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Do you have a plant/tree addiction?

 
gardener
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Today I got into trouble again. This time because I went shopping and bought a Bay Laurel tree, and 2 perennial melon plants. I had promised no more trees, but bay leaves are something we use a lot of, and who won’t love a perennial melon plant in their garden. Okay, I did tell him last time, that I wouldn’t do it again, but I just couldn’t resist. My husband growled at me, but didn’t really get mad, my kids just looked at me, shock their heads and said MOM what did you do this time. 😆
Lately I have used the “NO BARE SOIL” excuse, but I have to admit that I can’t use that for a tree.
This made me wonder if there are others like me out there, who doesn’t buy shoes, clothes and handbags galore, but instead plants a forest and gardens full of plants and trees. For me it’s pretty simple, the more trees and plants I have, the happier I get.
It’s going to be hard to resist buying more, but in truth, we don’t have room for more, at this point. I have to clean up our backyard hill side, if I want to grow more plants. I have already talked with my husband about growing grains there.
I don’t know precisely when I started dreaming of growing a forest and combining it with a raised bed garden for annual and sensitive plants. I remember, growing up in Denmark, foraging for food in the kings forest all year round, and making a summer trip to the danish/american friendship national park, to forage for berries and herbs. I remember climbing to the top of our apple tree, that was so tall that you could pick apples from the attic deck. I remember picking plums, cucumbers and strawberries, and these are some of the happiest memories I have of growing up.
My husband get it, when I was very sick for about 5 years, he repurposed a bathroom for plants, so I easily could grow indoors.
I think that one of the reasons we bought this house, was because the garden was a blank slate.
I know that I go crazy with gardening sometimes, and I am happy that my family indulge me.
Do you have a story of going a little crazy with planting? Or a happy garden story to share? Let me know below.
IMG_1942.jpeg
My 4” bay tree and two melon plants
My 4” bay tree and two melon plants
 
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I am a known plant buying addict too. For some woman it is shoes for me it is plant. I tell my husband he is lucky at least my shopping addition is leaving to more food for us and not just draining the bank account. But I agree with you, to control it is so hard. Maybe we need a plant addiction help group.
 
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Certainly not an "addiction". But I do like the occasional tree. I planted 56,000 scotch and white pines, blue spruce and Austrian pines on a bit of the farm. It's been interesting watching them fully mature and then start to be replaced by naturally occurring deciduous trees.

One of my nicer stories of the woods, is one day I walked back just to sit on a hill side looking at the trees. A fully white deer came out of the woods and stood watching me as I watched it. That was right at the time that the Janesville White Buffalo Calf was born. Nice visiting with both and watching Prophesy unfold. We are living in some interesting times.
 
Ulla Bisgaard
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Kyle Covington wrote:I am a known plant buying addict too. For some woman it is shoes for me it is plant. I tell my husband he is lucky at least my shopping addition is leaving to more food for us and not just draining the bank account. But I agree with you, to control it is so hard. Maybe we need a plant addiction help group.



I was thinking something like that 😆. My husband are happy I can’t drive, since it means no unplanned trip to the nursery or farmers 😆.
I also tell my husband that he should be happy it’s not shoes, clothes or bags or maybe jewelry.
The wild critters love me though. Every time I go outside, the birds start up, the squirrels come running and sometimes rabbits. They know that I will be digging, planting or sowing, and wait around to see what’s new. In the backyard, the chickens runs to the door of the pen and the roosters start cooing. I grow food for all of the animals, insects etc here on the homestead, and it doesn’t matter to me if they are wild or not.
 
Ulla Bisgaard
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Jim Fry wrote:Certainly not an "addiction". But I do like the occasional tree. I planted 56,000 scotch and white pines, blue spruce and Austrian pines on a bit of the farm. It's been interesting watching them fully mature and then start to be replaced by naturally occurring deciduous trees.

One of my nicer stories of the woods, is one day I walked back just to sit on a hill side looking at the trees. A fully white deer came out of the woods and stood watching me as I watched it. That was right at the time that the Janesville White Buffalo Calf was born. Nice visiting with both and watching Prophesy unfold. We are living in some interesting times.



