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 www.eBurgess.com as well as www.DirectGardening.com 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.
     
  2. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator 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.
     
  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.
     
  4. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator 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! ;)
     
  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.
     
  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.
     
  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.
     
  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."
     
  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.
     
  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.
     
  12. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Great idea. Thanks
     
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