First Fruit in the PawPaw Patch

PawPaw Fruit

The two PawPaw trees finally have fruit on them!

PawPaw Green Fruit
This is reportedly the first year they’ve had fruit, even though the two trees are 6 years old. All I did was clear away some weeds in early spring and add some plant-tone and mulch.

And here is the beautiful leafy tree, looking very tropical with its big shiny leaves.

PawPaw Tree

Also there are many shoots coming up. Some are older but some are new this year. Their natural growth habit is to form a patch, and not a single tree like an apple or a large bush like a fig.

PawPaw Shoots

This fall or winter I will plant one or two more nearby to increase the genetic diversity and pollination rate. These will be named grafted varieties with known superior fruit as opposed to wild ones which I suppose these are.

Get out of their way

“Growing in containers is really very easy, if we allow it to be. Our plants are already programmed to become perfect genetic specimens, if only we can learn how to get out of their way by understanding what is limiting them and removing those limitations to the greatest degree to which we’re capable.” – Tapla (paraphrased)

In a nutshell, it helps to give them a habitat they love so they can thrive and fulfill their glorious destiny. Like people.

Below is an herb spiral under construction (not mine, sorry).

An herb spiral is a permanent container type garden which I can build. It creates multiple habitats just by its shape and orientation.  You can even have a frog pond on the low, north side.

Building a Pond

Pond Level With Liner Hidden

Here’s a little photo narrative of a lined pond I’m building now.
I will add some explanation as I have time.

Youngs Pond Digging And Leveling
Digging and Leveling
Youngs Pond Hard Flat Edge
Using a flat spade to finish the top shelf
Youngs Pond Fitted Rocks
Edging rocks roughed in
Youngs Pond Underliner
Spreading the “puncture proof” sub lining
Youngs Pond Liner Centering
Spreading and filling the liner
Youngs Pond Filled To Rock Rim
Edge rocks replaced on top of liner and pond is filled
Pond Level With Liner Hidden
Landscaping and water plants added

Spring Flowers Awakening

The bright daffodils have always meant spring to me, but this morning I saw them in a whole new light, thanks to something I read.

Single daffodil flower on a black background

Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature.

The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. Without our fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves.

Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless. They not only had a scent that was delicate and pleasing to humans, but also brought a fragrance from the realm of spirit.

Using the word “enlightenment” in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants.

– Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth”

Taking and posting that daffodil picture was inspired by a friend of mine who recommended this book from which the above quote is taken.

Book Cover: Eckhart Tolle A New EarthAmazon lets you read it online as soon as you purchase it (even a used hardcover like I bought).


What to do with your new mushroom log.

Your logs are completely maintenance free, after you find a good location for them.

Fresh mushroom logs stacked up in the shade, in the rain and off the ground.
Fresh mushroom logs stacked up in the shade, in the rain and off the ground.

Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Set it outside in a mostly shady spot, like the north or north-east side of a structure or under some trees.
  • Don’t put it under cover, since it should get rained on.
  • Keep it off the soil by setting it on some rocks, bricks or boards.
  • It is very important that your logs do not dry out by prolonged exposure to direct sun or high temperatures.
  • Optional: Colonization of a freshly inoculated log is accelerated by keeping it in a cool (room temperature) place indoors, in your basement or in the garage, wrapped in plastic for a month or two during the coldest time of the year.   Then set outside in a shady spot as described above.
  • Don’t let it freeze hard the first few weeks.  A solid week of freezing daytime temps might kill a freshly inoculated log, but you probably won’t see that if you live in WNC.
  • After they have incubated for a 8 months or so, you can “force” a flush of mushrooms by soaking them in a stream of tank overnight, or putting a soaker hose on it for several hours.  This is a good thing to do too in hot dry weather.

That’s it, they should produce a first flush in 8-12 months, and keep producing sporadically (usually after a wet cycle) for 1 or 2 more years.

Growing Shiitake Mushrooms

Yes, you can do that very easily in your backyard. Brevard has an excellent climate for this, being in a temperate rainforest.

All you need is:
– a small log (or several), 4-8 inches in diameter and about 4 ft long
– some mushroom spawn
– some melted wax

Then drill some evenly spaced holes in the logs, stuff the spawn plugs in the holes and cover each hole with wax.

Put the logs the shade, away from the bare earth and wait about a year.

Depending on conditions, and whenever the mushrooms decide, you will get several small harvests of fresh, dense, organic mushrooms for up to four years (the thicker logs last longer). It is best to check a couple of days after a rain.

Periodically, I plan to host a mushroom log party where I will supply the spawn, logs and tools and you will do most of the work.