That’s a lot of trees and a great story too. Did the experience make you believe in prophesies?
 
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I'm thinking about cutting out the middleman with my tree acquisition.

Ya know how sometimes good samaritans will see an obviously abused dog chained up in a yard and covertly "rescue" it?

I'm thinking about doing that with neglected gardens and orchards. I'll just swoop in, in the middle of the night with a backhoe and rescue struggling cultivars.

;)

j
 
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I can relate to these urges and feelings!

The last few years my income has steadily decreased as I try the path of following my heart and intuition. This prevents me from buying a lot of things, plants included.

Also, from an environmentalist view the plastic, potting soil, and transport of many of these plants available is a turn-off.

Both these things have helped avoid "addiction" if anyone feels like they are truly out of balance in an unhealthy way with plant purchasing!

I've learned that if given the space and time, lots of plants just show up! Also, searching for seeds, saving seeds, trying out different cuttings, and taking a job at a diversified organic veggie farm (I get the extras and misfits) etc has allowed me to still enjoy lots of plants for basically free!!

I feel like I've learned a lot more about these plants, too, since a bit more involvement goes into the process than just a purchase, and plant where I want.

I'm not opposed to others buying lots and lots of plants tho!! Thats great, and money VERY well spent :)


 
pollinator
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Reading this, it occurred to me that I may have an addiction too. Not all my plants are bought; some are given to me by my husband, the most recent being two bay laurels. I also acquire them from other people, a recent swap being a marjoram plant which I exchanged for teasel seeds. I save seeds but my sister in law SAVES SEEDS so gave me a whole load last year which I planted this year and many more than I expected have germinated and are growing well both in the greenhouse and now out in pots in the garden until I decide where to plant them. Mr Ara recently asked me if I could get any more plants into the greenhouse (he was looking at his 2 (!) tomato plants.) My answer was: of course. I mean, at present there is only one hanging basket of strawberries in there. Luckily we have only lived with our new garden for 18 months or so and there is plenty of space for new trees, vegetables etc. as there is quite a large lawn. My aim is to gradually reduce the size of that with the introduction of useful plants. The fruit trees will be coming next winter so I am at the stage of planning and dreaming at present. My sons have not inherited the gardening gene (I think it must miss a generation as my mother doesn't have it but my grandmother did.) but I counter that by visiting them and planting my "spares" in their gardens.
 
gardener
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Yes.
 
Ulla Bisgaard
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Cole Tyler wrote:I can relate to these urges and feelings!

The last few years my income has steadily decreased as I try the path of following my heart and intuition. This prevents me from buying a lot of things, plants included.

Also, from an environmentalist view the plastic, potting soil, and transport of many of these plants available is a turn-off.

Both these things have helped avoid "addiction" if anyone feels like they are truly out of balance in an unhealthy way with plant purchasing!

I've learned that if given the space and time, lots of plants just show up! Also, searching for seeds, saving seeds, trying out different cuttings, and taking a job at a diversified organic veggie farm (I get the extras and misfits) etc has allowed me to still enjoy lots of plants for basically free!!

I feel like I've learned a lot more about these plants, too, since a bit more involvement goes into the process than just a purchase, and plant where I want.

I'm not opposed to others buying lots and lots of plants tho!! Thats great, and money VERY well spent :)



Using less plastic are actually why I decided to Lear how to make seed blocks. The are pressed blocks with a hole for seeds to grow. It’s a tiny block first, but when the plant out grows one, you make a larger one (comes in sets) with a larger hole and put the small one in, like you would with nesting dolls. You still need trays, but you can use wooden trays or use metal baking trays.
This year I had to buy thought. We are dependent on what I grow for food, and I was in the hospital with a septic infection in January. Complications meant that it isn’t until now I am finally getting to the point where I can work in the garden more than 30 minutes.
I do reuse those plastic pots I get from the nurseries. I use a lot of pots when I start sweet potatoes. I only keep them in water until I can see roots starting to form, then I transplant to pots and then later into our raised beds, and into the front yard. We are two who are allergic to potatoes, so we eat sweet potatoes instead. Each year I plant around 75 slips, since we need at least 150 pounds to get us through a year.
I also use them to start ginger, turmeric and cassava indoors. I usually get 5 years out of a plastic pot.
 
