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

 
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Hello everyone,

We continue with the update on the almonds that were planted near Thessaloniki 6 to 7 years ago.

This group is near the "giant" almond trees mentioned above (lol), but under different conditions.

Twelve almonds were placed in the ground to see if they will sprout and survive. As seen in the photos and video, the soil is red clay and pine trees block the sky except for the northern and part of the eastern sun. All 12 trees survived!!!



I remember the 1st year when I watched them sprout and have been following them ever since; this effort was at the beginning stages then.

As can be seen in the photos and video the trees are small in relation to the trees mentioned above; 60 cm at most.

But...it is what it is; they are doing the best they can.

In another 10 years they will grow and create a mini forest with its own micro climate. The branches will touch and block the summer sun and create new soil underneath.

Using trees in barren areas to provide ground cover takes time...the process can be speeded up by using green manure crops/shrubs such as alfalfa, tree alfalfa, laburnum etc; if we have the time and resources. In the absence of resources, leave mother nature to work its magic.

Photo "30 Year Old almond Tree.jpg" shows an almond tree that is probably 30 years old when the road was built...this tree is nearby and is also growing underneath the pine trees and in clay soil. Our 12 almond trees and the others like them, most likely will follow the same growth pattern.

It can be said that these 12 almond trees showed me the way...gave hope that this project is doable !!!

Almond trees can live for 60 to 80 years, they provide valuable food, they can survive droughts and fires...all we have to do is spend 10 seconds and place an almond in the ground.

Other trees such as oaks can take 20, 40 plus years to mature.

Hundreds of years of ecological destruction is not going to be repaired in a few years. It's going to be a long multi-year effort.


Kostas
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Here in France, third year drought, just a ten minute shower in a month. Forest fire in Germany Nordrein-Westfalen and Holland's biggest nature reserve 40% down...

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/panorama/braende-feuer-waldbrand-1.4884640
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Not good news Hugo,

I think lady earth is not pleased with us...

She maybe getting ready to evict us...

Shutting off the water, fires viruses, will start the eviction process

I think she is giving notice

I hope...I think...there is time if we act, reform, etc

Kostas
 
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Almonds use up quite a bit of water so they might not put out many nuts if the rainfall is low, maybe try and add a few more trees for diversity. Might be fun too. Maybe native maples? Could tap them in the future.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hugo Morvan
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That's not very nice information. I wonder what the influence is of trees disappearing on the temperature of the earth. If i go through the forest on a hot summer day, the temperature is so much cooler in there. Everywhere forests have been cut down since industrialization. Hundreds of years of cutting down of cooling forest all over the globe. Hard to even find numbers on that and we are being led to believe it's caused by a gas that supports photosynthesis. Banks and everybody are on board trying to make the big change happen from fossil fuels to renewables. At the same time everywhere there are huge forest fires and on top of that record tree felling numbers everywhere. Reforestation has been mentioned as a countermeasure for climate change, it's hardly ever pushed. All investment goes to renewables. It's such a waste, because even if we would succeed switching to renewables in the West the oil price would plummet globally, and people in the developping world would gladly use it up, off setting our efforts.
Better we would protect our forests and greatly increase our efforts to regain what we have lost. We have some great examples of solo battlers who have successfully increased reforestation. We should celebrate and empower these people to do what they do best. Forests are needed for water retention and bio diversity, soil building and are a good long term investment even for harvesting timber in a ordered fashion, oh yeah we can even plant trees that produce food without fertilizer and pesticides.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Well said !!!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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FYI

If true

the assault on trees continues unabated

[youtube]https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk11vI-7czE[/youtub

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Konstantinos Karoubas
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FYI

The other side of the story....

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/bill-mckibben-climate-movement-michael-moore-993073/amp/


And ...first hand experience of what bad policy brings...
A few years ago in the midst of this economic depression we are experiencing here in Greece, the government raised taxes for heating fuels..gas and oil, so much, that people installed wood burning heating systems.

Small companies that sell wood for heating cropped everywhere...on bad winter days a cloud of smoke hangs over Thessaloniki.... thousands of trees have been cut, and the revenues the bright policy makers dreamed about have gone up in smoke.

