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

 
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Just spent some time planting near Thessaloniki...I visited places where for one reason or another, the almonds apricots and plums do not seem to survive...last year I planted Quercus ilex in these locations...I was delighted to seem them alive....many of them

They may be the tree to plant in areas where the pine trees are dying and in difficult environments.

Kostas
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Konstantinos Karoubas
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In the lst 2 or 3 years I planted some wild rose seeds to see if the will germinate and survive the summers without assistance (snd forgot about it).

To my pleasant surprise I came across them yesterday...I am sure I just crushed/stepped on the seed pod prior to placing on the ground.

I will try them again this year. They are a multipurpose shrub, so we will see how to does at different locations.

Kostas
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Hello Kostas

I write just to tell you that I buried many seeds in my property. 30.000 of different species 10 days ago. But, BEFORE that, I buried bunches of almonds, walnuts, chestnut and hazelnut. Yesterday I saw the first Walnut and Almond Sprouting. That rocks 😎
 
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I'd like to try this in my area (Midwest USA, zone 6).

It's Dec 14 now, basically early winter, temps at 20 F at night, and dropping.

If I get almond seeds now, is it too late to plant them for them to sprout in spring?

Does this work for english walnuts also?

My plan would be to crack the almond shells just slightly, without removing the shell, soak them for 12 hours overnight, wrap them (horizontally, leaving top and bottom open) in damp paper towels, and bury 2 inches deep.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Jamin,
No need to crack and soak the almonds; if the ground is soft enough, just bury them 2 to 3 inches below ground...keep an eye out for field mice stealing them.

You need cold hardy variety almonds for your area. Plums apricots, apples, and other chestnuts, walnuts and pekans should do well.

If you have the time place a few hundred in good fertile soil and see what happens.

Keep us posted.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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https://yourpositiveoasis.com/amazing-tree-40-fruit/

K

Tree-of-40-Fruit.jpg
The Amazing Prunus Family
The Amazing Prunus Family
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Its a good day to collects accorns !!!

Kostas
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Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello everyone,

The acorns I collected a few days ago are planted...they don't last long.

Collecting acorns by hand, one at a time is not very efficient.

Today I returned to the old oak tree with a rake, a bucket, a large strong trash bag, and gloves.

I a few minutes I collected about 15 to kg 20 kg of leaves small stones/dirt and I hope a few thousand acorns.

I need to clean them, dry and store them.

The challenge will be to find a way to stop them from growing roots and to keep them alive for 1 to 3 months... so it will take some time to plant them.

Kostas



 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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The continuation...



Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Happy Holidays to all !!!

Need to find a way to mass drop acorns from drones/planes and bury them in the ground.

Small grass hopper like robots that will be dropped with the acorns, then they will return to the base with the drone is one way to go.

Along way to go on this, unless large funds become available for specific research.

In the meantime a worker can plant 3,000 to 5,000+ a day.... that's plenty.

Even 25 oak trees planted today, will have a huge impact over the next 500 years.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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More than enough for this year's projects...

I hope it's a strong productive tree and the acorns do well.

We will see.

Kostas
IMG_20201224_121905125.jpg
Plenty
Plenty
 
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Growthfull new year to you Konstantinos!
I've been on a walk today along the hedges, picking rosehips for lemonade. The farmer leaves a lot unmowed and is winding down on the cow business. Hedges consist of sloe thorn and maythorn, mixed with whatever pops up, mispel, ash, oak etc, . Sloe thorn especially has nasty spikes, they grow by suckering, the cows don't enter. In the thorny brush trees grow up. The Brits called it the oak mother. Cutting sloe thorn down was punished by the whip in the middle ages therefore. Ouch.
But the system is great, oaks grow up, shade out the sloe which suckers forward creating new habitat.
I am sorry if i bore you, but i am curious wether you use sloe in your projects or something similar?
I've replanted willows, hazelnuts, peaches and some tiny oaks. Seeded lots of ash, plums and chestnuts. Hope to create a new tree nursery this year to get to a thousand trees next year and my dream is to double every year for ever on..  i had better get organized!
 
