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Re: Planning edible/ornamental garden in N Spain

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  • Jim
    Hi Robert etc. I m a fan of squashes and pumpkins. I think they look good, produce fantastic food also and are quite easy to grow outside in southern UK so
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 7, 2009
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      Hi Robert etc.

      I'm a fan of squashes and pumpkins. I think they look good, produce
      fantastic food also and are quite easy to grow outside in southern UK
      so should be even better where you are. They like a good soil, try
      and keep green growth contained somewhat if you want fruits. You can
      grow them up framworks, if you have just one variety that is true
      breeding you can save the seed...don't bother saving seed from cross
      fertilised fruits, it usually turns out to be worthless. Try local
      supplier or the Organic Gardening Catalogue has plenty of varieties:

      http://www.organiccatalog.com/catalog/

      Cucumbers are good also. I grow in a cold greenhouse, but with the
      warmer summers there outdoor varieties will do well I should think.

      In terms of pereninal fruiting climbers, thats something I'm just
      getting into myself. Perhaps Passiflora?

      Thornless loganberry is very very lush and can be grown on a bramble
      frame:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf/photos/album/1174064837/pic/1948036
      936/view?picmode=&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&count=20&dir=asc

      (That bramble is Tayberry I think)

      Thanks,

      Jim.



      --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Alcock" <ralcock@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi group,
      >
      > I need your advice. I'm planning the edible/ornamental garden around
      > our cabin. We are in Northern Spain, with a maritime climate that's
      > pretty similar to southern Britain but about 3 degrees warmer.
      Things
      > that grow well there will probably grow better here. The area where
      > the garden is gets full sun for most of the day. The soil is heavy
      > clay, but I'll try to make sure the garden has plenty of organic
      matter.
      >
      > I want plants that will take and stay there without having to be
      > planted again every year. I want the garden to produce a significant
      > quantity of tasty food for us with minimum effort (weeding and
      > harvesting, basically). I'd also like it to be ornamental, with some
      > attractively coloured plants and flowers in there. So I'm looking
      for
      > perennial or self-seeding annual herbs, shrubs and vines, which
      fulfil
      > these criteria.
      >
      > My partner has put in a specific request for a vine with showy
      flowers
      > like bougainvillea, but I'd like it to be one that's also edible!
      >
      > Because I'm not a very experienced gardener, I don't get much from
      > just reading a seed catalogue - even specialised ones like ART. I'd
      > like to ask members of the group to recommend some plants that they
      > grow and would suggest for use in a garden like this. Also, some
      > places to obtain the plants (in the EU, preferably).
      >
      > Here's a partial list of what we've already got growing there:
      >
      > Grape trained on pergola (2 vars)
      > Goji
      > Nasturtium
      > Marigold
      > Rosemary
      > Thyme
      > Stevia
      > Parsley
      > Coriander
      > Mint (2 vars)
      > Kiwi (m+f)
      >
      > Your suggestions are much appreciated!
      >
      > Robert
      >
      > PS. To see some photos of the cabin and the land, visit
      > www.abrazohouse.org/gallery2
      >
    • Jim
      ...also courgettes: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf/photos/album/1174064837/pic/1596540 75/view?picmode=&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&count=20&dir=asc
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 7, 2009
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        ...also courgettes:

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf/photos/album/1174064837/pic/1596540
        75/view?picmode=&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&count=20&dir=asc

        ..that is a round variety.


