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Chelsea Green Blog

Gene Logsdon: Transplanting Tree Seedlings

I have a hunch that readers thought I was joking when I wrote about growing tree seedlings in roof gutters. The picture above proves that it works. I thought by now (late summer) the seedlings would have died for lack of water, but we’ve had regular rain so now I can transplant some of those seedlings this fall if not next spring. I can just lift the plants out of the gutter and plop them, roots and leaf mold intact, in a hole in the ground. Ever since a reader, Ohiofarmgirl, called a broadcast seeder “one of those hand-cranked thingies” on her website, I have been thinking of putting together a catalog of farming and gardening  oddities with similar descriptions: sections of roof spouting I would label as “roof whatchamacallits for starting plants.”

There are weeds growing amid the tree seedlings up there in the gutter too, as you might notice. The trees are mostly maple, ash and elm seedlings which gives me an excuse to go into one of my favorite rants. The experts all tell me that I can kiss white ash trees goodbye because the emerald ash borer is killing them. Yes, the old ashes are all dying, but my woodlot is full of seedlings, just coming up wherever sufficient sunlight penetrates the tree canopy or, as you can see, on the barn roof. I argue that when the ash borer has killed off the older trees, it will run out of food and die off too, before these seedlings get old enough for them to kill. A whole new generation of ash trees will come along. Ash trees start producing seed when they are mere saplings…

All of which underlines a truth or two…

Read the rest over at The Contrary Farmer, and find out how Mama Nature taught Gene to grow trees the easy way…

Gene Logsdon’s racily-titled Holy Shit, Managing Manure to Save Mankind, may not be safe for public radio, but it’s an excellent and entertaining intro to our urgent need to find ways to live in harmony with our poop. Check it out in our bookstore!

Grow a Year-Round Indoor Salad Garden, even in winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until Spring. As the weather gets colder and seasonal produce only means root vegetables, we begin to dream about fresh greens and colorful salads. Without a greenhouse or expensive equipment, it’s hard to imagine a reality in which […] Read More

Ask the Expert: Andrew Mefferd

Before writing The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook: Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture, Andrew Mefferd spent seven years in the research department at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, traveling around the world to consult with researchers and farmers on the best practices in greenhouse growing. Andrew has graciously agreed to offer up his expertise to our […] Read More

Top 10 favorite goat facts (with gifs)

New this month from author Gianaclis Caldwell, Holistic Goat Care is the essential resource on caring for your herd. Goats have provided humankind with essential products for centuries; indeed, they bear the noble distinction of being the first domesticated farm animal. From providing milk and meat for sustenance and fiber and hides for clothing and shelter […] Read More

New French edition of The Resilient Farm and Homestead available

Great news for French-speaking fans of Ben Falk’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. The French language translation is now available from Imagine Un Colibri, from French booksellers, and on Falk’s book is a technical manual that details the strategies he and his team have developed for […] Read More

How to Make Biochar

Doing some spring cleaning around your property? By making biochar from brush and other hard-to-compost organic material, you can improve soil—it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer. This excerpt from The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3, explains how to get started. To make biochar right in your garden, start by […] Read More