finally a cold grey day here and time to write a few lines..this is the start of busiest time for growers here : Canada, Yukon – about 50 k out of Whitehorse.
Boreal forest at its most challenging for growing food..Zone 2, winter temps below -40 possible ( not quite in recent winters..) semi- arid, barely any soil in this region, rain shadow of a mountain, valley where heavy frost can hit ANY month of year, growing season maybe reaches 70 days in good years..
16 acre lot in rural community- around 1 acre of it living space- for us and the garden- the rest is wild and wildlife...some want to eat our plants..some we encourage to eat those..
we can produce all of our vegetables for the year ( plus some to gift and for wild meat ) in raised beds with mostly annuals and in a coldframe ( did I mention we are off grid too..with minimal power for a couple hours a day..)
we started with perennials at garden borders..berries mostly and then added on..we are now looking at year 3 of a North of 60 food forest..an exciting project with so much to learn, observe and try..
we do include the knowledge we found in – beyond organic, deep ecology , permaculture and agroforestry within both our gardens..and all the growing knowledge our local community of gardeners shared with us out here..hands on, low tec, based on soil health and growing within plant communities and the gardener just being another part of this community of a food forest.
We did clear about 4000 squarefeet for the food forest ( next to app 40 raised beds ) and have now around 70 different kinds of plants, most of them perennial ( with lots of each ) growing in there. Everything from a variety of berry bushes to some fruit trees, various pin cherries , siberian apricots, pembina plums, crap apples and more..
Many trials are currently running on finding Northern guilds...with comfrey, caragana, alfalafa, various ground covers, herbs, mineral and dynamic accumulators – all this is based on permaculture background..while looking for practical, easy and working ways in our microclimate. Many permaculture ideas just make no sense here..but the ethics and ideas of observing , research and design
make sense and seem to work !!!
we are just getting started on a nursery – looking at plants like wild grapes, cold hardy hazelnuts, korean pine and even walnuts..maybe one day ..and propagating from the ones we already have..still a log way to go
In the long run we are looking for ways to grow in this challenging climate without having to go on borrowing ( nicely put...) from other habitats to sustain annuals within this extremely short season.
I am better within face to face community.. but if that sparks anyones interest ...ask away
Agnes and Gertie
Needle Mountain Food Forest
Southern Lakes Area Yukon Canada