Our war on trees (on our own home) continues unabated...

Kostas

 
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Helo Kostas, nice project.  Having not much to do during quarantine I was forced to construct some of the gadgets that I wanted to. One of these is a "seed staff" Like you I am planning to plant seeds. Just any seed I can get my hands on. This seeder which is made of recycled material will make it a lot easier. Though not yet complete because of lack of resources, I find it is easy to use with bigger seeds that I can pick with my fingers easily. Starting from papaya seeds and bigger. I tried it in my garden and it works great. Just strap on some bag on my waist where I can grab a number of seeds at a time and drop it on the mouth made from pet bottle. the sequence goes like this:  drop a seed in and jab in the ground, then press the trigger. As I withdraw it from the ground I release the trigger , mouth close, and drop another seed simultaneously for another jab. After the quarantine when I am free to gather materials I will  construct an automatic dispenser. for smaller seeds that is difficult to pick. Much like how a pistol revolver works. I am posting it here as you may want to construct one. I will give more details if you need. It will make your seed planting expeditions a lot easier.
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Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thank You Ronaldo...great idea...a youtube vid would be helpful when you get to it....

Have you done any tree planting using seeds ?

Kostas
 
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Interesting topic.  I may have missed this...but what kind of rainfall do you have in Greece?  and in other places mentioned?  I get about 10" a year, sprinkled throughout the year, plus snow in the winter.  Topsoil?  There is a bit...I was thinking of renting a backhoe with an auger to dig holes down through the hard pan in hopes that at some point there is moisture potential...than backfilling the holes with crushed soil and something to keep it a bit loose - not totally compost.
 
ronaldo Detera
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Thank You Ronaldo...great idea...a youtube vid would be helpful when you get to it....

Have you done any tree planting using seeds ?

Kostas



No planting trees yet, papaya seeds yes. I will try video. Have not done it yet. But since its quarantine I may have time to learn:)
 
ronaldo Detera
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Hi There, I made a close up you tube video so you can view the construction details. Questions are welcome. If anyone wants to download the video on this thread please do so.

 
ronaldo Detera
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Here is another video. Not very clear but you get the idea. I made this because I wanted to plant fruit tree seeds in the grass land with ease and speed. The grass will give shade to the trees while young. Tree seeds planted on the midst of grasslands has a better chance than in the barren. I'm just waiting for the rain to come and I will start seeding the grasslands.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q17bL3tWRrQ&t=1s
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hey Tom,
Here is some information info for Thessaloniki.. northern greece

https://weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-Rainfall-Temperature-Sunshine,thessaloniki,Greece

And here for southern Greece...sparti

https://weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-Rainfall-Temperature-Sunshine,sparti-peloponnese-gr,Greece

Sparti is 700 km south.... longer summers and hotter...the site elevations, micro climate and soil conditions will have a big impact on the young trees as they struggle to survive.

I avoid visiting the young trees in the end of summer months because its difficult to see them struggle.

Good luck

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thank you for the video Ronaldo... it looks good !!!

Looking forward to hearing about your seeding projects.

Kostas
 
ronaldo Detera
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Your welcome, It rained hard here last night. I was excited and tried it first thing in the morning. I planted dried papaya seeds again. After like 15 times of jabbing the soil I check the mouth and there was 5 papaya seeds clinging to the opening. I guess not good for extremely wet soil. The muddy water somehow made its way in the mouth and acts like a paste where the very light weight papaya seeds stick to. But it may work if seeds is denser. maybe I will try wet papaya seeds and see if it works. Will try again this afternoon when soil is not too wet.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Now is the time to collect Medicago arborea...tree medick....alfalfa tree seeds

These can be used to start trees for to plant directly or by drone.

Collect thousands !!!

Kostas
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Tree Medick
Tree Medick
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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As mentioned previously the pine trees around Thessaloniki are dying...the forestry department is cutting the sick trees to prevent the infection from spreading...

I know of 3 small pine tree forests in the area that are sick...it remains to be seen how things will work out...