Ulla Bisgaard
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Ara Murray wrote:Reading this, it occurred to me that I may have an addiction too. Not all my plants are bought; some are given to me by my husband, the most recent being two bay laurels. I also acquire them from other people, a recent swap being a marjoram plant which I exchanged for teasel seeds. I save seeds but my sister in law SAVES SEEDS so gave me a whole load last year which I planted this year and many more than I expected have germinated and are growing well both in the greenhouse and now out in pots in the garden until I decide where to plant them. Mr Ara recently asked me if I could get any more plants into the greenhouse (he was looking at his 2 (!) tomato plants.) My answer was: of course. I mean, at present there is only one hanging basket of strawberries in there. Luckily we have only lived with our new garden for 18 months or so and there is plenty of space for new trees, vegetables etc. as there is quite a large lawn. My aim is to gradually reduce the size of that with the introduction of useful plants. The fruit trees will be coming next winter so I am at the stage of planning and dreaming at present. My sons have not inherited the gardening gene (I think it must miss a generation as my mother doesn't have it but my grandmother did.) but I counter that by visiting them and planting my "spares" in their gardens.



When you get ready to remove the lawn, watch out for plastic. Lots places has used roll out grass instead of just seeding and those have plastic in them. We just let our lawn die, but then found all of the plastic when we started digging about 3” down.
 
gardener
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i don't have an addiction, i have an abundance!

(i also tell my husband that i could be buying shoes, or kittycats, or cars. it could be worse. but i also do set "embargo" periods for myself when things are a bit out of control)
I have been wanting a bay laurel myself. Inquiring minds want to know about the melon, is it the kind with the purple stripes on the fruit (i think we call them Andean melons here), or something else?
 
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Cole Tyler wrote: I've learned that if given the space and time, lots of plants just show up! Also, searching for seeds, saving seeds, trying out different cuttings, and taking a job at a diversified organic veggie farm (I get the extras and misfits) etc has allowed me to still enjoy lots of plants for basically free!!



That all sounds like a great plan Cole! I also grow a lot of trees, shrubs and interesting perennials from seed - much cheaper than buying a full sized  tree to plant out - especially for me as I need to add postage due to my location. I tell myself I'm getting better at restricting my habit but...


Jim Fry wrote:Certainly not an "addiction". But I do like the occasional tree


Me too!
 
Ulla Bisgaard
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Tereza Okava wrote:i don't have an addiction, i have an abundance!

(i also tell my husband that i could be buying shoes, or kittycats, or cars. it could be worse. but i also do set "embargo" periods for myself when things are a bit out of control)
I have been wanting a bay laurel myself. Inquiring minds want to know about the melon, is it the kind with the purple stripes on the fruit (i think we call them Andean melons here), or something else?



My main mistake with the bay was that I didn’t look up how big they get. They can grow up to 4’ a year and some species can get up to 80’ high. The one I got will end up about 15 feet high, so it’s one of the smaller species thankfully. I assumed that they are pretty small, since a homesteader friend keeps hers in a planter, and moves it inside in the winter times.
As for the melons, they are called pepino melons and are in the same group as tomatoes. Here is a little more info about them: https://www.plantfoodathome.com/pepino-melon-how-to-grow-and-eat/
 
Tereza Okava
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If I were you I'd just top the bay leaf when it gets your height, if you want to keep it manageable. I've done this with pretty much every tree I have after watching too many David the Good videos, and it hasn't failed me yet!!

