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Nate Reid

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since Oct 15, 2018
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food preservation homestead trees
Maine
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Recent posts by Nate Reid

As Mr. Redhawk said, observe your water. Also take time to observe a multitude of other things such as what animals and birds are interacting with your system. Think about what creatures you want to attract and what creatures you prefer to stay away. Work to create naturally symbiotic relationships between plants, animals and humans.

Also, determine what the goals are for your orchard and land in general. For instance, I intend the grow a large percentage of my own fruits and vegetables. That’s goal one. I also want to create a pollinator friendly environment and build good soil health. In order to do this I’ve done a bunch of research to prepare for full implementation.

I’m incorporating poultry into my system because they will provide multiple functions. 1. Egg production 2. Poultry will aid in my compost process ( check out Edible Acres on YouTube, search for his chicken composting system, good stuff) 3. They will free range my orchard area and eat pests.

I’ll plant Siberian PeaShrub because it apparently fixes nitrogen and the poultry will enjoy the pea pods. I’ll plant seaberry because it fixes nitrogen and the berries have something like 15 times more vitamin C than oranges. Other things around my trees include chives, echinacea, catnip, daffodils and comfrey...

There’s lots of information to digest on this topic. Realize that full implementation may not occur in one season and that’s OK. It’s a process, some things will work others will not. Have fun with it.
6 months ago
Recently, I have encountered a problem with the wild Turkeys coming around my bird feeders.  My knee-jerk reaction was that this is a big problem.  I didn’t want the turkeys and squirrels constantly emptying the bird feeders as it can start to get expensive.  As I contemplated solutions to the problem, some of which were probably less than legal; I decided to take the permaculture approach to my problem.

I started by observing the wild turkeys in action.  I noted that they were not actually bothering the feeder itself.  Instead, they were picking up what the smaller birds were dropping around the feeder.  I decided that wasn’t actually a problem.  Next, I noticed that they were in and around my young fruit trees, but they did not bother them.  Okay, no tree damage, no problem there.  Then I noticed something else; they are crapping on the snow!

The proverbial light bulb moment hit me.  I am always bringing in manure for garden beds and compost and what not.  But, the turkeys are willing to leave it here for a few pennies worth of seed.  So I have an area where I plan to plant some fruit trees in the spring.  Why not sparsely spread some seed over the crusty snow in this area.  Then the turkeys will come in and take their time to eat the seeds and crap all over the area while they are there.  Win, win situation!

This situation has shown me the importance of how a perceived problem may actually be a solution for something else.  Never act hastily in the moment and take some time to make observations and come up with solutions that adhere to the ethics.
10 months ago
I’m not sure how your fruit trees will do in less than full sun. But, considering your in zone 3 and you plan to try apricot trees I would plant those wherever you are likely to lose your snow last on your property, which will be a partial shade area. My reason for doing this is to hopefully delay the bloom of the tree. Apricot like to bloom early and the blossoms can be killed off by a freeze.

I have no first hand experience with apricot as I planted my first trees this past spring, so time will tell...

As for the other fruit trees, I think that anything other than full sun will probably affect the quality and size of the fruit. Possibly make them more prone to disease. I’m interested in hearing what others with more experience have to say as well.

To free up some of that full sun space consider planting your raspberries in a partial shade spot. I put mine where they would not receive much direct sun after 1-2:00 to reduce the sun scalding on the berries. Doing this yielded some very nice berries this year.

Good luck!
Nate
Golden Acres Farm
11 months ago
“Some say not to use cedar/pine mulch or let them sit a few season before you do. Others say it doesn't matter and that the danger is more in the "live" wood than anything. What's your take on it?”

I live in a rural area where it is actually kind of hard to come up with wood chips. With my contacts at a couple of local tree service companies I was able to obtain 3 truck loads delivered to my house this year. While that was a lot of chips by some standards; it only provided a fraction of what I could use. So I also bought commercially available mulch, a natural softwood mulch that undoubtedly contains pine, spruce and possibly some cedar. I didn’t care, I figured mulch is mulch... My trees and berry bushes have responded well and I noticed after one season that I could pull the mulch away and dig into the soil with out tools (I was planting daffodil bulbs). The worms had moved in and were doing their thing, it was great!

