• Wolfy

Permaculture Gardening and Landscaping: Using Stumps to Grow Native Food

Updated: Aug 11, 2019


On a recent Orcas Island project, we found an opportunity to grow food and restore PNW natives without deer fencing. For those of you with property that has a history of logging, you may find old, rotted conifer stumps shoulder height or greater. These are natural "planters" for Red Huckleberry, among other species, like salal, in the forests of the PNW that deer can't reach. Rotting stumps act as a sponge, storing rainwater that is critical for huckleberry survival in summer's drought. The rotting conifer wood also provides an acidic environment, fertilizer, and growing medium for red huckleberries. As far as orientation, red huckleberry can grow and crop in partial shade, but do much better in full sun. And, though the stump is a sponge, establishment irrigation is highly recommended. Now, we soil prepped stumps by amending with old sawdust mixed with soil, and then mulched the stump with wood chips to lock moisture. Since some of the stumps on our project are remote; they can't be on a larger irrigation system. There are options you can explore for "off-grid" irrigation, and we'll discuss those another time. You can use the deer safe planter for other species, but red huckleberry are beautiful, tasty and belong here in our local ecology. 


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