Thursday, October 9, 2008
No-Mow XeriScape: Accomplished
This is a little bit different than the rest of my blog since it isn't edible. Actually at least some of it would be, if it wasn't so close to the busy road I live on.
When my partner and I bought this house back in March, it started out as the tree, grass and bushes you can see in this original post: http://grow-peace.blogspot.com/2008/05/before-shots.html
I don't believe in mowing lawns. I feel that we should use our land to cultivate useable produce with the best technologies whenever possible. Lawns just seem so wasteful to me, with the need for chemicals to keep away "weeds" such as dandelions, which are actually edible, high in nutritional value, and delicious.
So, I decided pretty much immediately upon moving into this house that the little patch of grass in the front had to go. I shared my idea with a friend who is a Master Gardener, who to my surprise said that it would be extremely difficult to grow any flowering plants in this area since it was so close to the street and in so much bright light. He said that it would need a great deal of water to grow in this area.
Based on that advice I did a lot of research on what plants could grow in a low water bed near a road. I discovered this thing called "xeriscaping", which is basically growing gardens that are drought-tolerant and don't require supplemental irrigation. I did water them quite a bit for the first month or two after I planted them until they got established, but now I think they are pretty much on their own. I'm excited for next year when it seems like they will fill it all in very nicely.
What you see above is a recent picture of what I planted back in June (decorated with Halloween stuff obv.). I read that fuzzy, silvery plants are generally good. So I planted Blue Fescue, Lavender, Dusty Miller, and Dianthus FireWitch, as well as some fuzzy green plant towards the far right that I'm not sure of the name. They are all perennials.
The Lavender and Dianthus are edible, but from what I have read, they're planted too close to the road to eat. I asked the local Master Gardeners at the Rutger's Extension office, and they said it should be at least 10 feet, but really more, from the road to be safe to eat.
One thing that really surprised me is that the rabbits in my hood seemed to like the Dusty Miller. It is supposedly poisonous to humans so I'm surprised that the rabbits like it. But apparently they do- after we prevented them from getting the lettuce in the backyard, I guess they were forced to eat the Dusty Miller out front. I put holographic daisy pinwheels around the plants to scare the rabbits away, and that seemed to work pretty well. The Dusty Millers got bigger after that, although they never produced flowers. I'm not sure if that is because of the rabbits or just since it was the first year.
I hope to eventually propagate these plants into the backyard so I can eat them, but for now I figure I can use them as potpourri for holiday gifts. You know, make them into sachels for lingerie drawers and all that good stuff. I have pics of the latest harvest I got, and more detailed pics of the individual plants but for some reason I can't upload them right now.