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when your food forests surprise you

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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This year we have had to remove several ash trees that have died from the emerald ash borers...we use them for firewood and they do seem to be acting as coppice growing back from the roots, however.

by removing the large dead trees, it has opened up some areas to rain and sunlight, and our food forests have decided to give us a few surprises.

Evidently the excess moisture and sunshine have activated growth in some plants that we were not aware that were growing in our food forests. We tend to toss out cores, spoiled fruit, berries, nuts, etc into the food forest in the off chance that some of them might grow. We have, in the past, had several trees grow up from thrown out apples, pears, cherrries and peaches before.

This past week I have noticed several new baby fruit trees growing where there is new light and moisture from the removal of the ash trees, not sure what they are but at least 4 or 5 of them appear to be apple trees, also think there may be some pears.

3 that appear to be apples are actually taller than me at this point already, and one is probalby about 7 or 8 feet tall, big enough to maybe produce buds next spring. I also have noticed a very large apple tree that has grown up in a field we are reforesting, I'm sure it is large enough to bear this next year. Of the 3 self seeded apple trees we have on the property that are bearing, all have edible fruit, one is early, one is mid season and one is a late apple.

I also have noticed that a lot of baby trees are coming up where peach trees died and were removed. They appear to be in the peach family, and there are dozens of them..I'm excited to see if they'll also bear edible fruit..I also have pears and cherries coming up where grafted trees had died but the roots are growing new trees (if they turn out to be inferior I'll cut them for firewood).

It is like Christmas, having baby trees coming up all over that may or may not surprise us with some lovely fruit in a year or two.
 
P Thickens
Posts: 177
Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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Brenda,

Thank you for the great description. I visited your blog, and tried to leave a note, but gave up after 6 (yes I counted) minues of trying to get OpenID, then WordPress to allow your blog to post a comment. Great GOogly Moogly you have a strict comment policy! Wowzers!

Here's what I wanted to post:

Howdy! This is P Thickens from the Permies forums. Stainless Steel are wonderfully easy to care for. They're pretty much the same as cast iron, though some things like eggs will stick more. However they will heat up quicker, so boiling water happens much quicker. And they're absolutely tops to make roux-based sauces. To clean up, wash them as you do your plates, and if anything sticks, soak it then scrub it with the scratchy side of a sponge. That's it.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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I find you know your system is good when it self replicates. Or when you find the right microclimate and a plant self propagates. From here on is where the real surprises happen.

For us this year it's so dry and hot it's easy to see which systems are functioning properly.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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thanks,, I'm learning on the stainless steel, it's coming along, still love my cast iron...sorry you couldn't post on my blog..but I'm always around here for PM..s

I also understand the drought, dry situation..we had a horrible mid summer drought here, but it is beginning to subside now..the frost and drought did a lot of severe damage..esp the fruit crops were nearly all lost..i have 2 pears on one tree, none on the others, no stone fruit, no apples, the berries burned up in the drought, bummer...but we hope for better next year..burying a lot of wood when possible to try to improve water holding (used to have to try to drain as we are generally in a swampy wet area, but the drought changed all of our ideas of gardening this year)
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1106
Location: northern northern california
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yay for volunteers! exciting.
i do that too, throw out any potential fruit seeds, and avacados and even mangos. not likely those will start here, especially without fussing...but seems like hey...they get the chance just in case they can sprout. its really not quite warm enough for avocados here, but i have had those sprout very easily by just throwing them uncerimoniously out into the beds. so i have a few unintended avocado trees that...well they keep inching along. possibly they wont produce avos, but i figure if they sprouted that easily i will let them go and see....they choose life.

i have a small volunteer apple tree that the birds planted (?), it makes me even happier somehow that its a volunteer. the fruit is pretty good flavored, i believe its related to some old apple trees down the street. ah its like...the birds cultivated it...like...a little gardening project for them =)

i'm frequently surprised in my little gardens....mostly though its cause i forget what i plant! i throw a lot of seed around too...just broadcast this and that...so i dont always remember what it is when it does show up.
so theres more than a few plants that pop up that i dont even know what they are =) this might annoy someone else, but for whatever reason i think its cool. its like...these plants dont really care what they are called.....

theres one though...i really cant figure out what it is, and since its a small tree now its going to take up a lot of space in a place i usually plant. i continue to let it grow, without any clue if its a volunteer, or maybe something i tried to start in a pot and then gave up (throwing the dirt and seeds in the bed)...

i started hoping it was some cherry seeds i tried to start some years ago, and gave up on...but i am not sure, doesnt seem like thats right. its either totally volunteer or native, or from something i tried to start that didnt seem to work...until possibly being over wintered in the bed once i threw the dirt in there. i've actually meant to post a photo here, see if someone can identify it, but get scatterbrained and been busy. it started getting eaten by bugs, though i took them off and gave a soap spray...i feel like that could be a good sign of potential edible.

i'm not really concerned about names and specific varieties, but it does make it easier to look them up or whatever. but seems like...it makes itself obvious if its a good plant or what it is eventually. if it grows good, and produces good quality food, i dont care whats its called ! to self seed like that tells me its cut out for the environment, other wise it seems it wouldnt take off without a human. you know...its like a rightness to it, because it volunteered ??

i am guessing many gardeners wouldnt like this...but it really does make me happy...the plants finding their own groove, and doing their thing, regardless of humans.

