Sunday, May 22, 2011

Winter Dreams, Spring Realities

All winter long I dreamed and schemed about our front yard edible landscape.  A grand plan, indeed.

In April, I shared my ideas and drawings in a blog post on our Edible Front Yard Plan.

Finally, last weekend we got digging!

But, rather than digging up the huge chunk of lawn that I imagined in my wintertime musings, the reality of time, money and muscle pain hit home, and we decided that this year, we would limit our efforts to three key tree guilds.
While I dug three, 5 foot wide holes, Darryl transplanted the sod to cover some bare patches in the backyard.

In order to give our trees the best start possible and to allow room for some other edibles around the trees, I  purposefully dug deeper and wider than what was needed.  After digging deep and removing some of the clay soil, we added 4 way mix, compost, corn gluten (for nitrogen) and some acid plant mix powder back into the hole.  We mixed it up really well and then dug a new hole for the trees.  We poured water in the bottom of the hole, held the tree in place and added the new soil mix all around.  We were careful to plant the tree at the same height as it was in it's container.  We also raised the whole bed about 5 inches above the rest of the lawn.
Over digging the holes, caused a few smiles and comments from passer-bys.
Our three groupings include:

Guild 1
Johnny Jump-Ups (edible flowers)
Beets (Bull's Blood and Lutz Green Leaf)
Broad Beans (Crimson Flowered)
Crimson Passion Cherry 
- a sweet, sour cherry from the University of Saskatchewan's Romance Series (Prairie Plant Systems has a great reference chart comparing dwarf sour cherries
- grows 4-6 feet with fruit 3-4 cm
one of the sweetest, sour

After a very long day, our three trees are in.
Dexter Jackson apple
Guild 2 (center of picture)
Romain Lettuce
Swiss Chard (Five Colour Silverbeet)
Climbing Nasturtium (edible flowers)
Dwarf Dexter Jackson Apple Tree
- one of the smallest dwarf apple trees available - 6-8 ft
- good eating and storage apples 8 cm average size
- red apple with yellow streaks
- harvest in mid August

Guild 3 (not fully planted yet)
Prairie Sensation apple
Tri-coloured Sage
Climbing Nasturtium (edible flowers)
Dwarf Prairie Sensation Apple Tree
- a dwarf apple trees 8 ft
- good eating and storage apples 7- 8 cm average size
- red wash with 50% green stripes
- harvest in mid September

Not quite like the original plan, but definitely something we can manage and enjoy.  After all, there's always next year!
After a few days, we finally got up the courage to prune our new apple trees.


Amanda said...

Hi, just stumbled across this while looking for apple trees in winnipeg. Just wondering where you picked up your trees from? Id like to put two dwarf trees in my front yard as well.


Getty Stewart said...

Hi Amanda,
I got mine at Sage Herb Gardens, they're awesome there and will give you great advice. Call ahead to see if they have any in stock.