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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:43 pm 
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We moved almost four years ago to a new homestead, an almost blank slate with a small house, a few outbuildings, a very few trees, and not much else. It's still a work in progress, but we've made a lot of progress. My goal is to have the place to a point where it can sustain us long term if TSHTF (and in our retirement years).

This post is about creating useful fencerows that serve many purposes:
- security, keeping unwanted creatures and zombies out
- safety, keeping livestock, pets, and children in and off the road
- food, producing fruits and nuts
- beauty, getting great joy from what you have created, and even getting compliments from neighbors
- windbreaks, slowing that howling winter wind
- habitat, creating places for wildlife, pollinators, and beneficial insects

It is completely fenced and cross-fenced now. We've done all of the work as a middle aged couple. If we can do it, you can do it. I'm planting things on our fences to make them difficult to climb, and also pretty, and even the fence rows produce! Pretty? Yes, I am a gardener and who wants ugly if you can have pretty AND useful?

We have climbing roses chosen for repeat blooming, disease hardiness, winter hardiness, thorniness, AND really good hip production. I chose varieties from the Canadian Explorer series for many of the roses and have had excellent luck with them in our midwestern USA location. Rose hips are not widely utilized, but ought to be. We will never, ever lack for Vitamin C. These cover the fence along the road, across the entire front of our property. People stop me in town to tell me how beautiful they are. The roses create an incredibly beautiful show, yet they are also a formidable defensive barrier against zombies. They also keep even our daughter's jumping crazy dog IN our yard - this dog can easily clear a 6 foot fence, but you add thorny roses that go on up another couple feet, and even our jumping champ cannot escape - she remains safely in the yard, so she isn't out on the road. :clap:

I have also planted maypops (hardy Passion flowers) along another fence, for their beautiful flowers and fruits. Yes, you can grow passion fruits in the Midwest.

The maypops are near a trumpet vine. The trumpet vine provides a dense vine that provides a profusion of blooms, attracting hummingbirds and pollinators. Then I have a section covered in sweet autumn clematis. These clematis draw in bees like few other plants can - they are amazing at feeding many species of bees, from the honeybee to our many species of native bees and wasps. And, of course, bees are needed for fruit. These are a backdrop to our orchard of cherry, Apple, and mulberry trees. I like mulberries ok, but they are not my favorite fruits. We eat some, but many go to feed our chickens, whose run is right under one of the mulberry trees. One thing I like about the mulberry is its fast growth. I planted one seedling coming up on 4 years ago, and it already shades the chicken yard and provides a fair amount of fruit. In the coming years, I expect it will be a BIG producer like the one behind our house when I was a child. I liked it so well that I planted a second seedling 2 years ago, and it is already nearly 8 feet tall.

I have a thicket of everbearing raspberries along another fence. I love these as they give us two crops per year. The first crop is early, on last year's canes. The second crop is later in the season, on this year's canes. They have spread, creating a nice, thorny and fruitful barrier.

Along another fence I planted highbush cranberries and elderberries. Both are BIG shrubs at maturity, and both produce useful fruits. Elderberry jam is heaven sent. And, of course, elderberry is also an amazing herb with many uses, including treating the flu.

I have a hedge of old fashioned lilacs. They are another beauty, but also have other purposes - herbal and, a fast growing windbreak. They will eventually be huge. Already they are taller than me. This spring's show has been spectacular.

Another stretch of fence has blueberries. They were just planted, so it will be awhile before they come into production. They are an amazing superfood, and they are pretty, with flowers, lovely green foliafge, and then a nice pop of color in the fall.

I have planted a number of Eastern redcedars, planted from native seedlings. The wild birds love the berries and poop out seeds in little fertilized packets while they sit on the electric line along our road. This means hundreds of "free" tree seedlings every spring under the power line. I dig them up, grow them out in pots for a year, and transplant once big enough not to step on. They grow fast and provide shelter and winter food for many birds, including the Eastern bluebird, cedar waxwing, and other favorites. They also provide a windbreak in winter.

Another fence has hawthorns, at the entry to our pecan orchard.

And then we have, interspersed, things planted just for variety, such as forsythia, arborvitae, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, etc.

When planting in a pasture, it is a good idea to protect young plantings with an electric fence (hot wire, as we rednecks call them). Solar powered fence chargers are more affordable now and work exceedingly well. Even in places where there is no readily accessible electric power, you can still install an electric fence. They are also handy to move if you need to later.

Also, when planting along a pasture fence, always consider whether a plant will be greedily consumed by the critters. And, remember to check for toxicity. It is one thing to knowingly plant a food source and protect it while young, knowing that at maturity it can provide livestock with emergency food (black willow trees, for example), but another thing to think you could fence in goats with roses (goats LOVE eating roses). So plant things in their appropriate places, and do your research before getting the plants.

Some of our fences have all but disappeared. And, that's the idea. They are still there, acting as a trellis, and a backup barrier. But the living plants take over.

