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Reforestation - Growing trees in arid, barren lands - by Seeds and Clay cubes (no watering)

 
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Mediterranean Hartwort
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Photo 1
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Photo 2
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Konstantinos Karoubas
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Our Farm's Natural Hero: Mediterranean Hartwort

Carpets of lush Mediterranean hartwort blanket our fields, playing a vital role in keeping our soil healthy. This remarkable annual acts like a perennial, faithfully reseeding itself year after year.

The sheer abundance of seeds it produces even keeps the ants at bay! This makes hartwort a perfect choice for recently burned areas, where its dense growth effectively holds the soil and prevents erosion.

Planting couldn't be easier - simply scatter the seeds on the ground, and if the conditions are favorable, they'll sprout on their own. No digging or seed ball preparation required!

This time of the year, is a good time to collect seeds.

Kostas


(The above text was re written by Gemini.ai    .... and it does a good job)



 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Greetings to all !!!
Acorns Sprouting Hope

Today, we revisited a site where we planted acorns a few months ago, nestled amongst the established pine trees.

This project is crucial for us; we're trying to see if we can reintroduce and foster oak trees in this area.

Last year, unfortunately, almost 90% of the pine tree seedlings failed to sprout. However, this year, the opposite is happening! Around 90% of the acorns have sprouted and are thriving.

It's a beautiful sight!

The government's past practice of planting large numbers of pine trees around cities and villages might seem like an easy solution. They grow quickly and cover large areas. However, there's a downside: pine trees are acidic and create a challenging environment for other species.

In contrast, oak trees are like the kings and queens of the forest. Their presence creates fertile soil, stores water, and supports a vast array of creatures - birds, bees, wild pigs, you name it!

Around 250 different species thrive in healthy oak ecosystems.

As the climate changes with rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall, pine trees are becoming more susceptible to disease, death, and wildfires due to their increased flammability.

Our hope is that by successfully establishing oak trees amongst the existing pines, we can create a more diverse and resilient forest. This would provide habitat for a wider range of wildlife and be better equipped to handle the challenges of climate change.

Kostas

(Again thanks to Gemini.ai for the rewrite…a much better communicator than I am)







And



Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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A small correction in the 3rd paragraph...

"almost 90% of the pine tree seedlings failed to sprout"

It should read ", almost 90% of acorns failed to sprout"

Kostas
 
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If it's any comfort, here in N. Florida the oaks easily overcome the pines long term. We do seem to have some similarities in climate to you. Definitely more rain though.

There's a huge timber industry here based on pine, and who knows how many acres planted to commercial pine forest, but I'm with you, pines are way too problematic. Particularly the fire problem and falling over and damaging things if near civilization.
some growers here have taken advantage of the acidic pine soil to grow blueberries, which want a very low PH around 4 - 5.

A 50 ft. high wall of solid flame traveling 30 - 40 MPH should be more than enough to scare you way from pines forever. It was for me.

The old timers here had warned me about this, but actually seeing it happen burned it into my memory.

That's what happens here if the understory of the pines isn't cleared out regularly, which is another point against pines...excess labor required...or else.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thanks for the input Dave.

A few questions…

How do you come to the conclusion that oak trees overcome pine trees? What specifically have you observed?

Obviously for all of our sake, I hope you are right (but we can't just be wishful).

How do they plant blueberries…do they cut down the pine trees and plant, or do they plant at the edge of the pine forest? Interesting project. Blueberries are great!!!

Yeah….agree, it's a scary proposition, high winds and fire in a dry pine forest. It can't be stopped.

Kostas
 
Dave Bross
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Some friends have put their land under protection from development by putting their land under protection supposedly forever by giving it to an outfit here called Nature Conservancy to preserve it after the die.  

The N.C. wanted the land restored to it's original native pines and the issue with that was that the oaks were the majority species at the time, having begun crowding out pine growth.

To counter argue that, the original settlers of Florida found nothing but huge ancient pine forests with huge diameter pine trees when they arrived, so perhaps the pines come back around eventually in the very long run.

I know the Nature Conservancy concept sounds great but they have been making some terrible mistakes trying to restore land to native species.  The book Beyond the War on Invasive Species by Tao Orion goes into great detail on that.
 
Dave Bross
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Forgot to answer on the Blueberries.

They do both, grow on the edges or bulldoze everything and then grow.

I often wondered about growing them in between rows of pines.

The way they harvest the pines is to cut every other row out at a certain age and at some point I'm guessing there might be enough light and low enough PH soil between the rows to pull that off.

 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hey Dave thanks for the input.

Very interesting on the pine trees and the oak trees.

