Jcarmona Esteban

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since Feb 13, 2021
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forest garden trees greening the desert
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Entrepinos, Cadalso de los Vidrios. Madrid, Spain. Altitude 825m. Prec. 473mm/year
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Recent posts by Jcarmona Esteban

Rebekah Harmon wrote:American Black Nightshade?? Hi foragers! I don't know what this little black "berry" is, for sure. I think I have seen it around this time of year. I thought I had planted huckleberries in this space, but this "weed" grew instead. The little tasty-looking fruits taste as plain as tomatillos.
Anyone else recognize them? What do you do with them, if so?
I decided to try them in a tomato sauce. They turned the sauce a beautiful purple! Will it be tasty? I don't know!

That seems to be Solanum nigrum (some sources mentions it as Solanum Americanum too, as they would be the same, and some others say they are different). But any way I would like to set a warn and recomend caution because almost all that plant is toxic but the ripe fruits (as far as I read in several papers...). So, I would suggest a bit of investigation on it before use it.
I've read  in some places that ripe fruits must be cooked in order to remove toxicity... but it's better to have deep search first as I said. Here a collection of articles that may help :
8 months ago
Hi again Kostas,

I found recently this document that I think would provide some ideas to the project:
Methods for Watering Seedlings in Arid Zones - Forests - MDPI

Hope it helps

Regards, Jesús.
2 years ago

Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Thank you L. Johnson,
Very interesting; are the old growth forest trees all gone? Are there any patches of forest with oak, maple and other broadleaf trees?

Maybe around monasteries…

Here the old forests were destroyed over a period of 2500 years. The oak trees were cut again and again, and the conifers came to fill the empty space. Now the pine trees are dying from fires and diseases.

It's an opportunity to plant trees other than conifers. An opportunity to turn a problem into an asset.

In Japan it happened over a much shorter period; the same end result...degraded landscapes. It's an opportunity to aggressively remove the cedar trees and plant maples and oaks.

I am amazed how much money and energy is spent on weapons of violence and in relation how little is spent to heal past mistakes; drones and weapons for destruction but not for food, reforesting and peaceful uses.  

On the olive trees...I/we should collect olives from 3 or more different olive trees, and mix them together, so each planting hole has olives from different trees. Give them a better chance to sprout and grow.

Your land sounds like your piece of heaven on earth...enjoy it, life is good and it's short !!!


Hi Kostas,
I got quite inspired also by this documentary that maybe you already know

The lesson I've learnt from it was that maybe some local species of shrubs (as the case of this film), were there before because are easy establishing on a particular area. And these shrubs are crucial for helping on the establishment of other tree species, that alone in the same place are not able thrive by themselves.
In our cases, Spain or Greece are countries where sun is very strong on summer to allow just sprouted seedlings to thrive and survive even one season.
In my region I found there is a shrub which thrive quite well, even having so dry seasons as our summer here. This is the rockrose (concretely Cistus ladanifer : crimson spot rockrose is the wild one in our area ).
As it is capable of thriving easily resisting our typical summer droughts, it is one of the wild shrubs that can colonize empty areas. When it develops some size, it is able of casting shadow on the floor and for other seedlings on its feet. And also to start generating biomass on the floor surface for soil recovery.

I don't know if in your area in Greece you have this same shrub or some of the same family. Have you heard about it ?
Maybe they are useful for the same purpose.

2 years ago

L. Johnson wrote:Looking forward to hearing the results of the olive plantings next year. I'm very curious about different tree planting regimes. It seems like in nature there are two basic patterns,

1. Tree drops fruit or nut, seeds establish, trees gradually spread.
2. Tree makes fruit, fauna eats fruit, deposits seed in dung, seed establishes somewhere farther away.

I assume scarification happens more in 2 than 1 and be more important for trees who rely on that method.

Do you have thoughts on this matter in your area?

In my area, Madrid mountains (Spain) there is a third possibility, which is quite common by the way:
Squirrels and a bird called jay (arrendajo in Spanish. Latin name: Garrulus glandarius) use to hide big seeds as acorns, nuts, olives, bay seeds, or whatever seed they consider as food. They use to hide them in a hole or hidden among dried weeds on the floor. So, those seeds use to sprout since those animals use to forget the food they hide. Not all of them but many.
2 years ago
I heard before about the reaction of vinegar and eggshells for releasing calcium carbonate. In fact i have read that dissolving eggshells in vinegar could be also part of human diet to provide calcium in some circumstances.

