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Food Savana in a Frost Pocket?  RSS feed

 
Matthew Lindsay
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First post by a long time lurker. Wanted to get you ya'll's thoughts on planting fruit and nut trees in a frost pocket (as that is what most of my property is). Everything I read warns strongly against it, but I don't have much in the way of options. I am aware that I will lose crops, but I figure if the trees can at least grow and I get a nice crop every 5 years or so it would probably be worth the effort of planting (I don't plan on any heroics (tenting ect)), any thoughts?
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
65
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how exactly is your place a frost pocket? rough location/ climate zone? general first/last frost dates?

I would think something is possible almost anywhere. But more info and I could give better advice.
 
Matthew Lindsay
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Adam Klaus wrote:how exactly is your place a frost pocket? rough location/ climate zone? general first/last frost dates?

I would think something is possible almost anywhere. But more info and I could give better advice.


NC Foothills, zone 7. April 15-May 1st last frost, and First frost in usually sometime in October. Most of the property is low lying bottom land along a creek with hills on either side. Cool air settles there and there is probably a week or two every spring and fall, when the bottom frosts and no where else does. There is often a 3-4 degree difference as I drive up the road in the mornings. The soil has great silty texture, which attracted me to the property in the first place, but is still recovering from many years of annual cropping. Currently, I am rotationally grazing sheep and goats on about 4 acres of pasture, but would like to go for more of a savanna type set up.
 
Philip Green
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Location: Southern Ohio (zone 6a)
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Matthew Lindsay wrote:First post by a long time lurker. Wanted to get you ya'll's thoughts on planting fruit and nut trees in a frost pocket (as that is what most of my property is). Everything I read warns strongly against it, but I don't have much in the way of options. I am aware that I will lose crops, but I figure if the trees can at least grow and I get a nice crop every 5 years or so it would probably be worth the effort of planting (I don't plan on any heroics (tenting ect)), any thoughts?


It's possible that if it stays cool than you wouldn't have too much of an issue. Plants generally decide when to grow based on growing degree days (based on a combination of temperature and amount of sunlight receieved). They might end up being a couple of weeks behind everything, but would be fine from frost. If possible try to shade them from the sun early in the year - especially early morning sun. If you have a North (or west) facing hillside, or maybe plant a row of tall trees to block the sun coming in from the South early in the year), this would keep them cooler early in the year (and limit the amount of sun-light they receive) and help prevent them from germinating at a time when frost would cause damage. You would be shortening your growing season, but since your zone 7 you've still got a reasonably long growing season.
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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I think your situation sounds good to go.
Mulberries, persimmons, raspberries, blackberries, grapes should produce annually, no problem.
Peaches would be a good choice. Apples and pears too. I might skip cherries and apricots for now to see how the others do.
Nuts are trickier in your situation. Maybe chestnut if soil is a bit acid.

In any event, a frosty pocket in NC zone 7 is still plenty warm. Look for varieties that break bud late.
Your site sounds very workable for your objectives. You'll get fruit way more than once in five years if you select good varietals.
 
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