Forest Resource – Sacred Grounds

"American Ginseng" - Westmoreland County, PA

“American Ginseng” – Westmoreland County, PA

The sun is rising over the distant tree line…
Reflecting off the calm water like glass…
Mayflies are dancing in the morning light…
My soul is like a candle burning in the night…

The trees in the forest reach for the sky…
When I call out the woodland birds reply…
My mind is in heaven yet I am on the ground…
Communication with nature requires no sound…

Climbing mountains of sand and limestone…
At the top of the rise stands a circle of pines…
I stand among the sleepy conifer trees…
Singing praises to the deer and the bees…

As the earth slowly spins I steady my balance…
On the side of this mountain sitting in silence…
Ginseng takes the place of the spring May Apple…
The forest is the only place sacred like a chapel…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Repetition – Spring Highlight

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Something different… The colors of industry… Used to highlight a snapshot of nature… Repetitive… But perfect… Poetry in photos… No captions required… “Blue and Orange” – Marcegaglia Warehouse – Homestead, PA “Dogwood Firework” – Rebecca Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs […]

Seedlings and Trees – Green and Ice

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“Crackle Apple” – Whitney Avenue/Hamnett Way – Wilkinsburg, PA – This photo has a companion – Blueberry Ice – Didn’t exactly make this cut… Maybe I’ll use it in another ice poem…

A child is a seedling…
A grown up is a tree…
Somewhere in the middle…
Is just little old me…

Sitting here in the snow…
Thinking with my fragile soul…
Considering all the little shit…
That combines to make me whole…

Don’t sweat the small stuff…
Walk softly and carry a big stick…
When given your own choice…
Always build with bricks…

Brick stands the test of time…
Icy snows and gusty flows…
Be the structure standing tall…
When the cold wind blows…

Be the mighty wind…
Be the mighty tree…
Sometimes you just have to be…
Whatever sets you free…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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“Green on Ice” – Hamnett Way – Wilkinsburg, PA – I don’t normally get excited at the sight of grass… Against the white of the snow… And the grey of the sky… It was electric to my eyes…

Today… I was brought to my knees at the sight of the color green… I spent my day shoveling out apartments… Towards the end of the day I ran off a sidewalk and into the grass… Now you have to understand… I was 6 hours into one of the nastiest days I have ever experienced… I was drenched… Freezing… And standing in slush… Surrounded in fog under a nasty gray sky… Then I saw green… Then I saw spring… I dropped to my knees… Pulled out my camera… And snapped this photo… I just had to share it… This photo spawned this entire post…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 4 – Narcissus

DafCU

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Narcissus… Better known by the common name Daffodil… Is a genus of hardy spring-flowering bulbs in the Amaryllis family… The name is linked to the Greek myth of Narcissus… Who became so obsessed with his own reflection that he knelt and gazed into a pool of water… Eventually falling in and drowning… The Narcissus plant sprang from where he died…

Narcissus is poisonous… Mostly in the bulb… But also in the leaves… Accidental poisoning is uncommon… But due to the bulbs resemblance to an onion… It is not unheard of… Daffodils also cause a skin irritation known as “daffodil itch”… Some cultivars more than others… It is probably best if those with sensitive skin wear long sleeves and gloves when working with this plant…

Narcissus

Daffodils have a long-standing association with fruit tree guilds in permaculture… Typical recommendations being to plant them in a circle around the tree based on what you believe the canopy will be in a few years… The belief is that the bulbs will prevent the grass from encroaching on the tree… Early flowering attracts important beneficial insects… And the poisonous foliage will prevent browsing…

The only one of these three beliefs that has any real merit is beneficial attraction… Grass and weeds do not stop advancing unless they encounter an impenetrable barrier… A circle of bulbs does not count as an impenetrable barrier by any means… Likewise… Although the foliage of the daffodil is toxic… Most of the poison is concentrated in the bulb… It would require a carpet of Narcissus below the tree to seriously have any possible effect on preventing browsing… But it would be really beautiful…