        --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <cromlech108@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Robert etc.
        >
        > I'm a fan of squashes and pumpkins. I think they look good, produce
        > fantastic food also and are quite easy to grow outside in southern
        UK
        > so should be even better where you are. They like a good soil, try
        > and keep green growth contained somewhat if you want fruits. You
        can
        > grow them up framworks, if you have just one variety that is true
        > breeding you can save the seed...don't bother saving seed from
        cross
        > fertilised fruits, it usually turns out to be worthless. Try local
        > supplier or the Organic Gardening Catalogue has plenty of varieties:
        >
        > http://www.organiccatalog.com/catalog/
        >
        > Cucumbers are good also. I grow in a cold greenhouse, but with the
        > warmer summers there outdoor varieties will do well I should think.
        >
        > In terms of pereninal fruiting climbers, thats something I'm just
        > getting into myself. Perhaps Passiflora?
        >
        > Thornless loganberry is very very lush and can be grown on a
        bramble
        > frame:
        >
        >
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf/photos/album/1174064837/pic/1948036
        > 936/view?picmode=&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&count=20&dir=asc
        >
        > (That bramble is Tayberry I think)
        >
        > Thanks,
        >
        > Jim.
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Alcock" <ralcock@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi group,
        > >
        > > I need your advice. I'm planning the edible/ornamental garden
        around
        > > our cabin. We are in Northern Spain, with a maritime climate
        that's
        > > pretty similar to southern Britain but about 3 degrees warmer.
        > Things
        > > that grow well there will probably grow better here. The area
        where
        > > the garden is gets full sun for most of the day. The soil is heavy
        > > clay, but I'll try to make sure the garden has plenty of organic
        > matter.
        > >
        > > I want plants that will take and stay there without having to be
        > > planted again every year. I want the garden to produce a
        significant
        > > quantity of tasty food for us with minimum effort (weeding and
        > > harvesting, basically). I'd also like it to be ornamental, with
        some
        > > attractively coloured plants and flowers in there. So I'm looking
        > for
        > > perennial or self-seeding annual herbs, shrubs and vines, which
        > fulfil
        > > these criteria.
        > >
        > > My partner has put in a specific request for a vine with showy
        > flowers
        > > like bougainvillea, but I'd like it to be one that's also edible!
        > >
        > > Because I'm not a very experienced gardener, I don't get much from
        > > just reading a seed catalogue - even specialised ones like ART.
        I'd
        > > like to ask members of the group to recommend some plants that
        they
        > > grow and would suggest for use in a garden like this. Also, some
        > > places to obtain the plants (in the EU, preferably).
        > >
        > > Here's a partial list of what we've already got growing there:
        > >
        > > Grape trained on pergola (2 vars)
        > > Goji
        > > Nasturtium
        > > Marigold
        > > Rosemary
        > > Thyme
        > > Stevia
        > > Parsley
        > > Coriander
        > > Mint (2 vars)
        > > Kiwi (m+f)
        > >
        > > Your suggestions are much appreciated!
        > >
        > > Robert
        > >
        > > PS. To see some photos of the cabin and the land, visit
        > > www.abrazohouse.org/gallery2
        > >
        >
      • Jim
        A herb area is definitely a good idea - I d make it a circle or sprial maybe...you can keep adding different plants to it, carefully weeding to ensure
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 7, 2009
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          A herb area is definitely a good idea - I'd make it a circle or
          sprial maybe...you can keep adding different plants to it, carefully
          weeding to ensure balance...fantastic in summer and then you can have
          fresh herbs for various uses including green leaves ro eat fresh or
          in cooked meals, and then dry load for winter use. Growing
          traditional meadow is good also, and will reward you with a seething
          mass of life effect. Start making a tree nursery of 'edibles' and
          take cuttings where possible for your own use and sharing. Make sure
          you map everything, including noting down on the map which are the
          original plants because you can take cuttings from many fruit bushes
          etc, and you want to take cuttings only from the original plants
          because they tend to degrade in vitality as you move further from the
          original plant...yes so fruit bushes are good I think, blackcurrents
          and the other currents, gooseberries, woosterberries, jostaberries,
          (these take cuttings reasonable well) plus the more unusual stuff and
          whatever they do locally to you. I'm trialing various species and
          cultivars of unusual fruit bushes and climbers currently in both Kent
          and Anglesey, UK... too early to declare results...mostly sourced
          from the Agroforestry Research Trust (ART):

          http://www.agroforestry.co.uk/

          I have found quite a lot of unusual stuff failed even when carefully
          tended in pots in the cold greenhouse for no apparent reason. 'Ben
          Hope' appears to the most vital blackcurrent...you might do better in
          your warmer climate. You're already growing grapes, these take
          cuttings well by the way. I start off most cuttings in the
          greenhouse, maybe in plastic bags..they need watching.



