Newsletter #2, Fall 1983
~People Sharing What They Know and Grow~
AN ALLIANCE FOR ME.?
The last newsletter ended with a quote from Thomas Jefferson, “The greatest contribution one can make to one's country is to add a new plant to it's culture.” Tree crops fit into this development strategy and some of the material is already here—brought in by immigration, sea trade, philanthropy and selected by a challenging climate—so look around. We can also borrow from neighboring states, even southern states, Canada, Europe, and China—so try things, put them in the ground. We can sift from our history examples of local food and materials production and improve them by listening to elders. We can even mimic less developed countries who have undertaken to produce food and fuel in their cities.
This network exists to encourage a local tree crop economy and to strengthen the resources of the small land holder. The tree resources" are here. The people resources are here. So why not an alliance?
“I always heard it couldn't be done but sometimes it doesn't work out.” —Casey Stengel
PERMACULTURE—“Design Wear” for mother nature
Permaculture is a recent term which utilizes tree crops and perennial systems to construct a balanced environment and society. (See Mollisons' Permaculture I and II for details). It is intentional landscape design that allows for supporting relationships to occur; planned diversity—not a junkyard; self regulating, recursive (feeds itself) polyculture; edge development; local-culture with sensitive, humble and intuitive virtues; and alas as a noun, a marketing term.
My initial exposure to permaculture left me with considerable skepticism. It came on quick, sales-like and faddish. Instant permaculturists arose to suggest only common sense appeared to be a drop in popularity of this movement looks instead to be a restructuring of values.. We're probably fortunate to have folks like Dan Hemenway in the northeast to synthesize this jargon and deliver a message on a very personal level. His attitude reflects a wise and respectful outlook toward this planet. Is this mother earth or an extremely flexible child we need to be patient with, guide and be guided. We'd like for possible sites and criteria. Please send your ideas to us or Dan Hemmenway, c/o Elfin Permaculture, Box 202, Orange MA 10364.
ACTINIDIA ARGUTA—the “bower-berry”
What can be said about this cold hardy relative of the kiwi fruit can be found in an excellent article by Ed Goodell in the Fall '82 edition of Arnoldia and reprinted in the 1983 T.I.P.S.Y. (see bibliography)
Some Points To Remember:
This species has been in this country for almost 80 years but little selection or breeding work has occurred. Professor Meader rates it highly as a potential commercial crop for northern areas. We know of a few plants established locally this year that appear very thrifty. We'd like to hear of more.
- These are exceptionally hardy plants.
- They have attractive foliage with no known insect or disease problems
- They taste good, are nutritous, and store well.
- High yields warrant sturdy trellisses.
- Propagation of new plants is not difficult.
Sources of Actnidia Arguta:
Internal Tree Crop Institute, Rt. 1, Gravel Switch, KY 40328
Tripple Brook Nurseries, 37 Middle Rd., Southampton, MA
Alexander's Nurseries, Box 309, Middleboro, MA 02346
More information can be found in back issues of Pomona, the quarterly of the North American Fruit Explorers (NAFEX - see bibliography). A NAFEX member maintaining a breeding program of Actnidia Arguta is: Dan Sorenson, RD 2, Box 2028E, Russel, PA 16345.
AMERICAN CHESTNUT—a status report
These truly majestic trees, remnants fo another era (a wood economy) lie scattered throughout the state. It was great to see some healthy specimens in Augusta. Doug Stark of the State Forest Service Entomology lab has a collection of 2 dozen trees—raised from seed from local (Montville) as well as out of state sources. He suggested stratifying seeds in the fridge (away from squirrels) and cautioned against injuring bark or limbs. These trees are adding 2-3 feet of growth a year under less than optimum conditions. A report from the Northern Nut Growers Association's “NUTSHELL” suggests a control for chestnut blight and possibly other cankers. Make a soil compress: mix soil from the base of the tree into a pourable mud, wrap plastic around tree to form a collar, pour mud into place, wrap shut, leave for 2-3 months. Richard Jaynes at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station heads up an effort to investigate the blight and hypervirulent strains that keep it in check. A source for native seed and seedlings is: Welles Thurber, Linconville 04849.