Those pepino melons are nice, we grew them a few years ago. Mine pooped out after a bit but I also had a new puppy that was destroying everything so I suppose if you actually take good care of them they should do fine!!
(an aside-- i always look at your posts with interest because our zones are similar-- if you ever find space for another tree and you don't have it yet, tamarillo might be something fun to try! they only fruit for us once or twice a year, but they stay small-ish and once they get established they fruit like crazy)
 
William Bronson
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I kidnap trees from vacant lots.
I grocery shop with planting in mind.
I just joined a second community garden and chose the most overgrown and un-improved lot.
The trees and mungwort that were on it are already relocated to my yarden.
My yarden is a vacant plot that I specifically bought to grow things on.
Even my junk collecting and making  habits have become focused on growing things.
I am unabashedly a plant fiend, but as I tell people, at least I don't drink...

Even that choice is made keeping in mind that one drink at dinner could keep me from getting up early to gardening the next day.
 
Ulla Bisgaard
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Tereza Okava wrote:If I were you I'd just top the bay leaf when it gets your height, if you want to keep it manageable. I've done this with pretty much every tree I have after watching too many David the Good videos, and it hasn't failed me yet!!

Those pepino melons are nice, we grew them a few years ago. Mine pooped out after a bit but I also had a new puppy that was destroying everything so I suppose if you actually take good care of them they should do fine!!
(an aside-- i always look at your posts with interest because our zones are similar-- if you ever find space for another tree and you don't have it yet, tamarillo might be something fun to try! they only fruit for us once or twice a year, but they stay small-ish and once they get established they fruit like crazy)



It is my plan to keep it at my ideal size, by simply pruning it every year. We use a lot of bay for cooking, and fresh bay are amazing. My elderberries are so tall now, that we will have to prune them down in fall. They are about 2 feet from electrical wires, so the plan is to cut about 2 feet off.
I have been pruning my passion fruits, and they still ended up collapsing the trellis.
I just watch a video Paul posted year ago, about mullein. Right now I have 2 in my raised beds, but after watching the video, I am going to plant some in the forest garden as well. I already have comfrey and borage growing there to improve the soil and use for medicine. Mullein and mallow was how I got my family through Covid.
I am looking forward to trying the pepinos too. I couldn’t resist when I saw it was a perennial. If at some point I can find more room, I will try the tamarillo. It’s always great getting advice from someone in the same grow zone.
 
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Yellow and white Honesuckle is my addiction...Horsetail, too. In college my budget could only afford a small 250cc motorcycle. As I would pass one area on my way to class, or work, my helmet would have the faceplate up a bit and I would pass through an area with fragrant Honeysuckle. I've loved it ever since!
Horsetail is just gorgeous! The texture is beautiful. Like a miniature bamboo...that doesn't take over. Lol
 
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Ellen Lewis
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Regarding the bay, I have seen bay trees in formal gardens in Europe pruned to the size of a large bush, and topiaried. You'll still get plenty of bay leaves.
I had no success with pepinos, though your climate is probably better for them. But they're not actually a melon, they're a nightshade. You may not like them (I don't), and then you can pull them out and try something else.
My most recent tree problem is several European plums I successfully grafted this spring and have nowhere to plant. Also two figs in pots that rooted several years ago and now I need to give away.
 
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I definitely have a problem and I'm ok with that.

This year I've not bought any trees by making other people get trees instead. I was asked to teach a class at my church about how to select trees. It was great fun and I ended with giving everyone a fig cutting started from the pruning of our Desert King figs that I've been overdue to prune. I rooted ever single twig from that tree. That was back in February and I've been giving away figs to every one that comes to visit. Anyone in the area is welcome to contact me if you want a fig. 😂

Every time I feel the urge to buy another tree, I give away a baby fig tree instead. It helps a little. 🤣🤣🤣

My project next year is going to be figuring out how to propagate my wonderful Asian pear tree using the shoots from the rootstock and grafting cuttings from the top. Then I'll have more trees to give to people.

I do have a few trees on my wishlist so I try to remember that the space is claimed when I want to impulse buy a tree. And I still have lots of room to indulge in bushes, shrubs, and ground covers to say nothing of wildflowers and annual veggies. My husband and I are killing off more lawn and also we're going to try and make a stepping stone path this year and I think that will make it much easier to see where I have room for more plants. 😜
 
Ulla Bisgaard
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Ellen Lewis wrote:Regarding the bay, I have seen bay trees in formal gardens in Europe pruned to the size of a large bush, and topiaried. You'll still get plenty of bay leaves.
I had no success with pepinos, though your climate is probably better for them. But they're not actually a melon, they're a nightshade. You may not like them (I don't), and then you can pull them out and try something else.
My most recent tree problem is several European plums I successfully grafted this spring and have nowhere to plant. Also two figs in pots that rooted several years ago and now I need to give away.



