With all the projects I took on this summer, I didn't have as much time as I would have liked for playing in the old orchard. I weeded the area, laid down mulch for paths, and planted what, for the most part, I had on hand. Considering the amount of effort I (didn't) put into the project, I'm a bit surprised and pleased at the results.
|Apple Guild spring of 2011.|
|Apple Guild fall of 2011.|
|Nasturtium's, lemon balm, yarrow|
The recipe I found for these capers is combine and refrigerate in a glass jar: one quart white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons pickling salt, 1 thinly sliced onion, 1/2 teaspoon each allspice, mace and celery seed, 3 peppercorns, and nasturtium seeds (or buds) fresh from the garden. Drop the seeds into the jar as they become available. The recipe didn't say how long to let them meld before use, so you can taste one now and then to see how they're doing. They have a peppery flavor that goes well with chicken, fish, in salads and well, experiment to find what tickles your tastebuds.
There aren't too many other plant varieties in the guild as yet: a few rhubarb to provide mulch; chives as a rabbit deterrent; hardy kiwi which is going to require a support to grow on; comfrey to act as a barrier to grasses. I'll believe that when I witness it! I'm sure I'm not remembering everything. I know there's some poke weed that I haven't pulled. It's one of the plants that will draw nutrients from deep down, but there's so much poke week around here that I'm trying to get rid of the stuff, not cultivate it. Yes, the very young shoots are edible, but I've never been hungry enough or adventurous enough to risk eating them. Mother's wort is another problem weed, even if I do find it listed as an herb. Even the chickens won't touch this plant so it must be hand-pulled.
Several times during the summer, I've rubbed or cut off some of the new growth on all the trees. If I didn't do this, I'd have something out there resembling green-haired monsters, there has been so much rejuvenation. But I won't do this any more until spring since my references say that pruning in the fall is generally a really bad idea. Spring will also be the time for finding more plants to round out my guild. I have bee balm and St. John's wort growing elsewhere. Perhaps they'll be moving next year, along with anything else that looks promising.