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Not Fighting Nature and Plant Hardiness

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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I really like what you said about basically not growing things that don't want to survive...I'm somewhat that way but will give a species a fighting chance to live again if at first it doesn't succeed..after a few tries I tend to give up..

but if I read something that tells me I did it wrong the first time..or if it had really crappy drought, with super high winds and highest temps in 100 years..then I might give it a second chance in a more protected area.

I'm a sucker for throwing away money to try one last time I guess.

However, after doing this with a few things that really should survive here as they were rated for my zone and climate..I have gone on the third or fourth time and had the items live and provide a crop, then I'm totally thrilled..but I'm with you..not going to grow bananas or citrus outside in Michigan..no way....and I have a small greenhouse 6x8 to put some maters in for extending their fall eating, have some greens grow in there year around and keep my rosemary plant going in one corner..hope to do better with using it in the future.

I have tried kiwi a few times and they didn't do well, but i kinda blame myself as they are the super hardy kind..so like a fool I ordered 4 more females and a male for this spring..and I'm going to try to be a better mama to them. I'm going to keep them INSIDE and protect their little roots until I know they are really ready to go outside..prune them better..protect them when I plant them..better..and hope for the best..but I promise if I fail this time I'm done.

I have tried paw paw a few times to no avail, even planting local seeds inside the plant in the soil in the edges of my woods..but if those seeds don't show up as trees someday I'm done, not spending more money trying to grow paw paw !!

I failed several times with peaches and plums, but have them growing nicely now, and had a similar situation with pears but have 10 lovely pear trees growing and got my first crop this year..so I'm determined but not too foolish.

after having a super late hard killing freeze this past year that knocked out almost all of our fruit blossoms...and then having the worse drought and the warmest summer on record for our area after that I have come close to giving up on a few things..but as I said I'm determined..and so I'm planting more fruit trees, kiwi vines, strawberries and a bunch of annual seeds this year and hoping for a much better year..thanks for answering all the questions Mark..and I might just give up on a few things this year if they don't make it !! .....and maybe not
 
Mark Shepard
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Brenda... What I like most about your post is that instead of researching forever and thinking something to death you're sticking plants in the ground and giving them the chance! Accept your feedback from THEM, not from kooks like me on the internet! Rock on!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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Well I have been an impulsive reader since I was 4 years old, and my favorite reading material is on plants, so I get a lot of "advice"..but yeah, I'm also a real plant lover and stick in anything I can find or afford to buy and see if it will grow.

All this talk about hazelnuts also has me thinking about how I can spread out my hazelnuts that are growing so well on my property right now..they do have suckers but I have never tried to dig and move them and I haven't taken cuttings of them, but I really did enjoy my first crop last year (ate them all myself)..so I'm thinking of trying to dig up some of the suckers and extend that planting into a much longer hedge..I was so surprised at how easy they are to pick also..esp for an old foagie like me..(61)..I love easy.

I am a firm believer that if you have land and you can deal with doing it you should plant as much food as possible not only for yourself, your family and friends but to give or sell and also for all of the wildlife..someday we might need to live off of all that wildlife so they better be well fed.
 
Tom Reeve
Posts: 16
Location: Seal Harbor, ME
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Brenda,
You should find a two friendly people who have groves of paw paws and see if they will let you dig up a couple of runners to transplant. I have had friends who were very successful with this when their seeds would not germinate. You do need two different colonies though because they will not cross pollinate with the same genetic clone.
 
Collin Wolfe
Posts: 26
Location: 2b Regina. Sk
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Brenda Groth wrote:I am a firm believer that if you have land and you can deal with doing it you should plant as much food as possible not only for yourself, your family and friends but to give or sell and also for all of the wildlife..someday we might need to live off of all that wildlife so they better be well fed.


That is a great way to look at things. I feel the same way. However what you are trying to do is push the zones. What I would do is look for the most northern example of the plant you want. Provenance is everything. A good example is black walnut. I've run across two examples that have made it through 20 years of -40C weather. The trees put everything they have into vigor and have the tiniest nuts you've ever seen but you know what? The seeds are viable. You can plant them in the ground and get a sapling from them. Your hunt will be that of a treasure hunter. You need to find the most northern sourcing of the plants you want. What you may not get is the preferred "cultivar" selection.

And who knows, you might learn something odd about your specific region that allows you to skirt zones. Here, it is dogwood country. You plant it and it will grow, usually double the size of what the label says. The conditions are so slanted in favour of dogwoods one grower is planting species 3-4 zones out and getting success. Sure there is dieback but the plants grow so quickly during the warm season they more than make up for frost damage. One of my longer term projects is to get the space to try the edible European varieties of dogwood.

So if I could get either medicinal or fruiting value from dogwoods I'd be off the to races.

I think if you are persistent, you are only a zone and a half out from pawpaws that you could get away with something in a sheltered location. There might be other factors involved like moisture and fungal requirements that your mid west soils aren't giving them. I learned that the hard way with maples. Outside Norway and Boxelder, the water table is too low to support them. You might have a similar condition happening.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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yeah after having tried paw paws rated to zone 4/5 several times and getting actual paw paws from people and planting them myself 4 times..i have pretty much given up..but I also read that the seeds can take as much as 18 months to sprout..and the ones I planted last year it hasn't been 18 months and they were held in the frig in moist moss until the proper planting time..so..I'll still wait to see if I get some trees from those..there were about 7 different kinds sent to me by a few different people to try..so..we'll see..they are planted in the proper conditions and I'll wait to find out if they come up..i also put trees and brush around where they are planted so if they do come up some animals are less likely able to nibble them off

I give them a fighting chance.

as for the kiwi..these are supposed to be super hardy..we'll see..and I plan to baby them like no bodies business !! But I can afford the time and space to experiement, I have 8 acres of my own and an addjoining 5 acres my son owns and 20 my neighbors own that will let me experiement on their land.

so far those have been the only things I haven't been able to get growing that I wanted to get starts on..oh and I have 2 persimmon seedlings that still have green under the bark but have never made leaves?? wierd..a few of my nut trees are still alive but VERY small, so I'm waiting to see how those do as well..and plums have been a bit more difficult for me than any other fruit trees, i have several growing into bearing size this year..from about 8 different varieties..so I have hope
 
Matt Smith
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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I like your philosophy, Brenda!

I've lost a lot of plants these past few years to my own general ignorance (putting them in the wrong location or circumstances). When I have it to do over again knowing what I know now, I'll hopefully do better.. but I have learned a lot so I suppose that's the trade-off.

I've tried to put a positive spin on it by thinking that the plants that do survive are likely better equipped to do so than ones that need to be babied. The scale of what I'm trying to build here (as I'm sure is the case with many of you all as well) is such that I simply don't have the time to baby each plant year-round.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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yeah I tend to plant way more plants that I need for our family and friends..and if it all grows and flourishes and I get a harvest maybe I'll even be able to sell some..I always do give some away every year to needy folks..and have sold a few things..but not enough to make any kind of living at it..which would be nice.
 
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