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Kalimera Kosta

Fascinating as well as encouraging to read about your experiences.  Interesting possibilities for peach and almonds as pioneer plants. Im thinking of possible situations to experiment with these.

A particularly successful pioneer tree in the western Cape is Virgilia oroboides.  This plant is a volunteer that is quick to colonize disturbed ground. It is robust and fast growing. It is in the pea family so I presume has nitrogen fixing properties....not sure. The branches grow low to the ground so shading the soil and provide kinder opportunities to a variety of plants. The beautiful trees are short lived, 15 to 20 years leaving behind a legacy that will be enriched by its decaying remains. Mentioning this as we of course have a very similar Mediterranean climate

You mentioned some trial plantings in the Peloponnese. Although thro Covid-19 I missed my trip to the Achea area this year, I’m hopeful for 2021?  I’m  interested to know more about your involvement in this. The possibilities of trying this in the Western Cape are interesting. While I’m in Cape Town, there are very low rainfall areas as one travels inland.

Alison
Cape Town
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Hugo,

What a great greeting.

I wish I thought of it…

Ditto to you and all of us...we need it !!!

Funny you mentioned the sloe thorn bush and its history as the mother of oak trees-very interesting-..they grow by the side of the road at 4 places, as I drive from home to the farm (30 min drive). I tried growing them by seed...but no luck so far. I may transplant some...I like this bush, thorns and all.

Your plans with the plums, chestnuts and the other trees sounds great... keep us posted in the spring and fall, as you go along.

I avoid visiting the trees in the middle or late summer... it's difficult to watch them struggle and it can be discouraging.

[i]Creating edible biodiversity and embracing everlasting abundance[/i].
Is this part of your post?

Kostas

(All the best for the new year)

 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Kalimera Alison,
It's great to hear about Virgilia oroboides...it sounds like it can be used to reclaim depleted soils/damaged ecosystems.

Next time you are in Greece bring some.

Large areas of the Peloponnese are completely bare...just bare stone, or a very thin layer of soil...we can give it a try.

I need to spend more time in southern Greece...Sparta-Athens. Carob, oak and olive trees will form the backbone for reforesting these areas. The microclimate varies wildly in these regions...a comprehensive plan must be developed and executed to heal the land there. It will take a long term national commitment to get it done.

When the virus restrictions are lifted, I hope to travel there and see how the seeds I placed last year are doing (they were placed late, so…)

We need to redefine what a forest is and what reforestation should be. We know that it is definitely not a pine monoculture forest. The millions of pine trees planted around the world, was a huge mistake. It may have been driven by the need for fast growing timber for use in buildings and industry, with no regard for the destruction of the soil and ecosystem.

Based on what I have seen in the last 20 years, I believe the land can recover...a heaven on earth can be created to accommodate all species.

How do things look from your point of view in that part of the world?

Kostas

(All the best for the new year)

 
Hugo Morvan
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Hello Konstantinos, those sloe thorn bushes came up in the Guardian columns by George Monbiot, i tried to find the article and stumbled upon this term : rewilding . It's even a whole organisation i just found out, might be interesting reading material. Totally different situation then in Greece of course, however.
rewilding uk
Sloe thorn suckers a lot, the hedge of my neighbor had suckers up to 5 meter from the mother shrub popping up. Every meter one. He doesn't like it because the spikes can puncture tractor tires! I've read that birds landing on the branches looking for insects and berries contribute to fertilization of the soil. I've had them appearing in my garden from seed. Maybe they're seeds of the kind that needs to come from bird droppings, i don't know.
Neither have i an idea if this shrub is strong enough to withstand the goat attacks you suffer. I know that a friend here used goats to rid his land of this shrub, but they were locked up goats. He cut them down and then used the goats to keep it down. I don't know if the goats can kill off mature shrub bushes that form thick rows and have the capability of occupying large swathes of land.
It could possibly be worthwhile to plant these shrubs at strategical points from which they spread out through bird droppings. Farmers usually don't like them much, but that is due to a short-termed survival vision.
I might have told you this story before, ha!
I've seen a documentary about an island in New Zealand or somewhere where the following situation had occured, they have a spikey Gorse/Ulex like shrub that happened to fix nitrogen, the sheep farmers were in a state of total war against this shrub. The lead figure just let them go and his neighbors were in uproar. His land has regenerated after a few steps of rewilding and planting whereas the neighbors has degenerated further and the situation was so clearly in the favor of the farmer with the natural view on things that many have had a change of heart and embrace the prickly nitrogenfixer.

