Fall may be the ideal time to plant trees, since they can sleep through the winter and start growing roots very early in the season – but spring still works as a fine planting time. Why bother turning into Johnny Appleseed? There are plenty of reasons. But the main incentive is that fruit and nut trees can provide tasty food for decades, and they can be planted at your bug out location or homestead as a form of food security for the years ahead. Your first step is to determine which fruit and nut trees grow well in your area, and then you can employ these three tricks for productive fruit and nut trees at your bug out site. In the meantime, they’ll also serve as great food sources for the wildlife you like to hunt.
1. Pay Attention to Pollen
Some trees are more sociable than others. They need a variety of companions to do well. When planning your orchard, pay close attention to the trees that require pollinating trees to be fruitful. Certain tree cultivars require a closely related yet different tree variety for cross-pollination. Most tree catalogs and nurseries are happy to suggest companion trees for your fruit and nut tree purchases.
2. Bury Some Treasure
There are many natural materials that can provide long lasting fertilization to your fruit trees – all you have to do is bury them when planting the tree. Hair, fur, and feathers are all great sources of phosphorus, a key nutrient for flower, nut, and fruit development. These are slow to decay, and provide years of nourishment. My favorite is crushed oyster shells. These nautical nuggets provide calcium and other minerals that can sweeten the taste of your fruit and improve the health of trees.
3. Plant Some Comfrey
Common comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a perennial member of the borage family and is a great plant to grow around the base of fruit trees. The plant has large hairy leaves and pretty “blue bell” flowers. Commonly used to make salves and other healing remedies, comfrey puts down deep roots which are excellent at pulling up minerals. These minerals end up in the leaves, which decompose at the base of the fruit tree. The net result of the relationship is that the comfrey acts as a miner, digging minerals from deep underground and dropping them at the base of the tree as a natural fertilizer.
Do you have a bug out site or homestead? Have you planted any trees or other perennials at the site? Tell us what you’ve planted by leaving a comment.