Steve Thorn

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since Nov 12, 2018
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forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead

Steve started his first "permaculture" garden when he was about 7 years old and has been addicted to growing things ever since! It was only about 20 square feet back then, and he didn't know much about gardening except what was on the back of the seed packet, but he knew he didn't want to use any fertilizer or pesticides, and wanted to grow everything as naturally as possible.
Years later, when he got some land of his own, he started planting a larger garden, berry bushes, and fruit trees, and also discovered permaculture and Permies! Permaculture has made growing things so much easier and enjoyable! He is passionate about growing things naturally using natural farming and permaculture methods to minimize work and maximize enjoyment!
He is also passionate about saving seed and creating new and locally adapted vegetable and own root fruit varieties to increase the natural growing vigor, flavor, and pest and disease resistance of the plants, to make them easier and more enjoyable to grow.
Creating a plant nursery selling these types of plants occupies most of his free time right now, and he is hoping to start selling these types of plants and seeds soon! He has learned so much from the Permies community and is excited to learn and share our experiences together!
Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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Recent posts by Steve Thorn

Looking tasty Ken!

That reminds me, I need to go pick some maypops!
8 hours ago
Here are my experiences with Kieffer, hopefully it can be helpful.

I grew the Kieffer pear for about 4 years, but I removed it because the flavor just wasn't there for fresh eating for me. I've heard it is mostly a cooking or preserving pear, and maybe the flavor comes out then, but for fresh eating it was so bland I couldn't eat it.

Here's some pros and cons from my growing experience.


- It was an incredibly vigorous and fast grower.

- It grew well even in a really wet area, where most fruit trees would be very unhappy.

- It had excellent pollination, and almost every bloom seemed to turn into a pear. Like stated above, it is most likely self fruitful based on my experience and what I've read. It probably would make a good pollinator for other nearby pear trees.

- It is super reliable and produced a surprising amount of fruit for a small tree.

- It seemed pretty critter/pest/disease resistant. The wildlife never bothered it (can't say I blame them ), it didn't have any fire blight, and just had a little codling moth damage (probably my fault).

- It can take the heat without missing a beat.

- The pears have a nice look and were usually pretty blemish free.


- I really wanted to love this tree, as it has so many positives mentioned above, but the flavor was so bland though that I couldn't even eat it. I tried picking it at different times, ripening it different ways, but nothing helped.

- If it is pollinating other nearby pear trees and you are saving the seeds, it may pass on its bad tasting genetics and decrease the quality of fruit the offspring may produce.

Here is a chart I found about some pear varieties, including Kieffer, and pollination.

I recognize a lot of supposedly high quality eating pears on this chart below which shows more pollination information.

This chart has even more information which I found really helpful.

Bartlett is the only other pear I've gotten fruit from so far, but it is very susceptible to fire blight. It has produced fruit, but has big patches of fireblight that constantly plague the tree and keep it from being its best.

I'm experimenting to try to find some fire blight resistant varieties that can handle our heat, and I hope to save the seeds from the best varieties to create new varieties that are well adapted to the Southeast. That's a long ways down the road though.

I wish I had better info about what does well here, but hopefully this info is a little helpful, best of luck with your fruit growing!
1 day ago
I'm hoping some of the branches of these figs will survive the winter this year.
4 days ago

Josiah Kobernik wrote:We are scheming some large scale earthworking to create a series of terraces and ponds, what fun!

Looks like an awesome plan for the earthworks, exited to see how it turns out.
I've also come across some of these spring like features when digging some small earthworks, and I always get excited when I see them.

Sometimes water would come up from the bottom, as I reached a depth that I'm guessing water flowed underground. Other times I would hit a spring like area when digging out the side, and water would just start trickling out at a pretty steady pace until it eventually slowed down or filled up the small pool.

Looks like a really neat piece of land, best of luck!
6 days ago
I've done something similar with blueberries and it's worked great!

Sounds like a great plan to me.

Thats really neat if you've got some trees on their own roots!
1 week ago
You could bend the branches down some while they are still young and more flexible, instead of pruning them.

That peach tree just keeps looking more and more awesome, can't wait to see how the peaches turn out!
3 weeks ago
A lot of the figs have grown well this year. Some of them grew back from the roots this year after being planted last year, and some were planted this year.

It'll be interesting to see if some of the branches survive the winter this year.
3 weeks ago

M. Phelps wrote:i added these trees to the forest recently:

a red mulberry:

and a royal gala apple which a friend gave to me:

after taking the photos i put some chicken wire around them

still following this thread!

Looking good!
3 weeks ago