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Pics from Greg's Forest Garden

 
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Ed Waters wrote:Greg, was wondering if you ever offer tours of your Forest Garden.

Ed



Not formal tours as I don't yet think of it as tour worthy, but sometimes folks drop by for other reasons and then I take them for a walk/talk if they are interested.  It seems to usually happen after biochar hands on meetup sessions.  I have a few scheduled this year, but so far not at my home.  If you're interested and are down in York county sometime in the spring through fall and we can make it work then you're invited!
 
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We are going to be way up north in the Eastport region.   'Would enjoy seeing it up close.  We grow a lot of what you are showing and will be taking a lot of cuttings next week to take along with us when we move in March.  This is absolutely killing us and just beginning to realize how much we will be leaving behind after 15 years.  Willows, aronias, sorrel etc can move no problem, English walnuts, hardy kiwis, siberian pea shrubs etc, are difficult to maybe impossible.  Even ramps if they don't show themselves will be difficult to find.

Can we bring red currants?  Black currants seem to be a no no, but reds are allowed in some counties??

My email is edm6103@gmail.com

 
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greg if its not too much trouble i would still love a planting list of whats on your property
 
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Hi Greg. Fantastic pics.  I’m in North Idaho and am working on a design which incorporates a number of the plants and berries you have. .  I’d really love to pick your brain for some suggestions for my food forest. I have commercial aspirations for value-added berry products and I’m looking for info from an experienced gardener.  I’m in zone 6 but I’m planning for 4.  I want to choose plants with relatively fast fruiting and high yield.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Jeff
 
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just popping in to say that my sweet cicely seed from you is beginning to come up!...they are the ones I planted in a big pot last fall and left out all winter...I still have the rest to plant soon.

This is one of my favorite threads...beautiful and inspiring journal
 
Greg Martin
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Aww, thanks Judith!  So very happy to have something from my food forest popping up for yours.  They self seed for me easily in my moist soils and jump around a bit.
 
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Greg Martin wrote:An update on the American Spikenard.  It's such a big plant that makes sooo many berries.  Each little cluster ripens all at once, but the spike of berries ripen over an extended time.  They've passed now, but these are pictures from a few weeks ago when I was snacking on them.

I've got this plant combining this spring as well as a few others. got another hardy mulberry, a couple more honey berries and a few more red/ white currants. growing out some herbs to put out there as well. going to spread out my arctic raspberries and alpine strawberries to speed up their spread in my wood chips under my bigger plants. can't wait to see ground again!
 
Greg Martin
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I picked up some red leafed peach seeds from the Experimental Farm Network this year and wanted to share with you all how lovely they are!  They are supposed to make tasty small peaches.  They have great potential to be beautiful trees in the landscape, but I think they are more of a Merlot leafed peach.

Red-Leaf-Peach.jpg
Red Leaf Peach from the Experimental Farm Network
Red Leaf Peach from the Experimental Farm Network
 
Greg Martin
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Last year I planted a couple of giant ornamental onions, Gladiator to the left and Mount Everest to the right in front of a goumi seedling.  I planted them because I've heard that they are bred from wild onions that are foraged for.  I was curious if I would like the bulbs, but with their large wide leaves I was also curious how those might taste.  So when I walked past them both I decided to take a nibble.  I can tell they are alliums, but I was shocked by how very mild the leaves were on both plants.  The Mount Everest leaves somehow even reminded me a bit of cabbage....???  I will be experimenting more with these leaves as they get larger.

giant-ornamental-onions-gladiator-and-mount-everest-in-front-of-goumi-seedling.jpg
Giant ornamental onions coming up...Gladiator on the left, Mount Everest on the right. The stick behind them is a seedling Goumi
Giant ornamental onions coming up...Gladiator on the left, Mount Everest on the right. The stick behind them is a seedling Goumi
 
Greg Martin
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I also had to take a picture of the cornelian cherries, Cornus mas, in blossom.  Very lovely this time of year.

