Homesteading and Survivalism

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Tag: fruit trees

Fig Tree Organic Fertilizer Experiment

Fig Tree Organic Fertilizer Experiment
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For some reason my fig trees are not growing like they should.  I do not want to put commercial fertilizer around them, so I mixed up some organic fertilizer:

  • Cut the top off of a one gallon milk jug.
  • Fill 3/4 with water.
  • One handful aged chicken manure.
  • One handful ash from my smoker. This is a mix of oak, pecan and wild cherry.
  • Handful bone meal.
  • Urine.
  • Mix together with a stick.
  • Pour around base of fig tree.

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Tis the season to plant fruit trees

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Tis the season to plant.

So far this spring:
5 peach trees
1 pear tree
2 blueberry bushes

This makes a total of:
8 peach trees. Three of the older trees are rather small and not doing well. I might have to replant next spring if they do not make it. In all I am rather disappointed in how my peach trees are doing. Some of them have been in the ground for several years and do not seem to be growing.

3 pear trees. My third son and I planted a couple of pear trees several years ago and they are loaded with pears every year. In March of 2015 I planted another pear tree in the large chicken yard.

5 fig trees. One of the fig trees is older and doing well. 4 of the fig trees were planted in 2014. In 2015 my wife and I are not going to plant any fig trees this year.

6 blueberry bushes. Four of the bushes were planted in 2014, two more were planted in March of 2015.

4 apple trees. I need to plant more apple trees to ensure good cross pollination, but not this year.

3 satsuma trees.

It is getting a little late in the spring to be planting much more. For the rest of 2015 my wife and I will focus on getting the trees we planted established.

What fruit trees are you planting in 2015? Share you thoughts in the comment section.

Mulching around peach and plum trees

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Several years ago my kids and I planted some peach trees and a plum tree. At least one of the peach trees died and was replaced with another plum tree.

The oldest plum tree is doing well, a couple of the peach trees are doing ok, but two of the peach trees are not doing anything. They are just “there” not growing at all.

Now that my wife and I have moved to the farm I am resolved to take care of the fruit trees.

Why haven’t the trees been growing? I think it is a 2 prong problem:

1. Texas has been in a severe drought for the past few years.

2. We have sandy soil in southeast Texas that does not have very much organic matter.

I am going to fix those two problems by supplying water to the trees when needed, and adding organic mulch around the base of the tree.

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PEACHES PEARS CHERRIES and GRAPES

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Our harsh, capricious climate north of the latitudes of Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and St. Louis—so much severer than that of corresponding latitudes in Europe—is unfavorable, or at least very trying, to all the more delicate and luscious Fruits, berries excepted. Except on our Pacific coast, of which the Winter temperature is at least ten degrees milder than that of the Atlantic, the finer Peaches and Grapes are grown with difficulty north of the fortieth degree of latitude, save in a few specially favored localities, whereof the southern shore of Lake Erie is most noted, though part of that of Lake Ontario and of the west coast of Lake Michigan are likewise well adapted to the Peach.

It is not the mere fact that the mercury in Fahrenheit’s thermometer sometimes ranges below zero, and the earth is deeply frozen, but the suddenness wherewith such rigor succeeds and is succeeded by a temperature above the freezing point, that proves so inhospitable to the most valued Tree-Fruits. And, as the dense forests which formerly clothed the Alleghenies and the Atlantic slope, are year by year swept away, the severity of our “cold snaps,” and the celerity with which they appear and disappear, are constantly aggravated. A change of 60°, or from 50° above to 10° below zero, between morning and the following midnight, soon followed by an equally rapid return to an average November temperature, often proves fatal even to hardy forest-trees. I have had the Red Cedar in my woods killed by scores during an open, capricious Winter; and my observation indicates the warmest spots in a forest as those where trees are most likely to be thus destroyed.

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The apple tree

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If I were asked to say what single aspect of our economic condition most strikingly and favorably distinguished the people of our Northern States from these of most if not all other countries which I have traversed, I would point at once to the fruit-trees which so generally diversify every little as well as larger farm throughout these States, and are quite commonly found even on the petty holdings of the poorer mechanics and workmen in every village and in the suburbs and outskirts of every city.

I can recall nothing like it abroad, save in two or three of the least mountainous and most fertile districts of northern Switzerland. Italy has some approach to it in the venerable olive-trees which surround or flank many, perhaps most, of her farm-houses, upholding grape-vines as ancient and nearly as large as themselves; but the average New-England or Middle State homestead, with its ample Apple-orchard and its cluster of Pear, Cherry and Plum-trees surrounding its house and dotting or belting its garden, has an air of comfort and modest thrift, which I have nowhere else seen fairly equaled.

