Shari Bee

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since Jun 01, 2018
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forest garden solar homestead
Portugal, Zone 10A
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Recent posts by Shari Bee

Great thread! I'm currently planting pretty much everything I buy and eat from the grocery store. I'm only just starting so can only comment on 'germination'. In several years from now I might be able to come back with tastings and hardiness!

Apples - planted Royal Gala, Pink Lady, Jazz, all from store bought seeds. No stratification, simply eat the apple and picked out the seed and put straight into small pots of soil (I too use the cut in half milk cartons). All three varieties have sprouted and are looking really healthy. The containers are clear plastic so I can see the root system too which also looks very strong. These grow to about one inch high within a couple of weeks. I'll be repotting - very carefully - into larger pots and/or planting out in this next month. To be honest, I've had so much luck with apple seeds I'm going to have to stop planting the seeds!! When choosing I read a little about cultivars to try and narrow it down. I picked these varieties based on the parents of each being yummy too! For example: Jazz is a cross of Royal Gala and Braeburn, Pink Lady is a cross of Lady Williams and Golden Delicious, Royal Gala is a cross of Kidd's Orange Red and Golden Delicious. Not sure if this is a valid way to choose, but I'll be equally happy if the trees grow up and all I can harvest is apple wood to smoke my fish with!

Peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots - I havent cold stratified any of these either. I simply crack GENTLY with a hammer to open the hard shell and get at the kernels. The kernels I then soak in water over night, sometimes for a couple of days, and then plant in pots again. These havent been as vigorous as the apple seeds, but some have started to poke their heads up.

I started caper from seeds ordered online, these took a while but have popped up.

Chestnuts, hazelnuts - having no luck with these yet, but have a bunch in compost.

Started Mango and Avocado from store bought seed. When choosing fruits at the store I read a little about the cultivars again and also tried to choose fruits that were grown in 'more relevant' locations. For example, on the Mango choice, I went for a Kiett mango that was grown in Israel, rather than a Palmer mango that was grown in Brazil. My thinking is that the Israel climate is more appropriate to my (Portugal) climate than the Brazilian climate. Anyhow, the Mango is doing really well - about 8 inches high at the moment, the Avocado (Hass from Morocco) is also doing really well - about 10 inches high. Both will be planted out (under temporary greenhouse cover this month). Again, if they fruit, then WONDERFUL, but I'm equally happy just to experiment and if the trees only produce wood, mango wood has a beautiful grain!

I have red grape seeds in that I plucked from a garden while out walking and they tasted lovely. One has poked its head up. I have bought Dragonfruit seed and Black Goji Berry seed that I will try also. I 'aquired' some Sumac seed which is in potting soil, but no joy yet...would really like the Sumac to take, lets see what happens!

I'm just about to try lime, orange, grapefruit and lemon after reading the success of citrus from seeds in this thread! Thank you all for the great info and insights.

2 years ago

Shari Bee wrote:

Josh Willis wrote:Hi Shari,
I'd be happy to trade - I'm located in the east coast of the US (zone 7)..

Hi Josh, a rather belated follow up!! Thanks for the seeds, received several weeks ago and they look great. I'm looking forward to getting them in the ground this fall. My greengage tree is rather belated this year, and a bit sparse on fruit (early high winds and 'beast from the east' weather had a detrimental impact on blossom, and therefore fruit! BUT...have managed to harvest some fruits this week and am currently cleaning/drying. Should have them in the mail to you next week. Thanks so much for this wonderful trade. Happy planting 😀
Kind Regards, Shari

2 years ago

Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:Looking forward to may be getting some comfrey roots and seeds to try out....if they behave in a similar manner to cactus pads, it would nake reforesting and land rehabilitation, a lot easier, I have plenty of seeds when you are ready.

Hi Kostas, thanks for your email response earlier, I will be harvesting seeds this coming week so should be able to get them off to you shortly after harvesting and cleaning/drying, along with some comfrey root as promised. Are you home yet and ready to receive? Looking forward to receiving your seed selection of fruits and nuts when you are able. Very excited to get planting this autumn!

Btw, I learned about the 'Miyawaka method' recently - a methodology for recreating natural forests by very densely planting different varieties of native trees together in a small space, based on canopy height - I'm adopting this approach on the land in Portugal. Will let you know how it goes

"Miyawaki Method of Creating Forest. The miyawaki method of afforestation / planting trees involves the planting a number of different types of trees close together in a small pit. By closely planting many random trees close together in a small area enriches the green cover and reinforces the richness of the land."

Maybe you could try this method of planting out your seeds - closely together and in mixed batches (rather than similar plantings?) within a small piece of terrain, and see what happens. Interesting experiment.

Kind Regards, Shari
2 years ago

Lennan Bate wrote:
And Shari, here you go, I didn't translated myself, it was actually mostly done already, I just had to check the translation and voilà !
Some parts are a bit weird english but you should be able to understand it !
Feel free to translate ome of it in portuguese if you have the time ! ;)

Hi Lennan, thank you for the translation, it is really helpful to have the English version. This manual pump will be an ideal way to lift water up from the river! Good way to exercise too! :) I added a Portuguese translation. Great link and many good low tech ideas on there. Thank you.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:I just want to be following the thread as it will be useful. I also have pomegranate, fig, olive trees.