Cornus-mas-trees-flowering.jpg
Cornelian cherries blooming
Cornelian cherries blooming
 
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i have a wild chokecherry that has purple leaves on my property. i potted up some volunteers if your interested. new growth is green but turns purple by july.
 
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steve bossie wrote:i have a wild chokecherry that has purple leaves on my property. i potted up some volunteers if your interested. new growth is green but turns purple by july.



Thank you Steve, sounds very nice.  I would be interested.  PM sent.  Have you ever run across the Robert chokecherry?  It has red leaves and grape sized fruit.  I think it's only in Canada, but I would very much love to get one or else seeds from one if anyone knows how I could get some.  Here's a picture of Robert chokecherry.

 
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mines surviving under my red pines so its never produced cherries but the ones in full sun nearby produce heavily so once this one is in full sun it should produce well. i make chokecherry jam every summer.
 
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Greg Martin wrote:

steve bossie wrote:i have a wild chokecherry that has purple leaves on my property. i potted up some volunteers if your interested. new growth is green but turns purple by july.



Thank you Steve, sounds very nice.  I would be interested.  PM sent.  Have you ever run across the Robert chokecherry?  It has red leaves and grape sized fruit.  I think it's only in Canada, but I would very much love to get one or else seeds from one if anyone knows how I could get some.  Here's a picture of Robert chokecherry.

never hears of it. would be nice to have it here. ever hear of rabina mountain ash?. its berries are much bigger and sweeter than reg. mountain ash. i think its from russia.
 
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Greg Martin wrote:

rick jacobson wrote: Hi, as a fellow Mainiac I would love to trade some fig cuttings from that German fig for something you might need/desire. Just a thought. I'm  in central Maine most of the time but escape the worst of the snow in N. C.



Hello fellow Mainiac Rick!  My collection is difficult to access right now as it's tucked away for the winter, but in the spring when I do the fig shuffle I should be able to find it and see if I can sneak a cutting off (though it's fairly small and I need to reproduce it a little to make backups for experiments here).  Drop me a reminder in the spring and I'll let you know if I can do it then or if we might need to wait until the fall for more growth.  
Hi Greg , technically it's spring but with the ice storms and snow squalls you wouldn't guess it!  Just wondering if you have gotten that super hardy German fig revived yet?  There is absolutely no rush, just touching base  like you asked me to do last fall .what is on your wish list for new plants to try out?
 
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This is incredibly inspiring. You have so much going on for such a Northern Climate - it gives me hope for the future.

Your pink-flowered raspberry looks like a thimbleberry. We get those growing wild around here on the West Coast and they're one of my favourite fresh fruits.
 
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I love transplanting plants from the woodland areas of my land into descreet little plots for medicine, like solumon's seal but never thought of putting elderberries and other fruit bushes there.   Do you need to clear out space to make more sunlight?   And how would one keep deer from eating fruits if they are not right by one's house.    
 
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Greg, I don't know how I've missed this up to now.  What a beautiful forest.  I'm in zone 4b and with climate change, the it's really been zone 5.  I'm watching this with interest, you have plants in your forest I haven't even heard of but should grow here.  I'll be stealing lots of your ideas :)
 
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All my beach roses are from the seeds of fruit I gathered over the years from plants on the Maine coast that impressed me with their fruit.

I love the form of the plant, which I've never seen before in my 50 some years, but I am on the west coast. For a few more years maybe. You have grown these from collected seed! You are my hero today. I'd like more info on growing these from seed; I do know how to propagate a " regular " rose by cuttings. I've never tried from seed. How old are those pictured? And do they have what I have read to be a preference for Not being pruned like other roses?

I love all your pix, and will be looking into sweet cicely, goumi and spikenard for the future in Western WV on hilly acreage. Who could have imagined root beer flavored berries?? That are loved by turkeys! I hope to put a call out to some of the local fauna for hunting purposes!!
 
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Cindy Haskin wrote:

All my beach roses are from the seeds of fruit I gathered over the years from plants on the Maine coast that impressed me with their fruit.