My recommendations are as follows… Daffodils should not be planted as a border around your trees… Although it will look pretty… It will not work exactly as advertised… It won’t hurt anything either… Daffodils should be planted in clumps at a depth of at least four inches… I like to throw a few bulbs in the air and then plant the clumps where each one falls… Daffodil bulbs reproduce on their own… Every so often the clumps should be dug up and divided to prevent overcrowding…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

New To writing and never had to site sources before… These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring… My source is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information… But much of this is just related from the web…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… Although this website is free… I sell prints of my photography here – www.society6.com/chriscondello – or you can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com – Although it isn’t a requirement… It helps…

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is – 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

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The Forest Falling

HollowedOut

“Hollowed Out on Duck Hollow” – Monongahela River – Pittsburgh, PA

This is one of my first poems originally titled “Trees Will Fall”… This is a new edit and photograph…

If a tree falls in the forest…
And no ones around to hear it…
I hear it… I feel it…
I understand…

A tree is built to eventually fall…
Marvel as it crashes to the ground…
Awakens the soil… Replenishes the soil…
Comes alive…

Fallen trees melt into the forest floor…
Replenishing the cycles of life…
Destroys homes… And creates them…
Simultaneously…

Homes built with the skeletons of trees…
Designed by flesh and bones…
We are both alive… We will survive…
We will all thrive…

Together…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Paved Waves – Asphalt Creeping

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“Asphalt Creeping” – © chriscondello 2013 – Vassar Way – Wilkinsburg, PA – So many textures and patterns… I could hardly contain myself… The wavy new asphalt interacting with hundred year old bricks… And a concrete gutter… An urban timeline…

Block after block… Outlined in black… Highlighted in gray… Urban sprawl… City night call… Orange tones and abandoned house bones… Sights… Sounds… And alley cat moans… Creeping through the darkness… Lit by the lightning bugs… Flying through my mind…

Jasmine blossoms bless the air… Scented lily’s… Citrus blooms… All combine in my backyard room… Raise the bar on my scarred soul… Enhances energy… Enlightens life… Brightens the darkness… Fuels the light… Currently all my energy… Comes from flowers of white… Scented dreams… Scented memories…

Streets lined in gardens… Hell strips converted to heavens… Scented herbs beneath my feet… Impossible to miss if you park on the street… Sunflowers hide the telephone poles… These should be everyone’s goals… Simply don’t ask permission… It’s a guaranteed no… It will probably mess with the traffic flow…

Even after all the rhymes and theory… People apparently don’t seem to hear me… Plant a garden… Or a tree… Do it without asking… Do it for free… Or get paid… Regardless… Just do something… Something for you… Something for me… Something for the land… Or something for the sea…

Promote life…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

I now have prints of some of my work available here – http://society6.com/chriscondello – If you would like a print of a photo not listed… Just ask…

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Practical Permaculture – The Art Of Planting A Fruit Tree

Plum

“perfectly Plum” – © chriscondello 2013 – Hamnett Place Community Garden – Wilkinsburg, PA – Plums may have been one of the first fruits domesticated by humans… Three of the most abundant cultivars are not found in the wild… Only around human settlements… Plums have even been found in Neolithic age archeological sites along with olives, grapes and figs…

 I have touched on the subject of planting fruit trees before…

https://chriscondello.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/practical-permaculture-planting-and-early-care-of-fruit-trees/

That is the article if you are interested in reading it. This post is meant to be a detailed description of all of the steps involved on the actual day that your tree will be put in the ground. Given the popularity of my last couple of tree related posts, I figured a new post about trees would be a suiting 20,000 views celebration.

So when is the right time to plant a tree? I typically answer with 10 years ago… But the second best time is right now… That statement is surprisingly accurate… Though there are “best”, or recommended times to plant trees, it is always best to put a tree in the ground instead of letting it sit in the pot. I am a realist, I recognize that not everyone is able to purchase, yet alone plant a fruit tree in February. I want to be very clear here, you can plant a tree anytime of the year… There are times of the year that are better than others though… But regardless of season… You can plant trees…

Trees come from the nursery in three common forms, bare root, balled and burlapped (B&B), and potted.

