As a permaculture designer, I think, I should be growing my trees from seeds I collect. There is a lot of benefit in doing so too. Nursery trees would provide the trees we want, albeit from a small pool of genetic diversity. Also during the shipment of those trees, there is a lot of fuel spent increasing the carbon foot print. Plus these trees are already in the market, ready to be sown; if you do not buy them, somebody will.
Throughout the years me and my kids collected a lot of seeds from my apple, nashi and peach trees. I also extracted pear and plum seeds from shop bought fruits. We have grown them into seedlings and grafted where necessary.
I think, growing a tree from seed is one of the most satisfactory things I’ve ever done. Also knowing that they will outlive me is making me feel that I’ve done something right for the environment. I climbed one of those trees the other day and it sent a fuzzy feeling down my spine; I have helped its seed to grow and now I am climbing it. It is like seeing my kids becoming adults.
As I am measuring my impact on environment with the un-recyclable rubbish I created, the trees I grow from seeds are my way of offsetting this impact. The longer they live, the better I offset especially after I am long gone. And if I grow them from seed rather than ordering them from nurseries, my personal carbon foot print will be even less.
And if you sow a tree seed at a place where they will grow, it is even better. The early establishment of roots with the local soil, mycorrhiza and climate will grow a strong tree that is acclimatised to its locality fully.
It is not that hard either. I have 2 chestnut seedlings grown from already sprouting chestnuts. Apricot seedlings are everywhere in my garden as the possums are eating the fruit and dropping the seeds. Peach seedlings are also the same. Odd apples are also coming in numbers. My semi dwarf apple’s root system is also strangely shooting out root suckers like a weed, I say thank you and separate them into pots to graft later.
A white Adriatic fig growing at the back which came from a friend’s tree is air layered to create another tree out of it. It will be donated to a friend as I don’t have any space left.
For a comprehensive grafting write up, have a look at my grafting article here. Three guerilla grafts of pear I made at a near bushland are growing strong and may fruit this year. I also identified some more trees around the lake nearby, grown from seeds that birds scattered around. These will be grafted this winter.
I have been growing trees from seed for several years. The first one was a nectarine grown from a seed that my kids threw in the garden and it is fruiting now. I have about 30 apple seedlings, 15 nashi seedlings, 10 peach seedlings, 2 chestnut trees and 1 persimmon. I also have some more seeds of persimmon ,black walnut, maple in the fridge stratifying till the spring. I might go guerilla for those and put them in nearby empty areas. I have a grape grown in a pot next to a strawberry and it is now separated to its own pot and situated in my aquaponics’ grow bed.
My friends are also happy in this case. The amount of fruit and nut trees I distributed are phenomenal. Berries, wines are also extra.
I put some pine cones on gravel as a decoration and left there for the entire summer and winter. They opened up and seeds dropped and they are now growing too! I don’t really know what to do with them. Would they die if I try to remove and transplant?
Some more seeds distributed via my worm compost are coming out from time to time and transplanted into pots to be either grafted or left as it is.
Wherever I go, I check the flora and see what I can pinch to grow at home. Increasing the diversity as well as gene pool is my aim.
I was flavouring kombucha with green coffee beans and they started sprouting in the kombucha. I guess the acidic kombucha replicated the same conditions in the intestines of an animal. I tried to grow them but Canberra conditions were too harsh for them, after first winter, they died.
If you give chance to a seed, it will give you a tree. If you give chance to that tree, it will give you fruit for years. Isn’t this amazing.