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Pics from Greg's Forest Garden

 
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Greg Martin wrote:They have lovely little flowers too!  This one is the cultivar 'Eastern Prince' which I got from One Green World.  Generally for schisandra you need a male vine to pollinate the female vines, but Eastern Prince is self fertile.  I haven't tried to germinate the seeds yet as I keep cooking them all :)

i have one as well its slow to establish but took off finally this summer. how long before yours fruited?
 
steve bossie
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Greg Martin wrote:Last year I planted a couple of giant ornamental onions, Gladiator to the left and Mount Everest to the right in front of a goumi seedling.  I planted them because I've heard that they are bred from wild onions that are foraged for.  I was curious if I would like the bulbs, but with their large wide leaves I was also curious how those might taste.  So when I walked past them both I decided to take a nibble.  I can tell they are alliums, but I was shocked by how very mild the leaves were on both plants.  The Mount Everest leaves somehow even reminded me a bit of cabbage....???  I will be experimenting more with these leaves as they get larger.

i added Egyptian walking onions under my cherries last summer . anxious to see how well they spread.
 
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steve bossie wrote:

Greg Martin wrote:They have lovely little flowers too!  This one is the cultivar 'Eastern Prince' which I got from One Green World.  Generally for schisandra you need a male vine to pollinate the female vines, but Eastern Prince is self fertile.  I haven't tried to germinate the seeds yet as I keep cooking them all :)

i have one as well its slow to establish but took off finally this summer. how long before yours fruited?


I didn't take any notes on this one so I'm just guessing....maybe fruit on the 3rd year.
 
Greg Martin
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steve bossie wrote:

Greg Martin wrote:Last year I planted a couple of giant ornamental onions, Gladiator to the left and Mount Everest to the right in front of a goumi seedling.  I planted them because I've heard that they are bred from wild onions that are foraged for.  I was curious if I would like the bulbs, but with their large wide leaves I was also curious how those might taste.  So when I walked past them both I decided to take a nibble.  I can tell they are alliums, but I was shocked by how very mild the leaves were on both plants.  The Mount Everest leaves somehow even reminded me a bit of cabbage....???  I will be experimenting more with these leaves as they get larger.

i added Egyptian walking onions under my cherries last summer . anxious to see how well they spread.


I suspect they'll spread great for you Steve.  I usually grab the top sets and move them around to where I want them to expand into.  They are quick growers.
 
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Greg,
I've really enjoyed catching up on your thread - very inspiring!  You have some lovely examples of plants I am trying on Skye, but they are slow to get established.  Can I ask what your summer temperatures and rainfall are like?  What sort of soil?  I suspect that you are a fair bit warmer in summer which makes up for the colder winters...
 
Greg Martin
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Thank you Nancy.  I'm in zone 5 for both heat zone as well as hardiness zone.  Being in heat zone 5 puts me between 30 and 45 days per year above 86F, which is critical for me being able to ripen things like pawpaws.  We get 50" of rain per year, but also lots of great sunny days which together really helps things grow.  Our soil is acidic in my part of the state and is a nice loam.  I checked our soil map a while back and recall that most of it was considered as soils of agricultural importance or as prime forestry land, both of which sounded good to me :)  I live on a gentle hill that slopes gently southwards in my forest garden area.  It also drops down slightly to a stream that runs parallel to my forest garden, which I think all helps to drain cold air away from it leading to an extended season compared to the flattened hay fields near by, which have an extra month of frosts.
 
Nancy Reading
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Thanks for reply Greg,
Yes, we're unlikely to get over 70 fahrenheit in a normal summer here (Temperature is the one common unit I'm not bilingual in, and had to translate) 30 Celsius would have us fainting with the heat!😅  Although I'm suffering from plant envy!
I have Schisandra in my polytunnel, but it's a little slow even there (early days....).  Have you tried Murtillo (Myrtus ugni) or Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana)?  The murtillo grows outside for me, but fruits so late they don't ripen (really delicious though, like wild strawberry sherbert)  I've planted my new ones in the tunnel (where my Feijoa also is), but it may be a little dry there...
 
Greg Martin
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I would love to grow those Nancy!  Unfortunately my winter gets colder than yours and they wouldn't make it without protection.  I'll need to figure out a winter protection strategy for them.  I have some ideas, but it'll be a bit before I get to that project.  Thank you for these ideas though....would love to add them when I'm ready.
 