Blight free nuts may also be obtained from Bernhart Rajala, 30 30 Isle View Rd., Grand Rapids, MI 55744 $25/lb.
As always let us know what you know about this subject so we can pass it on.
N2 FOR YOU
Several species of nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs that will grow here are being monitored for their effect on neighboring hard and soft woods—and thus may play a significant role in commercial forestry. A mess of literature exists that needs to be waded through—here are some gleanings.
A study of autumn olive as a nurse crop for black walnut showed increases of 70% in length and 76% in diameter after 9 years—yet, nitrogen fertilizers did not produce the same affect. In the Netherlands, European alder hedges increased orchard yields by 1/3. Favorable relationships occur between Alnus and Populus or Picea; Myrica and Pine; and Black Locust and Pine or several hardwoods. Possible benefits include control of diseases and long term tree "rotations" are now being recommended.
Specific references should appear in the winter bibliography. The following organization may have information relevant to this climate.
NITROGEN FIXING TREE ASSOCIATION, Dr. James Brewbaker, PO 680, Walmanalo, HI 96975 Membership--$5/yr.
—Grow It or Mow It?
Harvey Lisle, NAFEX consultant on organic soil improvement has an interesting article, GRASS IN THE ORCHARD, in the Spring '83 issue of Bio Dynamics. He advises not to mow grass once the trees are established. Results: higher organic matter (6% in his orchard), higher soil moisture, greater populations of favorable organisms. Praying mantis, predatory mites, and shrews (mice patrol and free plowing) and mound building ants—all abound in his orchard. He claims cooler summer soil temperatures and warmer winter soil temperatures produces a moderating effect that is beneficial to soil life and his trees. He admits to spraying for scab but has seen no fire blight on his apples or pears. Some comments from Steiner round out this very refreshing article: We'd like to hear your comments on this subject. We've heard problems of using a stone mulch on orchards in the North East (conduct heat and cold too readily—injuring roots). Others are critical of organic mulches (may hinder radiation in spring—causing early frost damage, delayed fruiting and delayed maturity (dwarfing to some extent). What's your opinion? Harvey doesn't mention birds and a slew of evidence exists to show their value. How practical is this approach? It may depend who (or what) you ask.
WINDBREAKS FOR THE ORCHARD
If anyone were to ask me what I believed to be the first essential to success in. fruit farming I would say windbreaks. And so E. P. Powel goes ore to explain in a chapter from his THE ORCHARD AND FRUIT GARDEN, McLure and Phillips and Co. 1905. Windbreaks retain: moisture that can help buds endure 2-3 degrees more frost than in a cold, dry atmosphere. He recommends planting Russian Mulberry, mountain ash, wild cherries, and lindens for bird and bee food. Also chestnut, elm, and ash with an understory of elder, hazel, barberry, hawthorn, wild clematis, grape, and Virginia Creeper. And suggests “their retention as a matter of beauty and pomological economy.” L.H. Bailey sums up the subject: “A windbreak protects from the cold, lessens evaporation from the soil and plants, lessens windfalls, decreases liability to mechanical injury of trees, facilitates labor, protects blossoms from severe winds, enables trees to grow more erect, lessens injury from the drying up of small fruit, retails sand in certain localities, hastens maturity of fruits, encourages the birds and contributes to ornamentation.”
The book contains much on cultural practices of the era (some not encouraged) and describes many old varieties. It's out of print—but is it outdated? How much of this relates to the North East with rainy humid conditions? We now have accurate information on the effects of vegetation on moving air. Data from Russia shows favorable increases in cereal yields from tree belts acting as snow fences. Is this something more useful for crops where scab isn't such a problem? How about peaches—they're sensitive,prone to winter injury— would it help them? This book is part of a series—The Country Home Library—while a lot is being written today—very little of it approaches the intensity and integrity of these early books. Please submit your comments and reviews of new and old literature, as well as orchard techniques.
