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Twisted Tree Farm on Permaculture Voices

 
Akiva Silver
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I was recently interviewed on the permaculture voices podcast about my nursery here in upstate NY. The main topics were plant propagation and the nursery business. If it interests you, here is the link www.permaculturevoices.com/63
 
Josey Hains
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Akiva Silver wrote:I was recently interviewed on the permaculture voices podcast about my nursery here in upstate NY. The main topics were plant propagation and the nursery business. If it interests you, here is the link www.permaculturevoices.com/63


Loved the interview Akiva!
I can't wait to get my seedlings in about a month and start my own place. Any tips on prepping a place for baby nut trees?
 
Akiva Silver
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Thanks!, Nut trees in general need good drainage, so I usually make mounds or berms for them to be planted into.
 
George Meljon
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Akiva, I was really inspired by the interview, thanks! Can you explain the seed bed for overwintering again? Are the seeds fully wrapped or is there just the tarp under or over the seeds?
 
Akiva Silver
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I over winter seeds just mixed with soil in the ground, no tarp involved. What does matter is keeping rodents from eating them, especially when it comes to nuts and stone fruits. I've been keeping rodents out mostly with hardware cloth lining a pit. This year, I'm putting a lot of seed in buckets buried in the ground. I cut the bucket bottoms out and replaced with hardware cloth and drilled small holes in the tops.
The overall goal is for the seeds to have regular moisture, be exposed to cold, and have excellent drainage around them to prevent rotting. Let me know if you have any questions.
 
Frank Brentwood
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Akiva Silver wrote:I over winter seeds just mixed with soil in the ground, no tarp involved. What does matter is keeping rodents from eating them, especially when it comes to nuts and stone fruits. I've been keeping rodents out mostly with hardware cloth lining a pit. This year, I'm putting a lot of seed in buckets buried in the ground. I cut the bucket bottoms out and replaced with hardware cloth and drilled small holes in the tops.
The overall goal is for the seeds to have regular moisture, be exposed to cold, and have excellent drainage around them to prevent rotting. Let me know if you have any questions.


Akiva: Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and knowledge.

Some questions:

1) What do you put in the buckets with the nuts? Anything? Would a sand/gravel mix provide the necessary drainage? Or would you recommend something else?
2) I am relocating in about 4 years and I would like to take some seedlings/saplings of the Black Walnut trees we have here on the property. Do you have any experience in container-raised trees? Or would you recommend attempting to raise them for bare-root transplanting?
 
Akiva Silver
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I put a good woodsy compost in with my seeds, usually made from some very rotten down leaf mold or old wood chips. I have used sand and I think it works great. I just try to think about how squirrels have been planting nut trees for so long; they keep the nuts buried in the forest duff.

4 years is a really long time to transplant walnuts. If you grew it in a container for that long, it would have an unrecoverable circling root system, and if it was in the ground for that long, it would be such a big root system that it would be hard to transplant. For me, one year for bare root black walnuts is a pretty deep and thick root to dig up.
If you want to start something now that you can transplant in 4 years, then I would go with apples, plums, pears, mulberries, or any shrub like currants or blueberries. And I would wait later to start trees with big taproots like walnut and oak.
 
Josey Hains
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Akiva Silver wrote:I over winter seeds just mixed with soil in the ground, no tarp involved. What does matter is keeping rodents from eating them, especially when it comes to nuts and stone fruits. I've been keeping rodents out mostly with hardware cloth lining a pit. This year, I'm putting a lot of seed in buckets buried in the ground. I cut the bucket bottoms out and replaced with hardware cloth and drilled small holes in the tops.
The overall goal is for the seeds to have regular moisture, be exposed to cold, and have excellent drainage around them to prevent rotting. Let me know if you have any questions.


I just prepared plastic containers with a mix of good potting mix, compost and wormcastings for this. Is this a bad idea? The boxes have holes in the bottom and top and I buried them in a sandbox. Sofar I have only the one for plums in the ground. I want to try plums, hazelnuts, chestnuts and black walnuts. They will be exposed to sun, rain and lots and lots of snow.
 
Akiva Silver
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That sounds pretty good to me, especially if the mice can't get in.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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That was an awesome interview Akiva. You are pretty close from me, so I will try to come over to one of your upcoming events!

I am trying to start a small nursery myself and after getting 98% of my acorns dug out by squirrels last year, I am really interested in hearing how you protect the nuts.

Once you overwinter them in the rodent proof container, do you wait for them to start sprouting or do you just plant them in beds as soon as the soil is workable?
 
Frank Brentwood
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Akiva Silver wrote:I put a good woodsy compost in with my seeds, usually made from some very rotten down leaf mold or old wood chips. I have used sand and I think it works great. I just try to think about how squirrels have been planting nut trees for so long; they keep the nuts buried in the forest duff.

4 years is a really long time to transplant walnuts. If you grew it in a container for that long, it would have an unrecoverable circling root system, and if it was in the ground for that long, it would be such a big root system that it would be hard to transplant. For me, one year for bare root black walnuts is a pretty deep and thick root to dig up.
If you want to start something now that you can transplant in 4 years, then I would go with apples, plums, pears, mulberries, or any shrub like currants or blueberries. And I would wait later to start trees with big taproots like walnut and oak.


Thank you so much for that response. I was already thinking about doing some container planting for fruit trees, just to get a head start for when I move, but you've convinced me. I may start some Black Walnuts just to see what the success rate is, but I'll either plant them out or give them away.
 
Cj Sloane
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Akiva, do you think you'll sell oak scions? I've recently discovered dozens of small to medium oaks on an area of my property that's totally ledge. I don't see how I could plant an acorn or a tree there but I could certainly graft onto an existing one.
 
Akiva Silver
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Adrien, I plant the seeds when the ground is workable in the spring, often they are already sprouting on their own, but it doesn't matter either way.

CJ, I could send you some oak scions this winter. I have never grafted oaks before, so have no idea about the tricks of that. I know some people do it, so it must work.
Do you know what varieties you are looking for?, I have access to schuettes oak, bur x gamble, ashworth bur, and several others.
 
Cj Sloane
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There isn't much info out there on grafting Oaks and I've only grafted once before (successfully with apples) so for safety sake I think a few of each! I do have the Omega grafting tool now, which I didn't have when I tried grafting apples so it should go easier.

I think all of the wild ones are plain old Red Oaks.
 
Akiva Silver
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I talked to an old time nut grower about this, he has grafted many oaks and he seemed to think that compatibility is a major issue. He says he only grafts oaks onto seedlings of the tree he wants to copy to make sure that they are very similar genetically. It seems like red oak to white oak might be a stretch, but like I said, I have no experience with it.

Also, red oaks make a perfectly good acorn to eat. The leaching process is the same.
I can send scions in the winter if you want, but if you already have healthy oaks there, it might be best just to thin out and use what is there.
 
Cj Sloane
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Akiva Silver wrote:
Also, red oaks make a perfectly good acorn to eat. The leaching process is the same.
I can send scions in the winter if you want, but if you already have healthy oaks there, it might be best just to thin out and use what is there.


I was thinking about using the acorns as livestock. I'm reading some conflicting things about the effect of the tannins on the meat. I had a feeling there might be issues with grafting white oak on to red but I'm still willing to try it.

The oaks are healthy but many are young, 1" to 2" & I see no sign of acorns on them this year & I'm worried it'll take 20 years before they produce. Now that I'm cutting back the other trees to release them, the may grow faster.

I'd also like to keep them pollarded if it prevents them from falling over due to being top heavy on ledge.
 
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