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

Tree day

Baby box turtle

Apple-maintenance day is often my favorite time of the month. And not just because I find beauties like this hidden amid the weeds.

Stooling a rootstock

Spending a few hours manipulating and experimenting with perennials is simply rewarding. Here, I'm stooling one of our apple rootstocks in hopes I'll be able to graft onto homegrown roots next spring. (Because I'm in sore need of more apple trees...right?)

Buckwheat between apple trees

Mulched apple treesMeanwhile, this year's experiment of planting buckwheat within the rows between young apple trees is already deemed a resounding success. As you can see, it looks like I let this row go to weeds. But half an hour spent ripping out buckwheat and stacking the plants at the base of each tree (then replanting the cover crop in the gaps) provided nearly instant mulch. I can feel the soil turning darker nearly before my eyes.

Rooted willow cuttings

I even had a little time left after taking care of the apples (and trimming the goat hooves) to go check on my willow cuttings. The ones I'd stuck right up close to the trailer and then hidden behind mushroom logs had spotty success, but all of the ones out in the open survived...even though the soil there is terrible and I forgot to keep the weeds at bay. Okay, so Mark did accidentally mow one of the eight plants down since my mulch was pretty much nonexistent, but that doesn't mean we didn't have 100% rooting success first. I applied a quick newspaper kill mulch then snipped off the lower limbs to train each new willow tree to a central leader, preparing for my plan of building with living trees.

And that's the highlights of my fun morning with the trees (and turtles). I can hardly wait until tree day next month! (Yes, you only get one Arbor Day per year, but I treat myself to twelve Tree Days. I'm spoiled that way.)

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

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.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

I totally agree: working with the perennials, and particularly trees, is totally rewarding. We've been chopping and dropping for a few years now and the soil and fruit trees thrive on it. It never feels like work... and the rewards are sweet. Love that turtle, too. We've got a gopher tortoise in our yard - check him out:

The wildlife reveals the health of your homestead - great work.

Comment by David The Good Thu Jul 23 10:09:25 2015

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.