where you are its even better, in some ways anyway, for fruits- the frustrating thing about trying to grow fruit here is that plants and fruit trees will grow great here- but it will not get either hot or cold enough to actually produce fruit or whatever edibles. so guava grows beautifully here, and flowers but no fruit...at least certain kinds, and same with passionflowers...i am trying to grow the kinds i think maybe might make it. but its always....a gamble and potentially not going to work in the weird microclimate here....yet it wont be apparent because the tree will take off and grow great. but to me...its like that doesnt matter. it just becomes obvious when somethings got to go or whatever...and i just dont have to get into all the details of it...just let it be and work itself out.

i also have some greenhouse like inside areas, so i push my climate with that, not particularly permaculture style...for a small amount of things i am willing to experiment =) and fuss over.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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yeah you are right, there are a lot of things that will grow in your area won't grow in mine..but we can get a lot of fruit to grow here and produce..and generally the things I'm throwing out seeds and pits from are those such fruits..however..I'll throw out just about anything and give it a chance as well.

we are reforesting about 10 acres here, a lot of it was scrubby field and the area around our house had only a few small trees when we moved in..now it is nearly all forested with something, but there is always room for more, esp with losing trees.

I do find a lot of trees are a bit tender to produce here, esp with our late frosts which took nearly all of our fruit buds this year..but hey..some years we have so much fruit we give bushels and bushels away..so I'm not going to complain..just sorted out leftover canned goods from last year and still had canned apples and plums so we aren't going to starve anytime soon.

I am hoping to see fruit on lots and lots of new trees next year and see what all we'll get.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1106
Location: northern northern california
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well thats cool, i am glad you are reforesting the land =)

ten acres seems huge to me ...i live in a tiny tiny place with very little land here. the project i am doing has been like a major clean up project, this place where i am now was a mess when i first got here....and the land was all off and weird here for a long long time before i came here and have been doing a lot of work to turn it around.

and its true the things that love to grow here grow really well with very little fuss. and winter gardening is great too, brassicas are so happy here, and some other plants that love the middle temperatures. so yeah...i get kale plants that can live for years and years...and such...things that over winter. so not complaining about the bio region, it has its advantages for growing the right kind of plants. but i love fruit!!! and it is a bit odd, especially when i first was gardening in this area, because of the way a tree or plant will grow great here...but never get triggered by either the hot or cold to produce food.

and it makes it a bit tricky when the avocados you throw into the garden area sprouts....cause its really a big ? if it will produce....probably...its not quite hot enouogh...but its a nice enouogh temp that it grows well....ah i will still let them try...do their thing. i dont need to...have everything here produce food...if its just a avocado tree that just grows as a tree thats ok =)

but yeah...its not easy to get fruit here...only apples and pears...some cherry varieties, the kiwis should go.....ooo and of course berries...berries really like this place....

but yeah totally forget about melons, and not quite hot enough for tropicals, not quite cold enough for stone fruits....even squash is tricky...but i get a few squash from the plants i try to grow each year....
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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this thread is a great example of how difficult it is for someone from one area of the country to help someone in another area..as we don't understand the difficulties faced in those other areas unless we have lived and gardened there.

and then there is always nature to fool with, this years droughts and horrible late freezes zapped a lot of our plants..I know Paul is attempting to figure out how to extend seasons without greenhouses, and hoping to grow citrus in Montana..and I wish him luck and hope I can learn from that..but I'm just lucky to get the apples, peaches, pears and grapes !!..this year only 2 pears, no apples, no stone fruits and a few measly grapes made it through the blossom freezes.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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For the late freezes and drought and hot summer, we got very little lettuce from the garden before it bolted. But we got what would be $120 worth of seed if we had to buy it from seedsavers!! And that is just the surplus after it resseded and we seeded a new fall plot.

So there is always an upside, if you look for it.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1106
Location: northern northern california
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Brenda Groth wrote:this thread is a great example of how difficult it is for someone from one area of the country to help someone in another area..as we don't understand the difficulties faced in those other areas unless we have lived and gardened there.

and then there is always nature to fool with, this years droughts and horrible late freezes zapped a lot of our plants..I know Paul is attempting to figure out how to extend seasons without greenhouses, and hoping to grow citrus in Montana..and I wish him luck and hope I can learn from that..but I'm just lucky to get the apples, peaches, pears and grapes !!..this year only 2 pears, no apples, no stone fruits and a few measly grapes made it through the blossom freezes.


yep, i learn a lot from my neighbor. at first i learned a lot from failure, cause i thought i could grow a lot of things i really cant.
technically this is zone 9, but its not at all.

and weird year, totally. hasnt been too bad here, its still juneary as usual.
 
                    
Posts: 238
Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
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hi R Scott, thats alot of lettuce! waytogo.

james beam
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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lettuce did here well in the spring and will probably do well this fall, but summer was just way too hot. Our area had record highs for the entire summer, esp July.

Our oak tree has an abundance of acorns this year, and as they fall some are falling on the paved road, this morning I went by and filled my pockets and on my walk I tossed them off into the property on the side of the road (mostly ours and our sons but might toss some into the woodsy areas as well)

I also plan to gather some pockets full and walk through our woods and the fields we are reforsting and plant them here and there where an oak would be welcome
 
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