A recent release by the USDA research service in Beltsville, MD: Sumac. Potential new source of industrial chemicals, farm revenues—describes processing smooth sumac for its polyphenols, oil, and protein—worth more per acre than soybeans. Residues contain 7% protein, 9% would qualify it as a competitive animal feed. Breeding as well as processing and marketing systems are being developed as part of a congressionally directed effort to make US agriculture energy self-sufficient by 1990.
For this report and further developments in AG Research, contact Judy McBride, News—USDA, AG Research Service, Northeastern Region, Bldg. 003, rm 250, BARC-W, Beltsville, MD 20705. For further information about energy crops and the potential uses of botano-chemicals contact: Northern Agricultural Energy Center, 1815N, UNIV., Peoria, IL 61604, Marvin Bagby, Manager; The Cooperative Extension Service, U.M.O., for a copy of FORESTRY NOTE—WOOD ENERGY, WOOD AS A SOURCE OF BIOMASS FOR ENERGY AND CHEMICALS (5 pages); or The Dept. of Energy, Washington DC 20545; or Fuels from Biomass Systems Branch, Division of Solar Technology. A 1978 report listed some projects they have funded—several in the north that now should have sufficient data and be available.
BIBLIOGRAPHY—delayed in part because of the overwhelming amount of literature to be found in T.I.P.S.Y. and THE FUTURE IS ABUNDANT. Work is still underway to compile a list of reference material available in the state. Want to help?
LENDING LIBRARY—If you can't find a particular book or reference material, let us know. Likewise, if you have information you'd like to share, send us a list and conditions for their us. A formal lending library list should be available this winter.
PEOPLE LOCATOR - Fill out the survey to achieve instant (well almost) recognition of who you are and what you're working with.
TREE LOCATOR—We have reports of trees scattered across the state that may have very desirable properties for future breeding work. We'd like to hear of more. No up to date inventory exists of these resources. A map to accompany Prof. Fay Hylands' TREES AND OTHER WOODY PLANTS OF MAINE is available as a starting point. Please let us know what you find.
FRUIT IDENTIFICATION—If you're having trouble identifying a particular variety of fruit, bring it to the Apple Festival or send a sample to Herb Wave, Extension Fruit Specialist, Highmoor Farm, Monmouth 04259.
EXCHANGE PAGE—Use this page in future editions to advertise what it is you have or are looking for. Drop us a note of your fall needs or offerings.
Carpathian Walnut: seeds or seedlings, contact Clayton O. Totman, R.R. 3, Waldoboro 04572.
Tool Order: A group order on tools may be in line for this fall/ winter. Nursery, orchard, and forestry supplies are being considered—send a list of your needs. Also, keep in mind that some of these items (tool handles, orchard ladders) should be coming from native materials—another project worth encouraging.
Mass. Fruition, Division of Land Use, 100 Cambridge St., Boston, MA 02202. A state funded project to promote the growing of fruit and nut bearing trees, shrubs, and vines on public access land by community groups. Qualified applicants develop a management plan, determine harvest use and educational activities centered around plantings. Selections of 20 different plant materials are offered and 7500 plants have been distributed in 2 years. Is this any way to feed people? Any chance of it happening here?
FEDCO TREES—gets underway this year with selections from Hill top (Michigan), St. Lawrence (N.Y.), Starks, and local sources. Apples (standard rootstock, older varieties), pears, plums, peaches, cherries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, rootstock, and nut trees will be offered. Group ordering is encouraged. Order sheets available October 1. Due back early December. Contact: John Bunker, FEDCO TREES, c/o FEDCO WAREHOUSE, Reynolds Rd., Winslow 04901.
SHEEPSCOT VALLEY TREE POOL
Offer fruit, nut, and shade trees, berry and vegetable seedlings, and soil amendments. Coastal areas and others participate. Contact: David Chase, Box 38, Townhouse Rd., N. Whitefield 04353.