If you can’t find a good home for them, you can always sell them on Etsy. There are a lot of home gardeners there who sell seedlings, cutting etc. that ways you can also make a little money.  
 
Ulla Bisgaard
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Ellen Lewis wrote:Regarding the bay, I have seen bay trees in formal gardens in Europe pruned to the size of a large bush, and topiaried. You'll still get plenty of bay leaves.
I had no success with pepinos, though your climate is probably better for them. But they're not actually a melon, they're a nightshade. You may not like them (I don't), and then you can pull them out and try something else.
My most recent tree problem is several European plums I successfully grafted this spring and have nowhere to plant. Also two figs in pots that rooted several years ago and now I need to give away.



I do know that it’s a nightshade, and because of that I won’t be able to eat them, but I have a husband and three kids to feed and they will probably love them in salads.
Also, for the extra cutting and seedlings you have, you can do two things. Find a buy nothing group and give it away to your neighbors, or you can sell them in Etsy. Many home gardeners and small farmers sell seedlings, cutting, plants and rooted cuttings there. That way you can also make a little money.
 
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To help with your plant/tree addiction ( it is one of the few positive ones to have ) I would visit your local county website for their gardening classes/locations also "permies" type groups and visit them. You have a beautiful Public Botanical Garden or 3 in your area ( San Diego Botanical Garden for one ) that have gardening classes and they have classes ( some free some with a fee ) but you will meet many people with your same addiction. You can take along cuttings and/or starter plants to trade or just to give away. We have met so many nice ( and like minded now friends ) people this way and have learned much from them. Also you can probably donate trees to "Habitat for Humanity" or some other like minded group. So then your addiction actually gives you "real" pleasure.
 
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Last year was out of control.  We purchased over 300 bare root plants in addition to an assortment of perennials and I transplanted a bunch of gooseberry that a neighbour wanted to thin.  We (I) bit off more than I could chew and we ultimately lost quite a few plants, some to the critters / winterkill, but many to the hot, dry weather that started up in late spring and we didn't have everything in the ground and up to date with water.

This year, I've modified things...so far I've avoided purchasing any new trees / shrubs, but did order a bunch of seeds and have many of them started in an air prune bed.  It gave me something to look forward to through the winter as I worked on elements of the stratification process.  The source (Incredible Seeds in eastern Canada) has a lot of good information, including expected germination rate.  I also planted a number of acorns and horse chestnuts that I gleaned walking the dog last year.  They won't all germinate, and those that germinate won't all survive nor thrive, but if some do we will expand the diversity of our property.  If none survive long term, it's a much smaller outlay of financial capital.
 
Ellen Lewis
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Yes, there are always ways to give away plants. The point is that there are always plants to give away. Every propagation project results in too many trees to plant, because you're not sure it's going to work, so you start with several.
I have given away plants - mostly trees - on buy nothing, on craigslist, on the email list for my local rare fruit growers group, on various local facebook edible plants groups. (Buy nothing doesn't tend to work very well. They want baby clothes.)
Once, when I was moving, I put a listing on craigslist: Instant Garden, Must Take Everything, and got someone to take away a couple of dozen twenty gallon pots. They were happy, I was happy.
But the culling goes on.

Selling them on etsy is too much work. That fig that needs a home is two feet tall and in a heavy pot. I leave that to the commercial operations. I'd rather meet my neighbors.
 
gardener
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I don't call it an addiction, I call it a hobby (wink, wink).

Since embracing the desire to live simply, I've employed the green thumb that my family says I inherited from my great-grandmother.  Currently have elderberry bushes waiting to be planted from last year's cuttings, two window boxes full of comfrey cuttings, two pots of horseradish cuttings ready to be planted and a myriad of fruit bushes and flowers bought on clearance.  