It sure is depressing in summer to look at young trees struggling.
The text about embracing everlasting abundance and edible biodiversity is my signature. It shows it under all my permie posts.

All the best, Hugo
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Hugo,

"Creating edible biodiversity and embracing everlasting abundance."

This brief sentence - maybe it should become an international mission statement of sorts !!!

I am aware of the rewilding movement... it's a step in the right direction.

The sloe shrubs are amazing...goats have no chance of getting through…

Hugo, there are many fine examples around the world, of people working in harmony with nature, and how it benefits all...it needs to spread like wildfire...time is of essence...its common sense simple and not hard to do.

I am going to try planting walnuts this year to see how they do. To help them along, I cracked open one end and will soak them for 24 to 48 hours before planting...we will see how they do...I suspect they prefer higher elevations.

This year I am planting 4 new pieces of land. They vary in size from 150 square meters to 2,000. They are very strong and rich in organic matter...by far the best land I have worked with. I am curious to see how the seeds do in this soil. No wild pigs here or acidic soils (mice may still be a problem, as well weather).

They are ideal to be used as edible community forest gardens. Hope for the best.

Kostas
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Hugo Morvan
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Thanks Konstantinos for the compliment about my yell. I was pretty chuffed with myself when it popped out of my brain, but you're the first to notice and say something about it. Feel free to use it if it helps.
True about the many great examples around the world. I hope to be part of those one day. I believe these examples share a few things : relentless passion, a pioneering spirit combined with a just do it mentality, capacity to learn from errors made, a supportive loving family and some financial leeway. From the first 3 can come the fourth and fifth.
Good luck with your new projects and i'm looking forward to reading about them!
 
Jamin Grey
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Hello Jamin,
No need to crack and soak the almonds; if the ground is soft enough, just bury them 2 to 3 inches below ground...keep an eye out for field mice stealing them.

You need cold hardy variety almonds for your area. Plums apricots, apples, and other chestnuts, walnuts and pekans should do well.

If you have the time place a few hundred in good fertile soil and see what happens.

Keep us posted.



Some awesome Permies people sent me walnuts and pistachios and hazelnuts to plant, so I soaked and planted 8 walnuts, 8 hazelnuts, and 16 pistachio seeds. Two seeds per spot, in case one doesn't germinate. Hopefully they stratify themselves in my weather.
Additionally, I have 7 more walnuts, 8 hazelnuts and ~16 or so pistachios beginning to stratify in the refrigerator, as a backup plan, which I'll plant in pots and start growing with more care come spring. This will give me two shots using separate methods.

Pistachios almost certainly won't work in my area, but it cost nothing to plant them. I ordered some almond seeds from eBay but they never arrived, alas.

I don't have endless space to plant, so my end-goal is 3+ walnut trees, 4+ hazelnut trees, and 4+ almond trees. I already have 4 pecan trees, but probably need two more.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Hello Jamin,

Best of luck with the seeds...keep us posted with photos.

To soak or not to soak the seeds?

It depends on the local conditions - and time will tell.

For now, under my local conditions, seeds planted in early October don't get soaked. But large seeds, like walnuts, almonds and apricots, placed after New Years, get soaked. I am concerned that there may not be enough moisture to stratify the seeds.

This year, the first full fall rains came late October - the window to plant narrows !!!

As far as land to plant, there is plenty...if you are in a city... abandoned/unused lots is one option, roadway embankments not maintained (make sure that when trees grow and produce fruits that they don't fall and interfere with the safety on the roadways).

If you are in the country...there is plenty of unused public land.

By planting this way, we are not investing a lot in time or money. In 15 minutes you can plant over 50 seeds that can cost less than a dollar/euro (or whatever) or are free to collect/save.