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Nancy Reading wrote:Thanks for reply Greg,
Yes, we're unlikely to get over 70 fahrenheit in a normal summer here (Temperature is the one common unit I'm not bilingual in, and had to translate) 30 Celsius would have us fainting with the heat!😅  Although I'm suffering from plant envy!
I have Schisandra in my polytunnel, but it's a little slow even there (early days....).  Have you tried Murtillo (Myrtus ugni) or Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana)?  The murtillo grows outside for me, but fruits so late they don't ripen (really delicious though, like wild strawberry sherbert)  I've planted my new ones in the tunnel (where my Feijoa also is), but it may be a little dry there...



I used Ugni in many landscaping projects in and around Dublin (IE) when I lived there. Never ever tired of the taste.
Fun fact: Queen Victoria supposedly loved it so much for breakfast she had it fresh picked daily in Cornwall and rushed to her by train (also daily). Must be nice to snap your fingers and fill a bowl!

I just read that in NZ it's marketed as 'New Zealand Cranberry', which of course is snappy but does disservice to both fruits.
https://www.fruitsinfo.com/ugni-fruit.php
 
Greg Martin
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You both have me really wanting to grow Ugni now!  I need to find a way to get lots of diverse seeds of it to see if I can get any individuals to survive here....probably a long shot but it would be amazing if any made it.
 
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Wow, Greg, your garden is beautiful! And very "jungly" indeed. Plus, you grow so many of the plants we're dreaming about. And in biochar-enriched soil, too (also a part of the dream). I very much hope we'll have one of them jungles one day. At present, the jungle is just a dream, a land in the process of being bought, and a jar full of seeds in the freezer... Thanks for providing dream-fuel!
 
Greg Martin
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Thank you Eino!  This is what happens when you just keep planting here and there when you can for a while.  It's still very much a work in progress and its potential continues to unfurl.  It's also very much a labor of love.  My goal is to live in a naturally maintained edible landscape that feeds us as well as the wildlife that visits.  I'm so excited for each spring and can't wait to further add to it this year and do my part to help it come along.  I'm also very much enjoying bringing new taste experiences to friends, family, coworkers and neighbors, as well as share plants that I can separate off from this garden.  The whole process has been easy and very rewarding.  I'm sure you'll have a beautiful, bountiful, tasty landscape before you know it!
 
Erik van Lennep
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Greg Martin wrote:You both have me really wanting to grow Ugni now!  I need to find a way to get lots of diverse seeds of it to see if I can get any individuals to survive here....probably a long shot but it would be amazing if any made it.



Greg, how much of a hassle is it for you to import seeds? Chileflora might be the best source for a diversity of ecotypes.
http://www.chileflora.com/

You might also find a researcher in the USDA Germplasm research center (I think the Corvallis OR station focuses on soft fruits) While they may only publish Vacciniums, Ugni has enough in common that a researcher there could share the interest.
https://www.ars.usda.gov/pacific-west-area/corvallis-or/national-clonal-germplasm-repository/docs/ncgr-corvallis-vaccinium-germplasm/

I don't know how policy might or might not have changed, but some years back I received Rubus seeds from them. I just needed to say I was a citizen researcher. Using your company name might make it even easier. The idea for the service is to facilitate this kind of testing and learning.

In college, I worked with a different station (Sturgeon Bay, WI) on a university degree project where I grew out and overwintered (in MA) 85 different potato strains from the Andes.
 
Greg Martin
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Thank you Erik, good thoughts!  I'll start doing some digging to see what options may work out.  I do love zone pushing.  
 
Greg Martin
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Greg Martin wrote:Last year I planted a couple of giant ornamental onions, Gladiator to the left and Mount Everest to the right in front of a goumi seedling.  I planted them because I've heard that they are bred from wild onions that are foraged for.  I was curious if I would like the bulbs, but with their large wide leaves I was also curious how those might taste.  So when I walked past them both I decided to take a nibble.  I can tell they are alliums, but I was shocked by how very mild the leaves were on both plants.  The Mount Everest leaves somehow even reminded me a bit of cabbage....???  I will be experimenting more with these leaves as they get larger.


This past weekend I sautéed a handful of the Mount Everest leaves with a bit of butter and salt....a pleasant new cooking green for me!  I did not expect to find an Allium that I would want to use as a stand alone cooking green, but this one works for me.  Of course with salt and butter a lot of things are quite good.

I'll be dividing and spreading these into larger clumps and will be experimenting with them in shadier conditions.  I also added a few more giant onion selections this year for future taste tests.
 
