The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Successful persimmon germination

New persimmon seedlingsMy experiments with persimmons are slow, but I'm making forward progress.  Two years ago, I planted some seeds using a method I've explained in depth in a previous post.  The soil was poor (despite potentially having the right mychorrizae in it) and the winter's freeze and thaw pushed many of the seeds to the surface, where they died.  I ended up with only one seedling, and it sat there for most of last year, then didn't leaf back out after I transplanted it into the pasture this winter.

Last year, I gathered a lot more seeds and tweaked my technique.   Rather than letting the seeds naturally stratify outside, I wrapped them in damp rags and then sealed them inside a ziploc bag, with the result that several sets of persimmon seeds spent the winter molding in our fridge.  When I pulled the bags out in late May, the contents were disgusting, but the seeds were in much better shape than my previous batch.

After rinsing off the seeds, I had to choose a potting soil.  Despite books' admonition to use only forest soil, I decided that potting soil characteristics trumped soil mychorrizae.  So I potted up this year's persimmon seeds in stump dirt.  Less than a month after planting, seedlings started popping up.

Seed-filled scatThe first seeds to germinate were gathered from a scat last November.  I didn't think the seeds were in terribly good shape since they seemed a bit dried out, but as many of our readers suggested, passing through the gut of an animal definitely aids in persimmon germination.  For a week, I thought the scat seeds were the only ones that were going to sprout, but then plants in other pots started unfurling their leaves --- looks like I'll have a lot of persimmons to play with this year!

Since our core homestead is really too small for many (any?) American persimmons, my plan is to repot these seedlings into individualized pots before they get too big.  After a year of growth, they'll be ready to have Asian persimmon scionwood grafted onto them, and the year after that they'll go into our chicken pastures.

Older persimmon seedlings

That is, if our internship property doesn't materialize in the next year.  The spot we'd been salivating over fell through, but we haven't let the dream die.  Maybe we'll have a big forest pasture just waiting for persimmons next spring?

Our chicken waterer is the POOP-free alternative to traditional, filthy waterers.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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So daddy was reading over my shoulder and said "Are Anna and Mark thinking of buying more property?" And I said "No!" And then he pointed to the second to the last sentence and I said "Oh, it does sound that way." I feel out of the loop. And also like I can't read properly. Are you thinking of buying more property?
Comment by Heather Sun Jul 8 12:35:51 2012
Heather --- It's understandable --- we've been very vague because we're still in the dreaming/planning stages. It's more complicated than this, but we're looking into buying a bit of land within walking or biking distance to act as an experimental annex/maybe internship area while also giving someone who can't afford it an opportunity to homestead. It's all pie in the sky right now, though....
Comment by anna Sun Jul 8 19:02:12 2012

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