MAINE APPLE TREE POOL
Extensive line of commercial fruit varieties from Hilltop Nursery (Michigan). Apples on semi-dwarfing, rootstock. Order blanks go out in Mid-November, due back December 31. For commercial or home orchardists. Contact: Joe Scott, Dept. of AG DIVISION OF PLANT INDUSTRY, STATION 28, Augusta 04333.
SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE
Contact your local county office about their spring tree pool. They offer conservation stock as well as fruit bearing trees and shrubs.
MAINE STATE FOREST SERVICE NURSERY
Provide assistance to public and private agencies in the areas of breeding, propagation and planting. Seedlings available—order before April 15, cost sharing also available. Nursery located in Greenbush, visitors welcome weekdays 7-4. Contact: Bureau of Forestry, State House Station 22, Augusta 04333.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The following places are open to tours. Please write or call before you visit.
HIGHMOOR FARM. PO Box 178, Monmouth 04259. (933-2100) State Fruit Experiment Station. Conduct Breeding, screening and research work on many fruit crops. Work with both commercial and home orchardists. While they maintain a standard spray program—should not be overlooked as a resource for all aspects of fruit culture. Apples, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, are tested for various qualities including marketing. Canadian and northern U.S. plant materials are being trialed. A grape program is underway, made possible through the interest and efforts of John Marker, farm manager. Highbush blueberry lines of Mr. Russ Bailey, plant breeder, are also being preserved. Please take the time to show your interest and support for these folks.
Professor E.M. Meader, 43 Meaderboro Rd., Rochester, N.N. 03867. (603-322-5666) Be prepared for an eyeful and a pleasant earful if you visit. Peaches (genetic dwarfs), kiwis and quite a few one of a kind tree specimens, besides the usual fruits and vegetables, grace this homestead.
Eddie Veronisi, RFD 2, Box 910, Thorndike 04986. Eddie has been practicing human scale and wildlife encouraging silvicultural practices on his Montville land for 9 years. Using hand tools (and a land rover) he maintains an impressively tidy woodlot. Firewood and maple syrup sales contribute to a Land Fund.
May Nursery, Charles Martin Jr., RFD 2, Box 880, Thorndike 04986. Maintains a small but impressive collection of western conifers and other non-native seedlings and trees.
HOME ORCHARD TOUR—Sunday October 2 1 p.m. Brad Ronco, Kerns Hill Rd., Manchester (622-9834). Brad has been steadily increasing the size and diversity of his home orchard. Expect to see fruit and nut trees and grapes, many young and bearing. Come out for a look at what a resourceful hobby the home orchard can be.
YANKEE WOODLOT COURSE—October 3-7. $85/person. Tanglewood Camp, Lincolnville. Limited to first 16 registrants, deadline September 26. Includes mapping, aerial photo interpretation, dendrology, forest ecology timber cruising , arid designing a management plan. Contact: Knox-Lincoln County Coop Extension Service, 375 Main St., Rockland 04841.
APPLE FESTIVAL—October 8, at the Apple Farm, Back Rd., Skowhegan. Plans are underway for a day long celebration of APPLES. Bring your favoite favorite varieties for others to try or have identified. This orchard has benefited from a low spray program and owner Steve Meyerhans will share his insights on organic culture and techniques.
PERMACULTURE WORKSHOP—Tentative workshop with Dan Hemenway this fall. Possible on site design course, weekend workshop or elementary slide show and discussion. Fee waived for Native Americans. Write us for details.
MAINE AGRICULTURAL TRADES SHOW—January. We're open to suggestions for possible guest speakers or workshops you'd like to see at this event. Write us.
UPDATE: SCIONWOOD EXCHANGE—This spring event worked out well—about 40 people attended and over 50 varieties of apples were available, along with pears, a few nuts, and Korean pine scionwood. Next year's turnout should be more fruitful, we'll try to have rootstock on hand and do a rafting class. See you in the spring.
WINTER EDITION - to include: Birds and their value, Nursery Supplement (send a note about your favorites), NAFEX meeting and New Alchemy Institute Workshop reports and submitted articles, reviews and related activities and information. Deadline December 31. Copies available at the trade show and by subscription.
SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION—This newsletter is produced 3 times a year by the M.T.C.A., Environmental Science Center, Unity College, Unity 04988. Editor Jack Kertesz. Comments, contributions and help at any level are appreciated. Donations and proceeds from the sale of written materials will go towards furthering education in the area of tree crops. Suggested subscription price $2 per year. Barter or exchanges accepted.
Support this network by returning the enclosed survey, encouraging local tree consciousness and locating and planting useful trees.
Please extend the life of this tree by passing it along to a friend or local library.
NOTE: At present our affiliation with the college is primarily a mailing address. Further involvement will proceed as interest dictates. A reference file is being maintained—contact Chris Marshall extension 220 for details.
“Cow Manure Deters Rodents From Stealing Seeded Black Walnut”—from the 69th Annual Report of the Northern Nut Growers 11978) 10 inch diameter, 4 inch deep piles of fresh manure with low straw content reduced (didn't eliminate) rodent pilferage, acted as fertilizer and didn't need removal like wire screening.
WOOD PRODUCTS LIST BEING UPDATED
Peter Lammert Maine Department of Conservation Station 22 Augusta 04333 In 1970 Maine produced 300 forest products- from lobster pegs to yo-yos. Help locating sources of these products would be appreciated.
“Humanity's coming of age will depend on the human race learning to plan and put into practice forms of life now only in possession of musicians, artists and imaginative philosophers.” —Scott Nearing at 100, shortly before his death on August 24, 1983.
1. MAINE ORGANIC FARMERS AND GARDENERS ASSOCIATION
An established voice for ecological agriculture sponsor local chapter meetings and workshops, an apprenticeship and certification program, legislative monitoring and input, Common Ground Fair. Membership includes subscription to an informative bi-monthly newspaper. MOFGA, PO BOX 2176, Augusta 04330.
2. PROJECT OUR ENVIRONMENT FROM SPRAYED TOXINS
Quarterly newsletter the GADFLY brings you the latest on pesticide legislation, budworm, potato, and blueberry spray programs, pesticide related health research. A no spray register and reprints of selected environmental issues are available. Send $10 to support their non-profit effort and perhaps someday we can all breathe a bit easier. PEST, Milbridge, Me 04658. A matching grant this year will double their funds—so do it now.
3. NORTH COUNTRY PERMACULTURE
A non-profit effort to link all aspects of a sustainable agriculture and society. Offer workshops. Contact: Wyatt Courtemange Blue Bay Farm, Blue Hill 04614.
Network Appropriate Technology on an international scope in their quarterly newsletter. Sample copies: # 26 was special tree issue, Tranet, Box 567, Rangely 04970.
5. MAINE POMOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Tim Drake, P.O. Box 735, Kents Hill 04349.
6. THE MAINE LEAF
Maine Dept. of Ag., Food and Rural Resources, Augusta 04333. Newsletter of state arborists and nursery people includes ad for supplies.
7. OZARK PERMANENT CULTURE SOCIETY
Quarterly newsletter LADYBUG presents biological and financial approaches for a non-depletable agriculture. (Land trusts, credit unions, clean social investments.) Services include a land-use plant service (computer generated) which compliments a printed species index and a lending library/ book outlet. LADYBUG c/o Mary Lehman Rt. 1 box 231 Jamestown, MO 65046.
8. EDIBLE LANDSCAPE PROJECT, UNIVERSITY FOR MAN
1221 Thurston Manhattan, Kansas 66502. 15% of our nation's "fertilizer and 200 million gallons of gasoline per year are required to maintain extensive ground covers reports THE EDIBLE LANDSCAPE PROJECT. Perhaps the most accountable work on the subject for a specific region, these folks have-created a model site plan and plant selection guide. Also network activities of related groups and individuals in their SEEDS: For a Sustainable Food System.
