Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

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Fruit for the Future

11/28/2012 4:12:09 PM

Tags: homesteading, perennials, edible landscaping, permaculture, agriculture, sustainable farming, sustainability, Bethann Weick, gardening, mulch, sheet mulch, mulch rings, Bethann Weick

mulched apple treeThe cabin’s not quite done…but the woodstove is in, the pipe’s through the roof, and no snow came in this last week.  We’re continuing to work on indoor insulation and trim as we eagerly anticipate emptying our over-packed shed and moving in with finality.  For this week, however, I’ll take a reprieve from cabin tales to focus on the rest of the homestead. 

While the cold and snow of winter are (hopefully) imminent, these dark evenings are great for planning the work of the coming spring and summer.  In particular, we’re thinking about the perennial stock to be planted once spring returns.  While annual vegetable plants are essential for a full and varied diet here at Coösauke, perennials are also important.  Rootstock planted in the present will yield remarkable benefits for decades and generations to come.  Perennials are a boon – the more mature the trees and shrubs, the more prolific they become yet the less work they require!  You can’t quite say that for annuals.

Fortuitously, as autumn descended, a Fedco tree catalog arrived in the mailbox.  This was the first cue.  Since then, Ryan and I have had more than a month to decide on which trees, shrubs, and plants we want to purchase, and in which nook on the property we wish to plant them.  Now, as the urgency for cabin construction is winding down, we can refocus ourselves on the thrill of planting for the future. 

So, as the afternoon wanes – the sun sets behind the hill about 3:15pm – Ryan and I slowlyyoung northern spy apple tree perambulate our clearings, pacing out distances and using animated gestures to sculpt our orchard dreams.

I like apples, Ryan likes pears; we both agree on peaches.  More blueberries seems like an obvious choice (the wild raspberries and blackberries are already prolific).  Lavender is selected for the herb garden, Ryan plans a cranberry patch, and I think about mulberries.  As we walk about we imagine a few apple trees between the garden and the cabin, and a pair of peaches to welcome visitors from the wooded path to garden clearing.  Pears will fit neatly past the sumac, and the additional blueberries can augment the existing patch past the hemlock where we like to take lunch.  The cranberry patch is still taking shape, while I put mulberries off until next year – when more space is cleared and the stump sprouts are tamed.   

And we’re not the only ones in the hubbub of making plans.  Our neighbors – and your neighbors – are thinking ahead, too.  The investment you put into perennials is like little else.  What a way to steward for the future!  Visit Fedco’s website if you’d like to peruse their offerings, or check out other sources such as Elmore’s Nursery, Oikos, & St. Lawrence Nurseries.  The Grafton County Conservation District offers a perennial plant sale as well, with information available online.  You can also be in touch with us at Coösauke regarding trees, tree orders, tree care, and perennial garden development.  Opportunities and information abound!  Invest in trees and celebrate the rewards for years to come.

For garden design & maintenance, land management, & wildland services, as well as advice, stories, or commiserations please contact Coösauke via 

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