Greg Martin
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Camassia and pawpaw flowering away together this spring.
20210524_074006.jpg
Camassia flowering under a pawpaw that's covered in flowers this year
Camassia flowering under a pawpaw that's covered in flowers this year
 
Greg Martin
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Meanwhile, also in this woodland edge pawpaw patch the sweet cicely is flowering away too.
20210524_073844.jpg
Sweet cicely flowering under a pawpaw
Sweet cicely flowering under a pawpaw
 
Greg Martin
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Spring is the time for flowering so more to share.  The bumble bees are busy.  One here working the giant solomon's seals.
20210524_080326.jpg
Bumble bee busy with solomon's seal blossoms
Bumble bee busy with solomon's seal blossoms
 
Greg Martin
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My flowering quince shrubs are blooming away too.  Here's a branch of Toyo Nishiki.  Its fruits can be apple sized.
20210524_080500.jpg
Toyo Nishiki flowering quince flowering :)
Toyo Nishiki flowering quince flowering :)
 
Greg Martin
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I always love when the tree quinces cover themselves in simple rose-like blossoms...one of my favorite things.
20210524_080538.jpg
Quince tree blossoms whispering about fruit to come.
Quince tree blossoms whispering about fruit to come.
 
Greg Martin
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I think rhubarb in full blossom is lovely too.
20210524_074649.jpg
Isn't rhubarb beautiful too?
Isn't rhubarb beautiful too?
 
Greg Martin
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The ajuga that somehow volunteered (no idea where it came from!) into one of my paths is covered in blooms right now too so I had to snap a shot of that to share as well on this flower sharing day.
20210524_074353.jpg
Ajuga path in bloom (ok mostly ajuga...I can see mint, garlic and dandelions in there too)
Ajuga path in bloom (ok mostly ajuga...I can see mint, garlic, dandelions and maybe a lovage in there too)
 
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It looks like you have a flowering wonderland! How delightful!

Your quince are a different color than ours! We have bright red flowers. Have you done any propagation with your quince?
PXL_20210527_011109175.jpg
Red Quince
Red Quince
 
Greg Martin
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I'm assuming that's a shrub form, one of the flowering quinces, that you have there Jen.  When I've grown out seeds of my flowering quinces I usually get mostly lovely reds like yours.  They are quick to come into fruit when grown as seeds and have citrus flavors.  I'm trying to select for lemon flavored....you know, just in case my citrus don't pan out for lemons :)  A super nice permie sent me seeds from a parent plant that was selected for lemon flavor so high hopes on those.  For tree quince I have a serious problem with fire blight which will ultimately claim my lovely trees :(   So far none of the seedlings from those trees are showing any resistance to fire blight, but another wonderful permie sent me seeds that maybe will show resistance....fingers triple crossed.
 
Jen Tuuli
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Greg Martin wrote:I'm assuming that's a shrub form, one of the flowering quinces, that you have there Jen.  When I've grown out seeds of my flowering quinces I usually get mostly lovely reds like yours.  They are quick to come into fruit when grown as seeds and have citrus flavors.  I'm trying to select for lemon flavored....you know, just in case my citrus don't pan out for lemons  A super nice permie sent me seeds from a parent plant that was selected for lemon flavor so high hopes on those.  For tree quince I have a serious problem with fire blight which will ultimately claim my lovely trees   So far none of the seedlings from those trees are showing any resistance to fire blight, but another wonderful permie sent me seeds that maybe will show resistance....fingers triple crossed.



How neat to have such a variety of color around you! Do they germinate easily from seed?  Very sad to hear about the fire blight. I had to look it up to see what it was about, and it sounds very vexing and difficult to overcome without destroying all the trees and starting over after the bacteria has gone away. Have you done soil testing for it or you just notice it on the trees?

How is your chilly lemon project going? How many survived the winter?
PXL_20210530_001725431.jpeg
Here's our little quince - most likely a shrub, but I'm not sure how old it is.
Here's our little quince - most likely a shrub, but I'm not sure how old it is.
 
Greg Martin
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So far so good on that project Jen.  I have 11 that have survived their 3rd Maine winter without protection.  Some of those get damaged each winter as they don't seem to be hardening off properly, so they loose their tip growth.  A couple of them are still as small or smaller than when I set them out for that reason.  Still, they are alive and perhaps will figure it out?  A couple of them have almost no damage and are starting to gain some size.  My favorite one has already shot out 5" shoots of new growth this spring on its branches.  Per Mike Haasl's excellent suggestion, I have two side branches on that tree that I pinned to the ground step over espalier style in case the top ever dies back one of these winters.  I will try and train the others this way as well as they allow.