9. AMERICAN POMOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION QUARTERLY
103 Tyson Building, University Park, PA 16802.
10. INTERNATIONAL DWARF FRUIT TREE ASSOCIATION
Horticulture Dept., MSU, E. Lansing, MI 48824. Newsletter COMPACT FRUIT TREE. FRUIT NOTES (Dept. Plant and Soil Sciences) CES U. Mass Amherst 01003. IPM Research and summaries. $18 a year semi-monthly.
11. "APPLE SOURCE"
Thomas Vorbeck, RR1 Chapin, IL 62628. Computerized specialty apple buy or sell. Mail order service provides packaging material, labels, etc. to grower, with links to consumers.
12. NEW YORK STATE FRUIT TESTING COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION
Geneva, NY 14456. Maintain trials, conduct open house, catolog list varieties available.
13. THE TREE PROJECT
Attn. Robert DeVelMuller NGLS DC-1906, 1 UN Plaza, N.Y., N.Y. 10017. UN program to have youth plant 1,000 million trees in 1985.
14. ELM RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Harrisville, NH 03450.
Environmental Education Center, Rt. W Box 132, Leicester, NC 28748 Permaculture newsletter of the south east.
The state maintains a quarantine on GOOSEBERRY and CURRANT bushes because of their role as alternate host to the white pine blister rust. Sectors are rogued on a rotation basis. The eradication program does leave northern areas and parts of Washington County open to home and commercial production. Contact Doug Stark, Forest Service Entomology Lab, 50 Hospital St. Augusta 04330 if you have any questions about your location.
WANTED—Anyone growing the following:
Akebia quinata, Aronia melanocarpa, Sheprdia, Mahonia, Barberry, Rubus chamaemorus, MULBERRIES!
Let us know how these are doing.
THE FUTURE IS ABUNDANT
A reference work that reads like a wish list come true. What's out there, who's doing it, where to find additional information, how to begin - (Begin at the beginning of this book) You'll soon find it's applicable to more than the Pacific Northwest (A northeast version is being planned—want to help?)
THE INTERNATIONAL PERMACULTURE SEED YEARBOOK
T.I.P.S.Y. PO BOX 202 Orange, MA 01364 70 p. $7.50. Here's a positive approach to creating harmony among individuals, groups, cities, nations, ecosystems. But it's more than dream material. Lots of practical information, exchanges, who's up to what and more. How to unscrew, screwed up cities (it's happening, changing people's lives.) An eye opener for the uninformed—a prodding for those who keep them open. Deadline for plant search ads and suppliers listing for '84 edition is September 30, 1983.
ECOLOGICAL FRUIT PRODUCTION IN THE NORTH
Bart Hall Beyer RR #3 Scotstown, Quebec Job 3JO 270p $11. Organic culture of tree, vine and bush fruit. Includes varietal descriptions of some old and most new introductions. Swiss pruning system for apple tree rejuvenation is featured.
HISTORY OF MAINE AGRICULTURE
1604-1860. 318p 1954. and FARMING IN MAINE, 1860-1940. 306p. 1963 Clarence Day, UMO Press, Orono. Here's two works that shed light on the past and perhaps illuminate the future.
MINOR FRUITS IN NEW YORK STATE
Information Bulletin II, 50¢, Mailing Room, Building 7, Research Park, Cornell University, Ithaca 14853.
GROWING AMERICAN BUNCH GRAPES
USDA Farmers Bulletin 2123.
GROWING CHERRIES EAST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS
USDA Farmers Bulletin 2185.
PRUNING FRUIT TREES IN THE HOME ORCHARDS
C.E.S. U.M.O. Bulletin 590.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS
Tompkins and Bird 340p. Recent investigations are revealing trees ability to communicate with each other. This book explores many possible interactions in the plant world and their potential uses. Worth another look at.
THE MAN WHO PLANTED HOPE AND GREW HAPPINESS
Giono, Friends of Nature, Brooksville ME 04617. A delightful tale of the impact of one human being on a part of this planet. Recommended for all ages. 16p $2.
Ron Rabin, Star Rt. Box 182 Urapqua, OR. 97486. 24p. $3. Selections from several works to enjoy and inspire.