For information about our plans for adapting our”urban homestead” to meet the looming challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality, see Gatewood Urban Homestead, the permaculture design for our home.

Rev: 3.0; date: April 21, 2002
Prepared by Robert Waldrop, Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City
This page will be updated weekly during the spring.

Summary | How the Garden Looks Today | List of Varieties | What Didn’t Work | Final note


This is the third year of our project, which is to establish a “forest edge garden” on our urban lot in a working class neighborhood of Oklahoma city, which is about 210′ north south, and 80 feet east west, with a duplex (1600 sq ft), garage, and small house (800 sq ft) on the property. It is on a corner, and has north south and east west sidewalks, plus a double car driveway.

We have 95 varieties of edible or useful plants planted or up and growing, of which 30 are annuals, 3 are self seeding. 65 are perennials or trees.

Besides these plants, there were 31 varieties that we have planted over the last three years but which didn’t sprout, or they died, shriveled, failed to flourish, or didn’t make it through the winter. Out of 126 varieties attempted in the three years, 75% are growing thus far. There are an additional 7 annual crops that are not being planted this year but were grown the first two years, 4 were successful, three were failures two years in a row.

The 96 usefuls and edibles include:

9 varieties of trees
8 varieties of bushes (7 producing berries)
5 varieties of ground covers,
12 varieties of vines and cane fruit, 3 of which are annuals
20 varieties of herbs, 1 is an annual
20 varieties of salads and greens, 16 of which are annuals
7 varieties of vegetables, 5 of which are annuals
6 varieties of root crops, 2 of which are annuals
2 varieties of grain, of which 1 is an annual
6 varieties of flowers, 1 of which is an annual

Most of these plants are multi function. Besides a practical use, they may have others, i.e. bee plants, ground cover herbs, nitrogen fixers, compost, nutrient accumulator.

(And then there’s the bermuda and crab and quack grass which were here when we got here, plus some climbing ivy on the north side of the house.)


How the Garden Looks Today

We have been blessed with abundant rainfall and mild temperatures, so everything is very lush. The following are currently in bloom: crimson clover, purple clover, blackberries, strawberries, perennial kale, turnips, dandelions. The sage and salad burnet have formed buds and are about to open flowers. Note: salad burnet is very hardy, it survived our post 10 degrees F. weather this winter, and stayed green throughout. It didn’t grow any over the winter, but now it is bushing out with new growth.


List of Varieties Presently Established in Our Forest Edge Garden

Note: The trees tend to be planted close to the buildings, eventually also contributing shade in the hot summer, but by that placement also leaving a lot of space between the trees and the 2 streets (our property is on a corner) for “forest edge” planting (these areas will get a lot of light even when the fruit trees are mature, at least that’s the plan). The berries and cane fruits are in that area, the vines are mostly on the house at this time, but are also going to on a little fence that will surround one section. The herbs and salads are in generally full sun areas.

TREES 9 varieties

1 mature pecan tree
1 just planted pecan tree
2 Peach (Elberta semi dwarf)
1 Apricot
2 apple (dwarf Jonathan and Gala semi dwarf)
2 plum (Superior and Toka, semi dwarf)
1 Oklahoma redbud

BUSHES 8 varieties

1 high bush cranberry
1 aronia
2 bush cherries
2 sand plums
18 elderberries
6 Mature mulberries
3 bee balm (monarda)
2 oregon grape bushes,

GROUND COVERS 5 varieties

crimson clover A
purple clover A
white clover A
hairy vetch A

VEGETABLES 6 varieties

4 habenero peppers
Cherokee tomatoes
pumpkin (self seeded from a broken Halloween pumpkin)

ROOT CROPS 6 varieties

walking onions
potato onions
Garlic A
Camas lily
radishes A

GRAIN 2 varieties

Grain amaranth A

FLOWERS 6 varieties

2 Rosa rugosa
1 Rosa erfult
Purple echinacea
Maximilien sunflowers
Self seeding Russian mammoth sunflowers A

VINES AND CANES 12 varieties

1 Cherokee rose
fredonia grape
niagara grape
venus grape
concord grape
4 dewberries
5 blackberries
5 boysenberries
6 clove currants
luffas A
scarlet runner beans A
Passion flower A in this area

GREENS AND SALADS 19 varieties

Salad burnet
Turnips A
Collards A
Perennial kale
a polyculture in two beds of 8 varieties of lettuce, plus dill, swiss chard, radishes, and buckwheat, all annuals
Maybe also self seeded arugula and pak choi, if it comes up (some sprouting noticed 04.21.2002.)
Radiccio A
3 French sorrel (perennial salad green)

HERBS 20 varieties

creeping thyme
common oregano
greek oregano
gotu kola
garlic chives
apple mint
lemon balm
spear mint (or some kind of common mint)
dill (A)
2 horehound
2 chocolate mint (the leaf tasted like one of those chocolate mints you get at a restaurant checkout)
2 lemon mint
3 Roman chamomile
2 horseradish
rosemary (replanted this year)


What Didn't Work: (Planted but Died, Didn't Sprout, Failed to Flourish)

30 total

Good king henry
service berry
evergreen huckle berry
society garlic
bay laurel
apricot tree
north star cherry tree
paw paw tree
sea buckthorn
red and black currants

Siberian pea tree
natal plum
strawberry tree
oregon grape
anise hyssop
edible chrysanthemum
passion flower
vine peaches
sweet william
roman chamomile


Also a Final Note on Annuals not being Planted this Year

Previous successes:

green peas
butternut squash

Previous failures:

yellow squash
zucchini squash

Still to be added:

Blue morning glories,
more perennial salad crops (mitsuba, bloody dock, and self seeding lambs quarters),
another try at Good King Henry (this time I ordered some plants).
blackeyed peas