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Growing Plums Naturally

 
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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I wanted to make this thread to help me keep track of and document growing my plum trees, with hopefully minimal work and maximum harvests!

They won't be irrigated, fertilized, or sprayed with anything, not even organic fertilizers or sprays, just naturally healthy soil, rain and sunshine!

They will be minimally pruned, if pruned at all. With minimal care, they can be truly enjoyed to the fullest! Bring on the yummy harvests!

Hopefully it can be helpful to others also!

If you'd like to stay up to date with the latest videos of what I'm growing and see monthly food forest tours, you can subscribe to my Youtube channel HERE by clicking the red subscribe button! I'd love to have you join me for this journey!
 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 2495
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
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My plum tree is blooming super early this year.

With another 2 months possibly until our last frosts, it will be a miracle if some plums make it.

I experimented and had a lot of mulch, almost a foot and a half thick, which was the only tree like that, and I think it was hot composting around the tree, which caused it to bloom earlier than usual.

The flowers sure are beautiful though!
White-plum-blossoms-in-early-spring.jpg
White plum blossoms in early spring
White plum blossoms in early spring
Plum-blossoms.jpg
Plum blossoms
Plum blossoms
 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 2495
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
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Can you find the busy pollinators?

I think they were honeybees, the only pollinators I saw out this early! Makes me glad to have lots of diverse native pollinators!
Bee-flying-among-plum-blossoms.jpg
Bee flying among plum blossoms
Bee flying among plum blossoms
Bee-on-plum-blossom.jpg
Bee on plum blossom
Bee on plum blossom
 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 2495
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
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This plum tree is in full bloom!

Are anyone else's plum trees blooming? Would love to see pictures!
Plum-tree-in-full-bloom.jpg
Plum tree in full bloom
Plum tree in full bloom
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 2495
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
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A dreary day but beautiful blossoms!

The fragrance of these blooms is amazing. It fills the whole yard with a perfume/plum aroma!
Plum-tree-filled-with-white-blossoms.jpg
Plum tree filled with white blossoms
Plum tree filled with white blossoms
 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 2495
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
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This plum tree's fragrance is just amazing! So captivating, it makes you just want to go sniff the flowers!

This tree has been minimally pruned besides the lower branches when I first got the tree. It has a great natural spreading form and beautiful healthy shape!

[table]
 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 2495
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
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Future baby plums, if the frost will stay away!
Lots-of-baby-plums.jpg
Lots of baby plums
Lots of baby plums
 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 2495
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
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Baby plums are starting to develop!
Baby-plums-developing.jpg
Baby plums developing
Baby plums developing
 
Steve Thorn
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
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This unknown plum tree is growing lots of plums!

I didn't have to thin them due to the bugs getting a lot of them. Hopefully they'll leave these remaining ones alone (probably not, but I can dream right?)!

It's mulched with some shredded leaves and some "weeds" as a living mulch to help retain moisture during our hot and usually dryer summer months, and to also create increasingly fertile soil!

If you want to stay up to date on all the videos, hover over the picture on the top left of the video and click subscribe, or you can also click this link to subscribe to my YouTube channel and see all the new videos when they come out! https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCrRCqBr9G8JObD-cxQG8s5A

 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 2495
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
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The Japanese and European plums have grown well this year and have put on a lot of growth.

I don't expect to get many European plums here with our heat and humidity, but it should be an interesting experiment and possibly future breeding project to try to develop some varieties that could do well here.
20200809_155425.jpg
plum
20200809_161152.jpg
plums
20200809_161456.jpg
plum tree
 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 2495
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
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The year before last, my oldest plum tree had a bumper crop of plums. A squirrel or some other critter was also enjoying a few of the plums, and dropped the seeds to the ground beneath the tree after eating some plums.

I noticed the numerous plum seeds on the ground as I was walking by, and quickly gathered up as many as I could find. I was working on another project that day that I was trying to finish up, so instead of diligently planting the plum seeds, I think I remember using a shovel to break up the soil in a nearby spot, and I may have made a slightly raised area. I pushed the seeds into the soil with my thumb, about an inch down, pressed the soil firmly on top of them, and may have covered it with a very light mulch. I may have spent ten minutes collecting and planting the seeds.

I was walking by this spot the other day, almost two years later, and had completely forgotten about the plum seeds that I had planted here previously. The area is now filled with numerous wild plants, and I was looking at another tree that I had planted nearby, when I noticed what looked like a patch of small trees growing. Upon looking closer, there leaves were just coming out, and I noticed that they looked like little plum trees. My mind flashed back to the memory almost two years ago, when I had planted the plum seeds here. There are about thirty plum seedlings growing in this area all close together. It's hard to beat getting about 30 plum seedlings with about 10 minutes of work.

Sometimes it's nice to be just plum surprised.
20210315_122911.jpg
One year old plum trees starting to leaf out
One year old plum trees starting to leaf out
20210315_122756.jpg
Lots of plum seedlings growing close together
Lots of plum seedlings growing close together
20210315_123158.jpg
More plums growing with a lot of other different plants
More plums growing with a lot of other different plants
 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 2495
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
896
forest garden fish trees foraging books earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This is the parent tree of my plum seedlings above.

It is worth growing just for its blooming fragrance alone. For about a full week, it emits a plum perfume aroma that fills the air and can be easily detected from far away.

It looks like it is going to produce a full crop of plums this year if the late frosts will hold off.
20210321_105138.jpg
Fragrant parent plum tree
Fragrant parent plum tree
20210321_105226.jpg
Plum flowers in full bloom
Plum flowers in full bloom
20210321_105205.jpg
Plum branches filled with flowers
Plum branches filled with flowers
20210321_105222.jpg
More plum flowers
More plum flowers
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