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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hooked on planting edible fruit trees and plants on unusable public land from seed. It feels like I'm leaving a legacy for shtf survivors and their families, or even for myself. Hopefully the plants/trees will spread long after I'm gone. It's like giving a small bit back to the planet to boot.

It started when I threw out an expired 50 cent box of peas from the store for the birds to eat. Three months later I had a pea plantation. Now I regularly find lakes, ditches, woods, rivers and fields and plant all sorts.

Heres my results of planting wild - as in plant and walk away.

Temperate/wet climate

Apple seed - havent had much success, very few come up, no apples on any yet

Marrowfat Peas (from a supermarket)- Nearly half came up

Corriander - Grows like a weed, at least 1/10 grew from seed. Spreads quick

Azuki beans - Surprisingly did well, small crop

Plum tree - All came up, but no plums yet (2yr later)

Broad beans - Few came up, small beans

Basil - All dead-transplants

Kidney beans - (just planted these, so I dont know yet)

Garlic - Thrives

Sunflower - 1 or 2 came up/severely stunted

Anyone got any recommendations to add to the list? Even medicinal plants.


Hairy
 

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Brilliant idea! I may start doing this myself. You never know if your garden gets raided, you might be able to get some veggies from one of your "apple seed" grows.
 

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Do they periodicaly mow these areas? Most public land is mowed periodicaly and if you plant long growth items like fruit trees they would never have the opportunity to mature. I am impressed your plumb trees made it to two years and did not get mowed down. Garbanzo or chick peas from the grocery store are usualy good for germination, I got about 80% from mine. They take a long time to produce peas so if you have at least 100 day growth cycle that would work. Most veggies though are annuals the plumb trees seem to be an impressive result. How about pecan's? My DH has grown lots of pecan tree's from the nut, he takes a few and soaks them in water for a week then he puts them in an old can at least 6" deep but deeper is better with potting soil usualy taes about 2 months for them to come up. He leaves them in the can till they are about as tall as the can is deep then he plants them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Do they periodicaly mow these areas? Most public land is mowed periodicaly and if you plant long growth items like fruit trees they would never have the opportunity to mature. I am impressed your plumb trees made it to two years and did not get mowed down. Garbanzo or chick peas from the grocery store are usualy good for germination, I got about 80% from mine. They take a long time to produce peas so if you have at least 100 day growth cycle that would work. Most veggies though are annuals the plumb trees seem to be an impressive result. How about pecan's? My DH has grown lots of pecan tree's from the nut, he takes a few and soaks them in water for a week then he puts them in an old can at least 6" deep but deeper is better with potting soil usualy taes about 2 months for them to come up. He leaves them in the can till they are about as tall as the can is deep then he plants them.
Spraying and mowing are two things to be avoided at all costs, so I find irregular or overgrown land a good bit out of town mostly.

The plum trees are the only ones I planted in town. I staked them and tied them to make them look 'official' :D: Worked a treat.

Our town council refuses to plant proper fruit trees on the grounds they cause accidents, so we have a whole town covered in chestnut trees :xeye:

These Pecans sound good. Are they fruit trees?
 

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Ive started doing this with sunchoke... a potatoe like tuber that is actualy a perennial sunflower.

Peach trees are said to grow pretty true to the originaly fruit. Apples do not. Apples normally are pollinated by crabapples so you get crab apples out of the seeds.... still edible and now and again you get a decent fruit tree. You also could learn to graph, find someone with a good apple tree then take a small branh and graph it to the seed started trees.
 

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I love the plum tree idea, people probably are afraid to do anything at all to it!

How about just expanding native edible plants and trees? Those are already adapted to the area and can take much better care of themselves than most commercially available plants. Lambs quarters, wild carrots, nettles, wild apples, asparagus, wild turnips, cattails and all sorts of berries are things that already thrive in my area. You could locate ideal places and transplant them with very good success, they would spread far and wide all by themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I love the plum tree idea, people probably are afraid to do anything at all to it!

How about just expanding native edible plants and trees? Those are already adapted to the area and can take much better care of themselves than most commercially available plants. Lambs quarters, wild carrots, nettles, wild apples, asparagus, wild turnips, cattails and all sorts of berries are things that already thrive in my area. You could locate ideal places and transplant them with very good success, they would spread far and wide all by themselves.
Great ideas. I wonder could I plant high yield thornless blackberries beside the existing blackberries. It'd make great use of overgrown hedges where little else will grow.
 

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These Pecans sound good. Are they fruit trees?
Pecans are nut trees, they do not produce nuts for several years but once they establish themselves they are very long lived. They are planted in many public parks in Texas, you can see families picking up pecans all over Texas at the right time of year.
 

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Maybe the Hazelnut or American Filbert would do well. It is more a bush than a tree, but they produce wonderful and nutritious nuts! And depending on where you are, the Paw-Paw is a good fruit tree to plant.
 

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I have done the same in quiet a few places. I usually hit the gardening stores when its close to the end of the season and they are selling what fruit trees they have for 5-8 bucks each trying to move them out and not take a loss. I usually end up with a good half dozen or so trees. I also try to pick up one Pecan Tree every spring and plant it as well. But due to thier expense, Its usually only one. So far in a few areas I am getting plenty of peaches, plums and pears. I havent had much success with Apples and the Pecan trees are still too inmature to produce yet. In addition to these though I have also planted a lot of Oak and native Pine trees in a effort to give the wild life holding ability of the wood lots a boost. Some of these are now starting to produce a light mast crop already although at this point its minimal.
 