I also have parsnip and it is freely self-seeding now (be careful, I got blisters from the leaves!), and comfrey, chicory, and aromatic of course. I don't know what did the job among what I planted, as this is by chance that my tree look better than when I arrived 7 years ago! I can see I do not have enough ruta graveolens and will add more! I have garlic but not the regular one, I use leaf garlic, especially a local one of course.

Hi Xisca, thanks for adding to the thread, always inspiring to see positive change! Have you seen improvement across all three tree types since you started? Did you plant parsnip under all three trees...olive, pomegranate and fig? If yes, has the impact been the same for each?
I hope to plant lots of aromatics too...lavender, Rosemary, thyme, mint, and of course lots of comfrey. Could you list the aromatics you have and any thoughts on their interactions with the three trees?
Did you forage the local leaf garlic, or source seeds. I hope to find some wild leaf garlic too. It's a great ground cover and a much more subtle taste than regular garlic.
2 years ago
Great thread! Thank you.
Woad sounds like a wonderful plant to introduce onto a little piece of land I just bought. Until now I've been mostly concentrating on edibles (fruits/nuts) but this opens things up a bit! I love the idea that I can also introduce plants like Woad and Indigo for dye experimentation. to explore the fabulous links/info more in depth! Please keep posting about how your extraction and use experiments are going.
Kind Regards
3 years ago
Just as a follow up...

Good source of info for the Euphorbia -

Some plus points for the plant:
Dynamic Accumulator - Boron
Repellent - Mole/Gopher
Traditional medecine - Toxic white/sticky sap used to treat skin excrescences, like cancers, tumors, and warts, since ancient times.
Hardy/Drought tolerent/Ground cover

I'll likely remove the seedling, but keep it in mind as a Boron Accumulator.

Thanks once again everyone for all your help in identifying!
Kind Regards

3 years ago

Ralf Siepmann wrote:I know this one.
Caper Spurge

Burra Maluca wrote:I wonder if it's a euphorbia, maybe mediterranean spurge ?

Henry Jabel wrote:I thought it was euphorbia too. If it bleeds a milky white sap when cut it definately is, though try not to get it on your skin as it can be irritating.

Adam Blacksheep wrote:I personally consider it a nuisance. it's non edible, non medicinal, possibly even b poisonous ornamental flower that will start popping up everywhere like a weed.

Thanks Ralf, Burra and sure looks like the Euphorbia. Although I dont recollect planting this at all, and have been avoiding planting anything toxic - its a puzzle! Maybe it has just naturally popped up as Adam mentions. Thanks for the warnings Adam. I'm reluctant to introduce something that could potentially become invasive, so its a great heads up!

If it is the Eurphorbia, the properties (other than the toxicity of leaves, roots etc) drought tolerant, able to grow anywhere - I wonder if there are any positives to having this on the land...dynamic accumulator? Nitrogen fixer?

Thanks for all your input everyone! Very helpful.

More reading and research for me now, regarding identifying any potential positives for keeping this plant before removing it.
3 years ago
Hello all, I've recently started planting LOTS of seeds by way of an experiment to populate a small plot of land just purchased. I documented well but must have gotten super giddy about a certain seed as have no idea what this lovely healthy little seedling is! Does anyone have any ideas what it may be? About five inches tall, I was planting edibles and planted it directly in soil approx three weeks ago and it's already 5in tall. I'm guessing some kind of fruit/nut tree? Any suggestions if anyone recognises the branching/leaves hugely appreciated. Pics attached. Thanks in advance.
3 years ago

Konstantinos Karoubas wrote:I am familiar with comfrey, but I always thought it needed plenty of moisture, and was not appropriate for hot dry climates. ...
You are saying that in Southern Portugal, comfrey roots thrown on the ground , without care or watering, will drop roots and survive ?  

The wilow pieces you stuck in the watered them, until they rooted?

If you need seeds to start your project, I will be glad to send you a small package.

Hello Kosta,

Thank you for such a speedy reply.

The comfrey was planted an inch down (rather than left on the ground) but yes, after being dried up and dormant for several years, I planted the root pieces, added a little water, and left it.

I will try this again but without any watering at the initial planting stage.

If mindful of locating the comfrey root in natural dips/hollows where water would naturally accumulate after rain, the pooled water may rehydrate and initiate growing. What I found interesting about the comfrey root was its ability to spring back to life from a seemingly 'dead' state. If this is possible, having comfrey shoot into life every winter/spring, their roots mining the ground a little further, their leaves dying back in the heat of summer, adding compost to the ground, and then laying dormant until the next rain event, could offer a powerful partnership in reforestation. This cycle could repeat until the ecosystem gradually supports itself and the comfrey remains year round. An interesting experiment.

The willow I did water, but I have been surprised by how vigorous and how quickly life took hold! The roots and abundant leaves appeared within one week. And they continue to flourish. Again, (as with comfrey) possibly plant out in winter/spring to benefit from the rains.

I would like to try planting willow saplings with a selection of nut/fruit trees, alongside a group of the same nut/fruit trees without the willow partner, to observe the growing success of each group. Unirrigated.

Thank you for your kind offer of seeds, yes please! I will message you my mail address. I could send you some pomegranate seeds (once harvested later this year) if these would be of interest? Maybe also a small collection of locally sourced seeds after some foraging?

Kind Regards,


3 years ago

Rebecca Norman wrote: Just kind of mulch to keep moisture in the soil so I don't have to water as often

Ahhh, pretty mulch! Lovely idea :) My caper seeds arrived from Spain, I soaked them overnight and they are now in the fridge! Looking forward to getting them in the soil.
3 years ago