Forest Garden Year 3

Wow, I ended up going the whole summer and deep into winter without updating this blog! Apologies to those who might have been regular readers, or at least as regular as can be given the infrequency with which I check in here. I have, however, been producing my podcast pretty consistently. You can click on the link/banner thingy to the right of this page if you’re interested in listening to that.

We’ve been receiving an extraordinary amount of snow this winter, and being cooped up in the house has had a few effects. First of all, I’m worried about all the damage the snow is doing to my young forest garden. I’ve also started to yearn for warmer days, or at least warm enough to melt the snow and allow me to work on some of the infrastructure projects that I have in mind. Going through my garden pictures from over the summer has really intensified that feeling. But all the idle time means I have finally gotten around to doing a yearly update of garden progress. I’m three years in to my forest garden project now, and a lot of the trees and other plantings are really starting to fill in. Although I always end up finding more plants to cram into the garden, I think at this point that all of my major canopy plantings are in the ground. I’d like to give everything else a year or two to establish itself and then see where I might have room for more. But as I said, that is probably wishful thinking since my eyes always light up when I find something new (or at least heavily discounted) at the home center.

So here are a bunch of pictures in no particular order, with varying degrees of explanation.

Here’s and overview of the garden from my neighbor’s yard.


In the garden.


This is the front corner of the garden, where my small pond is located.


The side yard.


Echinacea in full bloom.


Loquat, surround by several colors of yarrow, among other things.


Bee balm, the coolest looking and best smelling flower in my garden.


The ‘pond,’ after some rain, which is the only time it has water. The cattails have taken marvelously.


A beautiful, edible, green mess.


A guild built around a pear tree. Clover, creeping thyme, bill berry, an assortment of flowers and some other things that I can’t remember at the moment.


The chickens are all doing well, albeit not getting much free ranging time since we’re buried under several feet of snow. This is from early summer, when they weren’t laying eggs yet. They’re all a bit bigger now, and laying pretty much every day despite the dark winter months.


I expanded their run back in the fall, and I’m glad I did considering how much time the hens have to spend in there over the winter.


Fast forward a few months…


This is the most snow we’ve received in Ishikawa (and the Hokuriku region in general) in about 30 years. It’s beautiful, but causing quite a bit of chaos in my garden and with life in general. We’ve had a bit of thaw, and as the snow melts it’s uncovering a lot of damage to my young trees. I’m trying not to worry about it too much since there’s nothing I can do about it at the moment. Hopefully nothing is beyond repair come springtime.


As I mentioned, I’ve got a few projects in mind once the snow melts. I need to do some fence repairs, since a section fell down due to rot. I also want to make some proper raised vegetable beds. The driftwood that I originally used is beginning to rot, so I want to use something that will last a bit longer and can be made a bit more chicken proof, since they eat everything green in sight. I’m also thinking of doing something with my lawn around the fire pit — some kind of patio, and possibly replacing the rest of the lawn with a durable ground cover. I’ll write about these projects in more detail once I’m actually doing them.

Until then…stay warm. (And listen to my podcast!)