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AJ Bullard's permaculture orchard

AJ BullardEven though I'm telling you to watch it out of order, lecture 12 seems to go along with this section on trees and forest gardening.  The video consists of a field trip to AJ Bullard's experimental orchard in Calypso, North Carolina (zone 8).  This seventy-plus-year-old man has been experimenting with fruit tree varieties on his farm since 1967, and distance learners like us really miss out by not getting to taste all of the fruits being offered.  We can, however, take advantage of his wisdom to learn about varieties we might want to try in our own gardens.

Bullard tested 35 varieties of pears for dessert quality (flavor) and resistance to fire-blight, and proclaimed Shin-li his favorite (although one of his trees of this variety had moderate fire-blight damage).  An even more extensive fig planting resulted in the recommendation of Celeste, Kadota, and King, while his favorite Asian persimmon is Fuyu.

Mulberry stars (which Bullard explained are his third-favorite type of fruit) consist of Silk Hope and Pakistan alba.  In fact, I planted the former in my garden this past winter and am still looking forward to tasting the fruits, although I'm disappointed to learn in this video that the variety was named after a town and actually produces leaves unpalatable to silkworms.  And, although Bullard's description of Pakistan alba sounds fascinating, I recommend that readers outside his location take the internet's advice and only plant this early-wakening mulberry in coastal areas of zone 8, California, and Oregon, where late frosts are seldom a problem.

Next up (in a week...or more), Lecture 6 will return to basics with an emphasis on design.  The assignments to prepare for the lecture include:

  • End of Suburbia
  • Gaia's Garden --- chapter 3
  • Introduction to Permaculture --- the part of chapter 2 on design (although I'll probably just read the whole chapter), the part of chapter 3 on patterns (ditto), and pages 95 to 111 in chapter 5 (not sure what pages this is in my older edition)

I hope you'll join me as we continue to work through this free permaculture video series.

If you'd like more reading material while waiting for the next installment in this series, my paperback presents fun and easy projects for each weekend of the year to jumpstart your path to self-sufficiency.

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