Hardwood Cutting Update

Hardwood Cutting Update

This is a hardwood cutting update on the cuttings I put in the ground in December of 2015.  Hardwood cuttings are cuttings from one-year-old wood that is dormant in the late fall or winter.  Softwood cuttings are cuttings from the current seasons growth that is taken in early summer through early fall.

Hardwood Cutting Update

Hardwood Cutting Update

For the picture on this post and the video below, I took cuttings in December 2015 from growth that had grown in the spring and summer of 2015. I took cuttings from my dormant plants, dipped the end in rooting hormone and stuck it in some concrete sand.  Now, six months later most are leafing out and doing well.

The nice thing about hardwood cuttings is they are relatively low maintenance.  I have only had to water them twice in the last six months.  I did have to trim some flowers and fruit off.  Other than that, they have just been sitting there growing on their own.

For more details on hardwood cuttings and to see these plants going in, see our post called Plant Propagation Cuttings.

Elderberry

I planted several hundred elderberry plants and have almost a one-hundred percent success rate on them.  I have found that elderberry is one of the easiest plants to propagate in both the winter with hardwood cuttings as well as the summer with softwood cuttings.

Next week I’m likely going to dig them up and pot them because I’m afraid the root system is getting too large and I will not be able to dig them up in another couple of months.  Once I do dig them up and pot them, they will need to be watered almost daily until they are established, so I’ll have to set up an automatic watering system.

Dappled Willow

The dappled willows have about a 75 percent success rate.  I have found that dappled willow doesn’t have a high success rate with softwood cuttings, but they do great with hardwood cuttings.

Blueberry

I have had a very low success rate with some blueberry cuttings.  Last year with the softwood cuttings I only had about a five percent success rate.  This winter the cuttings were constantly pulled out or knocked over and I only have about five percent success rate on them as well.

Nanking Cherry

Nanking cherry did not do well with hardwood cuttings.  For soft wood cuttings last year, we had a better than 75% success rate.  I’ll do some research and see if I did something wrong.

Sweet Scarlet Goumi

In the video below, I couldn’t remember what the next plant up was.  I just looked it up and it is Sweet Scarlet Goumi.  I have about a twenty-five percent success rate with the Goumi.  I had a ninety percent success rate with softwood cuttings, but I had a late freeze come in after they budded out that killed a lot of my Goumi this year.

Goji Berry

The goji berry did not do well with hardwood cuttings.  I’m sitting at 10 percent or less with the hardwood cuttings. I had an almost 100 percent success rate with softwood cuttings last year.

Weigela

Weigela does well with both hardwood and softwood cuttings.  I got close to one-hundred percent with both.

Butterfly Bush

The butterfly bushes are sitting at just under fifty percent success rate with hardwood cuttings.  We had almost one-hundred percent success rate with softwood cuttings last summer.

Concord Grapes

Concord grapes do great with hardwood cuttings.  We are sitting at seventy-five percent with hardwood cuttings.  Grapes do not fare well with softwood cuttings.

The Video

Please check out our YouTube video below that is titled Hardwood Cutting Update.

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Backyard Nursery Update

Backyard Nursery Update

This is a Backyard Nursery Update from the Pasadena, MD location.  Today we talk about maypop suckers and how to propagate them as well as other plants we will be selling later this summer.

Backyard Nursery Update

Backyard Nursery Update

Maypop

I planted one maypop three years ago.  This year I have cut and transplanted about 130 suckers from that original plant.  The plant suckers a lot, but if you can control the suckers by mowing them down or transplanting them or if you just don’t care about the suckers, this is a great plant.  It has beautiful and fragrant flowers, is fast growing, and produces tropical flavored fruit.

The way to propagate maypop is to simply dig them up, soak them in water for at least a half hour, then put them in a pot with dirt.  I put the pots with the freshly dug up maypop suckers under my hardy banana trees.  Here they get almost entirely shade.  I will leave them there for about six weeks before I move them to a sunnier location.  I leave them in the shade to give them some time to start establishing roots.  For more information on maypop, check out Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine.

Selling Plants

I have quite a few plants left that I will be selling on Craig’s list later this summer.  Some of these plants include maypop, elderberry, aronia, weigela, butterfly bush, grapes, muscadines, and many other plants.  I will put a post on the Great Escape Nursery web site about a week before I put them on Craig’s list to give my regular customers and followers a first crack at getting the plants.  You can also email me if you are interested in any of the plants.  I expect to start selling these plants in the second week of July.

