morethe way we want it plan to have the orchard, pasture, well, pond, and a few more buildings in addition to the garden, chicken house, and small pastures/pens for the goats and donkey.
    chelloveck likes this.
  8. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Oh ya, plant Lemon Basil on the edge of your mowing area. it will creap out into the grass and as you mow it, you will get this deeply unquinchable thirst for lemon aid!!! I love that stuff. Tase good in ice tea also. For you southern types, it will react with all the sugar in the tea and explode, sorry.
    chelloveck likes this.
  9. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    That's a good idea MM, I think you just planted another "seed for survival."
    chelloveck likes this.
  10. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Thats the hope. I know most folks in urban areas tend to think they cant grow their own food but I figure as long as you have a yard at all you should be able to do it up like that and even most home owner associations and so on would be fine with it. In the more rural areas you could plant enouph to feed your selves as well as a bunch for barter/sale/whatever.
    chelloveck likes this.
  11. Sojourner

    Sojourner Silverback

    Dwarf fruit trees can be planted in garbage cans on wheels. Makes it much easier to move around, and can go with you when (or if) you move. Also makes it easy to get maximum sun exposure for the trees. Old wheelbarrows make good planting space for onions, strawberries, or any shallow-rooted herbs or veggies.
    chelloveck likes this.
  12. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Great idea. Thanks
    chelloveck likes this.
  13. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Edible landscaping is the what we did when I re-landscaped the yard. Planted 3 dwarf fruit trees, 13 blueberries, artichokes and herbs as surrounding borders.
    chelloveck, Dunerunner and BTPost like this.
  14. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    My neighbor planted apple trees. As soon as they were mature enough to produce fruit, a bear tore the tree down to get at the apples. Between the slugs, raccoon, rats, squirrels, jays, deer and bear in this coastal residential neighborhood, you cant grow anything edible outside. Then, there is the four to five month (if we are lucky) growing season with the average high temperature being 62 degrees....

    A greenhouse would be required, and it would have to be bear proof...
    ColtCarbine likes this.
  15. TheJackBull

    TheJackBull Monkey+++

    take a look at some of Russ Finch green house videos. A lot of others out there now as well.
    passive solar green houses underground that grow fruit all winter... I think Justin Rhodes also has a video about a guy growing fruit in CO in green houses. year round supply...
    some of us have harsh winters and its neat to see how it works in a green house.
    ColtCarbine and chelloveck like this.
  16. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    It gives new meaning to the term 'stealth gardening'. Hiding in plain sight, if the neighbourhood hungry don't recognise that you don't have edibles growing, you may just have enough to survive on beyond what they think you have. There are plenty of vegetables to the horticulturally untrained eye that would be passed by unnoticed.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
    ColtCarbine likes this.
  17. Wildbilly

    Wildbilly Monkey+++

    Some years ago I mentioned raising exotic fruits and spices. Things like citrus fruits, pepper, coffee, tea, etc., but they would have to be small enough to bring indoors in the winter. A greenhouse would be the best solution, but a house would suffice. My Grandmother told me about getting an orange in her stocking for Christmas when she was a girl. At one time lemonade ( lemons, sugar and ice) was a luxury that many could rarely, if ever, afford. Wars were fought over Spice and Sugar Islands, and black pepper was worth it's weight in gold.
    ColtCarbine likes this.
  18. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    You just need a “Bear Electric Fence”. In Alaska we use them around our Garbage Collection sites… The bear hits it once with it’s nose and then NEVER AGAIN, Period… These really work, and work well… even on Brownies…
    Dunerunner, SB21 and ColtCarbine like this.
  19. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    I like the concept. Thorny vines, crab apple, apple, and pear are my shade trees and a totally out of control fig tree is my privacy fence most of the year. These are mostly maintenance free except for trimming them back occasionally so I can get the tractor under and around them. I fight the squirrels for the pears, which could be a small meat supply until I ate them all. Fig tree and grape vines produce way more than I can eat, so I trade lots of them for other food and still always have frozen muscadines for my wine.

    I'm too far East to grow rhubarb, and that's a shame. It's a perfect edible flower bed plant and I remember it coming up thick every year as a kid. Nearest I can come to anything that easy are the dandelion greens that grow on the shady side of the house. I have some Rosemary that's gone from a wild sun seeking bush to barely alive over the years, and I'm thinking about bamboo bombing one corner of a storage lot so I have a source I control. (Once you recognize the stuff you start seeing it everywhere.)

    This is good stuff. I'll have to keep an eye on this thread.
    SB21, ColtCarbine and chelloveck like this.
  20. TXKajun

    TXKajun Monkey+++

    Anyone have a reliable source for dwarf fruit trees? Specially interested in peach, lemon, apple, apricot or combo with multiple pitted fruits. Thanks in advance.
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