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everyone does this up and around our summer property (tossing apple cores into the bushes), now in the fall you can hardly drive a hundred or two hundred feet without seeing a tree loaded down with applies. lol. the bears and deer love 'em.
 

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I don't have any experience with thornless blackberries, but I bet they would do well. Blueberries would be another good option since most of them grow tall and wide with no care, you could root a ton of cuttings and plant the tiny starts all over creation with no real investment. I would start with a few different parent plants so you could plant a couple different varieties per location (for pollination).

Something else would be to plant trees or bushes designed to draw in or increase the populations of animals. My dad's black walnut grove has built up an extreme population of squirrels, I bet you could harvest 100 squirrels there in peak season. Oak trees draw and sustain deer and squirrels among other good eating animals.

One thing is for sure, you have me thinking about all the things I can plant now...
 

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FYI, in case nobody has mentioned this yet... you don't grow apple trees from seed. There's something about the genetics of an apple where genes don't pass true, so even if your seeds do grow into trees, you have no idea what the apples will be like. they might be great, but they also might be disgusting sour wads of awfulness.

apple trees are traditionally grown using a graft method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
but they also might be disgusting sour wads of awfulness.
Fit in perfectly with my cooking then! :D:

I've no idea what grafting is or how to do it, I may look into it some.
 

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grafting is basically when you take a cutting from a plant you want and "splice" it onto a plant you don't want. So, you'd take a cutting from your yummy apple tree, cut a slit in an apple tree you are growing from seed, put the good cutting in there and tie it together. it grows together, and becomes one tree so to speak, with the good tree making the apples. It's hard for me to think of how to explain it.

Check this out: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/dg0532.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I know some folks have access to a lot of desert land thats not being used. Is there anyone with knowledge of what plants, if any, would grow in arid dry conditions?
 

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A word on apple trees...

Apple trees used to be open pollinated like any other tree, but inbreeding and exclusive grafting in the commercial industry has changed that. Basically, two apple trees of the same kind will not cross pollinate to make viable seed because they are a almost certainly a clone of each other. Since it takes so long for a tree to produce fruit, the apple industry has decided to clone the existing trees that are already 100% sure to yield good fruit. So a red delicious in California almost certainly has the same DNA as a red delicious in Maine. The other reason they graft apple trees is to keep them from growing too tall to harvest, these small trees also produce much bigger fruit because there are fewer apples on a smaller tree.

If you could find a wild apple tree of full size and graft a piece of it to a small rootstock variety, you would end up with fruit that is much bigger than the original full sized tree. The truth is that in order to have a natural and sustainable apple tree population, you must find wild varieties that are neither grafted or cloned... I know where there is a natural and sustainable apple orchard like this, but the apples are small and not easy to pick. Grafted trees are ok left alone, but most last much longer with annual pruning. Wild trees are perfectly adapted to life on their own, but will require more work to harvest.

If you plant seeds from a commercial orchard, you are almost 100% guaranteed to get a cross between two commercial varieties, not a crab apple cross. I have never been to an orchard with crab apple trees, the orchard would rather cross pollinate with a sellable apple so their space and time isn't wasted. The reason people get such poor results from planting seed from these apples is that they get a full sized tree with tiny fruit, not because the fruit is half crab apple. If you could graft the seed stock with root stock, you would almost definitely end up with a good apple tree.

So for wild plantings, I see absolutely no reason why plain old apple seeds from commercial fruit wouldn't produce some good standard trees. On the other hand, wild trees are already doing well and are not inbred, I think they would be the best thing to plant in the wild to fend for themselves.
 

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I know some folks have access to a lot of desert land thats not being used. Is there anyone with knowledge of what plants, if any, would grow in arid dry conditions?
I know alot of seedums (ground cover) grow well and are edible as a salad or as animal food. Not sure how much nutrition there is. It grows well just about anywhere and can be found at home depots and greenhouses. Prickly pear is a cactus that grows anywhere as well. the pads can be eaten r thefruit can be made into jelly. Yucca roots are edible.
 

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A number of people I know have leases on the old railroad tracks around here. I am amazed at the amount of plum and apple trees growing alongside the tracks. I have to imagine guys eating lunch on the train for 50 years and throwing out the cores of their fruit alongside the tracks.

My friend Mark has 1/2 mile of track leased here in Deary, and in that 1/2 mile there must be at least 300 plum trees and 185 apple trees alongside the old tracks. There are at least 5 different types of apple trees out there. In SHTF scenario following the tracks may give a good food source at the right time of year.

If you want a supply of natural apple seed look around the tracks, plums are also a great grower and will grow like a weed in most any climate. Apple seeds need to go through a slight scarring of the seed case, freezing and then a cool period to germinate, though I have gotten some to sprout without all that, heck I have found seeds sprouting within a fresh apple before.

Another thing I have found that will grow most anywhere and is a great food item is garlic. Garlic will grow well in a desert area.

Grapes are another one that will grow well in most climates, in the past in northern europe people would plant them on burial mounds commonly, even in this country there are burial mounds with grapes growing. Grapes will gorw well at the edges of forests around trees that they can use to climb, a grapevine can grow up to 150 feet tall and still be able to supply water to the top of the plant. Grape seeds are little difficult to germinate, they need to be frozen and then kept cool for a while to activate the germ, it also helps to scar up the shell of the seed a bit, use some light sandpaper for that. The life cycle for a grape seed seems to be, get eaten by an animal and exposed to digestive enzymes weakening the seed coating, freezing in winter weather, going through a cool period and then the spring brings about germination of the seed sitting in a bit of well fertilised manure. The more closely you follow this the more seeds will germinate.
 
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