Friday, June 5, 2009

Guest Post: Crazy Joe - Landscaping For Survival

Well the spring of 2009 has sprung and the garden centers I have visited do not seem to be hurting for sales. I have a Bachelors Degree in Grounds and Nursery Management with a core interest in horticulture, botany and landscape architecture. I am also a certified "Master Gardener" in the state of NJ. I have worked for 2 friends who owned lawn and landscaping businesses. I worked for a friend who owned a shrub and tree farm. I did my own lawn/landscaping business for a few years. I still do this part time. My suit and tie job in a casino (Atlantic City N.J.) did not compare to being outside getting dirty while planting trees, shrubs and flowers. I did my own lawn business in the mornings before going to work swing shift in the casino. It was very relaxing and prepped me for the next idiotic 8 hours of gamblers. Nothing like the satisfaction of finishing this kind of work and stepping back to view the final product. A well designed and well planted flower garden and landscaping around any property does more than enhance its value. Those of us who love being down in the earth and watching things grow to maturity have that special bond only a gardener knows.

For the past 30 years I have explained over and over again to all of my friends and customers to do more than flowers and landscaping - DO THE VEGETABLE GARDEN! I would get the usual excuses not to do it with "do not have the time" as the most common. Many have done it from the get go and after time there have been others who finally got around to it for all the right reasons - Thanks to those wives who have more sense then their grunt husbands. The other BIG THING I PREACH has been PLANT FRUIT TREES and FRUIT BEARING BUSHES!!! Not one that I know of has listened - friends and customers alike. I have plenty of friends and a very large network you folks wish you had and not a one has done it. Many of them live on a few acres to many, many acres of good land. They all love fruit. Who has the time to plant 3, 4 or 10 or 20 fruit trees then you have to prune them once a year and spraying for disease and insects and the time and the time and the time. So it goes that none have the time. Some have argued for 30 years now that the nukes could come anytime so why do it. Gee I have not seen any. Now there are some guys who have planted some apple trees but with baiting deer in mind - not for canning or fresh apple pie. And for the record a good many of these folks, some will deny it (especially in front of their children), were totally into the whole Hippie thing, back to earth, one with nature crap, live off the land, etc. just as I was - with my rifle though. The biggest reason is why can? Why go through the process of buying dozens of mason jars - all that work. While supermarkets exist plenty of Del Monte and Mott’s. I have been told after the big UH OH! There will be plenty of stuff growing on it’s on. Plenty of vacated homes with goods left behind. I believe there is no time like the present. If I live 25 more years and there is never a reason to bug out then all those peaches, raspberries, blueberries, apricots, pears, etc. I would miss out on if I had their attitude on this topic. So my peach, cherry and pear trees are doing well now and more fruit types to come.

Fruit trees come in 3 sizes - dwarf to 7 feet, semi dwarf to about 12 to 15 and standard up to 25 feet. No one in suburbia can tell me they do not have room for 2 to 4 dwarf or semi dwarf fruit trees. If EVERY homeowner in this country just planted 2 semi dwarf fruit trees - just imagine that much fruit being produced. I am using 24 blueberry bushes in landscaping one of my properties. These can go from 4 feet to 6 feet in height depending on variety and do nice red and orange foliage in the fall. The whole fruit tree and fruit bush thing should seem common sense but when people find out about the care required it turns them off. It is not that hard, only requires some basic knowledge and the rewards you realize already.

The other thing I have preached over the years has been landscaping around your house with security in mind. Now this has been accepted and embraced by friends and customers - thank God they listen to me sometimes. I do not remember the exact statistic but homes that have THORNY shrubs and thorny flowering bushes under the windows (large clusters) versus those that rarely get break into. Thieves do not like pain number one and number two if the home is not easy access move on to another. Thorny bushes and shrubs also come in 3 sizes - small, medium and large. There are also those that send out long runners and will climb up a trellis or along a row of wires. Well nothing has happened that would cause us to “bug out“ these past 35 years but local crime has been and will continue to be real. If you are not the gardening type then choose a well known and reputable landscaper when FORTIFYING your home with nature's own defense fence. Don't like flowers?? Roses are not the only plants with thorns. There are quite a few that have no flowers - some will produce small berries though. Does all this cost money? Yes. Are some of you without extra income? Sorry I’m not. So a little at a time. Review your home and figure out where it would go and how much is needed. Every county in America has an Agriculture Agent - even New York City has its botanical garden and info service. Look into the "MASTER GARDENER" program which is offered around the USA. You can talk to a rep on the phone for free in counties where phone help is offered. There is a wealth of info - just type in the search window of your computer. Learning to do it yourself will save the landscapers fee. Many vocational schools and county colleges around the USA offer courses and some have only a nominal fee. If you are one of those that thinks the nukes or asteroids will be here in the next 2 months or so then none of this information will interest you. If they come so what. If they do not it may be urbanites or thieves - a more realistic threat and on going. I have a wall of indigenous wild thorn bushes running along the back of my property. It is about 100 feet long, 12 feet wide and about 7 feet high. Deer cannot get through it or over it. That is the real test. Landscaping for survival will provide great visual enjoyment, spiced apple rings and a line of defense against man and beast.