Upland Virginia and the mountainous portion of the States southward of her may in time surpass the most favored regions of the North in the abundance, variety and excellence of their fruits; for the Peach and the Grape find here a congenial climate, while they are grown with difficulty, where they can be grown at all, in the North; but, up to this hour, I judge that our country north of the Potomac is better supplied with wholesome and palatable tree-fruits than any other portion of the earth’s surface of equal or nearly equal area.

On the whole, I deem it a misfortune that our Northern States were so admirably adapted to the Apple and kindred fruit-trees that our pioneer forefathers had little more to do than bury the seeds in the ground and wait a few years for the resulting fruit. The soil, formed of decayed trees and their foliage, thickly covered with the ashes of the primitive forest, was as genial as soil could be; while the remaining woods, which still covered seven-eighths of the country, shut out or softened the cold winds of Winter and Spring, rendering it less difficult, a century ago, to grow fine peaches in southern New-Hampshire than it now is in southern New-York.

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Fruit trees and the urban survivalist

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Fruit trees are the friend of the urban survivalist. Unlike a garden, you do not have to replant the fruit tree every year, during the spring your neighbors will be jealous of the beautiful blooms, dwarf fruit trees can be planted just about anywhere, and some types of fruit trees are high producers. Meaning, that with just 1 or 2 trees, your family should be able to put up plenty of preserves.

Some types of dwarfs may not get 8 feet tall and might be something good to plant in the corners of your fence. If you have a fence in your backyard, what do you have planted in the corners right now anyway? Planting the fruit tree across the back fence might provide it with more sun light, as compared to planting it between the houses.

Over the past few years I have made it a point to plant some fruit trees. Some of the types I have planted include peach, plum, apple, and a fig tree.

When picking the different types of trees that you want to plant, take into consideration when the fruit is ready to be picked. I like to plant different types of trees so that the fruit ripens at different times. One might ripen in July, another might ripen in August, and another might ripen in September. This gives me time to preserve the fruit. Even if I do not preserve the fruit, having the fruit ripen at different times spreads out my food supply.

While planting the peach trees, I used miracle grow organic potting soil and some miracle grow plant food. The plant food said it was 10-10-10 with a little extra sulfur mixed in.

I thought about throwing some nuts, bolts or nails in the hole before the tree is set in. That way the tree has a source of trace minerals will will take a long time to break down. This was not done during the 2007, 2008 0r 2009 planting season, but I might do it this year. There are some 3/4 inch round bar rods at the camp. I though about cutting some pieces off of those bars – say about 2 – 3 inches long – and putting the bar under the tree. It might take those bars decades to break down all the way where there is nothing left

In 2008 I spread some 13-13-13 fertilizer around a peach tree in the spring. We were “supposed” to get some rain to help was the fertilizer in. We did not get the rain and the tree died. I think I put too much fertilizer around the tree. So in the spring of 2010, I’am going easy with the fertilizer.

Post your comments in this forum thread about fruit trees.

Pecan trees

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Years ago, homesteads would have pecan trees planted rows in various places around the farm.  Now these trees are reduced to a rarity. If you see an empty field, with a bunch of old pecan trees planted in rows, chances are an old homestead used to be there years ago. The old timers would collect the pecans and eat then through the winter. These are an excellent long lasting, easily store able food.

If you ever eat a fresh pecan, you will realize how nasty the packaged pecans from the store really are. Home made pecan pie is hard to beat. Well, you can not beat it.

The pecans have started falling, so its time to pick em and put em up. The pecan grows inside of a larger shell. The shell splits open and the pecan will fall out.

These pictures were taken at a local fair. The county court house (where the fair was held) has close to 2 dozen big pecan trees around it.

Fertilize pecan trees in the early spring with 13-13-13 around the outside edge of the limbs – also known as the “Drip Line.” Or spread some manure around the drip line instead of commercial fertilizer.

Post your comments in this forum thread about Pecan Trees.

Fruit tree considerations for the urban survivalist

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One part of the survivalist preps that is often over looked is the fruit tree. Instead of having to plant a garden every year, just plant a few fruit trees. Take care of the trees, give them some fertilizer, keep the bugs off of them, keep them trimmed and you might just have a food producing machine in your backyard.

Most people have a corner in the backyard where a fruit tree could be planted.  If there is not enough room for a full sized tree, look into some miniature fruit trees.  Some of miniature types only grow to be 6 – 10 feet tall.

The first thing to do is find out what kind of fruit tree grow well in your area. Some species of trees are better suited for certain climates. Some considerations include water requirements, frost requirements, freeze tolerant,,, the list goes on and on.

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Fruit trees and the urban survivalist

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Fruit trees are often over looked asset to the urban survivalist. Most people live in a neighborhood where the fence line goes straight back, makes a 90 degree turn, runs across the backyard, makes another 90 degree turn and goes back to the house.

What is planted in the 90 degree turns? Maybe some ferns, or maybe some landscaping? You can not eat those ferns or palm trees. Dig that stuff up and use it for compost.

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