While it's true we've been reading and hanging around Permies forums for almost a decade, we haven't posted much.
But we've done a lot of work - putting in a permaculture plan with ponds, gardens and a small food forest and in 2019, diving in to Akiva Silver’s Trees of Power and Abundant Propagation course...
So now, here we are, with our own fledgling tree nursery, and we figured we should get serious about introducing ourselves and saying a big thank you to a lot of folks who’ve helped and inspired us along the way.
You can find everything about our nursery offerings at our SpencerCreekNursery.com
website. Our current list includes many nut trees (walnut, chestnut, hickory, hazelnut), berry bushes (currant, gooseberry, jostaberry), nitrogen fixers (Black Locust) and Pacific Northwest natives (Pacific Ninebark, Red Osier Dogwood).
We opened to take orders for the first time at the end of 2020, and we’ve been very pleasantly surprised with the response!
There is nothing we love better than being outside planting our new tree crops, taking cuttings of our berry and perennial plants, building new beds or creating new shelter belts for wildlife.
We're especially grateful to Paul Wheaton for starting Permies, where we've found numerous useful threads and important details on things no one else seems to know even exist... And for his outrageous and amazing mind which appears to be a limitless source of new projects we want to do ALL of!
We pretty much sign up for everything he does on Kickstarter and have a list of projects we want to build that stretches off into the distance here on our little farm...
Another resource we’re very appreciative of is Chelsea Green Publishing
where we find so many excellent authors and new innovators and experimenters, like Akiva Silver, Tao Orion and so many others.
When we first got here, nearby permaculture folks from Aprovecho Sustainability Education Center in Cottage Grove taught us in their water management course how to manage our alluvial slopes with seasonal creeks and runoff.
That got us ready to work with Abel Loster
of Resilience Permaculture
on the design of our swales, berms, ponds and plantings. That initial effort began the journey on our little farm. At the time, we had no idea what was to come.
Akiva Silver and Trees of Power
When Chelsea Green published Akiva Silver’s Trees of Power
in early 2019 we bought the Audible version first, because we love listening to great books on those cold dark late winter and early spring evenings...
Akiva’s explanation of pits and mounds was the first thing in that book to change our world forever. No one had ever so succinctly stated what our situation was on this little clay hillside. And every failed planting suddenly made perfect sense.
Within days we were listening in the car every time we had to go anywhere, rolling back to hear details of each tree. We began creating local tree identification charts and quizing each other on the form and structure of local Oregon trees. We were hooked. We bought the print version so we could review all the details.
We started looking for mother trees... And gathering materials for building air prune beds...We even drove hundreds of miles to find and visit ancient trees we had heard existed in other parts of our state.
When we discovered Akiva was offering his Abundant Propagation course, we enrolled as soon as it was open to new students.
Now, some 20 months later, our nursery is real, we have hundreds and hundreds of heeled in 1 year seedlings and rooted cuttings, and thousands of new plantings. We've even started seeing sales come in for wholesale and retail orders! It's so exciting to know the trees we are growing are going to be planted, loved and cared for!
Our first order was from a local land trust and bought out our entire inventory of one species for planting in local areas for restoration and fire recovery projects. We were overwhelmed with our luck at having grown these trees simply because we'd discovered an amazing mother tree and felt obligated to gather her 'babies' in the fall of 2019.
Spencer Creek Nursery - Building on Experiential Knowledge
We love building on our permaculture knowledge and following the guidance of someone with such a vast storehouse of personally acquired insight into trees and growing living systems.
Perhaps what impresses us most about this entire process is how we become familiar and personally aware of so much just through observation. Our own experiences have changed so much of how we think and practice this craft.
For us that all leads straight back to Permies and Akiva and direct, personally grounded experiential knowledge. We search and browse Permies and our dog eared copy of Trees of Power exactly because both are so full of these gems.
Changing our World - Planting Habitat and Trees
It’s hard to say which is more exciting, starting up a new bed of trees and cuttings or planting out new wildlife habitat and orchard areas.
We are lucky to live where there are lots of enthusiastic people growing trees and plants and willing to share their knowledge and experiences.
PNW nurseries we love include Burnt Ridge, One Green World, Raintree and Doak Creek Natives and a bit further south, Fruitwood Nursery.
We have a special place in our hearts for Whitman Farms
where Lucille has literally given us hours of time and support, not to mention the handfuls of her many varieties of mulberries as we stroll under her mother trees, tasting our way to determining our favorites!
New Projects We're Excited About
Some of the new projects we're excited about include:
Tagasaste (tree lucerne)Thornless honey locust we're starting this yeara beach plum we discovered in Marcola - harvested last fall into amazing tart plum jam everyone went crazy for a few truly tall and straight Gravenstein apple seedlings that came up last spring (The apples came from a tree we've loved and cared for since 2011 over in Springfield, OR)and our recent deep dive into biodynamics, Maria Thun's work and calendar and integrating the subtle influences described and explored by Rudolf Steiner.
As a way of saying thanks and hello, we thought folks might enjoy a small Quizlet
we created for Latin names of some of the trees and plants grown in our area.
We very much look forward to hearing from and getting to know more of you, the many wonderful members of the permies community! We also would love to hear if there are particular trees or plants you'd love to see us grow, or troubles you're having with growing particular species, in case we can be of some help.