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A new addition to my living hedge

 
pioneer
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I recently found some wild plums growing on my land.  Woohoo!  Not only do they taste good, they have big thorns, and will make a welcome addition to the 1/4 mile living hedge I am creating.  So far, species include black locust, honey locust, osage orange, and hazelnut.  I'll be cold-stratifying a bunch of plum pits this winter and they will be added to the mix next spring.

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gardener
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We have a wild plum in our field and although its fruit is quite small, I was quite surprised at how good it tasted. I hadn't considered using its seeds as part of a living hedge - the place I need said hedge may be too shady for it - but having read this post, I will think about it and do a little research!  Thanks
 
Trace Oswald
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Jay Angler wrote:We have a wild plum in our field and although its fruit is quite small, I was quite surprised at how good it tasted. I hadn't considered using its seeds as part of a living hedge - the place I need said hedge may be too shady for it - but having read this post, I will think about it and do a little research!  Thanks



The fruit is the same on mine.  It's very small, but the fruit is very good.  The skin isn't nearly as good, so I peel that off with my teeth and just eat the fruit inside.

The great thing is, even if you find out your area is too shady, you aren't out anything.  My trees are on one side of a narrow access road with big pines on the opposite side shading from the south.  They get pretty good sun in the summer, but the rest of the year, they are pretty heavily shaded much of the day.  I'll try to take a picture showing the layout.
 
pollinator
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Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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Some people write that they plant fruit trees on the north side of a hill, so the tree flowers later in spring and has a better chance of avoiding frost damage on the fruit. I've a volunteer plum that came in my garden, Reine Claude, it tasted better than the store-bought plum i planted. Apparently the seed is very true to the parent. I've got some twenty growing this year ready to go in.
 
Trace Oswald
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Hugo, if you would like to trade some plum stones, i would be happy to send you some.  I'd love to try planting different ones from all over.

I harvested 40 wild plums today. And by harvested, i mean picked the plums of the ground. Something obviously enjoyed the plums very much, because most of them were gone. Anyway, i pulled the rotting pulp off and saved the seeds. I cleaned them with a sponge tray had one of those scratchy things on one side. Pro trip: it's hard to hold the seed in one hand and scrub it with the sponge. It's much easier to hold the seed and scrub it against the sponge. After cleaning, I put the seeds in damp vermiculitr and put them in the freezer. A few days from now, I'll move them to the refrigerator for a couple weeks, and then back to the freezer for a few days. After tart, outs back to the frig until spring. As they begin to sprout, they will go into the ground, or into root pots. If I can find more on the ground, some will be planted directly to see how they do.
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Happy plum stones
 
pollinator
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nice !

good job cleaning off the plum seeds, and good to keep them in the fridge/freezer cycle, its a good plan. you should get a lot of good germination that way.

my way to clean off plum seeds is to ferment them, we could call it the "tomato way" if you have ever saved tomato seeds this way. i soak them for 3 days (or usually 5-7 cause i procrastinate) and the fermentation starts...this makes all the fruit and flesh fall off them easier and gets them really clean. i do this with all the fruit/fleshy stuff i save seeds of...melons/squash/maters/grapes/etc...
 
pollinator
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Awesome. I often get so enthusiastic about the properties of plants that I could introduce (ideally re-introduce, actually) that I need to be reminded about how useful the local wild plants can be.

I have a dumb question though, Trace. These are native wild plums. Scarification I can understand, but do you really think that any amount of cold stratification beyond planting them outdoors before the snow falls is necessary? Or are you just being cautious?

And leila, do make plum jerkum after that? I mean, with the plum already fermenting? I am planning on doing small-batch craft cider, perry, jerkum, mead, and maybe a bit of beer later on, but I intend to make alcohol a part of my preservation strategy, along with mildly alcoholic preserves and jams.

I love the idea of using wild native species. I am looking to relocate within the native range of both the paw paw and the red mulberry, and include them in my plans. This will be reintroduction, for the most part, but what you are doing, Trace, is essentially finding working niches for things that haven't yet, perhaps, become endangered, and with your approach, won't.

-CK
 
leila hamaya
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Chris Kott wrote:

And leila, do make plum jerkum after that? I mean, with the plum already fermenting? I am planning on doing small-batch craft cider, perry, jerkum, mead, and maybe a bit of beer later on, but I intend to make alcohol a part of my preservation strategy, along with mildly alcoholic preserves and jams.



no not generally. well i think of doing more elaborate things, but only get around to so much.

i do often make jams with all the pretty and nice ones, but quite often the trees are so full of plums, theres tons of funky ones on the ground, ones that get too ripe, etc....

so i will gather these for seed, add it to the pits from the pretty ones for fresh eating/jam...
and just use the fermentation to clean the seed for storage/planting...

i believe these types of fruity/fleshy things work best when given this light fermentation...it makes the seed very clean and i think may also provide some other benefits, working off the germination inhibitors that often surround the seed...which also is worn down through the freezing/thawing cycle too.

 
leila hamaya
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but yeah - theeasy way - to just plant them outside where you want them to grow, or outside in pots or nursery bed...and plant in fall and let the winter do the rest...that does work great too.

the deal with that is - keeping animals from digging up your seeds...and having the pots somewhat protected for same reasons...
 
