Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Growing A Yard For Harvest
Growing native flowers is one way to achieve this with minimal fuss and no watering or chemicals. It's also important that I find my plants for free, and amassing my collection of native plants is something that I am always working towards. With many of my local parks growing native flowers, and no shortage of interesting flowers growing along the roadside, collecting seeds for my yard is both simple and exciting!
Queen Annes Lace (wild carrot) or have medicinal uses, like Echinacea.
I grow flowers with the ultimate goal of harvest. Even my ornamental rose bushes have a purpose aside from being pretty. I can make potpourri out of the blooms after they just reach their peak, and then I can blend them up to make rose beads for jewelry making.
Growing a yard for harvest naturally means growing a yard that is abundant in food. I would love some day to have a yard in which I can walk out into and pick a wide variety food to eat. I have my vegetable patch, my herb garden and my strawberry bed. I also have a hazelnut tree that I will find a mate for soon so that in a few years I will have loads of hazelnuts to snack on and cook with.
Nature offered me a blackberry bush earlier this year, that just sprouted in my yard and 75% of my vegetable garden volunteered itself, from the compost that I created from my kitchen scraps. I planted the cucumber and the bed of lettuce, but Nature decided to give me 3 squash plants, 2 pumpkin vines, 7 garlic plants and over twenty tomato plants. Yes, Nature is very, very good to me and I know how to use my bit of Earth.
There are plants in my yard which are only grown for some sort of functional purpose.
I have an ash tree that was cut down to the stump a year ago because it was badly placed and would soon grow into the chain link fence. The sugars built up in the roots allowed it to sprout several upright branches, turning the tree into a bush. I noticed this when the shoots were small and could be snipped easily, but I quickly realized the potential in them. I allowed to shoots to grow tall, for they are straight and pliable. We have used them to roast marshmallows and hotdogs over the fire pit, and they are also useful for building natural trellises for vining plants. Cutting them down every fall will allow new shoots each spring to be used for many things throughout the next growing season. Because they are very bendy, they can be easily shaped and I am currently considering what types of things might be created from them.
All along my chain link fence are many types of vines. But the vines I am especially interested in are the wild grapes. They are either too old to produce, or they are a naturally barren variety.
I don't grow them for the fruit, I don't even like grapes. I want the vines. These are invasive and unruly, however, I cut them down to their trunks in the fall, pull off all of the leaves and use the vines to make natural decorations, like wreathes to be decorated with fall leaves or Christmas baubles.
I do not consider myself an urban homesteader, and I have no desire to live on a farm at this point in my life. But utilizing my space in the most useful way possible just makes sense to me. Nature is very giving when you let it do it's thing.