I love the form of the plant, which I've never seen before in my 50 some years, but I am on the west coast. For a few more years maybe. You have grown these from collected seed! You are my hero today. I'd like more info on growing these from seed; I do know how to propagate a " regular " rose by cuttings. I've never tried from seed. How old are those pictured? And do they have what I have read to be a preference for Not being pruned like other roses?

I love all your pix, and will be looking into sweet cicely, goumi and spikenard for the future in Western WV on hilly acreage. Who could have imagined root beer flavored berries?? That are loved by turkeys! I hope to put a call out to some of the local fauna for hunting purposes!!



Rosa rugosa is quite a lovely low maintenance rose with gorgeous yummy hips.  The fruit wall is thin but tasty so it's fun to have around, but is some work to get a lot from.  I have read that rose seeds have double dormancy, meaning they would have to sit in moist soil for 2 winters.  Having said that, mine germinated after one of my winters.  I think I planted these about 6 years ago.  R. rugosa suckers over time from its roots so you can easily dig offsets from a shrub that you like, though I was hiking on the coast where they were coming out of cracks in the rocks that line our downeast ocean front.  Maine has a climate not too far off from R. rugosa's native Manchurian coast and so when trading ships from Maine brought these back they took off and now line our coast.  We all love them!  

My mother in law chops her's back to 6" stubs every few years to keep them under control and they shoot back up robustly.  I haven't done much cutting other than to keep them from spreading too far and taking out my paths.  This is one tough hardy rose.

Have you played with the chestnut rose?  That one looks great too and in China there's at least one seedless fruited selection.  I think it's a hybrid.
 
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After the Kickstarter I wanted to add some pictures of my crosnes….aka Chinese artichokes.  This is a ~12'x15' bed under one of my Chinese chestnut tree seedlings that my chipmunks moved some crosne tubers to several years ago.
20200726_085925.jpg
The crosnes said this is home when they got to this bed and they spent the next few years taking over!
The crosnes said this is home when they got to this bed and they spent the next few years taking over!
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The sunchokes in the back of this bed have no trouble with the crosnes and you can harvest both at the same time
The sunchokes in the back of this bed have no trouble with the crosnes and you can harvest both at the same time
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Can't say the strawberries on the edge of the bed can say the same. I dug up most of the crosnes around these about a month before this photo....next will be me digging out these strawberries to give them a better spot....crosnes win.
Can't say the strawberries on the edge of the bed can say the same. I dug up most of the crosnes around these about a month before this photo....next will be me digging out these strawberries to give them a better spot....crosnes win.
 
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steve bossie wrote:i have a wild chokecherry that has purple leaves on my property. i potted up some volunteers if your interested. new growth is green but turns purple by july.


Thank you again Steve.  Both chokecherries you sent are doing well.  Here's one of them growing near my high bush cranberry:
20200816_190851.jpg
Steve's wonderful gift chokecherry with purple leaves growing next to a high bush cranberry.
Steve's wonderful gift chokecherry with purple leaves growing next to a high bush cranberry.
 
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Still on my bucket list....to eat the fruits of Mayapples.  Maybe 2020 will be the year.  First a video about them posted from someone south of me in Massachusetts followed by my pics from today (mid August).  There were more, but now I'm down to 2, so I put a cage around them hoping that I can get them to full ripeness before picking them.....they are so close!

20200816_190024.jpg
The leaves have died back but the fruit is firm, strongly attached and still pretty green....waiting continues!
The leaves have died back but the fruit is firm, strongly attached and still pretty green....waiting continues!
20200816_190439.jpg
Quick cage put up around the last 2 mayapple fruits....supposed to be tropical goodness flavored.
Quick cage put up around the last 2 mayapple fruits....supposed to be tropical goodness flavored.
 