I can only sell them to folks that live close enough to pick them up or meet me somewhere.  The plants are budded out now and cannot be shipped as bare root plants as the plants would die from the shock.  Because of this, they have to be transported with soil and it would be cost prohibitive to ship them with the soil.

The Video

Check out the video below titled Backyard Nursery Update:

 

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Epi046 Great Escape Farms Podcast

Epi046 Great Escape Farms Podcast

This post covers Epi046 Great Escape Farms Podcast – Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review, Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Growing Blackberries, and Growing Elderberries.

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Podcast is an audio version of the blog posts from Great Escape Farms, Specializing in Unique Edible Plants, Permaculture Gardens, and Homesteading. The blog posts can be viewed at GreatEscapeFarms.com.

If you would like to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, you can do so by clicking on Great Escape Podcast.

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Great Escape Farms Podcast

We would love it and it would really help us out if you would go to iTunes or whatever podcast feed you use and rate our program. We are a new small company and the ratings will help us become more popular on the podcast feeds.

We value your feedback and want to hear from you. Tell us what you think about Epi046 Great Escape Farms Podcast – Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review, Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Growing Blackberries, and Growing Elderberries

Growing Elderberries

Growing Elderberries

I have been growing elderberries for four years now and they have become one of my favorite edible and medicinal berry plants.  It is the third week in June and they are all in full bloom now.  The blooms can either be mixed with a batter that you can make pancakes out of or you can leave them on the branches to form the berries.

Growing Elderberries - The Plant

Growing Elderberries – The Plant

The berries will be ripe in late July or early August.  Last year I picked and then washed the berries and then froze them until I had time to make the elderberry syrup.  I eventually made the syrup in January this  year.

The Syrup

Here is the link for Making Elderberry Syrup.  This year I had enough elderberries to make 6 jars, but I just found another bag of berries in the freezer that I missed.  This is June and I’m down to my last jar of elderberry syrup.  I try to take a spoon full a day to ward off any colds and I take a little extra if I do get sick.

I have Adams, Johns, Nova and American Elderberries.  For the last two winters I have trimmed the bushes down to between two and four feet high.  I use the wood that I trimmed for hardwood winter cuttings.  By June the plants have already grown up to surpass twelve feet high.

I have included a close up picture of the flower is shown below.   Each of the individual white flowers will turn out to be an individual elderberry.

Growing Elderberries - The Flower

Growing Elderberries – The Flower

Because the elderberries grow so high a few months after being trimmed, they sometimes fall over due to the weight.  Since they have fallen over, they get trimmed and are good for softwood cuttings in June or July.

The Video

Below is a YouTube video on growing elderberries.

Because your opinion matters, please give us your feedback on Growing Elderberries by commenting below.

Growing Blackberries

Growing Blackberries

This post, growing blackberries,  is a summer update to a post I did back in the fall about stringing up my blackberries for better production.  The post from last fall can be viewed at: Update on weekend work and the Maryland Gardens

Growing Blackberries

Growing Blackberries

The thorny blackberry bush is not tied up.  It looks rather untidy, but it is producing blackberries none the less.  The real producer though, are the thornless blackberries that I strung up last fall.  None of the blackberries are ripe yet, but there are a lot of them on the canes and quite a few that are still flowering.

String Them Up

The reason I strung the blackberries up are many.  First, it allows the bushes to get more sunshine, because they are growing vertically instead of horizontally.  It also allows me to go in between the plants without stepping on and breaking the canes.  It also allows me to weed better in the area allowing the fruit and canes to get even more sunshine.

In the video I mention issues with planting blackberries and raspberries too close together.  The issue with this is that they are in the same family and because of this if one plant catches a disease, the other plant will catch it as well.  Most recommendations online are to space different varieties of raspberry and blackberry plants at least 600 feet apart.  Mine are only a hundred feet apart and I have not had any issues.

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch

I have had blackberries growing in this spot for about six years now.  They never really did that well until two years ago when I took all of the oak leave that fell in the yard and just laid them around the base of the blackberry canes.  Ever since I did that, they have taken off.  This year I added a couple inches of wood chips on top of the leaves.

All of this mulch helps keep the weed pressure down and it helps keep the roots of the plants cool and moist.  It also brings a lot of worms in and helps improve the quality of the soil.

Check out the YouTube video update below on Growing Blackberries.

