Konstantinos Karoubas

pollinator
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since Mar 20, 2012
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Recent posts by Konstantinos Karoubas

The wild olive tree was one of the most important trees of the ancient forests in the mediterranean region (carob and oak being the others).

If we are to reclaim the devastated landscape we need to be able to plant olive trees by seed...its not easy. This difficulty is the main reason olive trees in nurseries are grown from cuttings...trees grown from cuttings are weak, reliant on water and chemicals; they may look like olive trees, but they don't have the strength of the wild olive trees.

For the last 2 to 3 years I been trying to grow them, but had no luck. I nicked the pits... cut them etc with no luck. I collected from wild olive groves and from our trees...but nothing, until today.

I need to go back to my old vids to see what I did to them, or the location where I collected the olives.

For now I am thrilled to see you that its possible to grow them.

Its a start.

Kostas

3 days ago
Hello Antonio,
Yes ants, birds. mice, wild pigs, no rain, too much rain, cold frost, very hot weather early in the spring etc.

Part of life...but if you persist, year after year...the land will accept your gifts (seeds).

Early easy success is suspect... failure and its lessons -welcome.

Small seeds ...use clay balls/cubes with some hot pepper to deter ants.

I no longer do thousands of seeds...I do as many as I can and try to learn the lessons from each project...we are locked down again, and it's mid November and the rains have not come.


Kostas
1 week ago
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
4 weeks ago
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
1 month ago
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
2 months ago