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This year cacti have joined into the northern end of a main path in my forest garden.  I rooted 3 Opuntia humifusa, the eastern prickly pear cactus, and am hoping they will become long term neighbors of mine.  I got the pads from Prairie Moon Nursery and all 3 easily rooted.  Supposed to be hardy to zone 4 so I should be all set in my zone 5 (becoming zone 6) food forest....fingers crossed.
20200816_191031.jpg
Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus getting a start here in my Maine food forest
Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus getting a start here in my Maine food forest
 
Greg Martin
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Anyone else growing water celery?  I just thought this was pretty and had to grab a pic.
20200806_164701.jpg
Water celery, Oenanthe javanica, growing/flowering among black eyed susans.
Water celery, Oenanthe javanica, growing/flowering among black eyed susans.
 
Greg Martin
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The water celery in the last post is growing next to a small hand dug water catch that I've planted Wapato into.  In this pic you can make out the Wapato  if you recognize their leaves.  Behind this spot are autumn olives, persimmon, and paw paws.  I've always tried to say to my fellow Maine permies that we can grow an edible jungle up here in Maine and this pic sort of reminds me that I'm not crazy when I say that to people (still early days and my imagination at least says jungliness).  I've got to remember to buy a manchette!  

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Wapato growing up out of a water catch feature north of one of my forest garden openings. The vine is a hardy kiwi adventuring over.
Wapato growing up out of a water catch feature north of one of my forest garden openings. The vine is a hardy kiwi adventuring over.
 
Greg Martin
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One thing I love about perennial edibles is how they get eaten by the wildlife and then are spread around.  Can anyone ID this species?  I got seeds for 3 species of perennial ground cherries when I visited Eric Toensmeier at his place in Holyoke, MA many years ago and lost track of who was who.  This volunteer has popped up in the gravel next to my house.  Can't wait for these to start ripening.
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Perennial ground cherry that popped up near the house. Couldn't bear to weed it out.
Perennial ground cherry that popped up near the house. Couldn't bear to weed it out.
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Flowers and fruits hiding thickly under every branch.
Flowers and fruits hiding thickly under every branch.
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See....here's me lifting another branch!
See....here's me lifting another branch!
 
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It worked!  I got to harvest those last two mayapples!  They smelled like Concord or wild grapes and tasted like a combination of those grapes and lemon to me.  I saved the seeds....2 reasons to not eat them, propagation as well as probably toxic.  I read that they will do well under pines so that is where these seeds are headed.  I felt drawn to and really love these plants.  Looking forward to making a preserve from them some year in the future.
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My first ever mayapple fruits! One more tasty thing off my bucket list, though I'm looking forward to more.
My first ever mayapple fruits! One more tasty thing off my bucket list, though I'm looking forward to more.
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And I got these lovely little seeds to plant too.
And I got these lovely little seeds to plant too.
 
Greg Martin
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Working from home is a strange challenge for me.  I don't miss the commute at all, but I miss time with my coworkers and experimental work in the lab.  One perk happened yesterday morning.  My home office has a window that overlooks a large section of my forest garden and there was, for a lack of a better word, a wildlife party out there.  I never walk into the forest garden without seeing a decent amount of wildlife, but yesterday was bonkers.  From my window I saw many species all descend into the garden at the same time and then leave together.  The trees and shrubs were shaking from all the birds that were taking turns getting a nice berry meal.  The beach rose shoots were getting pulled to the ground to offer up there large hips to chipmunks.  I couldn't make out all the bird species, though I did notice a pair of pileated woodpeckers in the larger surrounding native forest edge overlooking the forest garden as well as a pair of blue jays.  I'm not sure what either of those pairs were up to, but several other species of birds were hitting the cornelian cherries and elderberries in swooping waves.  It was a sea of motion that lasted for a nice bit of the morning and then as suddenly as it started it was over and things went back to their normal rhythm.

It was a nice treat getting to watch a full blown wildlife party.  Sharing my permaculture bounty with wildlife has always been part of my goal and they have been a part of the creative process, spreading my plants into new combinations I had not considered.  I very much enjoyed being the host in my small way.
 
