I have a similar setup for my maple trees, my equipment is going on 5 or 6 seasons. Clean the tubing and taps well at the end, and if you stack buckets make sure they are dry and add a piece of scrap wood or something to the bottom to separate them so they don't get stuck together.
I also tap silver maples, I would actually say the flavor is better than sugar maples personally, lighter, more honeylike. I've done walnut syrup before, the ration is much higher, close to 1:100 I would guess, and the flavor was ok, not special. Almost like a dark maple syrup with an off taste. I got maybe a few ounces from 10 gallons.
I might suggest you check the depth of your taps into the tree if it doesn't flow, they look a little deep to me.
Good Luck! We're flowing in MN now too, earliest i've ever seen it personally, though I said that last year too.
an update on this:
I got many, many runners this past season, I left a few larger ones in places among my orchard they fit, dug up maybe 20 and distributed them among the property. Hopefully some take as well as the parents did.
I definitely think this is good example of a potentially multi-use plant that is hardy, adaptable, and delicious.
Same exact thing happened to me last year. i got good % of sprouting anyway after the normal cold stratification.
It's definitely worth trying. The baby plants/seedlings have been more trouble than the seeds for me, give them alot of attention.
Thanks for the ideas,
I have considered the RMH, but am hesistant to go with something like that for this "version" of my greenhouse. I intend someday to build a much more impresive structure for tropical type plants, this is more to overwinter certain things. start trees, and extend the growing season.
Any idea where to get 55 gallon barrels? I like that idea, plus i could reuse them if I upgrade someday.
This past year has been frustrating one for projects on my property, mostly due to a new job and young family taking up most of my time, but it's all good.
I did however deal with the frustrations of a crappy above ground greenhouse this spring, freezing, blowing away in the wind, getting too hot, etc.
I went cheap and it ruined the fun for me.
I am in the planning phase now for a sunken greenhouse similar to a walipini/mike oehler type underground greenhouse and will be buying Oehlers books this christmas. So far I've got: Facing south, at an angle of latitude +23 degrees, with good polycarbonate glazing, and a passive solar mass behind the north wall.
I might be fine with this not being a year round greenhouse and just being a growing season extender, but year round would be cool if I could utilize multiple tricks to keep the structure above freezing temps. I do believe I can have a pretty solid budget for this.
For now I am trying to get some plans on paper and had a few questions for those in the know.
-The pit walls/foundation, I see alot of cement blocks, I would prefer to avoid that due to cost and deficient skills in masonry. I'm not against it though, are there ok alternatives I could try. I currently have as much wood on my property as I'd ever need, including straight white pines that need thinning, and red oaks that are dying. Neither of those woods are super rot resistant, but might work if I were to dig them in and cover them with a plastic moisture barrier right?
-Insulating, inside or outside the foundation wall? both? Should I plan on insulating the earth mass behind the north wall or is that better to be non insulated?
-The actual growing beds, what height in the greenhouse should they be to maximize growth? I've seen alot of terraced looks, I just don't want to excavate deep and have my plants not get enough sun.
-How effective is the cold sink pit? i assume this will be part of the mike oehler book, but it seems like it could be alot more digging.
Thanks to anyone with some thoughts, I'll certainly be posting pictures once I start.
You can feel the passion and experience in your narration. Great job!
I'm hoping to get an order from you this year.
One question on the chestnuts, I noticed the deer fence on the younger one, 6' steel woven wire?
Any other tips, I'm ashamed to admit for all my success in actually getting seeds to sprout and grow I am having more and more frustration with deer eating things.
My oldest chestnut is 5' at 5 years old but was also 5' in year 2, i've had it clipped by deer twice and frozen back one year.
Thanks for sharing!
I'm currently working through 10 acres of buckthorn with varying success. I think I can help a bit.
raspberries and blueberries are not nitrogen fixers, raspberries may grow well enough to contend with the buckthorn, but blueberries likely won't.
If you killed the roots of the buckthorn or removed them you can pretty much plant anything, though if you simply cut it down you will have regrowth and a thick mess within a year or so.
Cover crop like clovers do seem to contend with the seedlings, I would recommend a mix of clover, some sort of annual grass(wheat, rye, etc), and something like radish or turnip. A deer food plot mix would work well so long as the grass included is annual.
The comfrey will help, but might not grow fast enough right away to suppress buckthorn seedlings and certainly won't compete with trees.
Fast growing trees like boxelder, elderberry, and black locust can help fill spacer temporarily and could be chopped and dropped later. Walnut seems to compete pretty well also. Weeds like Burdock have out competed buckthorn in places for me too.