Kostas
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Pine forest Thessaloniki
Pine forest Thessaloniki
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Now is also a good time for a mulberry tree nursery and if successful a tree medick.

Both will be transplanted in the wintertime while dormant in wet soil, and then will not be given any care.

I hope to have at least 100 of each.

This way of tree planting is very exposed to the whims of the weather...a month ago we had a spell of 40 C days in early spring (104F). The change from mild rainy weather to very hot kills many of the new trees.

Last summer's extended hot weather and drought did the same. It even killed 3 to 4 year old trees. Some areas that I thought were completely planted, and had a few hundred young trees, were completely wiped out.

Its important to have multiple planting sites, even within a given area. The microclimate and soils differ even 100 meters apart and you get different results.

Failure is part of this effort and when doing this you hope for a break.... favorable weather.

Just because we encounter set backs, we don't give up...learn and persist. This effort to cover the earth and feed people will last years and years !!!

Kostas
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Mulberry seedlings
Mulberry seedlings
 
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the video is a little gimmicky, sorry, but this company uses drones dropping seed blocks to reforset after wildfires.

I know the drone part is probably out of reach for your project, but they mention adding capsaicin (extremely spicy chiles) to their seed cube mix to deter pest and varmints eating the seeds.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thanks for the link Dustin,

It will be interesting to see how the do in Sacramento or LA.

capsaicin...not a deterrent for hungry mice...drones are great, but knowing what seeds to use, and what trees to plant...

We need to be careful.


Kostas
 
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Garrett Schantz wrote:Almonds use up quite a bit of water so they might not put out many nuts if the rainfall is low, maybe try and add a few more trees for diversity. Might be fun too. Maybe native maples? Could tap them in the future.

My mature almond tree still gave us quite a good harvest last fall. I watered deeply once a month during the summer. A higher percentage of empty and dried up nuts, but not too bad. This year I didn't water at all, but most of the blossoms were nipped by several freezes so it's an inconclusive test. The tree itself is looking great.

Plums the same, no watering this year and smaller fruit. I saw more late season fruit drop, but not unreasonable levels. No rain since early May. Take into account that these are MATURE trees. The 3rd year apple trees with no supplemental water are less than 2 feet tall and I lost both of the almond seedlings mid summer. I'll be planting more this winter.If even one out of 10 survives its first summer and first winter, I'm better off.

This is the grapes' third and fourth year (variously) with no supplemental water.

The 2nd year peach/almond cross came through the summer with flying colors under low/no water conditions.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hey Lauren,
Have you tried planting almond, plum, apricot, and apple seeds to see if they will sprout and survive the coming summer without any help?

Plant them in October/November and leave them see what happens.

Been watching the news on the fires in the western states and cringe...its devastating to see what you considered your “heaven” turn to ash.

As discussed in this thread it looks like the conifers are on the way out...trees like carobs, wild olives and oaks should replace them. It will take a concentrated effort to achieve this.

If the land is left bare there will be significant consequences.

Kostas
 
Lauren Ritz
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Hey Lauren,
Have you tried planting almond, plum, apricot, and apple seeds to see if they will sprout and survive the coming summer without any help?

Almond, apricot and apple, yes. I have one almond, three apples, two apricots, and an almond-peach cross that have all survived at least one summer/winter. I'll be planting more this winter. I will also be planting concord grape seeds to see what happens. I have yet to have a plum seedling survive. One of the apples was planted in a pot, the others started where they are.

Five seedling pears survived their first summer--we'll see how many survive their first winter. I'm hoping for two, but pears seem pretty finicky. I only have one that has survived more than a year, and I've planted many. The survivor is three years old and about a foot tall, the seedlings about two inches tall. Once they hit the two year boundary (two summers, two winters) they're usually pretty set.

The seedlings appear to want much more water than the mature trees, but they still survive without it.

The fires in the west are actually part of the pattern. Periodic fires clear out the forest debris, drop old wood forests, rejuvenate the land and allow the cycle to begin again. It's just a normal part of life. When fires are immediately suppressed, the understory remains choked with deadwood and brush, so rather than clearing a swath and then dying the fires continue to burn long after they would normally burn themselves out.