Greg Martin
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I've added a good number of sunchoke cultivars over the years, but this new (to me) one has been a wonderful surprise.  Its name is 'Gigant' and I bought it from Oikos Tree Crops.  I haven't dug any of its tubers yet, but its name derives from the tubers being 2-3 times the size of most other sunchokes.  What has so far jumped out to me is its beautiful early flowering habit.  They started flowering in mid August for me here in Maine.  None of my other varieties have started yet so it's nice to be greeted by these so early.
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'Gigant' sunchokes flowering in mid August in my forest garden edge in Maine. I adore sunchoke blossums so am thrilled to have these so early!
'Gigant' sunchokes flowering in mid August in my forest garden edge in Maine. I adore sunchoke blossums so am thrilled to have these so early!
 
Cindy Haskin
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Greg - I've never prepared most edible flowers, save for the artichoke. I've heard of plenty that are indeed edible, and I have tried and like (in limited number) nasturtiums. I know squash blossoms are often fried? I think? Like I said, haven't prepared them. Please describe for me how you prepare your blossoms, and the flavors.

Because you mentioned getting those sunchokes from Oikos, I have a tab open and perusing their offerings as I write this! I really like the idea of plant one year, harvest many years. I have grown sunchokes a couple of times and really like the near permanence of the crop. And as I prefer nature's remedies to chemical remedies from the doctor until the doctor becomes a necessity, I will also be looking into some of what Oikos has to offer along those lines as well. Why did you choose this company?

Thanks for all the great pix and info about your adventures! This thread has given me plenty of inspiration all on it's onesie!
 
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So glad that you've enjoyed this thread Cindy!  

I've not had a lot of experience with flower eating.  Hmm....let me think...I do pull out clover flowers and eat those when in the mood to get the touch of nectar they provide and I do pick the flower heads from elderberries and make fritters or drinks with them.  I have tried daylily flowers and I don't particularly care for them, but still eat them once in a while, except for the roadside orange daylily which kind of attacks my throat....it wins, I now just enjoy looking at it or cooking its shoots.  I have tried stuffing and cooking zucchini flowers and have decided that I need to learn about how best to do that.  I'm game to try anything, but just haven't tried a lot with flower eating.

Regarding eating sunchoke flowers, this thread indicates that the petals are not edible because of spikes on the petals and fiberousness.  I have noticed that on other sunchokes, but when I was passing this clump of 'Gigant' I grabbed a petal and didn't notice the spikes so I ate it....not fiberous either.  Was ok, though no flavor to speak of.  Would probably be nice for adding some color to a salad.  So it seems that perhaps there's some diversity in petal quality out there.  Perhaps its early flowering habit is an indication of a genetic influx from some other sunchoke species?  I have no idea.  I am looking forward to trying some of its tubers this fall.  I'll be fermenting some with great anticipation like they did in this video:
 
pollinator
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Greg,

Thank you for the video link about fermenting sunchokes. I love the flavor and texture but I'm one of the unfortunates when it comes to the gas production, so I've avoided them (for the sake of my marriage and not scaring the cats with the noise).

The idea of fermenting makes so much sense in breaking down the inulin and other carbohydrates in the tubers. I plan to grow some next year and will be fermenting them. Yay!
 
Greg Martin
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So last year I posted pictures of unripe schisandra berries growing up an autumn olive.  But I somehow never got around to posting ripe berry pics...here are this years ripe berry pics to redeem myself!
20200831_091319.jpg
Schisandra draped over an autumn olive
Schisandra draped over an autumn olive
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The small brown berries are unripe autumn olives....2 crops in one shrub! The autumn olive doesn't seem to mind at all.
The small brown berries are unripe autumn olives....2 crops in one shrub! The autumn olive doesn't seem to mind at all.
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Here's one of the over 50 clusters of schisandra berries I harvested from this vine in the autumn olive.
Here's one of the over 50 clusters of schisandra berries I harvested from this vine in the autumn olive.
 