Your second picture looks pretty clear, with very few seedlings or stumps around, you probably can plant whatever you want back there, I would guess you have other areas not as cleanly cleared and those are going to be tougher to reclaim.
Keep at it, we cleared most of our backyard and it has remained clear with many fun natives just showing up out of no where. After the buckthorn has been removed from the ecosystem it seems like alot of healing happens quickly. We've found hazelnut, highbush cranberry, dogwood, birch, maple, currant, raspberries, and even things like bloodroot, solomon's seal, and jack in the pulpit simply appear in recently cleared areas.
Everything I've read says don't freeze the seeds, they'll die, I would think any direct seeding bed, even deeply mulched, will freeze in MN.
I think I got my Paw paw seed delivered in Dec from FW schumacher, my seeds froze but most did sprout, I don't know how complete the freeze was, the baggie they came in had ice crystals and the soil was hard.
I'm planning on stratifying indoors, in a baggie mixed with moist peat moss, then direct seeding with deep mulch in May or so. The seeds take their time sprouting and the first leaves are not obvious for some time, but when they do sprout they are pretty vigorous and stand up through the soil pretty well, like a bean almost.
I have ordered many seeds from FW Schumacher, including their Paw paw seeds. They are a first rate forestry seed operation.
One thing to consider however is that their and other places Paw paw seed will have to arrive fresh, and for me in MN arrived in the winter.
The seeds for me did freeze in the mailbox, but I had a good percentage sprout anyway. I neglected to baby them enough in their pots and impatiently planted them out in June. They did not survive. The seedlings might be more fragile than the seeds.
I now have a batch of seedlings in a 5 gallon bucket filled with soil, compost, and peat that appear to be doing well, I intend on overwintering them in my unheated but insulated porch that gets down to bout 40 in the winter and transplanting them next year once the frost threat has left. My survivor Paw paw is definitely late to leaf out, just starting in middle may. Sunday the May 15th this year we had a hard frost/freeze event that butchered alot of things like walnuts, chestnuts, grapes, hardy kiwi etc. The Paw paw had just teeny tiny leaves at that point that got nipped slightly but probably was saved a bit. My walnuts and kiwi were fully leafed out and looked like dead black alien blobs that morning.
I think any amount of diversity in the genetics of any plant we culture is a good thing, even if certain genetics are selected out of the pool it's worth trying.
Mark Shephard commented that he also had one Paw paw out of many that survived on his wisconsin farm, and part of his system involves breeding plants and trees with his STUN method which requires alot of trees and alot of genetic diversity. He even thought it might be possible to breed cold hardy tropical plants eventually if enough effort was put into it.
My own efforts for next year will be a few sources of paw paw seeds planted in my bucket method, and in a seedbed, along with a few older trees from multiple sources (Jung, Oikos, one other) to try and give my survivor a more mature pollinator.
I've seen the green barn products before and thought of trying it out, though the price and the potential for border issues makes it something i'd be careful of.
I thought you need a certificate of some kind to bring live plants over the border.
I am going to make some actual calls(i'm an online kind of guy) this winter to several nurseries inquiring on their paw paws, possibly even Jung seed again since whatever their seedling genetics are seem to have good cold tolerance, but also oikos, and any other place near zone 4 that has them.
My own observations are that Paw paws seem to not care about the raw cold as much as the wind, dryness, and sun.
I would be sure to keep them in the shade early on, even for several years. I used a piece of green thick plastic garden fence folded up over the top to create dappled shade for the first two summers and then planted a seaberry to the south of the paw paw very close. That has seemed to be a good strategy, I may try surrounding a new paw paw with seaberry to help block northern winds and southern sun. The feathery leaves create a good dappled shade effect and I assume the nitrogen fixing aspect helps too.
In addition I used a thick heavy wood chunk, scraps, and rounds mulch that keep the soil moist even in hot dry weather. I didn't do this until the 3rd year and I wonder now if I had done it right away if I couldn't have saved the other paw paw I got in the pair.
I am going to attempt to replicate the same type of strategy the green barn did with their seeds as well, and I believe that is what oikos did too.
Seeds from several sources are cheap and it's worth trying for me since I enjoy this type of thing. Paw paw seeds are not very hard to sprout, but seem very finicky to actually keep alive when young. I may try several strategies including just a direct seedbed with a large quantity of seed.
