For the past two years, we’ve been nurturing root stalk of all kinds of native plants from our local conservation district plant sales. When you buy root stalk, you have to nursery it for a few years before putting it out on the landscape. This prevents loss to predation, and drought in summer. Leafhopper Farm practices restoration agriculture, meaning that our cultivation revolves around long term soil and forest health.
In the above picture, we have a habitat snag left after taking down an old Christmas tree to allow more light into the garden. Now we’re putting in native shrubs to create habitat and restore an area where a tree once stood. Since we don’t want another tall evergreen blocking the sun, we’re kept our native plantings to shrub and dwarf tree size. A highlight from this planting is the native crab apple tree, whose fruits are small, but still harvestable for food, or gleaned by wildlife in leaner years.
The Native People of this area, were known to plant crab apple around established villages as a good food source. We are taking that advice and putting a few trees in along the driveway next to the main house. There are also twin berry, service berry, and wild roses going in as companions. The straw around each plant helps mulch the base, keeping moisture in and weeds out.
By taking out these young plants from the garden where they were tended, we’ve made a lot of great room for more traditional food crops. The garlic planted last winter is looking good, along with a second year kale crop. The Italian parsley I established last year is back, and our wild onions are taking off too. There are still several veggie seeds waiting for warmer weather before being planted out. Luckily, we now have the garden prepped in anticipation.
The grey cat trio admires the onion crop, looking like it needs some good thinning. On the left of the above frame, you can see our red current bush flowering out. It’s in the third year of establishing. Just beyond it is an apple tree in bloom. Beyond the cats is the skeletal structure of our collapse greenhouse. No replacement this year- we’ll forgo tomatoes for now, but I think out summer will be hot enough for many hot house veggies without the use of a greenhouse this year. I’m planting out with that assumption.
The front garden is already bolting- mustard is flowering out, and a number of other overwintered crops in the cloche are racing to the sky in all this unseasonably warm weather. The pea trellis is set, and camas bulbs planted last spring is coming up again. Other self seeding plants, like spinach, are also re-sprouting at this time. All in all the gardens and extended beds of tended plants are thriving here at Leafhopper Farm.