Greg Martin
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Next the schisandra berries came to the kitchen to be cooked, blended with honey and jarred up as preserves.  This time of year the days are getting shorter and shorter and my energy levels sometimes tank at the end of the day.  A spoonful of this completely reinvigorates me when I feel that way.  Schisandra is one tasty adaptogen!
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Schisandra harvest
Schisandra harvest
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Cooked! Added just enough water to cover.
Cooked! Added just enough water to cover.
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Blended with honey and jarred. The one on the left I sieved the seeds out of for adding to drinks (yum btw). I will be expanding my planting since their suckers can be very easily dug up and moved.
Blended with honey and jarred. The one on the left I sieved the seeds out of for adding to drinks (yum btw). I will be expanding my planting since their suckers can be very easily dug up and moved.
 
Judith Browning
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What a beautiful fruit!  
I don't think I've ever heard of them.
...will have to do some research and see if they would grow here?
 
Greg Martin
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They have lovely little flowers too!  This one is the cultivar 'Eastern Prince' which I got from One Green World.  Generally for schisandra you need a male vine to pollinate the female vines, but Eastern Prince is self fertile.  I haven't tried to germinate the seeds yet as I keep cooking them all :)
 
Greg Martin
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Every year brings new happy experiences in a developing forest garden...even 2020!
This year I got to harvest my first ever pawpaws from the 'NC-1' cultivar, a variety selected in Canada.  They ripened a few weeks later than my 'Pennsylvania Golden' did.  It was pretty borderline for me as I harvested them at the beginning of November after they softened and then let them ripen two days in my kitchen, at which point I could smell that their pineapple fragrance had developed.  They had a lovely pineapple custard flavor with a touch of wild grape.  Very nice!  I hope that as the tree matures that perhaps the fruit will ripen a bit earlier for me, after all, it's a Canadian selection and 2020 was a weird one for the gardens too.
Got a bunch of nice seeds from these for planting as well.
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'NC-1' pawpaws that set for me for the first time
'NC-1' pawpaws that set for me for the first time
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I picked them when they softened and let them ripen for 2 days inside to avoid being outside for a freezing November night.
I picked them when they softened and let them ripen for 2 days inside to avoid being outside for a freezing November night.
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Yum! Looking forward to more pawpaws next seaon (this was the last of this year's)
Yum! Looking forward to more pawpaws next seaon (this was the last of this year's)
 
steve bossie
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good job Greg! wish i could grow them here.
 
steve bossie
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Greg Martin wrote:Working from home is a strange challenge for me.  I don't miss the commute at all, but I miss time with my coworkers and experimental work in the lab.  One perk happened yesterday morning.  My home office has a window that overlooks a large section of my forest garden and there was, for a lack of a better word, a wildlife party out there.  I never walk into the forest garden without seeing a decent amount of wildlife, but yesterday was bonkers.  From my window I saw many species all descend into the garden at the same time and then leave together.  The trees and shrubs were shaking from all the birds that were taking turns getting a nice berry meal.  The beach rose shoots were getting pulled to the ground to offer up there large hips to chipmunks.  I couldn't make out all the bird species, though I did notice a pair of pileated woodpeckers in the larger surrounding native forest edge overlooking the forest garden as well as a pair of blue jays.  I'm not sure what either of those pairs were up to, but several other species of birds were hitting the cornelian cherries and elderberries in swooping waves.  It was a sea of motion that lasted for a nice bit of the morning and then as suddenly as it started it was over and things went back to their normal rhythm.

It was a nice treat getting to watch a full blown wildlife party.  Sharing my permaculture bounty with wildlife has always been part of my goal and they have been a part of the creative process, spreading my plants into new combinations I had not considered.  I very much enjoyed being the host in my small way.

  the last couple years I've noticed the wildlife and good insects in my food forrest have exploded as well but the difference is they don't seem to care for my fruits. they may take some but its not noticeable. could be because I'm surrounded by abandoned fields full of chokecherry and high bush cranberry. think they prefer those.
 
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