My appleseed adventure continues - I'm watching the sepp holzer videos and he plants out pretty good-sized trees when he plants new areas. It seems to me they get a head start, being taller than the weeds planted around them. So I'm debating the merits of growing my seedlings in a nursery bed for a year or two then moving them vs. planting them directly where I want them (in the pasture).
In the pasture I'd have to build a fence around each tree, regardless of the size, to protect them at least the first 5 years (and maybe longer since the donkeys strip bark off the trees they like). With a tiny tree seedling it would make it harder to keep it clipped/weeded enough that the tree wouldn't just get smothered out by weeds, I think. But in reading about growing trees in a nursery bed then moving them, it says it takes them 2 years or more to overcome "transplant shock" and really start growing again. Is that just for bigger trees or even 1- or 2- year seedlings?
I'd like to grow other trees from seeds to put in the pasture - persimmons and beech grow well here, and I'd like some more oaks and chestnuts too, so the apples are kind of a learning/trial experience that I'll apply on a bigger scale maybe next year.
I plant my peach seeds in a nursery bed for all of the reasons you mention above. Sometimes I plant them in pots but last year I had so many I did both...the nursery bed (the bottom of an old compost pile) had almost 100 percent germination and the pots much less. I have apple seeds up in some planters too. Things just disappear if I plant out tree seed... either the deer or one of us with the sythe, sickle or mower wipe it out. The problem I see now is digging the peaches...judging from the top I have over a foot of tap root to dig in very rocky soil. I think if I catch a rainy week over the winter here I can move them more easily.
But persimmons just keep appearing on their own...I just remove the ones that I don't want.
I dont notice transplant shock with peaches from seed or pie cherry suckers that I planted after growing in pots for a year or two but I have never tried apples before.
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
“When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
I had apple seeds sprout for me, then wilt and die. The peaches and pecans do great from seed, as do pomegranates, citrus, loquats and other stuff. I did a big post on it at my blog a while back. I've started re-reading sepp holzer's Permaculture and it's inspired me yet again to chuck seeds around.
I know what you mean about seeds in place getting killed. Maybe the trick is overplanting, then letting some survive?
I've toyed with the idea of making a good nursery bed just for trees, though. I'm always saving seeds and sticking them in pots.