Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reasons NOT to start fruit trees from seed (and why they're dumb)

Rachel and I were talking this morning about starting trees from seeds and why some people simply won't do it. The reasons not to do it are less compelling than they are sad, in a retarded bunny rabbit sort of way. Probably the number one excuse I hear is "It takes sooooo long!"

Aw. My heart bleeds. Someone call the WHAAAAAAaaaambulance!

The problem with it "taking so long" is more cultural than practical. We want things RIGHT NOW, DANG IT! Waiting 3-10 years for fruit or nuts drives us crazy.

Another reason people simply won't bother planting tree seeds is that "it won't be like the parent." Did that stop your parents? Does that stop dog breeders? Does that keep us from scattering heirloom flower seeds about? No. It's just when it comes to fruit (or nut) trees that we get nervous. It also relates back to the "it takes sooooo long" argument.

"What if it doesn't produce well? Or it's bitter or sour?"

Is that really a big deal? Like I've said many times - make marmalade or graft onto it. Cut it down and use the wood for tool handles. Seriously.

But - let's take the length of time thing and treat it seriously. Yes, it takes quite a while. No, it's not instant gratification. That's why you need to start right now.

I start trees from seed, but I'm also not sitting around waiting for them to grow up so I can eat their fruit. I plant seeds every few months or so, then do something else. If you want food quickly, work on your annual beds - and at the same time, put aside a few pots here and there for tree seeds. You can eat corn and cabbages now... chestnuts and key limes later.

Your life span, hopefully, allows you plenty of time. Small, incremental steps lead to big possibilities that you'll never reach if you don't look ahead a few years.

Just like Allen the Beekeeper's report on his dad's trees yesterday... a few minutes of looking ahead years ago led to something beautiful today. Those grapefruit trees will produce massive amounts of food over their lives with very little input. Can you say the same about your annual beds?

Go - plant a seed!

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At February 16, 2013 at 7:02 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Definitely the way to think about it. I talk to gardeners all the time that don't like to "wait" for the time it takes to get fruit or flower of a specific variety. I always tell them "well, you've got 100's of other garden projects you work on, dozens of them right now, so why not?" Good psychology mate! :)

At February 16, 2013 at 8:16 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Yep. Incrementally, things get done. Be the tortoise!


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