When we first planted fruit trees inside the loop of our driveway our only concern was the spacing of the plants to ensure that each tree would not interfere with each other or the driveway itself.
Now we have installed swales through this area and are designing for it to become a food forest, or forest garden.
However, non-native grasses have encroached on our fruit trees and now we have to try and take that space back over before the grasses begin growing again in the next month or so.
Since this area is at the base of our fruit trees it seems reasonable to take up the space with a nitrogen fixing ground cover.
As the system matures we hope to fill this space with a perennial solution. For now, time is of the essence. Because of that I am turning to an annual plant for a hopeful gap-fix.
The plant of choice is Little Marvel Pea. It is a variety that I have previously attempted to trellis, but it would not climb high at all. Sometimes marketed as a bushing variety, though I tend to disagree. In my experience it is not self-supporting, but rather simply not a tall climber.
However, it produces a tremendous amount of pods with very sweet peas that I enjoy fresh out of the pod. However, they store and cook well also.
Some peas will undoubtedly try to climb the trees and that is okay. However, the primary hope is that the mass of the vines will provide the covering we need to block the light for the grass.
Being realistic, I don’t expect to block out the grass completely. After all, this is the same grass that breaks through cardboard to find light. However, I do hope to “keep it at bay” and slowly take away this space from the grass.
Time, as always, will tell.
I am using an inoculate to help boost the peas towards production. I am also planting them with a good amount of our own compost all in hopes to fix a significant amount of nitrogen around these trees, from very near the trunk all the way out to their drip lines.
What do you do to take up the space that non-native grasses want to occupy so badly that heavy mulching doesn’t even seem to help. Leave your ideas and links down below in the comments.