Bare root trees are commonly purchased through the mail to facilitate cheap shipping. I have found that when you order a bare root tree, they will only ship it early in the spring in accordance with the proper planting time. If you happen to receive your bare root trees before you can plant… You can put it in a bucket of water for a short period of time… Like a week or two… Any longer than that and I would recommend potting it up… Or burying the roots in a temporary mound of soil… Don’t leave it to long though as it will take root and become very difficult to remove…

Balled and burlapped trees are dug from a field taking care to not damage the roots, afterwards the roots and soil are wrapped in burlap for transport. As long as the rootball is kept moist they can be held for a year or two… Though I don’t recommend that, it is possible. Balled and burlapped trees can be planted anytime of the year, anytime you plant a tree with leaves on it you can expect some stress… Every effort should be made to ease the trees transition when planting off-season… Or anytime other than spring before the tree has leaved out…

Potted plants are probably the easiest way for the home gardener to buy trees, when the roots slip out of the pot easily, stress to the tree is at a minimum. Often times, nurseries will run sales on trees during the middle or end of the summer. For me to tell you to hold that tree in the pot for the entire winter would be a joke… No matter what form you buy your trees in, just plant the thing.

Choosing the proper location for your fruit tree is a relatively easy process, though much of the literature available tends to convolute the shit out of it. If you follow a few general rules, you will plant it in the right spot each and every time.

Start your observations early in the morning, pay attention to where the sun rises in your specific location. In urban environments, all day sunshine is at a premium, the choice is almost always between sunshine in the morning or sunshine in the afternoon. Morning sunshine is always better as the heat has a chance to accumulate all morning, then slowly dissipate in the afternoon and night. Afternoon sunshine on the other hand only starts heating the surface around lunchtime, this results in solar warmth affecting the tree for the latter half of the day, this energy is then quickly zapped from the earth after the sun goes down. Whenever it is an option, always choose morning sun… Always…

A common question I am asked is whether or not a tree can be planted in shade, and as always my answer is yes. But it is extremely important to remember that a tree intended for sun, will never produce as much fruit as that same tree would produce had it been planted in full sun. Some permaculturist would argue with me until the cows come home, but many old-timer farmers would agree with me 100%… In my own personal experiences with gardening and farming… When given the choice between “old-world” and “new-age”… Always go with the old-world… They knew their shit…

I was at one time going to write an article about how to dig a hole, believe it or not, people google it all the time. Well, you start with a shovel, and you end with a shovel… Depending on location, you may need an axe for roots, or a pick mattock to remove stones and bricks. Either way, you just stick a shovel in the ground and move dirt… Remember… Manual Labor is not the president of Mexico… A little old-timer advice for yah…

Tree planting depth is another common question, although the answer is simple… There are a few variables to consider. Seed grown trees will develop a root flare where the trunk meets the soil. Regardless of how deep you think you should plant that tree, if a flare is present, that needs to be at the surface of the soil.

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“DogLeg” – © chriscondello 2013 – Hamnett Place Community Garden – Wilkinsburg, PA – This is a photo of the graft union on a pear tree… The bottom is the root-stock and the top is the scion… This union needs to stay exposed for the life of the tree… As this tree grows… This union will eventually look like a straight trunk… But it will still need to remain exposed…

Grafted trees are a little different though, they have a special requirement that is absolutely detrimental to the overall survival of the specific tree. A grafted tree is made up of two distinct parts, a rootstock and the scion, or top of the tree. The rootstock is an entirely different tree than the top part on a grafted specimen, typically a tree that does not produce good fruit… But instead is dwarfing, disease resistance, or a combination of the two.