It's good to know that the oak trees are much stronger than the pine trees and they will dominate the area. That's a very important piece of information; it gives us hope. To have actual living examples helps.

The Nature Conservancy is misguided to say the list. Masanobu Fukuoka, San recommended for both a farm or a forest that we plant hundreds of types of trees, shrubs and grasses and to let nature or the land choose what it wants to grow. Nature will make the choice, not the limited human mind.

A large variety of plant life will benefit both the soil and all life that thrives on it.

Masanobu Fukuoka, San was a brilliant mind in the same league with Einstein, Aristotle and the other great thinkers. So we should consider his thoughts carefully.

I stumbled into the idea of oak trees in a pine Forest by accident.

I wish I could say that I read it somewhere or that I reasoned and I concluded it was a good idea but that's not the case. It was completely by accident.

Over the years I tried planting almond trees, apricot trees, wild pear trees and other types of trees among the pines, but they would sprout, then withered away.

I had to see it to believe it.

To see these young oak trees emerge brings a smile to my face and a burst of happiness that we rarely get in this life without the use of mind altering substances (lol).

They may hold the key to our survival on this land, especially here in Southern Europe.

I hope they have a chance to grow to 500 or 1000 years.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Greetings,

Last year, a friend generously gave us a collection of apricot and cherry seeds to plant. Unfortunately, after planting them, I didn't see any trees sprout this year.

Recently  I purchased some apricot and cherry fruit from a farmer's market and I am preparing them for planting in the winter.

Today I conducted a simple float test, to assess seed viability. This involved placing the seeds in water – those that sink are generally considered viable, while floaters are typically not.

It should be noted that for cherry seeds, we should wait 48 hours or more before making a viability determination.

To my surprise, about 90% of the seeds floated!

To confirm, I cracked open some seeds from each group. As expected, the sunken seeds were plump and healthy, while the floaters were either empty or shriveled.

This test highlights the importance of checking seed viability and having good healthy seeds before planting.

With limited resources and potential challenges like summer or winter drought, wild pigs, field mice, and frost, we can't afford to waste time and effort on non-viable seeds.

Kostas

Again, gemini.ai helped with the rewrite


 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Greetings,

Today, I visited the abandoned Stone quarry near Thessaloniki.

This quarry has been left to nature for the past 50 to 75 years.

In February, we planted a few holm oaks and some bare root cypress trees in an effort to restore the landscape.

We returned to the site today to check on the progress of our plantings.

To my delight, I discovered that several of the holm oak trees are thriving and showing signs of growth. However, none of the cypress trees we planted have survived.

Despite the loss of the cypress trees, the successful growth of the holm oaks is an encouraging sign.

This winter, we plan to try planting the site again.

The abandoned quarry remains a visible scar on the landscape for kilometers around.

With patience and the right approach, we can work to heal this damaged ecosystem. It will take years; it's not going to be easy.

We want to see how many of these oaks survive the summer.

Kostas


this time thanks goes to perplexity.ai for the rewrite

 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Greetings,

Today, we visited a site that we have previously identified as "Difficult Site".

The reason for this classification is that the site is located along the side of a road and consists primarily of rocky terrain.

Despite the unfavorable conditions, we have approximately 20 almond trees on the bank.

Additionally, we have managed to grow a considerable number of evergreen oak trees, which are currently brown, but we are hopeful that they will soon sprout and flourish from their base.

If the evergreen oaks do indeed sprout and grow, we will have effectively reforested this area.

Given sufficient time, the evergreen oaks will cover the entire site and will endure for centuries to come.

These are big IF's

We are prepared to continue placing seeds in the ground.

kostas


 
Dave Bross
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About the oaks and cypress - The varieties we have of those here in N.Florida require radically different environs to even survive...mainly, the cypress wants a LOT of water and the oaks can get by on very little. Swamps and river banks are the only place you see cypress here.

Apricots and cherries - They just will not grow here. I think the hot dry then hot wet cycles kill them but that's just a guess.  They also need a good bit of cold to fulfill their chill hour requirement and that isn't happening here.
 
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hello all.  i have planted desert willows purchased from nurseries in the arid desert of southern utah, and the seeds volunteer readily in areas next to large rocks or rain runoff.  while i have not eaten the prolific seeds, the blossoms attract hummingbirds, and local wildlife does collect and eat the seed.  with your inspiration i will increase seed planting - they are taprooted plants and might do well to foster other trees.  honey mesquite and screwbean mesquite also do well here, resistant to both heat and cold.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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That great news deannagay,

If you could send some photos or video to tell the story, it would be greatly appreciated.

Kostas
 
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