I also use to dry them and make them powder with a coffee grinder. Then I add them to the compost pile, where I presume that will be decomposed sooner or later, but sure faster than just cracked.
And also, I add eggshells powder to the vermicomposter. It seems it is also a good adding for the worms diet. Finally will end up into plants soil too.
3 years ago

L Anderson wrote:When I lived in Bakersfield, CA, I had two work buddies who each had several pomegranates in their yards. I held an annual jelly party and they would bring boxes of their pomegranates, and any interested others would bring their labor.

One guy pruned his religiously and had 5 of 6 nice trees. The branches eww sturdy enough to prop a ladder against. His fruit was really big.
The other guy left his plants bushy. His fruit was a lot smaller.

Both ended up with lots and lots of fruit.
That’s the extent of what I know.  

Oh yeah — a year or to before moving to a gentler place I planted a pomegranate (1 gal size from a nursery). The next summer I already had 3 poms.

I’m thinking they like their summers dry..

Here in Spain pomegranates use to do well in zones were summer is hot, and adapt well on dry areas too, as you said. Although in order to develop big fruits they require some watering.

Regarding lateral stems, although it is his natural way to grow, in order to produce more fruit it is better to remove the suckers and give the tree a vase form with sturdy branches to support big fruits.
3 years ago
Thanks for your answer Ryan,

I was looking information about that here in permies and I found

..in summary:
- White Mulberry (Morus Alba) tolerates well junglone from Walnuts.
- Black Mulberry (Morus Nigra) tolerates well junglone from Walnuts.
- Red Mulberry (Morus Rubra) doesn't tolerate so well junglone from Walnuts. Although I found some other books that says the opposite.

So, based on that, I guess Morus rotundifolia (Dwarf mulberry) will behave in the same way that its bigger brothers...
3 years ago

Myron Platte wrote:https://permies.com/t/45238/Siberian-Pea-Tree-aka-Caragana#1224268

Thanks Myron for mentioning the other thread. I thought the same when I read the latest comments on edibility of Caragana seeds.

Regarding the original subject of this thread about how to succeed planting Caragana from seeds, I found an interesting resource here. Which says the following regarding Caragana seeds germination:

Pregermination treatments and germination testing.
For a leguminous species, Siberian peashrub does not have a
very impermeable seedcoat. Untreated seeds will germinate
in 15 days after sowing, but the best germination (87 to 100% in 5 days)
can be obtained by soaking seeds for 24 hours in cold or hot (85 °C) water.
Successful germination has also been reported after acid scarification,
cold stratification for 2 weeks, or fall planting.
Certain pesticides,such as captan and thiram, can apparently increase
germination, possibly by inhibiting seed-borne disease.
The official testing prescription for Siberian peashrub seeds
calls for clipping or filing through the seedcoat on thecotyledon end,
soaking these seeds in water for 3 hours,then germinating them for 21 days
at alternating temperatures of 20/30 °C. Germination tests have also
been carried out in flats of sand or perlite and in Jacobsen germinators
for 14 to 60 days at the same alternating temperatures.
Germination after 25 to 41 days averaged 45 to 72% and 55 to 100% after 60 days.

3 years ago
Hi all, Interesting thread !

I found good information compilation on this link : https://www.onlyfoods.net/caragana-arborescens-siberian-pea-shrub.html
...where the following quote can be found:

Pods and seeds of pea shrub are both edible. Oil can be extracted from the seeds which is also edible.
As the seeds have a bland taste, it tastes bests when spiced up. Young pods are eaten as cooked vegetables.

I have not tried them yet, but I hope to do so soon. Last year I bought three plants about 2-3 years old. I planted them in my forest garden. I don't know exactly when they start to be productive, but I hope that happens not very late  :)
3 years ago

Cj Sloane wrote:Any one know how old or how tall before they flower?

According to some studies Eleagnus Angustifolia is fertile from the age of 4 to 6 years.
Here it is the Refenrece where that information is shown: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8692083_Micropropagation_of_Elaeagnus_angustifolia_from_mature_trees.

3 years ago