If brush cannot be cleared, clear cutting under power lines is not allowed, and people insist on living in areas where wildfires naturally flow, this is going to continue to happen.
 
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Wow Kostas! I’ve read the whole thread (I admit it, parts I read them just diagonal) and it is great.

We’ve inherited my grandma’s property in Denia, Alicante, mediterranean town. It was a citrus plantation, now abandoned. We’ve got 2000sq m that belongs to my father and he is negotiating with his brothers to buy the 8.000 belonging to them. I started to plant in our part and create a productive forest. This is mediterranean but rainier than other areas, 700-800mm of rain each year. In our place we have an underground well that stores all the rain, conected to a subterranean river. My grandma, before dying, was smart enough to connect this system to drip irrigation. Dont want to depend on it, but it is a clever use of natural water that is just under our place.

Reading a lot, I think that the best way to go is Syntropic Agriculture. Ernst Gotsch was mentioned in the thread. As you do, they put their main efforts on seed planting, althought they might use some % of seedlings to give it a better start. The idea is “plant all at once, so pioneer trees and plants will develop the conditions to the rest of the trees”. They (or I might say “we”, as I am following their method) plant seedlings on narrowed rows. Between trees and between rows (corridors) they plant up to 40 seeds per square meter. Rows are used for trees, corridors start with annual vegetables but it changes. For example, if you want a fig production, you plant seedlings of figs, citrus and mediterranean fast growers (roninia pseudoacacia, eucaliptus, azedarach). All this are one meter away. But, on the soil, they put tons of seeds. What in there? Whatever they want to play with. In the corridors, they start with fast growth things like corn or legumes, and as the thing progress they have already planted other things thay take their place. Why corn or whatever? Just to create soil conditions. From there on, you can keep a part clear for veggies or can make it go crazy.

If you have the chance of seeing all the videos in youtube, Gotsch plays A LOT with seeds and he has reforested a whole region in Brazil changing the climate for better and making a new way of farming. So, two birds in one shoot, agriculture and forests. I find it great. And they dont irrigate everywhere, they go with what they have on each project.

I have one question for you. You said in different parts of the thread that you started with almonds to create soil conditions, and from there start to introduce more things. In all of your projects, wich is the one that is more developed or abundant? Wich is your more planted area and what do you have in there?

I have the feeling that here in Denia, if I’m strategic enough, I can profit the rains (more than in another parts in the mediterranean) and create a microclimate that ends in a soil where almost everything grows. I have started on this property, but if it goes well I want to expand it to other projects, public or private. Reforesting and changing the agriculture on the same project, we need it. And I think that I can make our property productive again in a sustainable way. So if I can honour my ancestors, recover the farming on this land and make it in a way that reforests the area... that would be a life mission.

Ah, in your honour, yesterday I planted one hundred of hazelnut, walnuts and almond, directly on the soil, hundred of each one, lets see how many survive!

Please, look the  Ernst gotsch fundamentals videos and see how he does with seeds, can be very helpful!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Antonio, it all sounds great...Love your attitude and energy. Enjoy your journey with your family's land, nature and everything that comes along. Caring and nurturing the land, and by extension, every creature that lives on it, will enrich your life in ways you can not imagine.

Just a note...plant your seeds in October (after the fall rains come) and November (and maybe early December)...plant 1st the almonds and apricots (large seeds) which the hungry mice will look for in the middle of winter. The early rains hopefully hide their location.

Just keep putting seeds in the ground randomly and you will be amazed by what nature can do. Some seeds like carobs, olives and others you will need to scarify before planting.

By far our biggest success is our own farm. It's 10,000 square meters and we have trees growing everywhere... anywhere you go, if you look closely at the ground you will discover new trees coming up.

One of the advantages of following the 3 natural farming principles [Masanobu Fuluoka, San], is that the soil grows more fertile year by year. No matter how much or hard it rains, not a single drop of water leaves the property... it's all stored and available for the trees. My neighbors who plow and fertilize, lose part of their topsoil each year.

