permaculture of the ditch

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at
Wed Aug 11 15:00:56 EDT 2010

On 8/11/10 2:19 PM, Green Singer wrote:
> I didn't realize there were other folks on the list from Varna--hi! I
> live on Freese Rd., next to the 'abandoned' blue house next to the slag
> heap on the corner.

Great!  The slag heap's gotten a little smaller, but not enough. 
Varna's also a place with some amazing gardens, though many are in the 
backs of properties that are long and thin.

> I've noticed a large amount of coltsfoot doing well

Coltsfoot is an excellent idea.  It flowers way before the mowers come, 
and doesn't seem to mind getting run over.  There's a fair amount under 
the F.H. Fox bridge on 366, and I have lots of it on my property.

> under the situation you described, as well as daylilies.

There are lots of daylilies.  The problem they have is the mowing.  Once 
they get mowed, they seem to disappear for the year.

> If you've
> already got elder, you probably have a fair amount of water, and so
> irises and Joe Pye weed should do well, along with other shady/swampy
> plants.

I have Joe Pye weed next to the driveway, again, just up from the 
mowing.  It's survived when I've mowed it in the past, but stops being 
interesting quickly.  Irises might be fun too.

> With a little forethought, you could probably have the area
> flowering year-round.

I'm working on that for the hillside above the ditch.  Even if it's not 
flowering per se, I think I can safely make it a more interesting "132' 
of frontage" than it is now.

 > Are there any other functions you'd like to fill
> with the space (privacy/noise screen, wildlife/animal fodder,
> discouraging litter with sharp pointy things, etc.)?

The main one is really making it interesting for pedestrian passerby and 
drivers too.

I'd rather discourage animals, as drawing them near the road seems to 
create unhappy stories for all.  We like the view across the road 
(Cornell Plantations land), so I'm not really looking for screening. 
Litter, so far as I can tell, comes from the cars, not the pedestrians, 
so sharp pointy things aren't much use unless they can affect vehicles 
moving at 45mph and higher.

As noted before, I'm not very comfortable growing food here - there's 
just too much unpleasant stuff coming off the road, and has been since 
long before I got here.  It's been a travel corridor for a thousand 
years or more and an active road for over 210.

Simon St.Laurent

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