My mom wanted several geraniums but at $5 each for one in a tiny pot it ended up pretty pricey, so I took one of each color home at the end of the season and overwintered them, so the next year she had plants from cuttings and I sowed some seeds as well.  I grew about 65 from seed this year and still have the original "mother" plants for harvesting cuttings.  

I took some boxwood cuttings a few years ago, checked on them occasionally and was quite surprised to find roots on a few one day.  Turned out it was almost eleven months later and I had about a 75% success rate.  So now I'm wondering how boxwood really fits in with permaculture?  I have visions of an old-fashioned cottage garden--the kind where everything (fruits, veggies and flowers) were placed willy-nilly depending on where you could find a space, versus the pristine 'planned" versions.

Was potting some coleus starts and ended up breaking a few shoots and of course I had to immediately put them in water to root.  Then I remembered the small pieces of sedum a friend gave me a few days ago that I stuck in my purse...

So yes it really is an addiction, especially when money is tight and expanding the garden, creating a food forest and a relaxation oasis is priority.  😁
 
gardener
Posts: 976
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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It's an investment! As long as you get more out of it then you put in. Three bay leaves in a little plastic bag cost 2,50 in Holland. I use branches of that to light the stove with in winter. But they sigh if i come and bring those same branches to Holland. People are weird and this world is fucked up. But that's not your fault, you just fullfill your deepest desire, providing good healthy food for your family. What addict can say that is what their addiction brings?
If you have no room, just prune.
If there's no money for plants, propagate the ones you have and change.
Get rid of the ones you can't propagate easily.
Only buy seeds you can get to flower and that give viable seeds.
Use these plants to exchange locally. You'll be like a library of plants and seeds that work an examplist gardener.
I am.
People are jealous in my garden. I offer to give them plants and seeds. I tell them how i do it.
They complain they bought this, they bought that and it didn't grow..
Buying is not best. Sorry.
Nurseries sell shitty plants mostly, supermarkets don't care either. They're happy if your plant dies, because then you come back.
Ask for advice and it'll be your fault, because you didn't buy their horrible chemicals as well.
Like if plants that need chemicals deserve to live. Ridiculous.

I give away a lot of plants i have, why? Because i'm selfish. I tell them to use the money to buy plants i do not yet have, so i can steal seeds of cuttings of those. And if mine dies and they have it in their garden i can take it back.
I give away a lot of seeds for the same selfish reason, if there's a social event, i like to plonk a box of seeds on the table, people come and many times are touched it's free. They'll stay talking and tell me more where i can get other trees and special stories about old uncles with ancient methods and recipies. They'll think of me kindly whenever they see that plant that grew nicer than the commercial rubbish they bought since forever.

So there's this whole other dimension if you keep going, it's very social. And you'll get much more out of it than just food. You'll change other people's life's for the better. In fact not you or me, it's the plants doing that, it's the plants who're in charge, money is in the way.
 
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Yes. I travel with a shovel. Not buying if I can dig it out (not stealing!). Once a year, 7 hour drive one way can be rewarding depending on the time of a year.
Not much room for trees but lots of perennials (do these count? LOL).
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I helped my friend move today.
She offered me a rocking chair and an extension ladder.
I took the ladder, collapsed to24' on top of my van, left the r9cker for latter and asked for three mulberry trees that were still small enough to dig out.
The trees went into the forest of spite, but got better treatment than usual, as I'm trying to up my success rate.
I moved an errant blackberry to a spot in the spite forest as well.
My parents have dozens of oak seedlings that they want gone from their front yard.
I plan on  carefully "weeding" them for transplantation.
 
Ellen Lewis
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Oaks are reputed to be difficult to relocate, as they have a serious tap root.
I have done it successfully, but they might grow more quickly from acorns. They can be slow to recover from being dug up.
 
Never regret anything that made you smile. - Mark Twain / tiny ad
paul's patreon stuff got his videos and podcasts running again!
https://permies.com/t/60329/paul-patreon-stuff-videos-podcasts
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