General Pasture

Virginia Native Prickly Pear Cactus are fruiting!

My amazement of the native cacti growing on the exposed rock in the pasture has been the subject of a previous post.

Only now the cacti are fruiting!

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I still can’t get over how diverse the plants on land can be even after only a decade of being allowed to grow wild. These cacti and their fruit are the perfect demonstration of such!

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Garden

Experiment and Advice Needed: Fruit tree woes

I want to put a productive plant in every unused inch of my farm as I possibly can. Vegetables, berries, fruit trees, bamboo, feed crops and anything that can provide food for me, the animals or the bees would be considered. I desperately want a small apple (or other fruit) orchard, but since humans have significantly reduced the genetic diversity of most commercial fruit tree species, I am not confident I could grow them without chemicals or at the least in a low maintenance/effort manner. Cherries are out as they host tent caterpillars. Admittedly, I have a lot more to research to conduct. As such I encourage anyone and everyone to leave their suggestions or experiences!

In terms of research, here are my highlights:

Just about anything from Michael Pollan. I greatly enjoy his writing style and exploration of earth-friendly foods.

The Home Orchard: Fruit Trees Without Chemical Sprays? It Can Be Done. By Adrian Higgins at The Washington Post. This was an enjoyable piece that contained information specific to my location.

From my forestry classes, I am considering many native species: Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), as well as other trees in the Amelanchier genus (serviceberries, shadbushes, juneberries), Persimmon although I have a few stands in the pasture and forest already, elderberry, paw paw, and American Hazelnut. I want to particularly note the Virginia Tech Dendrology program in the Forestry Department as the most fun yet frustrating and time-consuming 1 credit class I ever took. Particularly this PDF from Virginia Tech: Native Fruit and Nut Trees and Shrubs of the Virginia Mountains and Piedmont

Here is where I stand:

Its already been established that blueberries, blackberries and raspberries will be an integral part of the farmstead.

Mulberry trees are the front-runner for newly planted woody species for my area. They bloom for bees and provide fruit for both me and chickens.

Maybe currants near the barn where they would get afternoon shade.

Paw Paw for tasty, interesting fruit.

And a random consideration as I adore avocados, a self pollinating, cold hardy variety.

 

Thats it for now! Again, Please don’t be shy with suggestions or comments!

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