I made a seedbed of American Persimmon 3 years ago from around 200 oikos persimmon seeds. I now probably have 40 or so 1' to 2' seedlings I will be attempting to dig out this fall. If I can get their deep roots intact and transplant I'll replace them with paw paw seeds next spring. If it's a disaster to try and dig them up I will have to rethink that. I have a theory the deep taproot needs to be intact to help survive the cold.
Anyway good luck and please do check back if you have success or even failure(finger crossed not).
Have a good one
I love testing and pushing boundries of different plants, and have had some preliminary success.
I have a paw paw I got from Jung Seed in 2011 in a set of two that is thriving north of Stillwater MN. Not northern Mn, but outside and north of the cities.
The grafted NC-1 died after one winter, this seedling was to be the pollinator and made it through even the 2013 winter from hell.
Growth was very slow, only a small 3'' branch for the first few years, but then 6'' or so.
This spring we had a hard freeze 20 degrees in early may, lots of my zone pushed trees and plants got fresh growth nipped back including the paw paw, but it has recovered and I believe it has finally had it's big "leap" in growth as in with new trees they sleep, creep, and then leap.
It's now 6' tall and putting growth on still. I anticipate I'm not too far from flowers, though I need to find a pollinator somehow. I will be hoping to find a larger transplant or at least a hardy match for mine I can wait on. I've even considered seeing if I can get pollen from another source and hand pollinate for a few years until I can make seedlings that might have similar cold hardy genetics. This will be a point of emphasis for my winter orders.
I'd try Oikos tree crops as a source, they seem to specialize in this type of thing, though I think they exist in a zone 5/6 area.
If you find a source or even another tree in the north please share your findings.
Obviously the mixes you are using are clover, nitrogen, and mustard centric.
I've noticed in my disturbed areas after recent work a mix of preferential "weeds" can be cultivated by collecting seed and sowing them in spots.
I use Burdock, Cleavers, motherwort, self heal, wintercress, wild lettuce, curly dock and mullein.
These add deep rooted biomass and I find preferable to the usual thistles, grass, and nettles(which are nice too at times, but can be too much)
Things like chamomile, radish, turnip, mustard, clover, buckwheat, parsnip can also be pretty vigorous if you've got enough seed to spare.
The great thing about all these is the massive amount of seed that they produce for future work and can be harvested for chop/drop options, herbal, edible, or other uses. If you want nothing but bare ground coverage this might be a good option. There's maybe a better specific mix of species for your climate too obviously.
Something to think about at least.
Essentially his argument is: Using modern day industrial farming quantification of yield, and discounting many aspects of what food forests provide intangibly, when you poorly design a food forest in temperate climates they don't work well. Except he cites a vast amount of information yet ignores some of the most effective systems like Mark Shepard's.
I come at this from a science background, it seems to me that permaculture in theory, practice, and logic makes sense. The nature of most people who are interested in practicing it and planting food forests leave alot to be desired by modern agricultural science standards. I don't think most farmers or scientists can quantify and test whether this stuff works until they fully immerse themselves into the theory and actually try it in reality, which they are not going to do easily.
I expect as more and more successful examples of food forests and permaculture become established in the coming years, there will be a larger move towards studying the ecology, benefits, drawbacks, and design to all of this.
I had good luck getting the Elaeagnus Angustifolia Var. Orientalis Baker Creek sold to germinate. Maybe 70%. I unfortunately had less luck getting the small seedlings to prosper after germination. I have only one seedling that has crept along for 3 years now. I may be in it's "leap" season which would be nice. Baker Creek hasn't seemed to have any more for sale, a source would be a good thing to know about.
My sweet scarlet goumi finally survived a winter here in MN without massive dieback. Definitely a marginal zone 4/5 plant for me.
So inspecting the garden this spring, it appears I had a few brusselsprouts and red russian kale plants survive the winter, now budding out on their lower stems.
This doesn't happen in Minnesota very often I don't think, I've had turnips make it through the winter so I suppose it's possible. We had a super mild winter and early spring here.
I expect these plants will go to seed this year and I don't know what to expect. A quick internet search says lots of crosses are possible with other plants, fine by me.
I've had weird mustard hybrids pop up before, they all have green leaves that can be used for food, forage, cover crop etc.
Anyone have tips on what to expect? Any chance this seed remains pure red russian kale or brusselsprouts?
I'm in MN, I have some suggestions.
First, you should know we are warming faster than the rest of the country, we'll be zone 5 in the southern half of the state soon in my opinion.
I am an experimenter, I love to try to push growing zones. Some plants and trees do better than others.
