Patty had her son bring out an unidentified species that she found at a site visit for us to identify. Leona later determined it to be buckwheat. (If you have Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide it is on page 188. If you have A Field Guide to Wildflowers by Peterson & McKenny it is on page 70.)In collaboration with Seeking Common Ground, Patty Love, founder of Barefoot Edible Landscape and Permaculture, formed the Rochester Permaculture Center this past year.
Miller Nurseries in Canandaigua. Several species which already existed around the .15 acre will remain as they fulfill a purpose (such as mulberries which critters often prefer over other fruits such as cherries). The main garden is enclosed in a locally and sustainably harvested black locust post and netted fence to keep the deer from entering.
(Sheet mulching involved laying goat & chicken manure over the ground, covering with comfrey leaves, and then corrugated cardboard with 1 ½ inch overlays. Patty then covered the cardboard with 4 inches of autumn leaves.) Sheet mulching requires no digging or tillingprior to planting. She discussed coppicing and pollarding with one of the standing ash tree trunks as an example. Coppicing involves trimming the tree trunk low to allow shoots to grow for animal fodder, baskets, and fences (wattle and daub). Pollarding involves trimming the tree trunk higher to allow shoots to grow at a harvestable height or to allow feed for animals by trimming the shoots to drop when ready. Some species that lend themselves to these practices include hazelnuts, filberts, ash, and willow.
Patty told us about dynamic accumulators and how she uses the “chop and drop” method to fertilize and mulch other plants with their leaves allowing the minerals they have accumulated to be distributed around the garden or compost. Dynamic accumulators have deep roots which draw minerals up to the leaves and then the topsoil when they die back. Examples include dandelion, mullein, thistle, yarrow, and horseradish. Comfrey brings up 6 minerals and dock 5 minerals.Nitrogen gets fixed on root hairs and then distributed into the soil when plants die back or are trimmed. Many permaculture experts recommend that forty percent of a garden’s biomass should be in nitrogen fixing plants include peas, locust, buffalo berry, lupines, and red clover.
It was suggested that Native Americans numbered close to 12 million and lived well by managing edible forest agricultures. I appreciated Patty’s perspective on weeds as “very enthusiastic plants” often with a purpose of bringing nutrients up from below the ground to build the soil. Patty showed us around the garden sharing several edible samples as she described species and their functions.
Comfrey:chop & drop, flowers in salads, tea, herbal remedies, skin salve
Paw Paw seeds, tomato, peppers, celery, fig tree in nursery bed
Good King Henry: heart shaped leaves, perennial vegetables, eat shoots and greens.
Elderberries and Marshmallow: medicinal uses
Persimmons as an alternative to apples, which have many pests and diseases
Sweet cicely: white blossom, seeds with licorice flavor
Dames Rocket has 4 petals and the flowers are edible. Phlox has 5 petals and is NOT edible.
Monarda didyma (not Oswego tea)
Purslane to thicken stews
Anise hyssop: sweet mint (tea), purple, bees love it
Dayflower: blue, edible, mucilaginous qualities, salads
Burdock root: roots for eating and medicinal
Nero' Aronia: high antioxidant fruit creates dry mouth – available at Millers
Curly dock: yellow, dock root is high in iron, use for chop and drop
Egyptian walking onion: a perennial vegetable
Seedless grapes: from Miller Nurseries
Jerusalem artichokes: perennial potato substitute
Sea berry: Vitamins C and E, beta carotene, flavinoids in orange berries, alternative fruit Turkish rocket: fuzzy edible leaves
Other species: Horseradish, gooseberry, blueberries, bush cherry, lemon balm, rosa rugosa, red lake current, Thistle, Spearmint, Wood sorrel, 3 in 1 Asian pear, high bush cranberry, self pollinating Rocket peach, currant, Ostrich fern.
Patty Love is available for workshops, consulting and speaking. You may contact her at email@example.com.