So I don’t worry about what tree my chips are coming from. As far as covering with wet leaves, that’s fine but they will dry out and blow off eventually. Perhaps the wet leaves and then some wood chips to hold them in place??? Maybe some spoiled hay??? I use whatever I can find. I can get loads of horse stall clean out free anytime I want some. I’ll attach a picture showing how I use some of it. Basically I took some rotten logs that were sitting along side my trail and set them between my orchard trees and covered them with fall leaves and horse manure. I won’t be planting there for a while so I’ll let it decompose in place and feed the surrounding trees.

11 months ago

Matt Leger wrote:Hey all,

Happy Saturday! Hope you all are having a great weekend so far! :)

I wasn't sure if I should post this in the Hugelkultur forum or in this one. I settled on the Fruit Trees forum since what I'm doing right now with my food forest is more related to fruit trees than it is HK. I think! As you'll see, they are both closely intertwined though.

Here are a couple videos documenting our adventures in planting fruit trees:





A couple things to keep in mind as you watch:

1) We have been at this property a little less than 2 years now so if progress seems slow, it's because we're still trying to get a footing and come up with a game plan.
2) We're also both working full time jobs and raising 2 kids at the same time which is not always easy.

Some "questionable" things we've done...

  • Used very tall plastic stakes to encourage the trees to grow straight and to protect them from breaking when the snow starts to melt in the spring. We also have a nasty wind channel in the area where I planted the trees so the stakes protect them from wind damage too. Eventually I plan to use my Korea Pines and other trees/shrubs as a wind break so this won't be an issue forever. I want my trees to be reinforced by dancing and swaying in the wind regularly too, as trees should. I clearly need advice and best practices here.
  • Used a store-bought mycorrhizal solution in the dug holes before we planted the trees. The intention was to create that symbiotic relationship early on to give the roots the best chance of survival. We also mixed in bone meal with our soil before layering it back in the hole.
  • Used plastic tree protectors to protect against rodents. We have a lot of mice, voles, squirrels and chipmunks here.
  • Used bagged manure. The reasoning behind that is simple: I don't know anyone (yet) who has fresh cow/horse/sheep manure on offer or for sale/trade. I'm sure I could find somebody for that eventually, I just haven't got that far yet. So we had to resort to store-bought crap (pun intended). I would have much rathered use our homemade compost entirely but we just didn't have enough of it. Ideally, now that we have very fertile soil, which was already good to begin with, I don't feel like I will need to amend the soil in the years to come, or at least not often, since we have such a good base point now. Proper pH, mineral balance and light levels are definitely some things that I need to learn more about though.


  • In your opinions, are we doing things right? Or close to it, at least? Was it a good or bad idea to plant our fruit trees amid the hugel mounds? Does it make sense to leave gaps with no wood (so the trees have a solid foundation)?

    After it's all said and done, I'm left with a lot more questions than answers. I'm sure many of you have been down similar roads before and probably came out of it victorious. What was your secret? It's all a big learning game to me right now and I realize I don't know sh** lol. But I'm learning! I address a lot of this stuff in my next episode entitled "Working with Hügelkultur [Part 5] Q&A + Shoutouts" so look forward to that one if you want more details about the why's behind my choices and where we're at.

    Thanks in advance for your input!

    Matt Leger
    Maple Grove Productions



    I just watched your videos, very nice! I’ll be interested to see a follow up video next spring as things start to grow.

    Something I might do if this was my project would be to cover over those hugel mounds with mulch asap. You mentioned a free source of wood chips that you finished your walkway with. I’d get some more chips and cover those mounds. It won’t surprise me that by this time next year you’ll want to plant stuff in that walkway because of how awesome the soil will have become.

    One final comment. Consider learning to graft your own trees. Whip and tongue grafting is pretty basic and there are plenty of good instructional videos on YouTube. You can graft your own trees for a fraction of the cost of buying trees. And you can graft 3 or 4 trees of each variety to ensure at least one takes. If they all take you could sell your “extra” trees to recover costs and have yours for free.

    Good luck!
    11 months ago
    I haven’t watched your videos yet but plan to. From what I’ve read in your post you are probably on the right track. But, I believe everyone has their own method of doing things. What works for me may not for you and vice versa. In the end we all have successes and failures and at least you are trying. I think the ones that truly fail are those who never start...

    11 months ago