Permaculture forum: Food forest in a frigid wasteland

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Wyoming (Zone 4a)
Jan 11, 2018 12:25 AM CST
Hello everyone, I'm a permaculture enthusiast trying to get started in zone 3b/4a. My first question is on people's experience with Pinus Pumila or Siberian Dwarf Pine. It interests me as a first windbreak, as it is often found at the treeline where Tiaga meets Tundra. It also interests me because it is a source of pine nuts which I have heard are large enough to bother picking from the cones cracking and eating. Does anybody have experience starting these from Seed, and are they really big enough to shell or would this be an oilseed to grind and press whole? I'm also pretty set on planting Acer Saccharum, mostly because it is a deep rooting dynamic accumulator which practices hydraulic lift and has heavy leaf litter, but also for sap/syrup and possibly edible seeds. Does anyone know about the palatability of the seeds from various cultivars of Sugar Maple? I know I'm planning years out here, but I'd like to plant a stand or nice long row of Sugar maple from seed and hook it up to a vaccum sap collection system one day, and palatable seeds would be an added bonus, I was thinking roasted, ground into a butter and sweetened with syrup. My last question for today is about nitrogen fixing alder in colder climates. I was thinking it would be a great groundbreaker tree, and good source of leaf litter and logs for hugelkulter. Has anyone had experience with Frankia symbiotic green manure plants in the north?
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Jan 11, 2018 1:45 PM CST
Ape - Wow! I think you're smart to start with your trees. Do you have to do any land contouring? Can't answer any of your questions but interested in following your journey!
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Sam
Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
Jan 12, 2018 8:27 AM CST
I did some research on pine nut trees when thinking about what trees I wanted to plant. The pine nut trees are all extremely slow growers, slow enough that you may be planning a harvest for a generation or two out. Smiling

I like the idea of planting something that could potentially live 1000 years, but not enough to do it with all the other projects going on.

I have never tried to eat maple seeds, or even thought of it. But, I do have a large maple that shades our rabbit hutch. I grab handfuls during the season and feed them to the rabbits, and they love them. It is amazing how fast a maple can grow from seed.
Wyoming (Zone 4a)
Jan 21, 2018 1:09 AM CST
I don't actually have any land to contour yet. Siberian Dwarf Pine supposedly starts producing at 5-8 years of age, I might be able to harvest without a ladder. But even if I was planting for the next generation, I've got a 3 month old, so that works:)
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Apr 17, 2018 6:21 PM CST
If you buy larger trees, you may get nuts in ten years. You buy small trees it will be decades before you get cones and nuts.
How quickly depends on the soil they are growing in and how much effort you put into giving them premium soil grow in.

This thread from another forum has a lot of information.
Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
Apr 27, 2018 8:06 AM CST
Here in the south pine (& sweet gum) are prolific. We have several varieties, loblolly being one, but I couldn't tell you which was which. Some of them get really big pine cones but the ones I see in my yard are small/medium.

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