Masanobu was brilliant; well ahead of his time. The "One Straw Revolution" book is a classic; part philosophy, part applied farming.

How you view your relationship with the land will determine its future and yours. Before you take your first step on the farm, your mind set and attitude, will determine what will happen to you and the land.

If, like a "regular farmer", you view yourself in "charge" and the "boss of the place" you will try to impose your will on the land and order it to grow trees that maybe it does not want, or cannot grow.  By over watering, using fertilizers and pesticides etc it may produce short term results but it will eventually do harm and destroy the land.

On the other hand, you can view yourself as the land's "helper", or view the land as a dear family member; you will behave differently. Or better yet view yourself as the "servant"...provide the land, the trees and grasses, with everything they need to make them thrive. You will see in a few years the place will become the land of plenty; a heaven on earth. Your main task will be to collect the food.

Observe nature around you...it will give you some hints on what the land wants to grow.

Part of the process of growing trees this way, is FAILURE. This year, very early in the spring we got hit with a heat wave for 3 to 4 days; 40 degree Celsius instead of the usual 8C to 12C. It killed most of the trees I had planted...seeds that were put in the ground in October and November had sprouted and young trees were growing everywhere...most could not handle the heat. I will know the extent of the loss in the spring.

"Failure" hurts and disappoints and discourages; after spending hours and days preparing and planting, to see your effort melt away is difficult !!!

We have planted in multiple locations, from northern Greece to southern. Low to high elevations. The effort is geared towards identifying what the earth wants to grow at different locations, and finding ways to do the planting.

Last summer, I was away from my home base, but they had a difficult summer here, with no rains and high temperatures...this also killed many of the trees that were planted in the previous 2 to 4 years. Young trees grown in poor hard soils are weak and cannot survive very adverse conditions. In the the same area, 6 plus year old trees survived the drought. Apparently their root system was strong enough.

If you plant trees/reforest conventionally, by planting one tree at the time, you need to run around watering these trees individually for 3 to 4 years. If you are close to roads and have a few hundred or even a few thousand trees, maybe you can do it, but at a great cost. If you are away from roads, it's nearly impossible. Conventional reforestation under this new climate is not doable. Here is Greece in the last 75 years, "conventional reforestation" meant planting pine trees exclusively; the worst possible choice...it was as if other trees did not exist. I find it amazing/mind boggling.

It is disappointing to see young trees die, but we have no choice but to continue. Young trees are more vulnerable if planted in hard clay soils and soils that are acidic due to the presence of pine trees…Rich soils produce strong young trees that can survive the extremes in weather.

But...its poor depleted, rocky sites that need help !!!

Sites with rich soils near cities and towns can be used to create community food forests. Within 6 or 7 years fruit and nut trees planted by seed in rich soils start producing food.

It just blows my mind that we have people going hungry on this planet when perennial food sources can easily be planted.

Some trees like mulberry and loquat trees may need to be transplanted ... create a nursery in the summer and transplant in winter; no care after that.

Keep us posted and send photos; I am particularly interested to see if the walnuts will sprout and grow (thank you for the kind words).

I will look into Ernst Gotsch….it sounds great; the climate conditions in the tropics of Brazil are much more forgiving than the dry mediterranean climate...a different set of challenges but manny common threads.

Kostas
 
Antonio Hache
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Hello Kostas, you can read more on my advances here

https://permies.com/t/145856/Project-Intense-Food-Forest-Mediterranean#1171949

I will read yours on this thread :)
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Two days ago, by accident I found my self in an area not that far away from our farm, that I had not visited before. The area is flat and is covered mostly by olive groves and wheat fields...all plowed, chemical agriculture.

I was stunned to see this old oak tree...the last of what must have been heavily forested area as described in articles and books.

I wish I knew the history of of this piece of land. How this tree got to survive and for what purpose the others were cut and by whom.

I will collect acorns from this tree and plant them.


Kostas
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Konstantinos Karoubas
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And a small video
K


 
Konstantinos Karoubas
pollinator
Posts: 479
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homosapiens, my ....!!!
 
And then the flying monkeys attacked. My only defense was this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Plans - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/7/rmhplans
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