"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Volunteers are Starting to Arrive

Many plants return unbidden to our food gardens each spring, we call them permaculture plants. Perhaps a slight misuse of the term permaculture but that is how we refer to the many volunteers that grace our gardens if left to their own devices and allowed to reestablish themselves from the prior year. Numerous different plants have returned this spring and I am sure many more will make an appearance as the season ensues.

Hardy green and red lettuce, whose names have been long forgotten, appear each year where their seed stock has fallen.


The same happened with some of last years forgotten spinach


and chervil.


Numerous volunteer tomatoes can pretty much be counted on.


Sometimes I think all we need to do it make a few flats of garden dirt and wait to see how many tomatoes appear, like this nice one in amongst the eggplants.


I think this is my own special brand of Russian kale in our mulch pile.


Dill, or perhaps fennel?

3 comments:

randi said...

isn't this a wonderful time of year!?
Always enjoy your posts/so glad you're keeping this journal. I do have a question for you regarding what, if anything, you do in the way of spraying, (organic), dormant oil, etc. on your fruit trees? We're just budding here and I did my cursory pruning back in feb when I could stand on top of the snow but have done nothing else except feed them some compost. Any thoughts Mike?
ps..if you've already covered any of this in a previous post please send me packing in that direction.

Mr. H said...

Hi Randi,

We don't use any sprays on our trees as we have never had reason to. Some of our fruit trees are very old and have never had any issues. Most of our trees are between 3 and 6 years old so it is a little early to tell if any problems will occur. Unless you have had problems with bugs or viruses I would shy away from spraying all together. I hate using anything of that sort, but I suppose if my fruit was in jeopardy I would try the organic oils.

Dormant oils should be applied in the winter before the trees start to bud out as it can damage new buds and leaves...I have seen this happen with others trees.

There is also a lighter grade "summer oil" that can be used while the tree has leaves. They both work to smother insects like aphids, spidermites, and coddling moths (they like peach trees). They also help control mildew and other viruses. An organic lime-sulfur oil can be used for these applications, I think most dormant mineral oil is still petrolium based though.

Keep in mind, like you, our orchard is just in it's infancy and I still have much to learn about fruit trees. I am so glad we started our little orchard though, last year was the first that many of our trees had fruit on them I am really excited to see what this year brings.

Some of our apple trees (from ungrafted apple tree seed) came from a long forgotten ancient orchard that produced the most delicious, disease free fruit I have ever had. I know that none of those trees have ever been sprayed.

I'm still looking for that Reliant peach tree...

Mike

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Brilliant...there's nothing like free and easy food :)

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