Jessica Mcdonald

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since Jan 24, 2020
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Recent posts by Jessica Mcdonald


I'm new here as well, mostly have been lurking and reading for the past year or so. I have been reading The Resilient Farm and Homestead, and had been looking for a sickle to use for the bird vetch around my yard based on that book. Looks like a solid tool!
2 months ago
Wow Marco, that was super helpful!! Thank you so much!
8 months ago
Thanks Bryant!

What would you use as a canopy layer for zone 5/6? I would like to use a nut tree, so chestnuts may be another option. A standard size apple tree? Or perhaps a nitrogen fixing tree that provides no food?
9 months ago
Good morning-

I am looking for thoughts on planting and essentially leaving young fruit trees to their own for several years, and considering the impact of no pruning but maybe once a year. The area gets plenty of water and sun, and I can ask my in-laws to keep an eye on the trees (since they live across the street), and provide some winter mulching if necessary, but I am not sure their experience in pruning/ tree care.

We live out of state, but now own some 4 acres in Northern Missouri and I am trying to get a head start on "developing" with fruit bearing trees. We plan to move to the property in six years, and I am exploring options for getting a head start on growth. I would like to plant a couple plum, apple, and cherry trees and allow them to establish some growth, and maybe be bearing fruit by the time we move.

Assuming they survive the other conditions, would the early years of neglect have long term impacts on the growth/productivity of the tree? And would you consider it worthwhile to put them out without any real care?

I am not overly concerned about the possible financial loss, as I consider this a worthwhile gamble, or at the very least an interesting experiment. But I would like thoughts on realistic expectations?

Thank you!
9 months ago
Good morning!

I have been doing lots of reading, and this is my first post! Very excited to be digging through the wealth of knowledge here!

I am currently living in Alaska, but my husband and I purchased 4 acres across from my in-laws last summer, in Northern Missouri. We are planning on homesteading there in about 6 years once we can be partially (or completely) financially independent and leave our 9-5.

Since we have a bit of time before we can move, I wanted to get a head start with some trees. We are visiting in May/June, and we have already order some tree seedlings through the state department of conservation. In hindsight, I wish I had researched just a bit more before placing the order, but the cost is so low, it is not significant at this point. We got spruce, pines, Eastern redbuds, and black walnuts. We tried to get pawpaws, but they sold out.

I have read a ton about black walnuts and the problematic jugulone; all the posts I have found deal mostly with trying to work around an established black walnut. I have not seen anything about intentionally planting a black walnut as the canopy of a food forest and am second guessing my choices.

My concern is that I will be creating an issue that may or may not be worth the hassle in dealing with the jugulone, as I intend to have lots of other fruit bearing trees that do not tolerate it, and 4 acres may or may not be enough space for a black walnut centered food forest.

Assuming I decide to go ahead with the plan, I would have walnut as the canopy, with pawpaws under (maybe in a few years, when the walnut can provide a bit of shade), pink currants, black raspberry, and fiddlehead ferns, all of which are tolerant (to what extent, I am not sure) or jugulone.

From my understanding, the jugulone will increase in reach and strength as the tree grows; I do not want to have to remove the pawpaws later because the jugulone has become too much. Does anyone have experience with mature walnut/pawpaw combinations? They both have taproots, so I think this would prevent much of the competition for nutrients and possibly be a great combination.

9 months ago