-Crazy Joe

-Flea: "Thanks Crazy Joe!"

...that is all.

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  1. Amen, Crazy Joe! It's an added bonus when you can landscape with edible plants. Blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry bushes can be trained into a nice hedgerow. Lots of veggies - peas, beans, squash, cukes, melons - can be grown up a trellis, too.

    Food insurance aka tree crops
    [Practical Survival magazine Feb-Mar issue 1992]
    Food Insurance by Harmon Seaver

    excerpt Can these trees, shrubs and hardy perennials really produce enough feedstock in small-area plantings to provide true alternative resources? Well, here's what Earle Barnhart said in Tree Crops, an article published in the Journal of The New Alchemists: "Tree crops can match row crops in both protein and carbohydrate yield per acre. Modern hybrid-grain crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans only outproduce tree crops such as Persian Walnut, filberts, Chinese chestnuts, honey locust and black walnut if they are highly subsidized with fossil-fuel inputs such as pest protection, weed removal, nutrient enrichment and constant, adequate water."... "large fields benefit from being sheltered; the approximate 5% used for windbreaks is well-compensated by higher productivity from the remainder. Tree products such as acorns and honey-locust pods can match corn and oats pound-for-pound as winter feed supplements for livestock." Or us.

  3. What is the name of those bushes? I'd be interested in knowing if they would grow around here.

    Sorry if this posts twice but the cannot access bug bit when I clicked post.

  4. The big enemy of home gardens in our area is the pi$$ poor water quality we have in our area. Water will hardly sustain ANY life, just keeps green stuff alive. Any amount of rain will perk up very quickly, its real apparent its the water quaility. Using rain barrels to use the water from the roof would be smart, just for the use of water plants alone.

    At least, thats how it is in deep south Texas. Totally agree with edible landscaping concept - if you have to feed it, might as well pay you back.

  5. Something I noticed from many of the old abandoned farms in New England that have turned back into forest is that the farmers would plant apple trees on parts of their land that were too marginal to grow crops or raise livestock. Many of these old apple trees are still holding on, even though surrounded by 50-yrs of forest growth.

  6. Very good information and enjoyable post! Thank you!

  7. Stephanie,

    Joe is good about responding to comments and I am sure he will have your answer shortly.


    Good post bro people liked it!

  8. FOR STEPHANIE and any others who want the defense fence - I am in south jersey and have salt air to deal with but a nice sandy loam for soil and plenty of water . I am a big supporter of going indigenous when it comes to thorny plants or trees or at least buying those plants already known to do well in your part of the country . It cracks me up when people move to arizona and want something from new england or the midwest. Since when do maples and lilacs do well in the desert .they have cactus .. use what grows there . Since you are in Arkansas check out the horticulture department with the Razor Backs ! ! ! great school and any local county college your area . now if you are up Mena way the plant species will differ from south eastern Ark . Local indigenous plants are that for a reason ..... it is there home ... to many people shop from catalogs and order stuff that will not do well or adapt ...... plant for freedom ! ! ! ! CRAZY JOE

  9. Plant spanish bayonetts under windows to prevent intruders attempting to come through windows. These are sharp, pointed and will deter even the most ambitious intruders. Put trellises in front of windows and train roses and other vines to grow up the trellis. The point is to either slow them down or completely bypass your house

  10. After reading this article I encouraged to do the vegetable garden starts this 2013. But I want to have a ranch and a livestock supplements in the future.