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Orchard All From Seed

 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 328
Location: Ohio, USA
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fish food preservation forest garden
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Okay, I'm going for the LONG hall. I'm itching to plant again and would like to start trees. I don't have a plot of land yet, but hope to in a year, so I figure seeds will do just fine. This fits into my mind-set of having heirloom plants that are all basically self-sustaining and perpetuating too. The thing is, veggy heirloom seeds are easy to find...but where does one locate cheap heirloom tree seeds? The other limiting factor is that I only get a few frost days per year. This is one more reason picking random seeds from grocery store fruit won't suit me so well. So, I want to find those varieties that don't need frost.

Thanks for your help!
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 176
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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Well good for you. I'm planting trees by any convenient means. If what I want is available only through a nursery, that's the route I'll go with that variety. But -- I did plant 35 Chinese chestnut (castanea molissima) seeds last year, and all of them sprouted, in 1-gallon pots. I potted them up to 5-gallon pots to overwinter. None of them were root-bound, or even close.

I got these from a friend who has a chestnut grove. I'd say that's a good way to go. I know c. molissima will produce true from seed. Several sources on the Web have tree seeds. F.W. Schumacher is a good place to start.
 
John Polk
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I agree. Schumacher (http://www.treeshrubseeds.com/) offers a wide selection, and prices that are hard to beat. Generally, they offer seeds in Ounce/¼ pound/pound sizes.

Another source is JLHudson (http://jlhudsonseeds.net/). Their selection of fruit/nut trees is not as large, but they often offer other varieties. Their seeds are offered in packets (usually 2 grams), but they offer 'codes' which will give you a range of seed count to expect with each packet. On some varieties, they offer ounces, ¼ pounds, and pounds. Schumacher's is generally cheaper if you want the larger quantity, but with trees, how many seeds do you need? JLHudson's also offers many flowers, vines, veggies, etc that are not available @ Schumachers (trees & shrubs).

They are both excellent sources of hard to find seeds, and both are safe, reliable sources.
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 176
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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I second John's recommendation of Hudson's. I should have thought to include them.

But John's observation -- "Schumacher's is generally cheaper if you want the larger quantity, but with trees, how many seeds do you need?" -- sparked another thought.

For me, permaculture is an attractive system because it not only allows for, but requires, both short-term and long-term planning. The observations that we make from nature, and the constant feedback loop that they provide, force us to constantly be readjusting our long-term and short-term plans, and the balance between them -- that is, if we're doing this correctly.

So for my particular purposes, John's question: "with trees, how many seeds do you need?" makes me think: "Well, that depends." When I showed my 35 Chinese chestnut seedlings to my buddy Cliff, who has taken toby hemenway's PDC, he said: "You'll never have enough room on five acres for all of these. Chestnuts get huge." I said: "Well, hell, I know that. I want to see how many survive, and I'm sure I'll find a home for some of them."

Then Cliff said the magic words: "You could start a permaculture nursery."

Damn right I could. And you know what? Ideally, I'd bet every one of us could. That way we'd be providing both the concrete and the abstract, both goods and services. Time to start propagating.


 
John Polk
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Starting a nursery is high on my priority list. It is a wonderful gardening/agriculture endeavor. I am getting old enough that I don't want to get into something as labor (and equipment) intensive as hay making for example. I would probably put in more hours as a nurseryman, but they would be more evenly divided throughout the year.

Here is a consideration, if you end up with a huge 'overstock': Donate them to your school district on Arbor Day. The students could either take them home, or plant them as a class project. Since I live in the "Evergreen State", I would only donate deciduous trees. A few hundred more pine trees would not be appreciated, but the same number of persimmons, plums or hazelnuts could make a lasting impression on the community. What better way to promote permaculture?
 
