It makes me sad that there are starving people in the city but no one thinks to build up a stock of fruit trees that can deliver hundreds of thousands of calories to them at no cost. Nature takes care of everything.
I'll be starting small, and I think I'll start off in odd, neglected parts of the city's parks, rather than in abandoned plots, etc.
I won't be planting fully-grown trees (expensive and too flashy), but prefer to start by growing from seed/pit.
Does anyone know how old a tree sprouted from a pit should be before you transplant it? How can you best prepare the soil where you'll plant it? How do you care for it afterwards?
Unless that is what makes it fun
You will have much better success with your tree if you mulch it heavily, but don't let the mulch touch the tree.
For the first two years you will probably need to baby it along a bit.
There is a park on n 105th st just a little east of lake city way. Meadowbrook? A fella did exactly what you are describing. There is now a healthy bunch of fruit bearing stuff there! And the parks department has adopted it - although they just let it grow wild.
I've got some fruit trees in a nursery I'd like to plant around town too. But just learning how to tap the harvest that's already here will take some practice (for the whole community, not just me).
Also, as far as guerrilla goes, I'd look for landscaped areas like for office buildings etc. that are already being irrigated. Chances are noone who works in the office even know what grows outside, and they hire landscapers who come by every couple weeks. If your stuff looks 'regular' enough (like a standard size, and spaced in sync with the rest of the plantings) then they'll do the irrigating and mulching for you
But Kelda I think you are fortunate, as not every town has this opportunity for gleaning. The suburban wasteland where I'm currently staying outside of Tampa, Florida has almost nothing but strip malls and desolate lawns. Occasionally there is a barely edible banana or wild sour orange, but that's about it.
Also consider making a kind of water trap/catch basin that leads small amounts of rainfall to the young trees. This book tells you how to do that, too.
This book is second in a series of three, but I don't believe the third one is out yet. Lots of info, applicable to many areas and climates, and many drawings so you know exactly what he's talking about. Highly recommended.
This goes for folks who are renting, as well. Anything you stick in the ground is subject to the whims of the landscaping crew, the owner, or the future tenants. There may be less heartbreak for the guerrilla planter if they are operating in the realm of annuals. A weed whacked melon plant carries less sting than a weed whacked peach tree that has been growing for three years simply because of the time you've invested.
In order to minimize the heartbreak factor, you need to maintain a certain attitude of detachment. Plant a lot in a lot of different places and know that you will have low survival percentages. And in terms of the mechanics, make sure it looks like it's SUPPOSED to be there. Mulch ring, stake, tree cage (if necessary), rabbit protection, and, of course, a little ring of "beauty bark" around it. I wouldn't hesitate to tap into the existing irrigation system and get water to your tree as well (if you've got the skills). If it doesn't look good, it doesn't stand a chance. Also, keep in mind the principle of least effort for greatest effect. Don't bother planting a big ring of seeds around the soccer field where they are almost guaranteed to get trampled. Focus on the neglected areas, or places where disturbance is minimal.
And as Dave said, most of the trees will die. The main tree I use for guerrilla purposes is willow. Its a simple easily propagated tree, and I throw them in ditches all over the place. Domestic and wild animals take their share, weather can play a role too in killing them, and also humans take out a share also. But, if I have 1 out of 20 make it, its all worth it.
The book says to look for gentle slope, with just a few degrees of slope (steeper slope will create a scouring effect). The slope collects rainfall and mulch and gravity guides it downhill. Create shallow water catchment basins on the downslope side in the form of a C, with the opening facing upslope to catch the water. Rim the lower edge with rocks or debris wood to catch sediment and mulch.
You can add some nutrients if you have them, or just collect mulch, which will break down into nutrients as the tree grows. Plant the tree inside the basin.
Timing is rather important here, as rainfall is imperative to the plan. Planting in winter, the seed will stay moist and some will need that winter chilling to sprout. You can do it in drier weather if you use seed balls (see Seed Balls thread in Organics), which will just sit there, protected from birds and rodents until there is enough rain to soften the seed ball and allow the seeds to sprout.
He also says a friend of his plants seedling trees this way, but makes a double-wide hole. In one half of the hole he buries an old phonebook or a big stack of junk mail, in the other half he plants the seedling. Then he soaks the junk mail with with water, which acts as a moisture reservoir for the tree. He said he has dug down to the junk mail in the middle of summer and it was still damp (in Arizona!).
paul wheaton wrote:
So, are you drying the pits on the sidewalk?
And are you planting hundreds of pits all at once because only 1 out of 100 will germinate?
Paul, I wouldn't say exactly that my intention was to dry the peach pits(because too much moisture loss would be bad). Just a convenient place to throw them after eating them. Then I can plant them all at once, once the peach season was over. The germination rates I expect to be high. The problem is when they get planted out of the nursery, alot can perish for tons of different reasons. I already have like 70 peach trees that are about 4ft tall in the nursery that I will be planting out next spring. I hope to use some as rootstock and graft onto them.
I actually live in a town house, complete with condo association and they have not seen fit to replant any fruiting trees at all. I thought I would like to fix that.