Where the rootstock joins the tree is known as a graft union, it will look like the knee of a dog. It is absolutely imperative that the graft union be planted a few inches above the soil line, and do not mulch above this line a few years down the road. The top of a grafted tree does not necessarily enjoy having to suck its water and nutrients through a foreign body, when given the opportunity, the top of a grafted tree will almost always attempt to root itself… If it happens to be successful… The tree will ultimately reject the rootstock… And all of the traits of the rootstock will be lost… An example would be a dwarf apple tree that is only supposed to get 11 feet tall… Could possibly grow to 40 feet… I have seen it happen on more than one occasion…

A common permaculture practice is to plant stuff under trees, a fine practice though I do have a caution to consider when planting under your fruit tree. Any plant that gets close enough to the trunk to touch it has the ability to cause great damage. Not only does the shade and moisture created heighten the possibility of fungus, disease or rot, it also greatly raises the possibility of your tree sending roots out from above the graft union. groundcover and thick vegetation will act the same as if you simply mulched over your graft union, this will almost always cause your scionwood to root… Ultimately rejecting your dwarfing root-stock…

If you are having issues sighting your tree planting depth, place a branch or board across the hole, then place your tree accordingly. Take into consideration mulches that will be applied in the future, you can never cover the graft union… ever… It is important to remember that a rootstock is just a rooted cutting, there is no root flare. As long as the roots are underground on a grafted tree, it will grow fine… You could technically plant a bare-root grafted tree with the union 12 inches above the soil line… As long as the roots are buried… Also a grafted tree does not send out a tap-root… So temporarily take that word out of your vocabulary…

When you put your tree in the hole, do your best to spread the root out around the inside of the hole. If all of your roots grow to one side of the tree, and that side takes on a heavy load of fruit, the tree will probably topple. I personally like to fill my hole with as much original material as possible, I may amend slightly, but never more than 20%… And I really wouldn’t do more than this unless it was completely stone.

My thinking behind this is simple… Lets say you are planting in 100% clay and stone… Extremely lifeless stuff… If you refill your hole with black gold… When the tree hits the clay it will go no further… Would you?.. I feel it is much better to only mix in a little bit of organic material to your fill, and let the tree get used to the conditions at hand. In the long-term, work on your soil with organic mulches and phytoremediation…

https://chriscondello.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/practical-permaculture-plants-and-phytoremediation/

A young tree should not be overly nursed, it should be allowed to settle into your location. If your soil is clay, then replacing the soil in the small hole you are planting it in is really doing your tree no favors.

Another scenario worth mentioning, I actually observed recently. A local nonprofit planted 500 trees in Wilkinsburg, many of which are planted in the hell strip next to the road. They actually brought in heavy equipment and excavated these areas, replacing the soil with what I believe to be the 40% manure to 60% topsoil mix available at Ag-Recycle in Pittsburgh… At first I thought this was absurd, then I remembered I could only manage to dig about 9″ into our local hellstrip… Then I hit solid slag gravel… Or fill… I then realized they had absolutely no choice but to do this… Moral of the story… If you can excavate and replace a large portion of the soil with an ideal replacement, then by all means… Dig away…

But for the rest of us, replace with what you have, and slowly add to the soil… occasional leaf mulching during the summer… Comfrey and other legumes… Yarrow… Hell… I already made a list…

https://chriscondello.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/practical-permaculture-planting-under-fruit-trees/

When you have finished planting your tree, water it immediately, and thoroughly. The tree will be entering into a period of stress, the simple act of moving a tree is enough to put it into shock. You see… Conditions in your yard are rarely the same as at the nursery, wind speed, temperature, sunlight and humidity changes will affect your tree negatively… Every attempt should be made to ease the transition from nursery to yard… A good rule of thumb is to consider your tree extremely vulnerable until it resumes active growth… When you see new leaves… You can expect equal root growth… A good sign that your tree is beyond the stress phase of its eventual journey to a pie on your table… Or as I like to call it… Fruit tree Nirvana…

To sum this post up briefly… Plant your trees when you can… Spring is best… But any time will do… Likewise… Sun is best… But shade will do… Just expect to alter your approach a bit… Dig your hole twice the size of the roots you intend to stick in it… And fill it with as much of the original soil as you can… Remember to keep the graft union exposed… And water immediately after planting… And until you notice fresh growth… Fertilizers should never be applied… If a tree or plant is absorbing high levels of nutrients during a time it cannot process them… They will build up and could eventually cause damage or death due to toxicity… And that is really all there is to it… Until next time…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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