Things like peaches, medlars, goumi, american persimmon, sweet cherries, paw paw, hickory, and pecan are marginal so far for me. They all grow, some well, some die back and resprout taller each year, others have had dieback years and slowly recover. I've only truly seen a few things die for me: a Contender peach that grew for 4 years and died after the horrible 2013 winter, a few maypops that I started from seed, a Kousa dogwood(2013) and a handful of paw paws.
I would try a few things:
-Start things from seed. It's cheaper for large numbers of plants, and there's a chance you could find certain genetics from seedlings that impart some cold tolerance. Graft if you want onto these, but those seedling roots give you a chance to grow things back if they die back to the ground.
-Find microclimates. South sides of buildings, rock piles, under pines, look for areas that stay frost free early in the morning after a frost.
A few species you may not have tried:
Seaberry, grows great and doesn't care about the cold.
Bush cherries do really well too.
I have one Paw paw from Jung seed, a seedling that has lived through that 2013 winter and seems on its way to thriving now. I think with Paw paws it's the first few years that matter, they grow slowly and need to be out of hot sun, but they also have really deep roots and can handle the cold ok.
Arctic Beauty Kiwi will do better than Arugata hardy kiwi.
Antonokova apple rootstocks seem in some ways just "tougher" to me than some of the semi dwarf or dwarfing rootstocks. I grew a bunch from seed and was impressed by their vigorous roots, growth in cold fall weather, and overall hardiness.
-Oikos tree crops has a bunch of interesting fruits and trees, I love their stuff and they try to select for cold hardiness and overall health in their stuff.
Wild plums and other shrub plums have just exploded for me, they seem really well adapted to the cold and taste pretty good too.
Just add onto what William has said, it might be useful if people have examples, or even better photos of their "favorite" invasives succumbing to succession.
I've seen buckthorn on my property growing to maturity and dying off under a thick canopy of native boxelder, which will likely die in the next 30-50 years and leave space for other taller hardwoods like oak or walnut.
I don't think that author even can comprehend the argument Falk was trying to make. She's very focused on obvious and specific modern day invasive/native situations and examples.
He probably articulated too wide and grand a vision in his response. Perhaps he should have at least began with the specific example they were arguing over and explain how you might design a system with that "invasive" and then move on into permaculture theory.
Cape goosberry and groundcherries self seed easily. I enjoy seeing where they establish themselves every year, I haven't planted any for several years.
However, there are also native varieties here like the clammy ground cherry that are indeed perennial. The fruit is not nearly as good, stronger flavored and less sweet.
I'd suspect depending on the temperature in the greenhouse a cape goosberry could die back a bit and resprout. They are a great little plant to have around.
I gather pine straw from my deck and garage roof every year when the trees shed. I just sweep it off into a trailer. Perhaps when you see the needles start to get ready to drop you could lay out a large tarp or several. I gave up raking exactly for the reasons you state. Be aware that mulching with pine straw is going to add acid to your soil, I only use mine under the blueberries, strawberries, and other acid loving plants. Good luck!
Here in MN we have a state record butternut tree growing in a similar way. The pine monoculture "desert" has isolated it and protected it from the butternut canker disease that typically hits Butternuts.
Seed stratification outside works fine in some climates I suppose.
The main issue is that frozen seeds do not stratify, think of it as a timer. The seed at 32-40 degrees has a running timer, when it freezes or gets warmer than that it stops running.
Stratifying indoors also allows you to control for varmints eating seed, pests, fungus, mold, rot due to water, drying out due to lack of water, etc.
If you can swing it direct seeding outdoors is certainly easier, it's just not practical for some of us in freezing climates. Also for expensive or precious seeds it's not as controlled.
Where are you and what are you looking to plant?
I use peat instead of vermiculite, I think the peat has some added antimicrobial aspects to it.
Also I make sure that I squeeze the peat almost free of all water before adding it to the bags, you want it moist but not wet.
I like to check them every few days and mix up the baggie to allow for some air to enter the baggie, just by shifting around the peat and seeds a bit.
Like you said, mold can happen. Sometimes it has no effect, sometimes it takes over.
I had pecans pop open with tons of bright blue mold and had no effect on their healthy neighbors, I had Akebia mold out and take the whole baggie.
I wouldn't try the alcohol or peroxide straight up, maybe a very dilute solution, but mostly I'd wash them with water or leave them. It could be your seed just went bad or the mold may even be normal.
Good luck! What kind of seeds are they?
I read the first post and was going to quickly remind you to add some animal protection.