Every winter has been unique so it's nice seeing these survivors get through each one.  This winter we started off with a 28" snow storm.  I thought "well, they are safely under the snow for the rest of the season nice and early!".....nope.  All the snow melted and the ground was bare such that they went into winter without snow protection for the first time.  For us it ended up being a very warm winter, with lows of only 0F.  Still, they experienced that temp with desiccating winds and made it fine.  I went into this project with the thought that thousands of seedlings would be needed to get a cluster that survive (check), that the survivors would struggle to epigenetically adapt during their juvenile years (seems consistent with what I'm seeing), and then hopefully reach maturity and flowering when I can cross them all and start up another generation (still waiting and hoping for this step).  It's been a long slow process so far, but I'm enjoying it.  

Last year I set out another 200 seedlings and was sure that they all died, which did not surprise me too much.  Yesterday I noticed that one of them has shot up a vigorous shoot from below the mulch line.  Will this little one be number 12?  We shall see.  Over the years I've had roots survive in frozen ground and send up shoots only to die the next winter.  Still, I'm impressed by this one's vigor.  I checked the other 199 and they definitely didn't make it.  This kind of adaptation leap is a tough wall to get over.  It's still far from certain that my little pool of survivors will manage the feat, but hopefully at the end of this I'll have something to share and spread.  I'm going to replant that bed with 100s of Toona seeds to see if any of them can manage to find a home here without dying back each winter.  I've heard of Toona trees that have survived -27F without die back, so fingers crossed that some fitting genes lay within this batch of seeds.  This is one of several species I've introduced this year to see if any can make it....so many wonderful plants to adapt!  
 
Greg Martin
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Jen, on the fire blight question, it really does end up looking a lot like the trees were burned after it's done with them.  The most I'm willing to do is try to prune out sections of the trees, but so far that hasn't been very effective and I've since resigned to allowing the trees and fire blight to play out their dance.  This allows me to grow seedlings under these trees to see if any of them will demonstrate resistance.  When I find trees with resistance they will end up taking the place of the trees that did not.  Fire blight is here to stay in my wet environment and so my plants will need to adapt via seedlings.  If the seedlings demonstrate resistance then their seeds will be shared with others.  I'm very much opposed to spraying anything.  

Speaking of blights, this year I'm excited to see how Joseph Lofthouse's promiscuous tomatoes do here.  Every year we get early blight and late blight.  The only tomatoes I grow that are resistant are currant tomatoes.  Unfortunately I haven't found any currant tomatoes that I particularly like to eat.  I'm growing out a bunch of currant tomatoes and their hybrid varieties looking for ones that I enjoy eating.  Yet another fingers crossed set of experiments.  In parallel I'll see if Joseph's hybrids show resistance from all the wild tomato genes he's got tucked into them.   If they are out crossers for me, all the better!  I would think that's the only way they'll ever be able to stay ahead of the blights.
 
Greg Martin
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Grazing Post
This year for the first time I found that someone loves all my comfrey plants....every single clump has been grazed by one of my woodland neighbors!  I'm thinking deer.  Anyone else have this happen?
I'm sure the comfrey will have no problems bouncing back assuming the diner moves on to other fare.  I don't blame them at all....I mean look at these milkweed plants that were grazed.  In this case the grazer was me.  These plants already have lovely new shoots pushing up from their nodes to replace the tender shoots that I snapped off and cooked with some garlic, butter and salt....yum!  My milkweed blew into my forest garden a few years ago and are setting up a lovely colony.  I'm harvesting the ones that are trying to take over my path and will later dig them up and move them elsewhere to form a new colony.  I'm up to something like 40 of them now and bet I'll have 100s before I know it....dreams of abundant harvests dance through my head!

20210524_074543.jpg
Comfrey grazed by deer?
Comfrey grazed by deer?
20210524_081139.jpg
Milkweed grazed by me! One of my favorite perennial vegetables.
Milkweed grazed by me! What they get for growing into my path and being one of my favorite perennial vegetables.
 
Greg Martin
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Peeking Under the Leaves Post
Can you see the herd on my lupine flower shoot?  My lupine flower shoots all get covered in aphids every year....cool!!!  The flowers form normally, though I have brought aphids into the house on several occasions when I cut some, but the aphids stay on the shoot until they go back outside...no harm.  I welcome this as a resource as it provides a population to keep aphid predators happy and in my garden....that and I get beautiful nitrogen fixers.  I used to worry about the lupines trying to take over my forest garden, but so far they are just great companions.  I think between my garden activities and all the other robust plants there under the fruit trees the lupines are kept at bay.  BTW, bonus points if you can find the cute little figs forming....how many can you find?

