Long Range Thinking

While planting Korean nut pines I began to think about the long term perspective our project requires. These trees might be productive in ten years. By then we’ll know if we should invest in more trees or mechanical shelling hardware. We also planted paw-paw, hardy almonds, peaches, apricots, persimmons, and more plums. Since things are getting hotter every year the almonds, peaches and apricots are an experiment we think will pay off.

Here is how I’ve thought about the pine nut miniature forest succession. The nut pines are easily sunburned when they are young so I’ve limbed up two Doug Firs in a pasture to give some sun access just inside the drip line. Hopefully this will serve like an eave on a passive solar house letting sun in on winter days and shading when the sun is higher in the sky during summer. I can always add shade cloth if I didn’t get it right.

I then cleared sod just behind the drip line. Rain should be able to ooze downhill from the outer edge.  I left a little wild strawberry. They like acid and won’t compete with the roots of the pines.

After planting the  little guy I topped with compost then cardboard to suppress the grass.

Then mulch with chips from the branches I pruned. This should keep the soil moist and build a “foresty fungus” in the right place.

In ten years three of these guys will be big enough to take over the spot. I left a clear spot at the back of the firs to let me drop them without damaging their young neighbors. We will always need lumber so the big firs will have nursed a new generation and will exist in a structure probably protecting animals.

You may think this kind of long term thinking is a gamble we may never see the outcome of.

Yet…  Three years ago we planted a peach.

And last fall I planted daffodils when L wasn’t looking.

…And today the sun came up, just like we expected it to.

Statistically speaking I have maybe 22 years left so I should have enough time left to see some of these experiments mature.

Long term thinking is as long as your perspective lets you imagine. Some things we do today will be around for a hundred or thousand years, long after our names are forgotten. Some will disappear tomorrow. I’m ok with both outcomes, I like trying.



About M. Agriculteur

Designer, motorcycle junkie, traveler, wanna-be iron butter (more butt than iron), builder, foodie, farmer wanna-be.
This entry was posted in Farming, Forest Management, Gardening, Sustainability and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Long Range Thinking

  1. DM says:

    Reminds me of a Chinese proverb…If your planning for a year, plant rice…if your planning for 10 years, plant a tree…if your planning for a 100 years…etc. Just yesterday my thoughts were on a patch of ground out behind our barn, thinking about filling it with young oak trees…(I really love the look of an oak savanna.but since I have not settled on any long range goals it would be premature. Right along, I have been impressed at the long term vision and perseverance you guys have been working on . It has got to be satisfying to see the fruit of your labor beginning to take root and bloom. .

    • 100 years educate children! I had to look it up. We hope to do some educational work when this all starts coming together. Oaks are pretty amazing. I think of these plantings less as goals (striving) and more like experiments (curiosity). It makes failures a learning opportunity. Either way I’m rooting (pun) for those baby trees.

  2. Way cool. It’s one of the things I’ve been admiring about your place all along – the long term planning that has gone into everything you do. The idea of the Douglas Fir providing the nursery for the nut pines is brilliant. And that peach!

  3. So tiny! You never know if an experiment will pan out or not, but it won’t for sure if you don’t forge ahead.

    Love the secret daffodils!

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