I planted leftover sprouting pecans, walnuts, and hickories willy nilly outside and found within hours the squirrels had taken them.
Looks great though. How cold will it get where you are at? Any freeze/frost protection?
Ken W Wilson wrote:Russell, are the leaves kind of folded over and kind of white and fuzzy in the fold. Spider mites are the only leaf insect problems. Fire blight is the main disease problem here.
Alice, that yellow apples sounds like a Lodi I had many years ago. Is it an early apple? I know there must be other kinds that fit that description, but it made me remember the Lodi instantly. They were really good for cooking before they're soft and ripe.
No, I've found an explanation online before. It's actually a trait of the honey crisp in certain situations. Apparently is certain environments the tree will pump carbohydrates into the leaves causing clorosis and slowing growth, especially in trees with no fruit.
It's a delicious apple, and the star of the apple show here in Minnesota, but they've gotten beat in my orchard by trees several years younger than them, including a parent of the honey crisp the golden crisp. I tend to think this may be a poor choice for an organic or no spray orchard.
I'm going to do some grafting and see if it is possibly a rootstock issue for me, but this is it for these trees if they don't look better this year.
Mine are extremely weak growers, I planted 4 of various ages and from seperate sources. The first year was fine, even got one apple.
Since then they simply haven't grown, and get strange looking leaves about June. Hard, dark green, and leathery. They just don't put on new growth for me even after heavy pruning. I certainly hope this is a local soil thing and not indicative of the cultivar since it's a very popular one. I will be taking scions and grafting them onto other trees then ripping them out of the ground in favor of other varieties.
Good luck, they don't seem to me like they have any different strength to their wood, I don't think it would require a trellis or anything, just be aware they may have trouble putting on new growth.
I have 5 I got as 3 inch seedlings as a gift, I didn't think they'd live a year.
5 years later they are 6' tall and a staple of my garden. Not an eating cherry since the pit to fruit ratio is about 50/50, but I made excellent wine from them this past summer and they would make a nice addition to lots of things with their tart flavor.
3 of the 5 are excellent bearers, 1 has smaller fruit but tastes ok, 1 has noticeably bigger and better tasting fruit, one is in the middle of those two.
The other two interestingly bear little to no fruit, but have other characteristics. One is small and somewhat pathetic, the other is a monster and has always been faster grower.
Marilyn Paris wrote:I bought an ounce of Antonovka apple seeds from F. W. Schumacher Co. I put a few hundred into cold moist stratification already. I have hundreds left if anybody wants any. No wonder I have hundreds left. Look how many are in a pound.
Must be about 800 in the ounce I bought. So I might have 500 left or so.
I stratified seed from them last winter and had a high percentage germinate. I think you'll be surprised how vigorous they will grow, mine shot up fast and even a few "extras" I plugged into odd spots grew really well. I swear they even were putting on fresh growth late into freezing temps in November here. They were a good size to graft to by the time snow covered them if that's your intention.
I'm working on filling my property with useful plants and especially nitrogen fixers and biomass mulch plants.
Some of these I have experience with, others I'm reading up on.
If anyone has some interesting or useful thoughts or experience to share on any of these I would much appreciate it.
I have several places I'll be planting these.
For now I plan on filling my food forest with most of them just to try them out.
The garden/under fruit trees/paths will get some but not all.
Here are my thoughts, please share if I'm off on these uses in any way.
Black Locust- Interplant around property, food forest, hedges, source of future wood fuel
Siberian Pea shrub- Woody chop and drop candidate, interplant around property, in food forest, near chicken coop, hedge candidate
False Indigo- Mulching, interplant with seedling trees, strategic spots in garden
New Jersey Tea Plant-No experience here, supposed tea substitute, but I was surprised that it's a nitrogen fixer too.
Fragrant False Indigo- Lower growing, plan for possibly using under fruit trees, as barrier mulch plants for annual beads to fight off grasses/weeds
Illinois Bundle Flower- Very excited for this one, appears to be a useful plant with mulching potential, possible forage crop for the chickens
Wild Senna-Same here
Showy Tick Trefoil-Trying it out, I know about the sticky burrs, to be honest this one may be used as a pioneer species when I clear out a bunch of buckthorn form certain areas of the property.
Partridge Pea- No thoughts other than it's an annual I could plant under taller things and help feed them with.
Trailing Wild Bean- Vine that I'm hoping is more vigorous than the garden varieties. We'll see.
Prairie Turnip- Amazing potential from reading up on it. A perennial tuber that also fixes nitrogen and competes with grasses. Could be planted on the edges of my garden , anyone grow/eat/heard of it?
