Back in the mid 90s, researchers proposed a new way of planting trees that involved digging a wide, shallow, saucer-shaped planting hole that measured five times the diameter of the tree’s root ball. The idea was that roots would grow more rapidly in the monstrous planting hole, thereby enabling the tree to become established faster. Lots of so-called experts immediately jumped on the bandwagon and praised it as the most important revelation in tree planting since the invention of the shovel. But the question is, Does it really work?
For me, the 2017 gardening season officially began last Sunday. I planted potatoes and onions. I pruned some fruit trees, a few Japanese maples, and several shrubs. I spread five bales of straw in the paths of my veggie gardens. I tidied up my ornamental beds in preparation for planting. And I raked and composted well over a dozen trash cans full of leaves. Then, just as the sun was setting, I sat on the porch with a beverage and admired my accomplishments. (Full disclosure: Later that evening I also took two tabs of Aleve PM.)
Years ago it was called edible landscaping. Now it’s termed foodscaping, and basically it refers to the practice of planting edibles in and among ornamentals. It’s great for folks who don’t want to maintain a traditional veggie or herb garden, but love the idea of growing and harvesting fresh produce. And here are some suggestions for putting the practice into practice.
Not every bird is lucky enough to find a warm, cozy spot when the weather turns foul. Even those that do find shelter still need food and water to survive. And there’s a genuine payoff for gardeners who tend to their flock: The birds will call your garden home and eat everything from weed seeds to pesky plant pests.
Here in our neck of the woods, we have dozens of great trees to choose from, both deciduous and evergreen. But there are three in particular that are as close to foolproof as you can get because they tolerate an incredibly wide range of soil conditions, are relatively pest and disease free, and are tough as nails. Oh and on top of all that, they’re beautiful.