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Monthly Food Forest Tours! Let's create a food forest together!

 
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 1 of the weekly food forest tour for 3/15/20.



The pollen is here! Maybe my facemask will help keep some of it out!

I finished up my grafting and the front beds are full of small grafted trees! I tried to space them out so that they both have room to grow, but also so that their canopies will block out and shade out other undesirable plants from growing here. I put about 6 inches in between them from left to right and 4 inches from front to back.

I describe how I plant the trees in the nursery bed. One row of digging, plants two rows of trees. This helps minimize the work and maximize your time! I'll definitely be using this technique in the future!

The blueberries are starting to put out some green growth. It has a nice red color at the tips of the new growth.

Lots of green growth this year usually means lot of blueberries for next year! The new green shoots usually have tons of flower buds at the tips of them next year and will produce tons of blueberries!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 2 of the weekly food forest tour for 3/15/20.



The grafted mulberries have some swelling buds.

One of the grafted cherries is budding out and looks like it will have some new leaves very soon!

I'm doing an experiment with my grape vine hardwood cuttings. One bed is in full sun for almost the whole day. I am leaving them alone after sticking them in the soil.

The other bed with grape vine cuttings is in more shade for most of the middle and later part of the day. I also removed all of the buds except for the one closest to the ground. It should be interesting to see if one bed does better than the other.

The peach seeds I planted last summer are sprouting! You can check out more about them in this video.



They are looking really healthy so far, hopefully they will keep it up!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 3 of the weekly food forest tour for 3/15/20.



On the first larger peach tree, a lot of the blooms didn't make it. There are a lot more on the rootstock branches, so it looks like it will still produce a few peaches this year.

Some of the flowers on each individual peach tree bloom at different times. I think this is a really valuable trait to have. It helps avoid late frosts and can help overlap with other variety's bloom times to increase pollination. I also like it when trees produce fruit spread out over a period of time, which lengthens the harvest window and can provide fruit for fresh eating over a longer period of time. A lot of varieties are bred to flower and be ready to harvest at the same time because the commercial fruit industry wants it to be that way, so that it's easier to pollinate and harvest. However for the home grower, and in my opinion even for commercial growers too, it is nice to have the flowering and harvest window spread out over a larger period of time.

One of the cherry trees is starting to bud out!

The paw paw flowers (aka alien flowers) are starting to get bigger.
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is the part 4 of the weekly food forest tour for 3/15/20.



I've seeded out some of the newly built mounds around some of the fruit trees.

One of the young Japanese plums is blooming (I'll remove the flowers since it is so young though), and it has lots of healthy new green growth.

The large pear tree has some flower clusters that are popping out and will probably be blooming very soon. I counted eight flowers in one cluster. It looks like the whole tree is full of flower buds and hopefully will have a lot of flowers, and as a result lots of pears this year.

The younger large pear that may be the rootstock of the large pear tree, both flowered and leafed out pretty far before the larger pear tree, so I'm pretty sure they are two different varieties. It is really healthy and has had no disease issues, and it also has a great shape and look to it also. It also got rubbed really bad by a deer buck, and even after that it is still thriving and healing over nicely.

I've also cast some seed on the larger mulched fruit tree mounds for some different types of ground covers, and I plan to plant some vegetable seeds very soon on them!
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 5 of the weekly food forest tour for 3/15/20.



Rabbits don't just eat what I try to grow, they actually eat other things too! Good to know, lol.

The second older Japanese plum that fell over isn't doing great and has some yellowish leaves. It's never really done great, so I plan to probably remove it very soon.

A lot of fruit trees near the back of the food forest are still dormant.

The willow hardwood cuttings in the back propagation bed are really putting on some growth! They are even flowering! I'll need to pull the flowers off so they can focus their energy into building their roots. It's really interesting that these willow cuttings were put in after the other ones, and these are ahead of the other ones.

The buds are starting to really open up on the hardwood grape cuttings, and they'll probably be starting to have some leaves very soon.
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 1 of the weekly food forest tour for 3/22/20.