Trace Oswald
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leila hamaya wrote:nice !

good job cleaning off the plum seeds, and good to keep them in the fridge/freezer cycle, its a good plan. you should get a lot of good germination that way.

my way to clean off plum seeds is to ferment them, we could call it the "tomato way" if you have ever saved tomato seeds this way. i soak them for 3 days (or usually 5-7 cause i procrastinate) and the fermentation starts...this makes all the fruit and flesh fall off them easier and gets them really clean. i do this with all the fruit/fleshy stuff i save seeds of...melons/squash/maters/grapes/etc...



That's a great idea.  I'll try that with some.
 
Trace Oswald
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Chris Kott wrote:
I have a dumb question though, Trace. These are native wild plums. Scarification I can understand, but do you really think that any amount of cold stratification beyond planting them outdoors before the snow falls is necessary? Or are you just being cautious?

-CK



No Chris, they don't need anything more than natural scarification.  I prefer to keep most of mine refrigerated just so I can keep track of them.  If I plant them out, they are subject to being moved by rodents, being lost in the weeds, being eaten off as soon as they sprout in the spring, things of that nature.  I plant lots of trees out by seed and just hope they make it, but if you have limited seeds of a tree and want to ensure that you keep some, this way seems to be the easiest.  In the case of something like honey locust where I have literally thousands of seeds, Ijust plant them out.
 
leila hamaya
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Trace Oswald wrote:

leila hamaya wrote:nice !

good job cleaning off the plum seeds, and good to keep them in the fridge/freezer cycle, its a good plan. you should get a lot of good germination that way.

my way to clean off plum seeds is to ferment them, we could call it the "tomato way" if you have ever saved tomato seeds this way. i soak them for 3 days (or usually 5-7 cause i procrastinate) and the fermentation starts...this makes all the fruit and flesh fall off them easier and gets them really clean. i do this with all the fruit/fleshy stuff i save seeds of...melons/squash/maters/grapes/etc...



That's a great idea.  I'll try that with some.



it's really the easiest way, even though it sounds like more work, it's not, especially if you have huge amounts to process.

just let them all get funky and smelly (one con is - it does stink!) in a bit of water for a week ish...

then keep floating off all the pulp...pouring off the top again and again and again...rinse repeat.  keep pouring more and more water, let it settle for a minute and pour off the top half and most pulp gets dumped. the heaviest best seeds sink fast, the pulp floats, the bad seeds float. so this is also a quick way to separate out bad seeds/immature non viable seeds...because they float.

most of the pulp floats away and then a quick wash...maybe scrub/or just keep rinsing them through a screen and all the rest of the fruit washes away.

with maters and squash it's good to do this quickly, dont ferment longer than 5-6 days...cause they might get to sprouting!
but for peaches, plums, grapes...well these you can ferment longer if you dont get to it quickly.
 
leila hamaya
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yeah it kinda sucks when the animals eat all your seeds! this is a ...ask me how i know !

i have planted out hundreds of tree seeds...just raw, right in place.....only to have the majority of them dug up and eaten.
i think if you dont have a lot of animal pressure maybe this works better. i've tried different things to try to stop that, but still had them eaten.

an unheated shed, protection or wire mesh or something protecting your pots....or within a fence/some other kind of protection...like making a nursery bed...in a spot that is somehow protected a bit...

also btw, if you are curious, my opinion is that you have the true native prunus americana, the wild american plums. i say this cause i've spent some time getting the info on what types of wild plums i was harvesting...so i know a few of the most common types.

anywho prunus americana may be the yummiest.

where i have been at we had like 3 types of really wild types, and a few that were escaped cultivars, who knows what animal planted it...

but yeah the sharp pointy tip on the leaves...thats a big clue, for prunus americana. thick skin, a bit tart but nice flavor, and maybe usually smaller than yours...from gold to pink to red/purple ish....
 
Trace Oswald
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These are very good to eat, but quite small.  Some are the size of a quarter, up to half dollar size. The skin doesn't taste good, but the fruit is very good.  The thorns and wildlife value are reason enough to plant them, the fact that they taste good to humans as well is a nice bonus.

I can't wait to see my hedge row/living fence in a few years when it starts to fill in.  I'm pretty certain it will look a mess to most people, but like heaven to me and the animals that will live in and around it.  I'm picturing a hedge row 30 or 40 feet across with a dozen or more primary species, and as many support species as pop up on their own and from me filling in gaps while I wait for the trees to grow up.  The first section is approximately 250 yards long, so it will take several thousand trees to create the hedge I want.  
 
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