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Jan 17

Apples and Oranges: Getting the Kids into Permaculture

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We are blessed with three beautiful children. One of the rules we have for the children is that at least one hour per weekend be devoted to something they want to grow or raise. Our oldest son chose apples; our daughter chose oranges. The youngest son hasn’t made a choice yet (I’m hoping for rabbits). I’m not sure if our oldest chose apples because he loves to eat them or because he killed one of my young apple trees last year and was racked with guilt. Whatever his reason, he spent many weeks looking up varieties of apples that will grow in North Texas, when to plant, how to prune, etc.

Wanting to encourage his new interest, I bought 5 trees online from the Willis Orchard Company. I was glad to be able to order the varieties my son had picked; however, I’ve never planted bare-root trees before. I hope they live! Last year we had planted two trees grown in 5-gallon containers from Ron’s Organics. Both trees grew very well and survived the severe drought (but only one survived the teenage boy with the weed-eater). Our new trees will get protective French-drain collars.

The trees arrived just before the weekend and with rain in the forecast for Monday we decided Saturday morning would be the best time to plant. Our son shoveled compost and mulch, hauled bucket after bucket of water and root stimulator, measured meticulously between the trees, and was incredibly helpful getting them planted. But the thing that really impressed me happened after lunch. When I went back out to plant my blackberry bushes (ordered from Berries Unlimited), he came too. It wasn’t required, wasn’t part of his project, and isn’t a fruit he’s particularly fond of, but he shoveled compost and mulch, hauled water and was again, very helpful.

At fourteen, the boy usually thinks we’re a little strange. He admits to the value of storing supplies, having 3-day bug-out-bags, and growing our own food; but when asked his opinion, the words “weird,” “extreme,” and “unconventional” are usually involved. He was already ten or eleven when we began prepping so it’s not engrained in him. By taking an interest in growing apples, not only will he develop a useful skill, but he’ll understand that quality takes time and nurture. My hope is that by the time the apple trees begin bearing fruit “weird,” “extreme,” and “unconventional” will be replaced by “healthy,” “prepared,” and “wise.”

Seeing that we were serious and would put actual money behind their research, my daughter has been eating a variety of oranges, trying to find one she enjoys that can be grown in containers on the patio. She’s twelve and loves being prepared, but then, she was only eight when we got started. What a difference just a few years can make – or maybe our kids are as different as apples and oranges.

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1 comment

  1. Louis Vuitton Outlet

    It’s a good stage!

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