The Armchair Permaculturalist Gets Nut Trees in the Mail

I have been an armchair permaculturalist for many years, leafing through photographs of dirt lots transformed into gardens of eden, dreaming of one day turning my yard into a thriving ecosystem of gourmet stature. This Spring I committed to taking my dream out of the house and into the yard.

Permaculture emphasises edible forestry and so I decided to start by planting berry and nut trees. I wanted trees that had been selected for the palatability and generosity of their harvests as well as their hardiness and disease resistance, but all I found locally were trees grown for their “landscape potential,” so I googled. (BTW, if anyone knows of a good local nursery, please comment.)

After looking through a few sites, I settled on Rhora’s Nut Farm and Nursery. Their web-site is an ode to nut trees.  These people clearly love what they do.  They treat trees as parts of communities of organisms, offering bags of inoculant containing the spores of helpful mycorrhizal fungi specific to each species of tree, and warning against the use of pesticides. Although their trees grow in Niagara, the idea of shipping trees to Ottawa did not seem to faze them, so I picked some trees, set a shipping date and waited. (For those of you who might be curious, I ordered 1 swiss stone pine, 3 elders, and 2 bush hazels.)

Yesterday my six trees arrived in a cardboard box, packed with damp shredded newspaper, postmarked the day before. As per the instruction sheet I rushed to get them into the ground, mixing the innoculant with the soil as I went and watering them deeply when I was finished. I was a bit nervous about last night’s sub-zero temperatures, but aside from one of the elders, the trees seem to be unscathed. If all goes well my six trees will grow up and in a few years they’ll start bearing fruit and there will be one more local source of food for my household and the households of my furred and winged neighbour.

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5 thoughts on “The Armchair Permaculturalist Gets Nut Trees in the Mail

  • What an excellent idea. All we have are these massive and dirty maples. But hey, at least they give us shade. 🙂

    I am thinking of a small tree for the front yard though… must check this site out. Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea.

  • We’ve been living in our present house(Ottawa) for nine years. We inherited a mature apple tree, and have planted pear, crab apple, blackberry, gooseberry and rhubarb. Of these only the blackberry has not done really well. The gooseberries are a revelation- several pounds of fruit the first year, and a constant and helpful habit of self-rooting the drooping branches. The birds love them, too. Oh, and they taste so good!

    All our purchases were made locally and cheaply. I’d love to add a nut tree, but no room at present.

  • Yes ! As Joni said, we’ve got to get back to the garden. I think it also makes one more aware of what gets put into the ground, water & air because we end of up eating it.

  • Howdy,
    I’m really curious to know how your Swiss stone pine is doing almost 5 years later… I’m trying some permaculture down by Gananoque, and looked at Rhora’s page for nut-pines. Any success with the tree?

    Cheers,
    Peter

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