Forest Garden Seed Collecting
Archie and I have been harvesting seeds from the trees and shrubs in the forest garden this month and sending out the seeds to our customers all over Europe. I’ve found that for many shrubs that ripen in the Autumn, sowing the seeds indoors within a few weeks of picking and cleaning them results in the seeds germinating without the need for stratification and the germination rates are very high.
|Forest Garden Seed|
The reasoning behind this may be that the fruit tissue that envelops the seed contains an inhibitor to prevent the seed from germinating within the fruit and before the winter has passed. By cleaning off the tissue and sowing indoors where the temperature is always above 0 C the seed can bypass stratification altogether. I find this works very well for all plants from Elaeagnaceae specifically Elaeagnus umbellata – Autumn Olive and plants from Rutaceae such as Zanthoxylum piperitum – Japanese Pepper Tree as well as Chaenomeles speciosa – Jap. Quince but does not seem to work at all for seeds from Rosaceae or Cornaceae such as these Cornus mas – Cornellian Cherry seeds below.
Castanea sativa – Sweet Chestnut are already littering the ground in the gardens. If you are looking to grow Castanea sativa – Sweet Chestnut from seed it is vital that you sow the seed as soon as they fall to ground as they will quickly dry out and lose their ability to germinate. Our grow your own sponge plant Luffa aegyptiaca – Vietnamese Luffa should ripen soon, turn dry and yellow-brown, after which I’ll peel the skin to reveal the fibrous tissue underneath, remove the seeds (for planting next year) wash out the sap, leave to dry, marvel at the structure, and then start using as a sponge.
We went up in the mountain for a walk last week. I always enjoy the opportunity to learn from the forest and to see how plants arrange themselves in the wild. Of particular interest this trip was a Rubus spp. ground cover that had formed a blanket of cover in the deep shade of the beech forest. I’m familiar with Rubus caesius – Dewberry that also grows well on the forest floor but this species had black shiny fruit more like a regular blackberry, sweeter than the Dewberry and formed a fuller cover.
Prokope – A New Forest Garden
Thank you to the participants of our Design n’ Build a Forest Garden Course for a lovely course, we really enjoyed hosting you here and getting started on a new forest garden.
The primary purpose of the garden is to grow a polyculture fruit orchard providing a variety of fruit from July – October. Our goal is to encourage growth of existing biodiversity as much as possible and provide new habitat that enhances biodiversity. We are also aiming to utilise the slope of the land and existing water source to irrigate the garden.
I’ll be writing about this garden with plenty of photos, maps and more detail in the coming weeks including the species we used , the fruit cultivars, access and irrigation layout and support habitat features. Here is a growth forecast illustration of Prokope, our new Forest Garden.