Fencerows are a good way to make multipurpose use of the edges of your property, adding security, food, and beauty to places that might otherwise be underutilized space.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:32 pm 
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Now that Spring is here full force - could you see your way clear to post some images? I'd love to see the cedar trees.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:42 pm 
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Thank you for this post. I heard a podcast similar to this but not as nicely laid out as you have. Def post pics when you can. I'd love to have a fancy set up like this one day...

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:46 pm 
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Apparently I didn't post when I thought I had. damn. Had some questions and other things and totally forgot what they were. Great post thanks for this! If I remember what I was going to as the other day I'll post again.

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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 2:22 pm 
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Thank you. I have a little Facebook page where I post homestead, self-sufficiency stuff relating to plants. I have a number of posts and photos there.

https://www.facebook.com/Myrths-Garden-Homestead-1725499291003688/

It doesn't appear that I can upload my images here. I tried posting a link to a photo of a one year old potted redcedar that is ready to be transplanted to the pasture windbreak. But I got an error message about the link. So, sadly until I can figure out that issue, a link to my page will have to suffice. My page has photos of many of the plants I mentioned in this thread also.

I blinked when I read the comment about having a fancy place! It isn't fancy. It isn't an expensive spread. It is a little ranch house on a bit over 3 acres of land, with some old outbuildings, in a rural area of Illinois, far from the city, and far from high priced real estate. It's also far from high priced jobs, so there's that side to living rural... While I have purchased some seedlings, many are natives or are transplants, cuttings, and layerings from our last homestead, that I potted up and brought with us.

But really, this is a very middle class ... even slightly lower middle class ... set up. One need not be rich to have a place in the country. It is more a lifestyle decision and a course of life decision - where and how do you want to spend your life?

But if you want a homestead lifestyle, great wealth is not required. It isn't fancy. It is a bit of work, though!


Last edited by Cowgirl on Mon May 01, 2017 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 2:35 pm 
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Ou trumpet vines take over like kudzu here in North Texas. I wish there was some food or medicinal value to them.

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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 3:25 pm 
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Zimmy wrote:
Ou trumpet vines take over like kudzu here in North Texas. I wish there was some food or medicinal value to them.


The vines can be aggressive in some locations. As to herbal value, there is some, albeit not extensive. http://naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/c/campsis-radicans=trumpet-vine.php

I love having the trumpet vines because they are a hummingbird magnet. Plus, the vines can quickly turn a plain old fence into a flowering wall. I love hummingbirds - love watching them, love having them around. Also, the hummers eat prodigious numbers of mosquitoes and gnats, so attracting them with nectar and nesting sites entices them to stick around, raise young, and eat thousands upon thousands of biting insects. I also notice the vines attract other pollinators and beneficial insects.

In my area, the trumpet vine is easily controlled, although it is a strong grower. But as with any other plant, in a particular environment it can go from good to bad. If it is terribly invasive in your area, don't plant it!

I avoid growing certain plants here that are simply too invasive. And that brings up a good point. It is wise to familiarize oneself with the plants that are considered invasive species in your area. Most state agricultural extension services have lists of invasive species for your state.


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 3:31 pm 
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Cowgirl wrote:
Thank you. I have a little Facebook page where I post homestead, self-sufficiency stuff relating to plants. I have a number of posts and photos there.

https://www.facebook.com/Myrths-Garden-Homestead-1725499291003688/

It doesn't appear that I can upload my images here. I tried posting a link to a photo of a one year old potted redcedar that is ready to be transplanted to the pasture windbreak. But I got an error message about the link. So, sadly until I can figure out that issue, a link to my page will have to suffice. My page has photos of many of the plants I mentioned in this thread also.


If you right click the image and copy location link then use the Img link that should allow you to post pictures. You can also use a photo sharing service like photobucket (I've been having problems with them) but you have to make sure the photo is under 800pixels, so make sure whatever you use make sure you can edit the size.

but yes its a pain in the backside to upload photos to this forum.

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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 3:50 pm 
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Halfapint wrote:
Cowgirl wrote:
Thank you. I have a little Facebook page where I post homestead, self-sufficiency stuff relating to plants. I have a number of posts and photos there.

https://www.facebook.com/Myrths-Garden-Homestead-1725499291003688/

It doesn't appear that I can upload my images here. I tried posting a link to a photo of a one year old potted redcedar that is ready to be transplanted to the pasture windbreak. But I got an error message about the link. So, sadly until I can figure out that issue, a link to my page will have to suffice. My page has photos of many of the plants I mentioned in this thread also.


If you right click the image and copy location link then use the Img link that should allow you to post pictures. You can also use a photo sharing service like photobucket (I've been having problems with them) but you have to make sure the photo is under 800pixels, so make sure whatever you use make sure you can edit the size.

but yes its a pain in the backside to upload photos to this forum.


Apparently this site doesn't like the size of my photos. I hope it is OK to just link to my page instead, as I don't want to have to redo my photo sizes on their original site.


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