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Podcast 057 - Preparing a Food Forest

Posts: 3720
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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Paul and Joe talk about turning the back of her property to a food forest. They begin talking about the success of rhubarb--a nitrogen pig--and growing it in hugelkultur beds. Paul mentions putting a sun scoop in--a horseshoe-shaped garden. The curved end would grow the tallest things. They look at Joe's siberian pea shrub and observe its pods snapping. Its leaf litter makes for good organic matter.

Paul suggests Joe can her pie cherries, so they don't go to waste, and they briefly discuss canning (see forum: cooking and food preservation for info on canning). Paul then shares a strategy for getting rid of bindweed, as well as the fact that, on the lawn, it can't tolerate mowing high.

They then discuss the benefits of growing apple trees from seed. Although they generally do not grow true to parent, (except some varieties of apricot), their taproots are valuable, and you can always graft palatable apples onto the "spitter" trees. They mention the value of starting tomatoes from seed vs transplanting them as transplanting them shocks them for a bit.

Paul shares how Dave Boehnlein of the Bullock Brothers Homestead would graft a pear tree on a hawthorne tree (covered in thorns) 5-6 ft above the ground. This way, at deer level there are thorns, but above, via a ladder, there are pears!

Paul briefly discusses the use of hedgerows as deer control, which can be set up during the winter. Joe shares some raspberries to Paul which she had watered everyday, and Paul talks about how the less you water them, the more flavor they have. He says that he prefers having tall raspberry canes, and planting them in hugelkultur beds to avoid the need to irrigate. He finishes talking about the apple tree in the yard, and how awesome it is.

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Posts: 9
Location: Salem, Oregon
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I really enjoyed this podcast. (I've listened to several dozen over the past couple of months and got something out of every one, but this one was different.) I'd grown used to hearing Paul talk to peers and experts, and benefited from their exchange of ideas, to the extent I knew enough to follow what they were talking about. I really appreciate Paul's critical thinking abilities, willingness to challenge accepted ideas and overall respectful attitude (his salty language notwithstanding). But hearing him confer in this podcast with a "regular" person for over an hour, someone who (to me, with no visual cues) did not always seem to be tracking what he was saying, patiently, persistently, cheerfully and naturally, not sucking up or condescending, was just very instructive. I've so often heard Paul refer to himself as an SOB or worse, but, to me, this podcast proves the contrary. Nicely done. Not sure he meant it to be a "how to talk to people" podcast, but that's surely what it was to me.
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