Birdsfoot trefoil- Vigorous grower supposedly, I'd like to try it on paths to mow and for out competing grasses and weeds in other areas.
Crown Vetch-Have this already, plan to "plug" it in areas I'd like to see devoid of weeds/buckthorn/grass, or to establish for erosion control
White clover- Last year I used this in the path areas of my garden and it did well. Took long to establish though and did die off quickly in the fall, it's easy enough to trim with a mower on it's highest wheel setting or with a cheapo electric string trimmer. Nice on the feet when it's not too wet.
Red Clover- no experience, supposedly will winterkill right? I'm hoping so and will use it to re-invigorate/recapture my annual beds in weedy spots
Fenugreek- Herb, I think low growing, I'll experiment in annual beds.
Winter Peas-I used these last year with some success along with turnips. Not as vigorous weed suppression as I liked, but the soil looked good this fall.
Debating whether to plant
Two-Grooved Milk Vetch- Selenium accumulator that supposedly stinks and is poisonous. I thought it might be worth planting to deter deer from grazing in certain spots, but after reading up on it I may not bother. Seems like a native plant that has it's place, but maybe not in my edible forest forest or garden.
This low growing raspberry type is all over the fence lines of my property here in Minnesota. I would think it's a plant permies might find useful since it forms a thick Ground over around 2' tall and produces tasty fruit. It's deer resistant, very productive, and grows in the shade though doesn't fruit as well there. It even out competes grass and is jug lone tolerant since I have walnut seedlings poking through in several spots. It does spread wildly when allowed to, but works well in wilder areas.
The fruit is seedy but tasty, a raspberry with a little minty hint. Chickens love it so much I lost a few to predators when they kept eating at dusk rather than come in. Anyway, anyone have an ID?
I'd like to update this project of mine, I think I can offer some good advice for first timers trying to start a forest garden like this.
First of all, I certainly bit off alot more than I can chew with a full time job, a big garden, and a young family. That said, I did pretty well with the time I could give it for the first season.
The brushwall and woven junkpole fence did indeed keep adult deer from getting inside the perimeter of the grove. It did not keep small baby deer, rabbits, or squirrels from entering however. The large native grapevine i draped over the woven pole fence should become massive this upcomimg year and I will hopefully be grafting onto it other varieties. It's 50' long and the thickness of my forearm with lots of offshoots.
The trees from last winter's stratification project went into hand dug swales and swale mounds on contour. Chestnuts, Antonkova apples, manchurian apricots, hazlenut, hardy pecan, shagbark hickory, black locust, and a few butternuts were the main species. They thrived and grew very well.
I did also direct sow hickory nuts, hardy pecans, butternuts, and hazelnuts. 6 hours later they were all gone dug cleanly out of their holes by squirrels.
In addition all hickories, butternuts, and hazelnut seedlings were dug out even when the nut was removed from the root prior to transplanting.
Most survived their short time out of the ground and I laid heavy sticks across the base of them to keep squirrels from messing with them anymore.
The cover crop did very well too, nitrogen fixing nodules were present in the winter pea mix I added, but I just didn't have the time to do as much diverse cover cropping as I'd hoped.
The buckthorn seedlings didn't overtake much though, and the trees I cut down for the most part remained under control by suffocating them under old carpet or cardboard.
Everything went well besides the baby fawn nipping things until late summer when something got in, I'm guessing a young deer and ate the tips off of many trees. By late fall they had recovered and despite some rabbit nipping here or there I think I had a successful 1st year. I do believe the 6' metal wire fence was not enough to keep deer out though, I need to tighten that up this winter by watching for hoofprints in the area and adding tall vertical poles to any spot that is an entry point
I need to finish removing buckthorn and clearing the area for the next phase which is planting small fruit/nut/veg perennials, adding more biomass producing plants like comfrey and burdock, and starting on a hedge/fence project that will eventually encircle my entire 10 acres starting with the southern grove.
I'm doing heavy reading including edible forest gardens, paradise lot, restoration agriculture, and online research.
I plan on utilizing this area as a small model of my property and use it as a lab for my food forest experiments, buckthorn removal experiments, and start increasing my overall yields of certain perennial fruits I've become fond of like aronia, king of the north grape, raspberry, ramps, wild plum, and nanking cherry.
Eventually I hope this area will replace the dying oak overstory with hickories and chestnuts, or at least add some diversity where there is none in the woods right now.
