Author Topic: Unused backyard suggestions?  (Read 2194 times)

Offline thefuzz1290

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Unused backyard suggestions?
« on: April 19, 2015, 07:17:49 PM »
Wow, its been a while since I've posted...gotten off track over the last year or so. I have a semi-wooded back yard that really goes unused. I want to add in some long term fruit and veggie production from partial and dappled sun. I'm in zone 7B (Metro-Atlanta, Georgia) and was thinking about currants, gooseberry, blackberries, paw paws, and elderberry. I have 2 paw paw trees and elderberry in my front yard I started this year in unused space. I was also going to add in my leafy greens and potatoes as well. I have attached photos of my back yard at 9:00am, 12:00pm, and 5:00pm so you can see the lighting (east to west, most sunlight in the afternoon and evening).

9:00am


12:00pm


5:00pm

Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Unused backyard suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2015, 09:22:09 AM »
It is my understanding that gooseberries and currants do not play well with pine trees, white pines especially.  There is a fungal disease called pine rust that gooseberries and currants play the role as the vector.  The disease jumps from pine tree to gooseberry/currant and on to other pine trees.  It is a deadly disease to the pine trees. Please check with your local urban forester to verify if this would be a problem with your species of pine.

With a little woodland management (thinning lesser undesireable trees to open canopy up to 50%) you would have a great potential for growing blueberries as an understory crop with your pines.   You can also harvest that pine straw into 20 lb. bales and sell it as mulch or use it in other garden beds. 

Ramps are a good understory food.  I do not know about their preferred soil acidity so you might check on that first.   Other understory crops include medicinal roots like goldenseal, ginseng, black kohosh, ....

Paw paws and elderberries prefer full sun in order to fruit.  They may do well on that back right edge in your photos.  Blackberries do well with morning sun and late afternoon shade.

Offline thefuzz1290

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Re: Unused backyard suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2015, 01:01:50 PM »
From what I've read, the gooseberry and currants sold now are disease resistant and are pretty safe to plant. Now I haven't read anything about planting them near pine trees, so I'll look into that. Now Paw Paws should work with dappled sun since they are typically found under the tree canopy. I'll also have to look into ramps, which is a new term for me, thanks!

Offline Carl

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Re: Unused backyard suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2015, 05:37:43 PM »
Persimmon and butternut squash are pretty good options , I think as they do well here in Northernmost Louisiana.

Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Unused backyard suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2015, 05:47:21 PM »
From what I've read, the gooseberry and currants sold now are disease resistant and are pretty safe to plant. Now I haven't read anything about planting them near pine trees, so I'll look into that. Now Paw Paws should work with dappled sun since they are typically found under the tree canopy. I'll also have to look into ramps, which is a new term for me, thanks!

You can start Paw Paws in the shade but it will be a very long, slow grow.

Here is a link to get you started with forest farming options:
http://nac.unl.edu/practices/forestfarming.htm

There are a number of excellent books out there.  Farming the Woods by Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel is my favorite as a knowledge base.
http://farmingthewoods.com/

Offline strangetanks

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Re: Unused backyard suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2015, 05:55:34 PM »
Wow...totally jealous of your back yard.

If it were my back yard....  I would go ahead and plant whatever you want to plant, if you need to amend the soil around them you can do that over a period of years.  I'm growing my fruit trees on clean fill basically, so there are no nutrients.  Now after a bunch of years the trees are doing great and I just spread a pile of compost around em every spring.

I would then start cutting down those other trees and making them into heat for the winter.  Sort of cut em down over time as your fruit trees need more room.  It's hard to take a long view, but you don't have to get everything perfect in one year.

Offline thefuzz1290

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Re: Unused backyard suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2015, 11:10:31 PM »
Well I have smaller dogwoods that I can cut down easier than I can the 100ft+ pine trees. The pines do have benefits...shade on the house and a decreased electric bill in the summer. However, I'm here for the next 15+ years and I'm looking long term. The paw paws I have in my front yard will take another year or two to produce, same with the elderberries in my front yard. I'm trying to be patient and I'm not against using a raised bed at first, to full adapt mature plants to the typical red clay from Georgia. I don't have an HOA (which is evident by that monstrosity that is my daughter's play house that's almost complete), so I'm pretty much free to do anything. I plan on making a stone path to different parts of the yard. What isn't seen is the back right portion is pretty much full sun and I can put a good, self pollinating, fruit tree that will live for 20+ years. I'll have to clear out some junk plants, but its doable.

Offline thefuzz1290

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Re: Unused backyard suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2015, 11:20:08 PM »
I'm also looking at the educational aspect of growing in shade. My daughter is in girl scouts and her school has a really good horticulture program (in elementary school!), so I'd offer it up as a field trip. Now I'd love to have land somewhere that would be a homestead, but my wife isn't totally on board. Luckily I have a family of hawks living in those trees that keeps the pests away from my yard. I'm really going to look into growing ginseng. I don't use it, but its a good crop to make a small amount of money locally.