permaculture of the ditch

joel gagnon joelpgagnon at
Thu Aug 12 10:59:10 EDT 2010

Wild roses show well from the road and are incredibly tough once established. Stoloniferous, they spread naturally. Unlike multiflora roses, the thorns are not hooked, so they don't grab you, and they only grow 3-4 feet tall. The only problem I have had with them is that the deer and rabbits like them as well. The rabbitrs chew them up pretty badly in the winter, which reduces the bloom -- which is on the old wood. The deer browse the foliage and flowers if you have heavy deer pressure. They can be discouraged using pepper spray or even strips of dryer sheet (they dislike the smell even more than I do). 

Mallos seed in and recur well (Malva species). Pink or white. The wild types don't seem to attract deer and rabbits like the garden varieties.

 Birdsfoot trefoil is nice in the gravely disturbed areas near the road edge. I really enjoy their bright yellow flowers in season (May-June).

Many of the mints would grow well there, although they are not very showy. Smell nice when mowed though!


> Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2010 13:31:21 -0400
> From: simonstl at
> To: fingerlakespermaculture at
> Subject: Re: permaculture of the ditch
> On 8/11/10 10:21 AM, joel gagnon wrote:
> > What direction does the slope face? Even if it has no overhead shade,
> > the direction it faces will make a considerable difference in what
> > plants would be happy there.
> The overall edge faces north (of course) and a little west.
> It's largely partial shade because the road cut is so wide, though there 
> are trees on both sides of the road.
> Every road's a litle different, but the road itself creates at least 
> some light.  The other common challenges are likely:
> * rockiness (side effects of paving)
> * salt and other pollutants
> * litter
> * government mowing, possible herbicides, ditch scraping
> * water, coming off the road and settling in the ditch (when there is one)
> All of these are difficult!
> -- 
> Simon St.Laurent
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