          --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Alcock" <ralcock@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi group,
          >
          > I need your advice. I'm planning the edible/ornamental garden around
          > our cabin. We are in Northern Spain, with a maritime climate that's
          > pretty similar to southern Britain but about 3 degrees warmer.
          Things
          > that grow well there will probably grow better here. The area where
          > the garden is gets full sun for most of the day. The soil is heavy
          > clay, but I'll try to make sure the garden has plenty of organic
          matter.
          >
          > I want plants that will take and stay there without having to be
          > planted again every year. I want the garden to produce a significant
          > quantity of tasty food for us with minimum effort (weeding and
          > harvesting, basically). I'd also like it to be ornamental, with some
          > attractively coloured plants and flowers in there. So I'm looking
          for
          > perennial or self-seeding annual herbs, shrubs and vines, which
          fulfil
          > these criteria.
          >
          > My partner has put in a specific request for a vine with showy
          flowers
          > like bougainvillea, but I'd like it to be one that's also edible!
          >
          > Because I'm not a very experienced gardener, I don't get much from
          > just reading a seed catalogue - even specialised ones like ART. I'd
          > like to ask members of the group to recommend some plants that they
          > grow and would suggest for use in a garden like this. Also, some
          > places to obtain the plants (in the EU, preferably).
          >
          > Here's a partial list of what we've already got growing there:
          >
          > Grape trained on pergola (2 vars)
          > Goji
          > Nasturtium
          > Marigold
          > Rosemary
          > Thyme
          > Stevia
          > Parsley
          > Coriander
          > Mint (2 vars)
          > Kiwi (m+f)
          >
          > Your suggestions are much appreciated!
          >
          > Robert
          >
          > PS. To see some photos of the cabin and the land, visit
          > www.abrazohouse.org/gallery2
          >
        • Steve
          Hi Robert, I guess my first suggestion (mostly because I see it s not on your list) is Basil - Ocimum spp. Unless you ve got a personal reason not to have it,
          Message 4 of 5 , Jan 8, 2009
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            Hi Robert,

            I guess my first suggestion (mostly because I see it's not on your list) is
            Basil - Ocimum spp. Unless you've got a personal reason not to have it,
            Basil is an amazing addition. Food, tea and medicine can be made from it,
            and it self seeds easily (my garden weeds now include culinary and medicinal
            basil).

            Do you grow comfrey (Symphytum officinalis)? It's a good medicinal herb -
            for humans as well as poultry and other livestock - and is a major
            constituent in biodynamic compost teas. It's a very useful herb to have
            around.

            As for your vine with showy flowers that is also edible, an obvious one for
            me is the passion fruit vine (Passiflora edulis). There are a few
            varieties; some are small and fit in the palm of your hand, and others are
            large (don't need much else for breakfast).
            Another vine is Kiwi (Actinida spp) - this is an option if you are prepared
            to provide a strong, substantial trellis, as kiwi will get pretty big. Of
            course you could cut it back, but I think it does best climbing a tree or a
            pergola. If you gave it a pergola, you would be able to stroll underneath
            it to harvest. Don't plant this one too close to your house; you might lose
            your house under it.

            I know choosing species is a somewhat agonising process, but you have to
            somehow match up your climate with the growth requirements of plants - don't
            be afraid to stretch your luck, though.
            Many plants have warm and cold adapted varieties (kiwi is an example), while
            some will not survive a frost. Others lose the above-ground portion in a
            freeze, but come back in the spring (comfrey can do this; also bulbs and
            tubers).
            Look around your local area. Try just identifying plants and trees which do
            well where you are.
            See if there are any local organic gardening groups or seed-banks.
            Farmer's markets can be a good place to start (especially because you need
            to buy food, anyway). Most folks are pretty happy to talk about the produce
            they grow.
            I made a lot of good contacts via a farmers market we went to for a while.
            I even ended up helping out with the fall harvest on one farm. When you
            take the initiative to offer your assistance, you'd be surprised how
            generous people can be with advice, or maybe seeds or help of their own. I
            still grow their heirloom purple tomatillos.

            Anyhow, I've got to go - dishes still need doing.

            Peace,

            Steve.


            --
            "Look beyond complexion and see community.."
            Maya Angelou


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