Also I couldn't help but peek under the mayapple leaves.  They seem like magical fun plants to me.  Check out their large lovely leaves!  And under those the flowers are getting ready to pop open....can't wait for fruit time!  So many good things from the layers in a forest garden.
20210524_080927.jpg
You may need to click on this to better see the herd of aphids on each lupine shoot...and to see how many little figs you can find.
You may need to click on this to better see the herd of aphids on each lupine shoot...and to see how many little figs you can find.
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Mayapple leaves looking lovely in the herbaceous layer of the forest garden floor. Aren't they gorgeous?
Mayapple leaves looking lovely in the herbaceous layer of the forest garden floor. Aren't they gorgeous?
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Peaking under the mayapple leaves at the flowers getting ready to pop open.
Peaking under the mayapple leaves at the flowers getting ready to pop open.
 
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Greg, I know the goal is citrus that can survive on its own merits, but here's an interesting read that I found a while back regarding how the Soviets were self-sufficient in citrus before globalization made it more cost-effective to import fruit. Part of it was through breeding, but they also had a number of techniques (some more labor intensive than others) for protecting their trees. I have a key lime seedling that I'm currently growing out and plan to train as a creeping bush, as described in the article. Sounds like you're pinning them down anyway, so you're like three-quarters of the way there.

I've also come to suspect that all lupines are edible. At least, in as much as the "edible lupines" are edible. Tarwi (the South American species) and lupinis (one or more European species) are edible after leaching out the alkaloids they contain in a few changes of water. For tarwi, the common preparation is to soak in water starting in the morning, change the water in the evening and the following morning, and then they're ready for dinner. Lupinis are more often pickled and the preparation is more convoluted... though I suspect that's cultural rather than out of necessity. There's some variation in tarwi from year to year and variety to variety. The recommendation is to soak them until they no longer taste bitter, so if 3 changes of water over 2 days isn't enough, soak them a bit longer. Once you nail it down, it should be consistent across that year's crop.

You know, just in case you wanted to get some actual food value out of your lupines.
 
Greg Martin
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Thanks Matt.  I'm very interested in trying both those things!
 
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How is the milkweed prepared for eating?
 
Greg Martin
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:How is the milkweed prepared for eating?


I just give it a boil or steaming until it's tender and then season it per taste.  I never wanted to eat this plant until I read in one of Samuel Thayer's books that the foraging books that said you needed to boil it in multiple changes of water had simply copied a description from someone who had mistakenly cooked dogbane (yikes).  I eat large volumes at a time with no ill effects ever experienced.  Thank you Sam Thayer!  Mine are the common milkweed, Ascelpias syriaca.
 
Greg Martin
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I should add that I snap off the spring shoots of milkweed by hand, feeling down to where the shoot is still tender enough to snap off easily.  I eat the shoots along with their tender leaves.  If the leaves and shoot start to become less tender then it's best to just wait until the flower buds are ready for harvest.  If you miss them, then wait for the small tender pods.  Lots of nice vegetable options from this plant.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I allow showy milkweed to grow in my fields, as food for Monarch butterflies. I'll intend to forage and eat some on Monday.
 
Greg Martin
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Here's an article from Samuel Thayer about milkweed harvesting that might be helpful.  He mentions that if they plant harvested has bitterness then don't eat it.  I've never noticed any bitterness at all from the milkweed growing here.
 
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Nice pawpaw's! I intend to get many of those trees even we get our land! I would love to get done of those German food seeds from you as well!!! Great photos!
 
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Pawpaw's can be hard to germinate as male and female parts are ready for reproduction at different times... I'm glad you got since fruit this year!
 
Greg Martin
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This year the pawpaws seem to have 10 times as many flowers as ever before.  They are still relatively young and maybe are starting to hit their stride?  Stay tuned for updates :)
 
                      
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Hi live at 1500 feet in the S of France, lots of fig trees here, but, due to the dry summers the only one that gives good figs has its feet in the stream. I tried cutting them back pulling them up (I now am fixing up a multi-purpose cultivator, so no more digging by hand soon!), they got frozen over in April, and they live on! Nothing grows under figs, except nettles and bindweed of course. The well watered fig tree is a source of delicious figs however, especially with goat cheese (lots of it round here).
I imagine German Fig trees are an even stronger version of the figs that grow best here: green, big and red inside. I'm not surprised it survived without dammage, as ours are very hardy.
We had a few of bumper crops, one of which disappeared into greedy beaks in a few hours, sadly, but I guess we all have to eat.
This year, I'm not sure, as Summer is only just beginning in June, about 3 months late.
The tree has also sprouted lots of suckers, and I'm not sure when to cut them back, though I did start in the early Spring, but it snowed and sleeted which put me back, very far back, to be honest.
What sort of region are you in? I'd love to try some paw paws here with a greenhouse topping for the cold maybe?
You've made a lovely Food Forest .
 
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