Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Permaculture Comes to the Inner Ring Suburbs

As you know, I am incorporating permaculture principles into my garden. There are many aspects to permaculture, but the one that I have taken to heart is "obtain a yield". This means to be sure to get a positive return on your investment of resources and energy. While, I have been getting plenty of tangible and intangible returns on my gardening activities - beauty, exercise, creative expression, I thought I would experiment with gardening to generate even more tangible and tasty returns - food! I have always wanted to plant food, but the shady nature of my yard and the terrible soil made that a challenge, so I was limited to tomatoes, herbs and peppers. This year, I am still planting my old standbys, including a pink heirloom Brandywine tomato plant, but have incorporated throughout the garden, broccoli, kale, sunflowers, lettuce, peas, a fig tree and a blackberry vine. The requirements were that the plants must be hardy, but also beautiful. So here you see some of my selections. Please stay away Mrs. Groundhog! Photos from the top 1) This is not an edible, it is a honeysuckle plant that yields hundreds of white fragrant flowers later in the spring, but it serves as a privacy screen on my front patio and currently is home to a Robin and her two babies! 2) These are brocoli plants mixed in with some grasses in my side yard border 3 and 4) Strawberry plants hang out with peachy petunias 5) Close up of the broccoli plants (the leaves are tasty too) 6) Gorgeous purple kale plants sunning on the patio, waiting to be grounded 7) So exciting! A sunflower seedling grows for me. I came home everyday and looked for it to pop up. I planted these into the new curbside bed I dug up this year. I will be a burgundy sunflower. 8) This is a ficus or a fig tree, I put it in the curbside garden late last night as a focal point. Pray that it will actually grow figs! If not, it is still gorgeous. A tip for apartment dwellers: My father grew some spicy hot jalapenos near a sunny window last year and still had peppers growing in October! So there is hope, if you have no sunny window, there are community gardens popping up all over the place for you to obtain a yield for yourself and the community. Also, pick up the latest copy of Urban Farm Magazine, it has some great articles for the urban farmer and community gardeners. http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/

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