Saturday, February 24, 2007

Vandal-Proof Edible Hedge

My sister Steph and I moved most of a huge pile of couch grass roots on the allotment to a heap where we can cover them in light-proof sheets whilst they rot down for a year or two. We also planted three gooseberry bushes she brought us as a present.

Our plot runs along part of the fence which surrounds the allotments, so we are especially vulnerable to vandals. What is worse, the fence at this point is lower than elsewhere, so it is a favourite point for access. I have begun to plant a hedge of thorny bushes alongside the fence - blackberries, hawthorn, loganberries, and gooseberries. I'd like to add holly, roses and blackthorn. When mature this should be a vandal-proof barrier, and also provide food for us and habitat for native birds (who will in turn reduce the population of slugs, snails and caterpillars). If it gets thick enough it will stop passers-by on the footpath from even seeing into the allotments. I like chatting to the friendly people who go past and it would be a shame to cut ourselves off from them, but I think if the local toe-rags can't see what's on the other side of the hedge it will remove the temptation to break in and set fire to the sheds etc.

11 comments:

TheBuddingVeggieGrower said...

Sounds like a very sensible idea to create your own boundary as a deterrent to unwanted visitors.

An (unfortunately inedible) fantastic security hedging shrub is Berberis julianae which has the most incredibly spiky edged leaves, which would most certainly put off the most determined intruders!

dibnah said...

Fantastic permaculture design Mel, it ticks all the boxes. All you need now are landmine onions and anti-tank parsnips!!:)

Melanie Rimmer said...

Is that what permaculture means then? Do you know, I have read books on it and never really felt I grasped what the term actually meant.

Love the idea of landmine onions and anti-tank parsnips. I always felt there was potential for garden-line tripwires and man traps made of bean and pea netting. Just the thing for a guerilla gardener.

Hedgewizard said...

Go for it Mel - don't forget the other layers of the hedge though, as there's plenty of room under those shrubs for more useful plants!

May I counsel you against blackberries? They'll spread by runners and you'll be trying to keep your hedge in position for the rest of time.

Melanie Rimmer said...

The blackberries are already in, Hedgie. I wouldn't have chosen them as there are plenty of blackberries to be had for free on the hedgerows, and I spend quite a bit of time ripping exploratory bramble runners out of the garden, so I see no need to cultivate them. But when I asked fellow allotmenteers for cuttings of thorny plants, blackberries is what I got. They are thorny and I like the taste of them and they're free so I'll just be grateful and see how it goes. If they drive me demented I can always grub them up later.

Hedgewizard said...

Righto then - draw the battle lines now! You'll need a buffer zone (say 30cm) that you can happily chop into, dig over, mulch on top of, whatever; if the light's good you can still use it for catch crops like radish and spring onions from time to time, but don't rely on anything shading blackberry out because it doesn't happen!

John Curtin said...

I knew a Norfolk allotmenteer who planted a blackberry headge around his plot. Problems stopped and he also got a great crop.

Jenna said...

I've been diving into your site off and on this weekend and this was one of many that caught my eye! My family has always used the subtle approach when it came to home protection. My father, a retired Marine, has always insisted that security signs and ads for alarm companies just encourages burglers. After all, you must have some good stuff if you are paying someone else to watch. (There is also the fact most caught thieves will go for a moral grey area by defending the idea that the people they are robbing must be insured, so its a victemless crime!)

Every home I've lived in has had climbing THORNY rose bushes around the bedroom windows - the added bonus of open windows with rose scented air wafting in is a big plus. The rose wine and jam is pretty handy too! Blackberries, hawthorn, even cactuses in the southwest have protected us.

Never been robbed... course, at least one beau did do a bit of damage to his trousery region in an attempt to climb the drawbridge. - My father being a pretty effective dragon at the moat. So bonus there for parents of teenage girls!

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