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Cornus Mas Dogwood

Cornus Mas Dogwood

The Cornelian Cherry Dogwood tree is also known as the Cornus Mas Dogwood. The cornus mas dogwood is an edible, medicinal, and pretty plant for the landscape.  While the cornus mas dogwood is native to Europe and Western Asia it still grows well in the US.  This deciduous shrub or small tree typically is multi-stemmed with a very short main trunk.  It likes full sun to partial shade and is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8. It grows up to 25’ high and 20’ wide and tolerates deer and clay soil.

Cornus Mas Dogwood Fruit

Cornus Mas Dogwood Fruit

The Cornus Mas Dogwood has opposite, simple leaves that are ovate to elliptic dark green and are 2-4” long and ¾ to 1.5” wide. Yellow flowers bloom in early spring before the leaves emerge.

Fruit

The fruit is a fleshy drupe about 5/8” long with a one-seeded berry. The cherry red fruit ripens in mid-summer.  Most noteworthy, the fruit can be eaten raw, dried or used in preserves.

Propagation

Propagation can be done by seed, layering, or cutting.  Because the fruit inhibits germination, seed must be separated from the fruit.  Another point to note is the seeds need to be cold stratified for three to four months.  Softwood cuttings can be taken in July or August.  Layering also works, but can take up to nine months to root.

Medicinal

Cornus Mas Dogwood Flowers

Cornus Mas Dogwood Flowers

The bark and the fruit are astringent, febrifuge, and nutritive.  The astringent fruit is a good treatment for bowel complaints and fevers, whilst it is also used in the treatment of cholera.  The flowers are used in the treatment of diarrhea. *

Reference:www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Cornus+mas

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Recipe

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood Jelly

Makes 6 cups of jelly

  • 4 packed cups of Cornus mas fruit (measure after you pass whole fruit roughly through a food processor or blender)
  • 1 cup water
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1 packet of SureJell
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • canning jars (with two-part lid)
  • Fine mesh strainer

Instructions:

Set fruit and water to boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Meanwhile, boil water and wash canning jars all over with boiling water.

When fruit and water mix is at a boil, turn heat down. Measure sugar and SureJell together into a bowl, then sprinkle into fruit mixture while stirring. Stir the mixture until sugar and SureJell are fully incorporated. Add cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. Simmer for 5 minutes more.

Strain fruit mixture through fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Press on the fruit solids to remove as much liquid as you can. Ladle jelly liquid into canning jars. To clarify the jelly further, you can use cheesecloth or a small strainer as you ladle the liquid into the canning jars at this step.

Immediately as you fill each jar, wipe each jar rim with a moist cloth kitchen towel and twist the lids just into place. In addition, wipe the jars down of any jelly liquid which has dripped on the outside.

As the jars cool, continue to gently tighten the lids. Some of the jars may seal on their own (you will hear a *pop* as they seal and the lid will be concave on top). If you want to be sure your jars seal, process in boiling water per directions in SureJell packet or your canning equipment. Be sure to refrigerate until use any jars that do not seal. Cool on the counter for 30 minutes before storing.

Photo References/Sources:

Photo1: I, B.navez [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo2: ”’Description:”’ Cornus mas, Paris, France, 13 march 2005<br/>”’Source:”’ Bouba<br/>”’Licence:”’ Creative Commons {{cc-by-sa}}

Recipe Source:fleurcoquelicot.blogspot.com/2008/09/dogwood-jelly.html

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Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review

Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review

This post is a Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review.  This training and networking event was held in Charles Town, WV and was hosted by the Riverside Project and the Permaculture Podcast.  They had two or three different events going on in different places where you could take tours, train and listen to lectures or other activities.

Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review - Plant Walk

Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review – Plant Walk

When I first arrived and parked, I walked up to the main area where registration was.  I registered and grabbed some pamphlets on miscellaneous items going on as well as a schedule of the day’s activities.  They even had a complimentary copy of Permaculture Design Magazine.

The Sponsors

They had three sponsors there that had tables and booths set up.  I stopped by the Goddard College booth and chatted with the lady there and grabbed some information.  They have permaculture courses including a PDC.  I then went over to a booth that was selling plants and books.  They guy running the booth was Michael Judd, the Author of the book Edible Landscaping.  So I bought the book and a couple of Paw Paw trees.  I spent quite a while talking with Michael, as he is a very interesting and easy person to talk with.  I then moseyed on over to the last booth where there was a guy selling a DVD called Gathering Edible Wild Plants.  So I chatted with him for a few minutes and then bought the DVD.