The returns are amazing...an oak tree for hundreds of years will provide shade, acorns etc. - an apple tree for 100 years will provide food !!!

There are very few things a person can do, that will have such a positive impact long after he/she is gone.

It's odd, but sometimes it may take 3 or 4 years before a piece of land will start growing trees. We need to be aware of this and not be discouraged.

Plant for others not just for yourself. The reward of seeing a hungry, tired person enjoy freely available fruits or nuts cannot be described.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Greeting to all,

It is time to collect apple seeds from store bought apples and to scarify the seeds we bought from an Italian seed company. We bought the apples at the local farmer's market from an apple tree farmer...the apples have 6 to 8 seeds each, and we are using the wet towel method to test that they will sprout.

Store bought apples have been in the frig for about two months. Based on past experience, if we put them on the ground soon, they will sprout in the spring, and provided we have a "normal" spring and summer, 50% should grow to become trees. And that is absolutely FANTASTIC !!!

The seeds bought from the seed company are in jars in moist sand, and will stay there for 45 days or so, before being planted. I want to test and see how this procedure will do.

I am hoping for the best. It will take a few years before we know more about how to mass propagate this great tree.

Near cities, it will feed people for 50 to 100 years, in the forest, if it self seeds and thrives it provides food for bears, deer etc. and enrich all life there.

Kostas


Love responsibility. Say "It is my duty, and mine alone, to save the earth. If it is not saved, then I alone am to blame.”
NK
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Just a note of caution when planting seeds for trees that fruit along roadways.  

Potentially this could be an attractant to wildlife (deer etc...) who would cross the road to access fruit, putting themselves and motorists in danger.  An attractant like this on a curve, down or up hill could make the animal invisible to vehicles leading to dangerous, potentially fatal (for both human and wildlife) accidents.  Please ensure this is only done on level, straight roads with very long sight lines to minimize putting both wildlife and drivers at risk of collision.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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That is an excellent point Lorinne,

When planting near roadways we need to be aware of where the fruits or nuts may fall. They may create hazards for motorists and especially motorcycles.

Your point about wildlife crossings is important and we need to provide for it...I did a mental check of my planting sites, and I don't think there is a potential problem.

In our area wild pigs and rabbits are the resident, prevalent, wild animals; no deer or bears unfortunately.

It is imperative to create community food forests around our population centers; it's easy to do and will have multiple benefits.

There is a group, "fruitarians", that survive and lead healthy lives just by eating fruits and nuts... don't know enough about them, but it seems their footprint is very light.

Thanks


Kostas
 
Antonio Hache
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Hola Kostas!

I’ve read that this year you plan to try walnuts. Here in Denia , I just buried some walnuts in October and well, at least one of them is sprouting. I did nothing special, no scarify, no stratify, just bury.

I sowed many other things on November 27th. Some things are sprouting, but I guess I will not identify them until Spring. Except some of them (almond, walnut, peach) that are easy to identify at this moment. I guess everything needs its own time and conditions. And well, this year has been difficult due to extreme cold, very unusual here

 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Let's hope for the best Antonio.

We have been hearing about the unusual weather you are having. It will complicate the growth of the new trees...just observe.

It will be interesting to see the outcome.

Long term it will interesting to find what trees and shrubs are best suited for your climate/microclimate.

Did you plant any acorns or wild pear seeds?

Kostas
 
Antonio Hache
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Let's hope for the best Antonio.

We have been hearing about the unusual weather you are having. It will complicate the growth of the new trees...just observe.

It will be interesting to see the outcome.

Long term it will interesting to find what trees and shrubs are best suited for your climate/microclimate.

Did you plant any acorns or wild pear seeds?

Kostas



Hola Kostas!

I could not find acorns. Crazy, being in Spain! But I planted tons of Wild Pears. I planted more than 200 different species, but not the same quantities. Some bizarre or exotic seeds/shrubs, I planted 10-20 seeds. And mediterranean seeds, 100-1000.