John Sizemore
Posts: 96
Location: West Virginia/ Dominican Republic
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Tree seeds are fine to a point. When you are dealing with apples though they do not grown true from seed. You may have a seed from wine sap parent but the children may be a small scraggly crab imitation. That being said it still can be grafted later if it does not give a fruit you like. Also if you plant 30 trees and only one is one you like then take cutting off the good one and graft onto the bad ones.
Having said that I have never seen a mulberry that did not produce loads that were bird planted. The apples we used as kids were mostly wild grown apples that had no name. We just called them early harvest which meant they were ripe early in the year and soft and late harvest that were better freezing and canning apples.
The golden delicious apple was a wild grown one that a kid decided not to cut down in the middle of hay field in West Virginia. Later on his father decided he liked the apples it produced and shipped some to a commercial nursery. The nursery came by and bought the tree to take grafting stock off of and the rest is history.
The granny smith was growing out of a compost pile at Mrs. Smith farm in Australia. So you just may start your own breed of apple.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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yes it is difficult to find heirloom or OP tree seeds, try some of the catalogs that sell only seeds..also if you look at some other catalogs you can find the names of some heirloom trees and then search for them online so you can find the seeds for them..even if you don't want to buy the tree itself.

Also, you can propagate non heirlooms to perpetuate them, you just have to graft off of the existing tree..to keep them going..

I have grown some successful apple trees from apple cores, but that is sometimes iffy...I also have planted some other trees from fruit this year..of course don't know if they'll grow or not
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 328
Location: Ohio, USA
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fish food preservation forest garden
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Thanks all. I looked at the 2 websites and Schumacher seemed to have more fruit trees. I wasn't thinking about the possibility of buying more than necessary, and all the good things that could be done with that. You've convinced me that's a good way to go. I'll let ya'all know what happens
 
Marcella Rose
Posts: 95
Location: Central Texas, it is dry here.
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I love the idea of trees from seeds...but I have not had success yet.

Has anyone else had success from this site: Trees of Antiquity (http://www.treesofantiquity.com/)? There are some interesting varieties that would even make lovely gifts for people.
 
John Polk
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Trees of Antiquity has a wonderful selection of heirloom fruit trees. They are not cheap, but most of them are certified organic.

However, I strongly recommend people to buy trees from nurseries as close to home as possible. A tree that was born/raised in a different climate zone may not do as well when transplanted into your zone. Trees of Antiquity is based in zone 9, Central California, so their trees are used to a mild winter. They do have many varieties that would be difficult to find elsewhere, so it may be worth the chance, but you may need to give them special protection the first winter (or two).

I know people who have bought from them, and the trees are strong and healthy, but they are close to them climate-wise.
 
Matt Smith
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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John Polk wrote:Trees of Antiquity has a wonderful selection of heirloom fruit trees. They are not cheap, but most of them are certified organic.

However, I strongly recommend people to buy trees from nurseries as close to home as possible. A tree that was born/raised in a different climate zone may not do as well when transplanted into your zone. Trees of Antiquity is based in zone 9, Central California, so their trees are used to a mild winter. They do have many varieties that would be difficult to find elsewhere, so it may be worth the chance, but you may need to give them special protection the first winter (or two).

I know people who have bought from them, and the trees are strong and healthy, but they are close to them climate-wise.


I'm finding that the apple trees I've purchased from Raintree/One Green World (west coast, pacific northwest) aren't "off and running" like the ones I've purchased from Stark Bros. (New York). I've been wondering if what you're discussing is the case.
 
Cj Sloane
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John Sizemore wrote:
The golden delicious apple was a wild grown one that a kid decided not to cut down in the middle of hay field in West Virginia. Later on his father decided he liked the apples it produced and shipped some to a commercial nursery. The nursery came by and bought the tree to take grafting stock off of and the rest is history.
The granny smith was growing out of a compost pile at Mrs. Smith farm in Australia. So you just may start your own breed of apple.


Just remember the odds of an apple tree you start from seed producing edible apples is 1 in 80,000!
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 328
Location: Ohio, USA
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Update: Apple seeds sprouted readily in little peat starters. Yes, they are from pits in the store. One pear seed also took off. Grape, blueberry, and olive are not appearing yet. When the apples are mature enough to produce fruit, it should be easy enough to graph the ones I don't want to eat with ones I do want to eat.
 
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