The Training

Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review - Michael Judd

Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review – Michael Judd

The actual training and events consisted of the following:

Opening Remarks by Joel Glanzberg

Introduction to Fermentation by Diane Blus

Children & Permaculture by Jen Mendez

Keynote by Michael Judd

Animals in Permaculture by Nicole Luttrell

Living in the Gift by Seppi Garrett

Broad Acre Agriculture for Permaculture Practitioner with Ethan Strickler

Environmental Activism in Disempowered Communities by Ben Weiss

Event Q&A recorded for a Podcast by Scott Mann

There were also two outdoor events that included a plant walk by Nathan Carlos Ripley and a Tree ID walk by Shawn Walker.

More Details

Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review - Scott Mann

Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence Review – Scott Mann

As they had multiple events running at one time, I only attended a little over a third of the events that were going on.  They videotaped the talks and will post them for us to see at a later date, so I can’t wait to see those.

At lunch time they had a pot luck lunch buffet.  The food was great and there was plenty of it.  Some people made special dishes, and others did like I did and just bought something at the store to bring along.

My Thoughts

The events and plant walks were great and informative.  I’d say the best part of the whole event was meeting like-minded people who live relatively close by and networking with them.  All indications are that they will do this event on an annual basis.  If they do, I guarantee I’ll be going.

Find More Events Like This

If you have an interest in events like this, check out the Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup group.  I found out about Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence at this site.  The key note speaker from this event is holding a Paw-Paw Festival in September, and that event is also listed on the Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup group web page.

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Epi045 Great Escape Farms Podcast

Epi045 Great Escape Farms Podcast

This post covers Epi045 Great Escape Farms Podcast –  Romney WV Farm Update, Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead, and More Water Catchment Lessons Learned.

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Podcast is an audio version of the blog posts from Great Escape Farms, Specializing in Unique Edible Plants, Permaculture Gardens, and Homesteading. The blog posts can be viewed at GreatEscapeFarms.com.

If you would like to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, you can do so by clicking on Great Escape Podcast.

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Great Escape Farms Podcast

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More Water Catchment Lessons Learned

More Water Catchment Lessons Learned

My water catchment system is full again and catches water from every rain, but there are still a few tweaks to be made.  I thought I had a rock solid water catchment design, but discovered a few issues that need to be resolved.  The issues to be addressed include water sitting on top of the IBC totes now due to the plastic covering, plumbing too small for overflow, and a system to check the water level.  Please visit our YouTube channel, as we now have a playlist with all of our Rainwater Harvesting Video Systems in one place.

More Water Catchment Lessons Learned

More Water Catchment Lessons Learned

Stagnate Water

The first issue to be addressed is water sitting on top of the IBC totes. I added the black plastic to prevent the water inside the tote from building up with algae.  I now have an issue with water sitting stagnate on top of the IBC totes.  I need to resolve this issue so that I do not breed mosquitos and other bugs there.   I don’t have a fix in mind for this yet, so if anyone out there has a suggestion, please pass it along in the comments.  One friend did suggest putting a baby swim inner-tube on top of the totes to force the water off.  That may work.

Bigger Overflow

One of the things I have been thinking about is water capacity and the ability to handle the amount of water I will get during thunder storms and large rainwater events.  Right now I have a 3” PVC pipes filling each side of my system.  Each IBC tote only has a 2” egress drain valve.  Right now I have the two systems connected together with a 2” PVC pipe and the overflow pipe connected with a 2” pipe.  I have no choice on the two-inch pipe coming out of the IBC totes, but where I tie the two sides together and the overflow system I do have a choice.  Instead of doing 2+2=2 math, I’m going to tie each of the two inch sides together into a 4” pipe and use a 4” pipe for the overflow.

Checking the Water Level

In my last post I talked about using a clear PVC in the overflow system to see the water level.  I have decided against that especially since I am moving to a 4” PVC overflow system.  As neat and clean as the clear PVC would be, it would cost $117 for a five-foot section of 4” clear PVC and would likely cost another $70 for shipping.

So instead of going to that expense, I just used a hose fitting with a ½” nipple on the end and then bought some cheap ½” clear tubing from Lowes.  Each of the water catchment systems has a hose connection on it, so I will simply add a “Y” hose connector and to them and then hook this hose nipple with clear tubing up, run the tubing up to the top of the IBC tote and it will tell me how much water is in the system.