I had an unintended strawberry/creeping charlie living mulch situation this year. I let it play out, figuring the strawberries could possibly run over the top of the creeping charlie mat. I now have a creeping charlie living mulch situation if you catch me.
What I have found and will continue to proliferate is that alpine strawberries when grown in good conditions create their own living mulch. I transplanted a few varieties here and there this past summer and they out competed grass and weeds quite well. I'm going to start an entire 72 cell tray of them next spring and plop them along the borders of my paths with hopes they contain any weeds trying to get into or out of my orchard. Plus they are nice to snack on though if you are looking for a large scale market crop they would be tough to count on since they have pretty small yields and small but tasty berries.
It's funny the amazing things you can find on this website.
I have had chronic, and I mean awful chronic sinus issues my whole life.
2 surgeries, every antibiotic under the sun, and a whole lot of misery have left me essentially where I began with chronic sinus issues.
I had another ENT consult and essentially was told I will just have to deal with it and it's going to be an issue for the rest of my life.
I began to think about the problem in a new way a few weeks ago. I had just finished another antibiotic run to clear up an infection.
I was left with the intestinal issues that often accompany antibiotics, a cough that somehow was untouched by the drugs, and a returning sinus infection.
Then I read this thread and began my own journey of knowledge on the potential of herbs helping my cope with these issues.
I started last Sunday waking up with awful sinus pain, nasty discharge, and an overall sick feeling. A full blown sinus infection 2 weeks after antibiotics. Damn.
I decided to add probiotics, kefir, and as much healthy food as I could to my diet.
I also began drinking an elderberry tincture, chamomile, and raw honey tea before bed.
I tried eating horseradish/ginger/cayenne to get the mucus going. That didn't touch it. I can't really recommend that one at least for me.
I began with steam inhalation as the Jim Mcdonald article suggested. Steam with Oregano, Rosemary, and Wild Bee balm essential oils, then rinse with a nasal saline wash. It was nice and seemed to help.
Steam with just water too, always followed by a nasal rinse.
I did that for 2 days, some relief although the discharge was still clearly full of nasty. I decided to add an oregano infusion as Tyler did.
I have to admit some trepidation at putting the greenish brown tea up my nose with the nasal rinse, but I figured it's no worse than anything else and I'd be back on antibiotics if is doesn't work anyway. I strained the oregano out in a coffee filter and steamed first as always.
The oregano rinse seemed to do something. I can't describe it but it just seemed to get into the problem up in there in a more powerful way.
I did the steam/oregano rinse for 2 days until friday. I still had nasal discharge nastiness, though less. I figured I'd attack the issue all weekend and see if it was just a time/patience thing. It is a chronic issue for me after all.
I noticed I still had some wild bee balm leaves on my plants outside. To be honest the wife planted them for the flowers and I like them for the bees they bring in. I'd never used it as an herb. I picked a bunch of the freshest leaves I could find and added them to the oregano infusion. Steam first, nasal rinse with the bee balm infusion.
My goodness. The bee balm stung right away then I almost felt like it was dragging the infection out by it's hair. I ran 4 bottles though the right sinus which was worse and a plug of nasty came out that I can only describe as evil looking. The right side was clearer than it's been ever.
I continued to run through my aromatic steam/rinse several times a day and found myself feeling much better, not always with the oregano, I'm out of bee balm now too.
The tea at night I think also has helped. I now felt a bit "worked over" in the sinuses so I did some more research and thought I'd try a demulcent to help rebuild my tissues. I bought some marshmallow root and it did seem to help lubricate things up in there.
I now stand here 8 days later feeling healthy and breathing very well. I do believe i will need to continue my steam/rinse but maybe without the herbal infusion and maybe just once a day. In the future I will be harvesting bee balm and perhaps I now will breathe normally thanks to the journey into herbal remedies started by this thread.
So many thanks.
Well, I'm back at it for 2015-16. I'm focusing more on shrubs/bushes this winter with a heavy emphasis on Seaberry and other hedge type plants.
From Oikos tree crops:
Timburr hybrid Chestnuts- American hybrid, planted seedlings a few years back and they've done very well here.
Ecos Pear-Pie pear, direct seeding produced alot of healthy plants before they were decimated by gophers.
Hughes crabapple-I want to get some cider apples going, this was apparently a favorite of Thomas Jefferson for hard cider.
Sloe plum-Thorny hedge plant, plums seem to grow well on my property.
Dunbars plum-" "
Missouri gooseberry-I like the idea of adding some gooseberries to my property, more of a hedge/wild addition.