I hope to see interesting results in Spring. As you always say, it is not good to check it often. I do it cause I am frequently in the area and have nothing better to do than see if something sprouts. But is better if I leave time unchecking
 
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Hello Kostas!
I find the wild plums seem to be able to grow anywhere. They are seeded by birds, bats, possums and people, and seem to cope with all types of soil (or lack thereof) and frost/heat. There are green leaf ones with small yellow fruit, dark burgundy leafed ones with dark cherry red fruit, and sometimes hybrids with orange or yellow/red fruit. All are delicious and they make the best jam.

They grow here on hard clay, with little or no top soil (the area was mined for gold in the past) and are totally self seeded.

Also we have had peaches grow from throwing our peach Pitts in the garden. Two grew out of an old pot with leaves and random sweepings that was abandoned by the fence! I planted them out and one did well and one ‘died’ but I left it alone and it has since come back to life, despite the two 38C days we just had.

We also have a fig that was seeded by bats. It’s a male (no edible fruit but if you break open one of the small hard fruits they are packed with the tiny wasps that fertilise figs - so we are fertilising everyone else’s trees lol). In defence of a male fig.... it is the most robust and vigorous fig I have ever met. Our landlord cut it down to the ground. Twice. Both times it said thank-you for the refreshing haircut and grew back bigger and better than ever. It is growing out of a crack between cobble stones on the side of the back alley, and cops the blistering western sun. While it doesn’t produce edible fruit for us, it fertilises other figs, creates shade and soil, holds water in the soil and also I believe fig leaves are a good fodder source for goats - this tree could contribute a LOT of fodder.
So, wild sown fig has been a good thing for us. Even if it turns out to be inedible for humans.

On my parents place, oak trees wild sow themselves a lot, usually in the shelter of a larger tree. But as they grow they are eventually stunted by the sheltering tree, unless thinned out.

Another is the (Australian) native frangipani. It self sows here and is wonderful at shading the ground and creating beautiful topsoil, which we just don’t have otherwise. Like the fig it is also fire retardant which is a big bonus here in Victoria (Australia).

Thank you for your very interesting thread!
Cheers, Caitlin.  
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thanks for the input Caitlin,
Out of curiosity...any oak trees growing in your area.
How about the other trees we are using here to reforest…
almonds,
plums,
apples,
wild pears,
maybe wild roses,
carobs,
wild olives, etc

Do you see any of these growing by the sides of the roads or on abandoned lots?

Kostas
 
Caitlin Mac Shim
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Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Thanks for the input Caitlin,
Out of curiosity...any oak trees growing in your area.
How about the other trees we are using here to reforest…
almonds,
plums,
apples,
wild pears,
maybe wild roses,
carobs,
wild olives, etc

Do you see any of these growing by the sides of the roads or on abandoned lots?

Kostas



Hi Kostas!
Of those only really plums - but they are all wild cherry plums, yellow and red varieties (not cultivated plums). And they are all over the place, particularly edges of roads and fences where they get some run off. Sometimes some wild roses but not a huge amount.
Olives tend to be where they have been planted in my experience.... they don’t seem to have seeded themselves. Almond / apples / pears the same.
The first trees/shrubs to move in tend to be the Wattles (acacias) and tea tree. The most common wattles here are Black Wattle, Silver Wattle and Golden Wattle but there are many varieties from small shrubs to large trees. They fix nitrogen and build up soil, are very hardy and copious flowers for insects/birds. Some (but not all) varieties the beans/seeds are edible, and they are good fodder trees too I believe. Tend to be sort lived - they spring up, improve the environment, then make way for others. The Tea Tree are more bushy, and very hardy. They stabilise the soil particularly on slopes, but do seem to dry out the ground sometimes. Also very flammable. But masses of flowers the bees love them. They produce a particularly desirable and medicinal honey.
Other species that tend to take over here are blackberries and cotoneaster (related to the rose). They are both problematic weeds here and take over, so might not be a good idea in some areas, but boy are they hardy. Also, when removing them I find improved soil where they were. The red berried cotoneaster tends to spread much more prolifically than the orange... I think the parrots like it more!
We have had lots of little loquat trees springing up around a parent tree (that was planted). They grow from fruit dropped by the parrots.
Also pomegranate (more a thicket than a tree) likes to grow on the roadside in a few places. Like the cherry plums they are after the run off from the road. They have seeded a little down the road but they aren’t fast to move in like the others.
Also, not a tree, but fennel really takes off here. Grows like a thicket. No juicy bulbs but thick stalks that make great mulch.
I’ll keep an eye out for more!
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Thank you Caitlin,
Plums are indeed amazing...as a matter of fact the whole prunus family is.

