Starting from Scratch
(Melbourne, Victoria. Australia)
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
This is not so much a question as a simple request for advice.
I have just moved to Melbourne Victoria Australia, and am basically looking at a small yard, a dog, a cat and two young children.
There were 14 Silver Sheen Privacy plants I have removed 6 and will remove the next 6 to make way for an edible garden. (Am keeping 2 as there is a bird nesting in one and the other provide cover for it)
1 Shovel down is fairly good quality grey clay, pity I am neither a potter nor know a local potter. I have now started planting with the dubious help of my children. I have planted a Blackcurrant, a dwarf Pink Lady Apple Tree and a Black self pollenating dwarf Cherry Tree. Which replaces about 4 of the 6 Silver Sheen plants. Now I am trying to work out the companion plants for these trees, especially the Blackcurrant. I not only want plants to optimise fruit yield, but those with benefits for the plant including the enticing of beneficial bugs and the repellence of the nasty bugs and illness. I am a bit over my head on this to say the least. Due to the kids the less thorns the better, and for the adults the more vegies, herbs edibles the better. For the pets nothing poisonous please.
Thanks for this.
Have been doing research and though the idea of permaculture is one I love, still getting my head around it due to limited practice and exposure to it.
So once more thank for any and all help
Hi, Liz --
Ah, the pleasure of gardening with children! My husband and I used to say that they "helped us ... take twice as long!" ;)
But enjoy their "help" ... this is where they will learn to either love or hate gardening, depending on how you approach it. So try not to scold them when you're in the garden unless they are doing something truly harmful to your plants or dangerous to themselves.
Now, about your trees ... the black currant won't get very tall, if I remember correctly (we have what they call "buffalo currant" here in Oklahoma - we have red clay here! - and it gets maybe 4 feet/1.5 meters tall), so if you are trying to create a privacy hedge, you may want to plant some of your dwarf trees behind them so that the hedge covers eye level.
Also, currants propagate by way of runners, so they can become invasive if you're not careful to dig up plants that stray out of where you want them. A barrier going down 2-3 feet/0.5-1 meter may help stop them.
If you're looking for a good companion for a fruit tree (and you like the taste) then horseradish (Armoracia rusticana or Cochlearia armoracia) is an excellent one. It repels pests that target fruit trees, and it likes shade (plus the foliage and flowers are very pretty).
Of course, any of the ground cover or low shrub shade plants would be wonderful around your fruit trees. Alliums such as garlic and onions are particularly good at repelling pests.
I hope this helps. Please ask further questions on this subject in the comment section below, or you're welcome to ask a different question by creating a new page.
Anyone have any other suggestions for Liz?