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

Waiting for the first fruits from grafted trees

Apple flower buds

Mark and I only tasted our first homegrown apples last year, and those trees were already two or three years old when we put them in the ground four years ago.  By that math, the little trees I grafted this spring won't fruit until 2020 or 2021.  It's hard to imagine waiting five to eight years to taste the fruits from the trees we just grafted.

On the other hand, you can also look at those non-fruiting years as an opportunity to really get the orchard in stellar order so the eventual fruits are so chock-full of micronutrients they knock your socks off.  To that end, I'll be growing cover crops in the tree alleys where this year's babies will be set out next year, and then I'll probably grow vegetables or raspberries in between the baby trees in later years until the trees begin to fill in their space.  The bed I pulled blackberries out of last fall is proof that simply topdressing soil with manure and mulch every year will result in supremely dark and loose earth in no time, and I'm sure my apple trees would love some soil like that to grow into.

Cabbage transplant

That mental perambulation reminded me that I have some spare room in between the new grape vines I installed this past fall.  I mulched the grape rows well to begin the battle against weeds, but the transplants won't have spread their roots far yet.  Why not sneak in an extra two dozen cabbage transplants into that ground?  In an effort to hedge my bets against weird weather, I started about 200 more cabbage seedlings under the quick hoops than I actually need, and they all came up, thrived, and need homes.  I know I have a plant-propagation problem...but I can quit any time....

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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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