Below is a YouTube video titled “More Water Catchment Lessons Learned”.  Please view it for a visual of what I talked about above.

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Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead

Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead

The ostrich fern fiddlehead is used as an edible, medicinal, and ornamental plant.  The ostrich fern is actually the plant and the fiddlehead is what the leaves are called before the unfurl.  The ostrich fern, with a Latin name of Matteuccia struthiopteris, is native to North America and loves shade or part shade areas especially near streams and marshland.  They grow in USDA Hardiness zones 3-7.

Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead

Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead

A frond is the leaf or leaflike part of a palm, fern, or similar plant.  The ostrich fern has two types of fronds – a sterile frond that will grow 3 to 6 feet high and around.  These five to nine fronds (leaves) of each plant grow out of the fiddleheads and are arranged in a rosette forming a large funnel.  The second type of fronds are reproductive fronds that will be shorter fronds measuring 12-20 inches tall and stand erect in the middle of the cluster and produce the spores. The ostrich fern is a perennial that grows in vase shaped clumps called crowns.

According to Wikipedia, fiddleheads are the furled fronds of a young frond, harvested for use as a vegetable.  Left on the plant, each fiddlehead would unroll into a new frond.  As fiddleheads are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are cut fairly close to the ground.

Propagation

They can be propagated via underground rhizome or by spores.  Plant them with the crown just above the soil level.

Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead -

Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead Emerging

Edible

You can pick the ostrich fern fiddlehead while they are small and tightly curled in the springtime. You must ensure that you properly identify your fern as not all ferns are edible.

According to the University of Maine there are three ways to identify the ostrich fern fiddlehead in the spring:

  1. There is a deep, ”U”-shaped groove on the inside of the smooth stem.
  2. There are thin, brown, paper-like scales covering the newly emerging fiddleheads. The scales fall off as the fiddlehead grows and elongates.
  3. The fertile, spore-bearing frond is distinctive in shape, and also has a groove on the inside of the stem. When present during harvest time, the previous year’s fertile frond will be dark brown in color. Not all ostrich fern crowns will have fertile fronds.
[Reference1]

Wash them and remove any brown “paper like” covering on the ostrich fern fiddlehead.  They can be boiled, steamed, or sautéed. Their taste is often described somewhere between asparagus, broccoli and spinach. You can get sick if you eat them raw or don’t cook them long enough.  The CDC recommends boiling them for at least 10 minutes before severing them based on a survey of illness investigated in NY and CA in the mid-1990s. [Reference2]

Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead

Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead – Fertile and non-Fertile Fronds

Medicinal

According to WebMD: The young shoots of ostrich fern, known as fiddleheads, are used to make medicine. People use ostrich fern as a gargle for sore throat. Ostrich fern is sometimes applied directly to the skin for wounds and boils. Ostrich fern might act like a laxative. Otherwise, there isn’t enough information to know how it might work. [Reference3] *

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Recipe

Spicy Stir-Fried Ostrich Fern Fiddleheads with Chile Paste, Sesame Oil and Walnuts

Ingredients:
1 lb. ostrich fern fiddleheads, washed and stems trimmed
1 tablespoon sambal ulek (see note above)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons organic canola or peanut oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (or pressed)
1/4 cup walnuts, lightly broken up
A few squirts fresh lime juice

Method:

  1. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Boil the cleaned and trimmed fiddleheads in a pot of lightly salted water for 10 minutes.  Drop into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels.
  2. Stir together the sambal ulek, sesame oil, sugar and soy sauce.
  3. In a wok or wide sauté pan, heat the canola oil on high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the garlic and stir for a couple of seconds (don’t let it brown). Add the boiled and patted dry fiddleheads and stir for 1 minute. Add the walnuts and stir for 1-2 minutes more.
  4. Stir in the sambal ulek mixture and bring to a boil. Simmer over high heat until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat. Squeeze a few drops of lime juice over the fiddleheads.
    Serve with rice.
[Reference4]

Photo References/Sources:

Reference1:extension.umaine.edu/publications/2540e/

Reference2:www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00032588.htm

Reference3:www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-492-ostrich%20fern.aspx?activeingredientid=492&activeingredientname=ostrich%20fern

Reference4:www.gracelinks.org/2296/real-food-right-now-and-how-to-cook-it-fiddleheads

 

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