My grafted pear and apple trees are starting to leaf out!

The grape vines are starting to put on some green growth! I even saw a small baby cluster of grapes forming!

The blueberries are starting to put on a lot of new green growth! I think I found a beneficial insect near one of the flower clusters.

In previous years I've cut the grass in between the fruit trees. I think I'm going to let it grow out this year and see how it goes. It'll be a lot less work, and it should also create lots of food for pollinators, create healthy soil, and can also be cut back with a scythe if needed to harvest large sized mulch.
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 2 of the weekly food forest tour for 3/22/20.



Some of the pomegranates look like they are about to produce some leaves. Some of the other ones died back to the ground, but are sprouting back.

I had some leftover apple rootstock from my grafting a few weeks ago. I planted them and cut them back to just a few inches tall, to encourage them to create lots of new shoots. I plan to stool layer them to hopefully create more apple rootstock for next year. This is done by piling soil, leaves, sawdust, or other organic material around the new shoots to encourage them to each send out new roots. They can then be dug up in the Fall or prior to grafting season to create lots of free apple rootstocks!

The peach tree seedlings are looking good! The biggest ones are already about four or five inches tall! It looks like the oldest one may have just had the bud damaged, as it seems to be sending out some new shoots.
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 3 of the weekly food forest tour for 3/22/20.



I see some little peaches!

My first cherry blossoms are forming! YAY!!!

A baby spider is the guardian of the paw paw flower. There are a lot more flowers on the tree this year. It looks like there is about 30 flowers this year compared to about 5 or 10 last year.

I found a baby paw paw tree! I had planted it last year and thought it didn't make it, but I was looking in the wrong spot, but I refound it!

The transplanted blueberries taken from shoots from the mother plants are doing really well.

I removed a lot of the plum blossoms on the little tree, still have a few more to remove.

The apples are starting to bud out.
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 4 of the weekly food forest tour for 3/22/20.



I used some river birch limbs which were very twiggy, and stuck them in the ground around a young blueberry in a heavy deer traffic area with no other protection. So far it seems to be working really well.
There has been no deer or rabbit damage that I can see.

Also, something else very interesting happened. Where I stuck them in the ground, the other nearby native plants have had a huge growth spurt it seems. They are way way ahead of all of the other plants of their kind throughout the food forest. It could just be a coincidence, but I wander if it is something more, like the plants are benefiting from part of the branch being pushed underground and getting extra heat or moisture or something. This was really neat to see, and I'm excited to see how the blueberry does as well!

There's lots of pear flowers! The tree is loaded! Hopefully it'll be loaded with pears later this year! There may be a pollination issue with the tree, so just a fraction of these flowers will probably turn into pears. I assume that it is mostly due to the fact that I don't have another pear tree blooming and also that some of the blossoms probably get infected and die from fire blight. However the tree is doing a lot better in terms of not getting fire blight since I've stopped pruning it, so hopefully we'll have lots of pears this year.

The pear flowers smell nice too! They're not super fragrant, but if you stick your nose up to them, they smell kind of like a fresh pear scent.

The rootstock/seedling has some tiny pears forming! It is growing really fast too, already putting on about six inches of growth in some areas.
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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This video is part 5 of the weekly food forest tour for 3/22/20.



The grafts on the plum tree look like they survived, should find out for sure soon.

One of the larger apple trees is pretty far ahead of the other ones leafing out.

I plan to leave a branch with powdery mildew on one of the apple trees that has been pretty resistant to it before, to see if it can naturally fight it off and heal itself.

The largest plum tree has some baby plums forming! This is the tree that the plums don't taste great in my opinion. They are definitely edible, but not something I would really love to eat. I might look into making jam or jelly with them or seeing if I can find a recipe to cook with them.

Almost all of the cuttings are starting to put on some green growth. I'll probably pour some willow water on them to try to encourage them to put out some good roots.
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