We have many plums growing on our farm from seed, and I have been grafting them, so we will have plums from early to late summer. As you said they have different sizes, colors and tastes. They need no care at all; the ideal fruit tree.

The mirabelle plums grown in Lorraine region in France are a good example of how a people can thrive with this tree.
Plums-France

From your description, you have a large variety of trees and shrubs that you can use to reforest by seed, an area that is bare, or to create community food forests.

Its great news.

Kostas
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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b]Apple seed/trees updates[/b]
IMG_20210203_121957384_HDR-2.jpg
Seeds kept in frig...moist sand since dec 24th
Seeds kept in frig...moist sand since dec 24th
IMG_20210203_122004918_HDR-2.jpg
Today they were cleaned and rinsed
Today they were cleaned and rinsed
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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Apple seeds
The apple seeds were kept in the refrigerator since December 24 in wet/moist sand. They were beginning to form mold.... today they were cleaned/rinsed and will be placed in the fridge until they are planted... hopefully in the next week.

Some of the seeds are from the apples we ate from our farm...but 2/3 were bought from a seed company in Italy.
This is the 1st year I am trying to scarify the apple seeds this way...will see how it goes.

I plan on planting 5 seeds or more per hole. Hopefully the weather will be cold enough to complete the scarification process and the conditions will be favorable/not very adverse.

We also collected seeds from store bought apples. It seems store bought apples have seeds that were cold scarified, just to the right degree. They do very well here...40 to 50% survival rate. Two or three of these seeds will be placed in each hole.

Again to summarize what we do: seeds are placed in the ground and are left to fend for themselves... totally; no intervention.

Thus keeps the cost of time and money to a bare minimum, and allows a single individual to have a significant positive impact on his/her surroundings.


As always we are at the mercy of mother nature and I have gone to the same piece of land 3 and 4 or 5 times before it's completely covered with trees.

Kostas

 
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I think swales are a missing link here that would greatly increase post-germination survival rates, without irrigation. Just find the longest, highest contour line on the area you are planting a forest on, dig a swale, and plant your seeds in the area below it. Reforestation can even be accomplished by swales alone. Drought will affect the trees less, and so will flood. Stronger, deeper taproots will develop, following the water. It will be easier for the system to extend itself, as well, thanks to the slowly spreading plume of underground water.
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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While Planting Apple seeds...
Collecting-and-planting-accorns-11-02-21-.jpg
[Thumbnail for Collecting-and-planting-accorns-11-02-21-.jpg]
Almond-Trees-Emerging.jpg
[Thumbnail for Almond-Trees-Emerging.jpg]
 
Konstantinos Karoubas
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While planning to plant the scarified apple seeds, I thought I might as well plant some acorns while at it...found a small oak forest near Thessaloniki, that had these acorns underneath the leaves (first time I visit this area).

The soil underneath the oak trees is alive and rich and full of life...in comparison the soil under the pine trees...well its almost toxic.

Hope for the best

Kostas
 
Myron Platte
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This is my small attempt at some straight-seeded reforestation. I bought dried fruit “compote” mix, which is mostly stone fruits still with the seeds in them. I spread them around in the snow, mostly near where other trees grow, especially birches, which fix nitrogen. I only hope the goats don’t eat the saplings.
172858B9-EDCF-4D03-892D-57103FF7BECE.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 172858B9-EDCF-4D03-892D-57103FF7BECE.jpeg]
D60F13DB-8D77-4CCC-96D4-AFCBBBBE1F24.jpeg
[Thumbnail for D60F13DB-8D77-4CCC-96D4-AFCBBBBE1F24.jpeg]
E6B53539-8764-4ACB-982A-AD37EACA4976.jpeg
[Thumbnail for E6B53539-8764-4ACB-982A-AD37EACA4976.jpeg]
 
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