Eat what you grow: Sustainable Gardening & Biodiversity

In the process of designing our landscape and more specifically our garden and Orchard we are thinking hard about sustainability and biodiversity:   plants that will last and will not require an excessive amount of energy and water and water features and vegetation that will provide food and shelter for a variety of animals and insects.  All these things create an environment that will support and maintain the vitality of the garden and the surrounding landscape.  We got a plant delivery this morning for the rear garden and orchard.

 The original Orchard consisted of about a dozen citrus, Valencia oranges, Eureka lemon and Satsuma tangerine.  We are adding two Meyer lemon, a yummy sweet juicy lemon and a Bearss lime.  There are also acres of avocados in this area so we are planting two Haas avocado as well.  Its important to note that all of the fruit trees are inspected and receive a stamp issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture prior to being transported and delivered.  The last thing you want is some crazy little bug eating your beautiful fruit trees.

For the rear garden area we have begun to work on the "bones" of the vegetable garden with the construction of six raised rock planters.  These will alternate with vegetables and ornamental plants depending on the season.  The center area is reserved for four apple trees, Anna, Dorsett Gold and Fuji that will be bordered by a grape vine "fence".  Two peach trees, Babcock and Mid Pride  will be added at the rear of the vegetable planters.  Much of the hardscape is planned for DG or decomposed granite pathways.  We love the gravel in the drive but it won't work for an area that is a work surface.

All of this planning is aimed at a desire to actually eat what we grow and to enjoy the garden visually from various vantage points around the property.  FYI all of this stone came from the yard!!! Its everywhere you stick a shovel.

And last but not least we have reconstructed the seasonal creek that runs the entire length of the lot.  It got its first use this last few days as we got about 3" of rain.  It worked beautifully and the run off was surprisingly clean and clear.  The Arroyo or creek will also be lightly planted with ground cover and succulents to soften the edges and provide shelter for the birds that use the creek for their daily bath.
Here's the Arroyo yesterday in the midst of a down pour.  It starts to run pretty rapidly, all the more reason to keep it clean.  All this water eventually ends up in the Pacific.  We are actually working on plans for water storage from this run off because we could probably water most of the summer with reclaimed water if we had the capacity to store it.
There are two excellent articles in Fine Gardening this month on biodiversity and sustasinable gardening, both worth reading.

Enjoy the weekend~*~kelley
  1. What an amazing garden you are creating.
    I love how you used the stones from the property. Your orchard sounds divine. Can't wait to see what comes next!


  2. I love to read your garden posts! More please! LOL


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