Ornamental Gardening after TSHTF

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Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
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Ornamental Gardening after TSHTF

I've been gardening all of my life, and I've have the priviledge of living in the home in which I grew up.  {forty, ah, fifty-ahem years in the same place}.  Over the years, I've developed lovely gardens, including my treasured woodland garden, and they are a source of unspeakable joy and solace.  And now, the S is gonna HITF, and I can't compost any of it! 

I know this must sound terrifically idiosyncratic, but more than anything else, I resent this crash's disrupting my long-term garden design plans.  Seasoned garden designers know that it takes many years, and even decades (in the case of woodland gardens) for a truly sublime garden to reach its peak.  And now I'm faced with the possibility of tilling up my precious wildflower meadows. . .  truly, I can't even express how sad this makes me.  Cry

Of course, there will be flowers in my herb garden . . . and I know enough about heirloom flowers to know that many of the ones that survived into modern times did so because they had some utility beyond their ephemeral beauty in bloom.  I've read about archeological digs with forensics (yes, there are horticultural forensics!) that tantalize us with evidence of spectacular "pleasure gardens" in Egypt, the Middle East, and Europe, which were apparently razed to grow vegetable in hard times.  Rationally, I know this makes perfect sense, but still . . .

I see beauty even in the simplest tomato blossom, but still, isn't there a place for purely ornamental gardening after TSHTF?

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becky
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Re: Ornamental Gardening after TSHTF

C1oudfire,

There is always room for beauty and joy.  There just has to be.  We must hold onto that the same way we hold onto freedom.

becky

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SagerXX
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Re: Ornamental Gardening after TSHTF

C1oud -- surely there is some way to incorporate ornamentals into the food garden plan?  Or to add food garden items into your woodland garden?  

Viva -- Sager 

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BSV
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Re: Ornamental Gardening after TSHTF

There seems to be no reason to till up what you have so painstakingly helped nature to create over decades. A lot of food can be grown in small, intensely cultivated plots. French kitchen gardens (potagers) very often mix ornamental plants with food plots. I have a book, "The Art of French Vegetable Gardening", that has many pictures of some lovely mixed use gardens.

On my place, my vegetable garden beds are alongside my ornamental beds. It looks just fine to me. Please don't dig up your woodland garden. It's probably partly shaded anyway, and would not be very suitable for sun loving vegetables. There is a concept called "square foot gardening" that you might want to investigate. Good luck to us all. One suspects we will need it.

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Cloudfire
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Re: Ornamental Gardening after TSHTF
SagerXX wrote:

C1oud -- surely there is some way to incorporate ornamentals into the food garden plan?  Or to add food garden items into your woodland garden?  Viva -- Sager 

Indeed, Sager, this dilemma will probably have a hybrid solution.  I'm already planning on adding goldenseal (a medicinal) to the woodland garden.  I'm loathe to disturb the woodland garden for veggies, as it takes decades to build up the soil structure necessary for a really diverse understory.  Tilling is brutal on soil, and it's never really the same after that.  I've purchased several books on forest gardening, and I'm going to see if I can come up with some kind of hybrid plan that will allow me to keep developing the woodland, while making it productive as well.  Today, it's a sea of the purest, richest blue as the squills are in full bloom.  There are literally hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of them out there.  It's taken so long to build the soil up to the point where they blanket the forest floor, that I think I'd go into mourning if I had to till it up.  Frown

Speaking of mourning, (this is a stretch of a segway, I know) . . . Lent is over and, while I haven't yet had any chocolate, Easter dinner was a religious experience on all levels, and beer is just as refreshing as I remember it.  Oh, and I'm 8 pounds lighter, which makes my wardrobe very happy.  Smile

 

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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Re: Ornamental Gardening after TSHTF
c1oudfire wrote:
SagerXX wrote:

C1oud -- surely there is some way to incorporate ornamentals into the food garden plan?  Or to add food garden items into your woodland garden?  Viva -- Sager 

Indeed, Sager, this dilemma will probably have a hybrid solution.  I'm already planning on adding goldenseal (a medicinal) to the woodland garden.  I'm loathe to disturb the woodland garden for veggies, as it takes decades to build up the soil structure necessary for a really diverse understory.   

FWIW, you could add "veggies" to the woodland by raising mushrooms.  Takes some time to get them going as I understand it, but shaded/damp areas are a prerequisite.  A friend of mine soon should be getting shiitakes from the plugs he put in 18 months ago.

VIVA!  Sager 

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PlicketyCat
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Re: Ornamental Gardening after TSHTF

C1oudfire - your woodland meadows most likely have many edibles for you or livestock than you'd think! Managed pasturing on meadows can actually be very beneficial to soil, plant and critters! No need to dig, till or compost if you don't absolutely need that field for grains. Besides, many grains can be intercropped with wildflowers and native grasses in a meadow if you don't mind a little extra work at harvest time since they're just grasses after all! Intercropping and companion planting with ornamentals and medicinals is great for many veggies since they can help keep the beasties and diseases at bay. Flowers and other ornamentals encourage pollinating insects and beneficial predatory insects as well as varied other wildlife besides just being pretty and serene.

I'd personally have a problem with flattening and tilling under any healthy, biodiverse meadow to plant some potentially unhealthy mono-crop field anyway. Going to those measures is a step backward IMO because lush biodiversity is a sign of fertility that can only come from balance which is essential for continued fertility! We fully intend to simply broadcast seed our new pasture fields with a mixture of native hay grasses and grains, and then rotate the livestock between the pastures and the "uncultivated" woodland areas. The only "weeds" I'm going to worry about are the ones that would make my critters ill... otherwise, I'm sure one species of critter or other will appreciate any "volunteers" in the pasture.

I'd be much more willing to sacrifice my "lawn" than my woodland garden if I needed more crop space. Have you looked into green roofs? There's a few hundred square feet for gardening right above your head if you don't absolutely need a flat roof for rainwater collection. I've seen some really nice green roofs that were lightly terraced to handle the steeper inclines in snowy regions, you just need a good waterproof membrane and drainage layer. It'd probably be less painful for you to beef up your roof trusses than to dig up your cultivated gardens.

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EndGamePlayer
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Shitaki

Youtube has a lot of great videos on shrooming.

We got some fresh button mushrooms and blended them in a blender then sprayed it on wood chips left from cutting wood. -MUSHROOMS all over the place! We will do shitaki, portabella and baby bella.

If only I could find dried truffles and morels.   EGP

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