This blog is supported by affiliate ads. When you click on an ad and purchase a product, I get a small commission on the sale. This does not increase the price of the product for you at all. You are not obligated to purchase from ads to read on this blog. Thank you for your support.

Progress and Fall Plans for the Courtyard Garden

As you may recall, the courtyard garden did not live up to expectations for my original plans, so I've rethought it and decided to turn it into a permaculture "food forest" type garden. Of course, it will be very limited in its scope, due to its size, but I've already made a lot of progress. The west side, which looked like this when I moved in... looks like this. The banana is over ten feet tall and has two large pups. I planted a pigeon pea next to it which I use for biomass and it seems to be working for nitrogen fixing, don't you think? I discovered that the elephant ear is edible, so I'm letting the little sprouts, which come up everywhere, live and eating their small leaves, also letting them grow to provide shade, which is sorely lacking in the courtyard. I also have basil, ginger and albemoschus manihot growing there, and I've just planted some sweet potato slips to become next year's ground cover.

The South wall now has taro, amaranth, butterfly weed, Ceylon spinach, Seminole pumpkin and sweet potato slips planted, but it's also a work in progress which will be my spring project, and too ugly to post pictures of at this point.

For fall, I want to work on the east side of the garden, the shadier side. This is where I want to plant my greens. It's a mess right now...

...and I was using it for a holding and potting area, but all that is going to go, and I'll start using it for planting. I already have the shampoo ginger growing there, which I will never get rid of since it's grown up under the wall, so I'm just going to keep cutting that back and use it for biomass, since it has no food value and I'm not interested in using it for shampoo. I already have the angled luffa growing in the corner, where all the gravel is, and while it's growing well, I've yet to see any fruit, so that may come down and be used for biomass too.

I'll be digging out and amending the soil for planting. I'll dig in as much organic matter as I can find, although I'll be limited by budget and availability until the leaves start falling. I plan to use kitchen scraps as direct compost in the beginning. I'll also be planting a few pigeon peas there for eventual shade, nitrogen fixing and biomass. I'm not sure if that side has earthworms, but if not, I'll move them from the other gardens into this one when I add the fall leaves.

I'll string some wire across the top of the wall and tie strings to it for beans to climb. Underneath, I'll plant spinach, collards, onions, and kohlrabi. I thought about seven-top turnips, but I really like collards more. In the very front, I'll plant my lettuces and carrots. Not too sure what to plant as ground cover right now, but I've had some suggestions from the permaculture sub on reddit that I'm looking at. I might use winter squash, even though there probably isn't enough sun there for them to bear, but we'll see. I can also just let beans run across the ground instead of staking them.

Eventually, I would like to put a gutter garden on the wall for the lettuce, or tower gardens. Like I said, it's all an experiment right now.

So that's the plan so far in this experimental permaculture food forest. I'd be happy to hear your suggestions in the comments.

Happy Gardening!