Every year, I give away dozen and dozens of plants to the volunteers who harvest here and to the folks who take our free garden workshops through Birch Community Services. As our permaculture food forest becomes more mature and more productive, I have recently been able to expand our nursery stock and offer some plants for sale to the general public.
(A Note: Everything we grow here is produced using all organic methods – no fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers of any kind. One of the ethics of permaculture is “share the surplus”, and in keeping with that ethic- and my desire to encourage other folks to grow their own food by keeping their startup costs low – the plants we have for sale are at a small fraction of the cost of local nurseries’ prices for non-organic stock. I charge just enough to help recoup a little bit of the cost of the water and soil ammendments and such, and prices don’t reflect my labor and such.)
The Fall Gold raspberries had spread beyond their rows, and were shading out a young Sea Buckthorn, so they had to go. I ended up with about 25 good looking crowns, trimmed them up, and found homes for them all in about 15 minutes. Fall Gold is by far my favorite variety of raspberry, and because 1/2 pints of them in the store can run $6!!! (and are often picked underripe), they are a high-value crop and worth growing in the home garden. They also produce a crop in early summer and another from August all the way through into October.
This time of year, if you order herbaceous plants from Parkrose Permaculture, they will be heading toward dormancy (the perfect time to plant them). I trim the leaves off to reduce transplant stress, but herbaceous plants, by definition, will die all the way to the ground. When planting in your garden, be sure to mark the spot with a stake so you don’t lose track of where it was planted.
We still have horseradish crowns available for $2 each, by the way. Horseradish is extremely easy to grow and thrives on neglect. And homemade horseradish is soooo much better than store-bought. It takes only about ten minutes to make, including digging up the roots.
Another example of what plants look like right now. The top photo is costmary in my garden (a lush, low-growing herb that is extremely fragrant, smelling like balsam and mint blended together, with subtle undertones of bergamot and sage). Very shortly, it will be dying back to the ground, as nights continue to drop in temperature. If you order costmary right now, it will be trimmed for transplanting, and while it won’t produce new vegetative growth over the winter, it will be developing a strong root system underground, and come up strong in the spring.
Comfrey is an invaluable herb in the garden. It is traditionally called “Knitbone” and is used in poultices and salves to treat broken bones and the like. But comfrey is also a versatile, extremely useful plant in the context of permaculture. Its lovely purple flowers are superb bee food, and the leaves make excellent duck and hoofstock fodder. I plant comfrey at the base of all my fruit trees, where its deep taproot will help break up the dense clay soil and its leaves will make nutrient-rich mulch. I also use it to make a very stinky, but very potent tea fertilizer for everything in the garden.
Right now, I have comfrey crown cuttings available, and in the spring will have full plants. If there is one non-fruit or veggie plant to have in your garden, this is the plant. And all of our comfrey is sterile Russian Bocking Comfrey, so it will not set seed or get out of control.
If you place an order with us right now, your plants might look much like this – bareroot shrubs and vines, and potted plants losing leaves in preparation for winter. But autumn is a really good time to transplant perennials. As I mentioned above, while not much is going on above ground, during the mild PNW winter, fall-planted specimens are establishing healthy, vigorous root systems, which will result in strong new growth first thing in the spring.
A quick final note – all of our orders come with freebies – be it extra herbs starts, or a few packets of flower seeds, or a little box of fruit from our orchard. Some of our orders this week were delivered with fresh Negronne figs (see above box of plants). I wanted to include a picture of them, because I’ve been eating them every day with lunch, and they are fantastic – like strawberry and honey with a hint of caramel. If you have room for one fig tree, let it be this variety (which is naturally quite dwarf, topping out at 8 ft).
Our next plant sale will be in the spring, when we will have red currants, rhubarb, herbs of all kinds, elderberries, figs, and more. If you’re searching for perennial plants of any type in the meantime, especially those used in permaculture, I probably have them. Send me an email at ParkrosePermaculture@gmail.com with any inquiries, and I can try to fill your order.
Our weekend is full of roller derby and more roller derby, so I’ll be back early next week with a new post. Blessings on your weekend!