One of the best parts of gardening is how it shifts over the years. I’ve done basic gardening, I’ve run an urban farm, built a homestead garden out of raw land, and I have grown a lot of plants. For both us and to sell, trade, and to give away. I used to grow hundreds of rare strawberry plants and herbs that were not common. It was a passion those years, where selling supported the cost of it all. I still grow the unusual, but at a slower rate these days. It’s less about selling now, and more about wanting to cover our land with beneficial plants. That is the “feeling” I have for the 2024 grow season.
But I also started seeing things differently. In so many ways it is similar to making yeast bread. Where one must have patience it will happen.
It just takes a couple of years to see the first results.
The long games can be easy to forget about. This one stuck with me, and since that first year, I have started many other trees. Douglas Fir and Big Leaf Maple have joined this tiny Western Cedar.
I had looked down and seen a tiny seedling in 2020, growing in a retaining wall. It had to come out, but this one talked to me. To not waste its energy. So I plucked it out carefully, and potted it up.
Trees are simple: They either make it or they don’t. It’s that simple for growing them. Give them good soil, water and light. And protected from deer that will eat the gentle soft starts.
So I planted it in acidic soil, in a 1 gallon pot and ignored it. It got watered and plenty of sun. But I did nothing else.
Eventually I looked at it 2021 and realized it needed to be upsized.
So I moved it up to a 5 gallon pot.
The trees live behind fences, in the berry bed.
It’s now entering the soon-to-be-winter of 2023. It’s tall now.
Our youngest, bent over in the sun. He is over 5’3″ now and the tree is taller than him. Soon the tree will be taller than the fence.
It makes me happy to watch this tree grow.
It is surrounded by the other trees we are growing.
Growing a legacy tree is a pretty cool thing to do. Take a tiny seedling that most likely won’t make it, and give it a chance.
This coming spring we will get these all in the ground, and watch them grow. Now big enough that they can survive the deer.
And one day, they may well be a gentle giant, towering over little starts.
And if that is my legacy, it’s good enough for me.