James Landreth

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since Jan 26, 2015
Western Washington
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Recent posts by James Landreth

I don't think it'll even set it back a year, honestly. Trees, even young ones, are designed to get pruned back like that. Some of my young trees get eaten back by the deer a couple of times a season, and they grow back and thrive. Fall will be here soon enough anyway and it'll be nice and dormant
3 days ago
I'd give it a shot! A lot more trees can be grown from cuttings than people often think, although some more easily than others, as mentioned. If you're not willing to waste a year on experimenting I would choose grafting as it's more surefire for apricots, as also already mentioned. I haven't heard anything about apricot trees from cuttings but that doesn't mean it's not possible, or even not easy.

I live in a very different part of the state than you, but here are my experiences. We both have dry summers at least:

--Growing from cuttings can be fantastic, because cuttings usually yield standard sized trees. This is good because these trees are larger, which makes them more drought tolerant (very key in our dry summer climate). The cons are that you don't know its disease resistance and certain other qualities, but it generally hasn't affected my trees (I have a lot of trees from both grafting as well as some from cuttings)
--Growing quince, apple, and probably pear trees from cuttings seems to be easy and reliable to grow. In fact, on homesteads, grafting quinces was relatively unheard of until sometime in the 20th century.
--Standard trees do take longer to come into production, which is a drawback for sure. I'd suggest planting a mix so that you'll have fruit coming online over time.
4 days ago
Hi John,

I think that maybe things are different between our countries, and maybe there's been a misunderstanding about what I mean personally by "conventional" vs natural beekeeping.

Where I live, "natural" beekeeping means someone who doesn't treat their bees with anything, and who collects swarms instead of buying nucs or packaged bees. This doesn't preclude people from using langstroth, warre, topbar, log hives, or woven hives.

In the United States, conventional beekeepers do all sorts of crazy things (in my opinion). We literally ship packaged bees across the continent, and it's not uncommon for conventional bees to be trucked up and down the coast during the growing season with minimal access to diverse forage. Conventional beekeepers here also open their hives very frequently, use miticides, and religiously feed their bees sugar and artificially gathered pollen. I've even heard of operations near me that feed soda pop after taking all the honey away in the fall. Their bees have become dependent, in my view, on all of these things and materials. The issue for me isn't the type of hive they're kept in, though I wish people would better insulate whatever hive they're using here in the Northwest. It really does reduce losses here.
1 week ago
Conventional hives are dependent upon materials and resources that won't always be available. Therefore, longer term, conventional beehive production falls to zero. Natural beekeeping selects for stronger bees that can survive without mite medication, artificial feeding methods, manufactured foundation, etc. I think it's great that you're considering a log hive.

As for a concrete answer to the question, I have no answer. All I can say is not to expect any honey harvest whatsoever, at least for several years. Your losses will be highest during that time, and your production even once you've settled in may oscillate quite a bit.
1 week ago

Daniel Ray wrote:I've always said 15' feet away from each other with a nitrogen fixer between each. The N fixer will get coppiced as the the trees grow so no competition for the sun.

What sort of nitrogen fixers have you had success with coppicing? I've got goumi berries and siberian peashrub so far but I've never heard of coppicing them
2 weeks ago
I did some research, and it looks to me like a Rabina Mt. Ash. I'm going to take a closer look tomorrow
2 weeks ago
Out in my field along a fenceline I saw this tree today. It's very beautiful, and no matter what it is I'll probably leave it alone, but I was wondering what it is. A friend of mine thinks it's Mt. Ash/Rowan. Is it? If it is, does it have any medicinal or other uses?
2 weeks ago
I used to live in Sequim and Port Angeles actually :) It is a really nice area. There are some great places for farming there, and it's next to Olympic National Park. Unfortunately it's gotten expensive, but if you can find something I think it's a great choice. You can take a ferry to Victoria, Canada, from Port Angeles.

I've lived in the Tri Cities in Eastern Washington, and my grandparents lived in a city called Ellensburg, also on the east side. What Nicole said is true. The weather is extreme there and water can be scarce. It wouldn't be my first choice, but some people are ok with those challenges and limiting factors.

A lot of counties in western Washington are still surprisingly rural, and cheap compared to the rest of the state. Lewis, Cowlitz, Clark, and Grays Harbor are all counties I'm familiar with that I think can be a great choice. If you get lucky you might get property that's not a terribly far drive to Olympia or even Portland.
3 weeks ago
I lived in upstate New York for a few years before coming back to Washington State. I hope I never have to live in a place with so much snow and cold ever again.

The schools in Washington and Oregon are generally good, especially compared to some other parts of the US. If I understand correctly, in Washington there's also a fair number of options (depending on where you are) for homeschooling and homeschool hybrid programs. At least, there were ten years ago.

The laws are pretty relaxed here, in my overall experience. I know a fair number of people running farm and food businesses out of their home kitchens with legal permits. I believe selling produce in Washington is legal without a permit. For example, you can set up a stand without a permit (I think) so long as you have legal permission to be wherever it is the stand is at (a parking lot, the side of a road on someone's private property, in front of your own house, etc.).

I'd say Washington and Oregon are similar in some ways to Vermont and the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. There are liberal people some places, conservatives in others. Beautiful summers. The winters here are milder than they are there, but they're overcast. We essentially have a rainy season (mid late fall, all of winter, the first half or so of spring) and a dry season (May through September, though it varies year to year with climate change).

3 weeks ago

Galen Young wrote:

Most of the nation suffers from repeated droughts or 'water-stress'

This is 100% true, and very important. Even regions once considered temperate and wet (like the Pacific Northwest) are now having to consider water issues very carefully. You'll have to figure out what challenges and limiting factors you're willing to put up with. They include hard winters, availability of water (very important), as well as other considerations. My advice is to quickly make friends with like minded people wherever you go. Those sort of connections can really make or break your life out here.

I love the pacific northwest, and our ability to grow food is really amazing. The variety that I'm able to grow here is incredible. In orchards alone people grow apples, pears, quince, mulberries, peaches, apricots, walnuts, hazelnuts, persimmons, and a whole host of old timey and rare fruits that are rarely heard of these days. With special attention being paid to micro climates there are even people growing olives, pomegranates, almonds, and citrus outside of greenhouses here. If you live here you will have to look into water saving and rainwater collection depending on where you live, as the summers are dry. But we can grow food year round, which is excellent. Other regions and states are great, this is just the one I chose.
4 weeks ago