Greg Myers

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since Jan 11, 2019

Goal to make entire backyard a fruit/veggie garden (90% perennials).
Always looking for new fruit-heavy guild ideas!
Michigan, Zone 6a, Clay soil, 0.5 acre suburban yard with downwards-sloped hill to a wetland border.
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Recent posts by Greg Myers

Michelle Heath wrote:Greg, I'm hoping to take some elderberry cuttings soon.  I've had really good luck with rooting other soft and hardwood cuttings in a clear plastic tote with a lid in a shady spot in my backyard. I'm doing individual cuttings in clear plastic cups in which I've drilled a few drainage holes. The clear cups lets you see when the roots have formed and you vent the lid on the tote as needed.  I had an empty cup of soil and put a tomato sucker in it and had no wilting whatsoever and roots within a week.  Of course elderberries probably won't root as fast as tomatoes, but keeping conditions humid inside the tote is what really makes a difference.  

I'd love to see a picture of your setup.

I have a raised bed devoted to cuttings in my backyard. It's shaded with afternoon sun, mulched with straw, and has a soaker hose run for a bit each morning. It's working really well for currants, gooseberries, and grapes. My bush cherry cuttings didn't do so great once it got hot.
1 month ago
Thanks everyone--I'd had really good results mulching with rotting leaves previously. I got scared off of this tactic when I mulched with leaves from someone's curb and it killed several plants (probably herbicide). Hearing your advice reinforce what I'd had success with in the past really helped!
1 month ago
Thanks for all the advice folks! I think you're right: I should wait till they're dormant and grab some cuttings (the ground is like stone here as well right now).
1 month ago

Tj Jefferson wrote:In my experience ribes love love love wood chips. If you can get (really any) mulch they will love you. They are constantly making new roots so its no big deal how you planted them as long as they have some water and tilth to work with.

So, pretty much just toss some wood chips around the raspberry plants?

I wonder if they'd like the rotting straw or leaves I have...
1 month ago
I have a handful of young elderberry bushes growing in my yard and wanted to acquire some more.

The other day I spotted a big patch of wild elderberry bushes.

I'm considering digging up a few of the smaller starts and transplanting them into my yard.

I understand elderberry transplants normally do quite well if they are watered well.

My main question is whether disease is likely to be a problem. Or if the plants are unlikely to be as productive/tasty as the stock from nurseries.

I'd appreciate any knowledge you have to share!
1 month ago
I'm working my way through the litany of mistakes to learn to grow fruit trees. I've had some good beginners luck or I'm finally learning my way around plants in general better but I have a couple cherry trees that are struggling.
The trees were ordered bare-root from Stark Bros (I really like them).
I have three Stark Bro sweet cherry trees and one cherry tree from a local nursery in my yard.

Two of the bare-root trees were planted last spring in an area that had been sheet mulched the year before. There's about 10-12" of nice black dirt and then clay in that area.
Both of these trees put out some leaves before their leaves turned brown and crumbled off a month or two later. At the time it was hypothesized to be from our huge spring rains that year.
One of these trees kept a few leaves but the other showed less and less signs of life until this spring where it was clearly dead (no green in scratch tests, so I started "pruning" it down looking for green until I was convinced it was dead).
I replaced the dead tree this spring--the other tree came back and has a fair amount of leaves on it but still very little new growth (as in branches starting rather than just leaves poking out from the trunk).
The newly replaced tree had put out a few clumps of leaves but they have just recently turned brown and died (starting from the top of the tree).

In a separate location (but only some 20' away) I planted the other two cherry trees this spring (one from the local nursery, one bare-root from online). They are planted on a gradual hill. I dug their holes 2' deep and 30" wide and replaced all the clay with nice black dirt. These trees are doing well--lots of leaves with new branches forming.

I'm in zone 6, Michigan.
Also, possibly relevant, I planted two bare-root peach trees in the same general location and conditions as the first two cherry trees (the ones that are struggling). These peach trees are very happy.

Does anyone have any experience or advice here on what I'm doing wrong with the two struggling cherry trees?
My hypothesis is they're not getting enough drainage with the 1' of nice dirt on top of all the clay. Today I dug out the tree that's struggling the worst (the browning one) and dug its hole some 26" deep and replanted it there with black dirt.

Also, in general, is a bare-root tree signaling something when it only grows a few leaves on the trunk rather than putting out new branches?
...Better phrased, I suppose what I'm asking is what should I be doing when a tree does that--I have that other cherry tree doing this and a plum tree that's doing that same.

Thanks so much for any advice!
1 month ago
Hi all,

I live in zone 6 (Michigan). Last year I planted several types of raspberries in my yard.
Unfortunately, when I planted them one of my hands was out of commission so I didn't dig down nearly as much as I should have.
As a result, my raspberries are planted in 2-3 inches of nice black soil with pretty solid clay beneath (the original 18 plants were in slightly deeper holes to accommodate their root systems.
I realize now (after watching limited growth last year and this spring) that I should have dug much deeper and changed out the clay soil for these plants.

So, my question is what to do?
  Can I add soil on top of the raspberries where they currently are?
     If I can add soil (black dirt), how much can I add?
  I have some rotting straw and some old oak leaves, would either/both of these be a good mulch?
  Should I just re-dig their entire area in the fall and replant them in a trench of good soil a foot or two deep?
Heck, while I'm asking questions, is the clay probably fine and I should simply be watering them more?

Thanks for any advice!
1 month ago

Vera Greutink wrote:I'm in the Netherlands, zone 7, but I think you should be able to grow most if not all of the plants I have in my apricot & peach guild.

Here's a little video we made about it, showing the plants and explaining their functions:

Hope that helps!

Very helpful, thank you! Nice to see how many of the same plants we have going and you've given me some new ideas too! Plus a youtube channel to follow =)
10 months ago
I received a polite reply in the mail with my check included. They had more requests than supply and chose to ration out the seeds primarily to first time gardeners or folks who would not otherwise be able to afford to garden.
1 year ago
Any news on this front? I sent in a seed request myself and have not heard back.
1 year ago