Here is my suggestion....At the end of the season the nurseries sell off fruit trees at a small price, i got my apple tree for five american dollars and it came in dirt....bare root trees need to be watched so much more. These trees are large enough to withstand animals and mowing. I want to go around town and just plant them without permission just dig a big old hole put it in and settle it down and hope. No staking, none of my selfishly horded compost....just a good hole and a nice drink and let them go....if i see leaves near by, i would put them on the bare dirt as mulch. There it is, the five dollar tree. If you only do a few a year it doesnt matter since they will more likely than the home seeded ones survive and bare desirable fruits. If no rains came, i would probably visit each for a second drink of water.
Keep in mind most fruit trees cross pollinate so plant two different apples near each other etc. We want flowers...we want fruit!
Our plan is very big, to give "food sovereignty" (hope this translation is correct) to our city and we just started to create an urban orchard in a public area without asking and without any permission.
We are at the beginning, and at the moment we have planted 11 fruit trees in an external district. Now we have a bit of stop because we are going to follow training course about fruit trees, but we will re-start to plant soon other trees.
Now we are going to ask to our comunication group to support us with information for citizens, a website with our plan, map of the trees and so on... this is very important because we need people understand what we are doing, support us, and start to take care of those trees.
During the spring we will start also a veggies garden between those trees.... but we think orchard is the first step.
I will let you know
I also love to give baby trees to neighbors and friends to plant, and I tend to go along dirt roads behind the road graders and get the little seedlings in the loose soil graded up along side the road..generally evergreens which make great windbreaks and privacy screens...if you look on my blog almost all of those evergreens you see have been replanted from the wild.
Also several of our apple trees here grew from bait piles that were put out years ago when people were hunting wild whitetail deer on the property..and they are great apples
You really do have to understand city employees, the guy who mows isnt the guy who orders and plants new trees etc. If the tree is in the middle of the lawn and they see it, they will simply mow around it...not a second thought. My local condo association will be more difficult to fool.
Dave Boehnlein wrote:I would say that the successful (and happy) guerrilla fruit tree planter has to make a mental shift. All the advice regarding the how-to's is good, but if you're going to do it you need to be aware that a lot of the trees you plant are going to be brutally killed. This can be heart wrenching, especially if you're glassy eyed with hope for the future of your beautiful, fruit-bearing babies.
So true, my buddies and I have been working on guerrilla projects in Brooklyn for three years now. Every space, every one of them, has been sprayed down, mowed, built over, and even guarded by police all day to prevent any access. the last part left us dumbfounded, of all the brutalizing the NYPD is busy doing, we can't believe our trees and shrubs in a public vacant lot were a threat enough to require two police posted in front at all times.
Since our last loss, none of us have recovered. Heed Dave's words, detachment is something I should have worked up towards, and expect that the living system you endeavor to stabilize will be destroyed before you get to see it take off on its own.
here in Parma (Italy) we started our project.
We don't want to call it guerrilla gardening any more, because it is becoming much more.
I think we are planning to create a new free system opposite to economical system: ok ok just thinking at the moment, but probably we will have a big crisis soon here, and we need to start to grown up our food all together. that's why we are not doing guerrilla but planning a new system.
We have planted 49 trees at the moment and we have also a website
but take a look at the map, you can see pictures and what we have planted too http://www.fruttortiparma.it/webmap/index.html
I'm a big fan of the "don't ask don't tell" approach to gardening. In my experience, local governments are almost always the main barrier to any kind of forward thinking or food-producing idea.
Andrew Michaels wrote:Does anyone know how old a tree sprouted from a pit should be before you transplant it? How can you best prepare the soil where you'll plant it? How do you care for it afterwards?
You will get good roots, as they are always longer than the seedling you can see.
No pot will ever do great...
- Pre-germinate according to the specie.
- Make a long and narrow hole with a tool, 2 feet mini.
- Fill it with loose good soil.
- Take a plastic bottle, cut the bottom and then cut in halves.
- The lowest part goes into the ground, this is the "pot".
(you can put 3 if you can come back to quit the weakest ones.
- Put the upper part of the bottle with the cap. Very important!
This is your nursery...
- Make shade with a milk or juice brick.
Cut it and put it around the bottle the other way round, so that the aluminum shows outside.
- Come back for getting off the upper part of the bottle.
- protect at least from rabbits etc with a piece of net...
- You can leave the shader longer.
- Usually the buried part of the bottle will decompose, or else be very careful to break it with no root damage.
More from my website: hydroharbor.com/start/clones
SOW directly whenever possible!
-> depending on the annual rainwater...
Sow what you know that will be good without grafting
OR be prepared to go grafting...
@ Dan, cuttings do not have the same root system as seedlings, so who knows which species will give good result without irrigation?
@ John, when your seedling is 5 feet tall, how are the roots and what is the size of the pot you use?
Seedlings that are meant to be left on their own FIRST need a good root system,
which is a DEEP one, able to look for water.
Try to unroot wild seedlings.... I tell you what I always find: roots are longer than what shows outside.
-> I plant before the seedling is taller than the pot.
What I said in the last post is a system that was done in the south of France for growing trees in orchards, only with little rain water from a Mediterranean climate. No irrigation. And those trees live very long.