Big hip Rose-I love rose hips, I just haven't gotten any from my roses yet, maybe this species in a sunny hedge would produce. Plus thorns.
Moonrise Asian Pear-Supposed hangover remedy applications, worth a try.
Ussuri plum-Hardiest plum apparently, again plums seem to do well here for me.
Ecos American hazelnut- More genetics for my hazelnuts, the Ecos is an Oikos "selection" for hardiness and quality.
From Jiovi seaberry:
I got their food forest package
Seaberry- I have a long sunny area in the field I will be establishing a food hedge of seaberry and other things. I planted seedlings from Burnt ridge 2 years ago and they grow great, I expect a small crop next year and these seedlings will help increase genetic diversity and give me some seedling numbers to play with.
Elder berry-Blue-black-red-Rocky mountain:
I also have a shady, wet, mulched ridge I've build up with dead brush over the years, I'd like to utilize it and elderberry seem to be deerproof even with my high deer pressure. I'm becoming more convinced of elderberry's cold remedy power. It could become a niche crop for me someday.
Dog rose-Again with the rose hips, I want to get a handful of bushes if possible to harvest from. Genetics are good too.
Yellowhorn-Looking forward to seeing how these grow here, my seedling made it through the summer and fall fine.
Siberian Pea- I have plenty of nearby sourced seeds, I'll wait til spring and direct sow these as support plants in the hedges.
Bearberry-Unfamiliar with this plant, but I like the low growing aspect. Hopefully I can get some to sprout and add them to my orchard under the trees or beneath the hedges.
I'll be using the soak-plastic bag in peat moss stratification method for the most precious seeds, it worked last year very well. I've also got a strategy for growing others I'll get into eventually in this thread involving stacking coffee cans.
I also direct seeded the elderberries, as well as dog rose, some seaberry, and pears.
UPDATE: As of 11/15/15
I already have some things sprouting. My system is better setup this year for sustaining things so I'm ok with it but 2 of my 10 chestnuts are already sprouting without any stratification. The seaberries also came pre-stratified which I was unaware of, nonetheless I have not wasted money since I'm getting things growing already. The green under my grow lights helps with my seasonal depression too so an early sprouting is ok.
There's no doubt it has immense coppice potential, my most recent clearing had a few mature stumps I simply didn't get around to pulling or attending to and they put on 7' of growth this summer, maybe 10-15 shoots about the width of a thumb. It burns just fine, for a rocket heater I'd imagine the stick wood would be great. I agree on the thorns being absent in young growth. Boxelder and elm have shown similar growth for me too.
Good gloves are a must, I'd also add that eye protection seems important too for thick areas, the buckthorn seems to fight back on occasion grabbing and whipping as it's cleared.
I have continued to develop a game plan for my infestation, and continue to try alternative methods to pulling which is so labor intensive.
A few items:
In my food forest "grove" I hand cut swale and berms, the shallow digging of the swales eliminated any buckthorn seedlings and in the areas I developed only a few stumps remain. The shallow roots can be thick but are not difficult to cut through and the buckthorn won't resprout.
I think as I develop my property into food forests and such the problem may become less and less of an issue.
In the future I anticipate getting a tractor or skid steer that would come with a bucket and maybe I could "skim" the topsoil free of the buckthorn roots, it's possible that I could even backfill the soil a few days later after the roots dry out and die eliminating any soil loss, or I could plant a green manure crop in it's place. Ahh the future.
The boxelder overstory remains a vibrant option. I may start over seeding areas with boxelder and chop and drop it after it outcompetes the buckthorn.
I have collected a cover crop mix of burdock, curly dock, wintercress, and mullein. In areas with heavy burdock growth the buckthorn appears subdued, the other "weeds" have shown the ability to growth low to the ground and smother out seedlings and will help build soil and be a chop and drop mulch source.
A warning: collecting burdock and crushing the seeds out of the velcro pods with something hard(hammer) is easy enough, but wear skin protection and gloves. The barbs on the seed pods must get airborne as they are crushed and I had a horrific rash all over my arms that itched terribly for several days. Might be dangerous to inhale too.
My comfrey plants grew very well this year and I will be propagating more from the roots next spring, in addition to my seed mix I think this has a possibility to be a smother or barrier plant I can use to eliminate the seedlings.
An observation which was quite pleasant to see was the areas I clear cut the buckthorn 2 years ago remain 2-4' tall due to intense deer browsing. The low growing and tender coppiced shoots seem to be quite palatable to the deer. The problem isn't eliminated but at least the deer are keeping the trees from growing to maturity and buying me time.