how to gather seeds, grow seedlings & plant trees for free
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Using this system you can cultivate, raise, store, transport and plant as many trees as you want.

Cut the top 1/4 off one-quart paper milk cartons. Punch fork holes in the bottom and along the bottom of the sides for drainage. Fill the cartons to about one inch from the top with a good mixture of your local soil. Gather seeds from
trees native to your area.

Soak seeds for several days then dry and then soak the seeds until they start to swell up and sprout.

(Detailed information.)

Place seeds about 1/4 inch deep into the soil at the top of the cartons. Water them every few days until they measure about 3 to 5 inches high and are then ready to plant.


Always "harden off" your seedlings for a few days before planting by placing the cartons with seedlings in them outdoors in a protected area out of drying wind or sun. If possible transplant on an overcast day otherwise in late afternoon or early evening to avoid drying out of the root hairs.

Select an appropriate location with enough space to ultimately contain what will be a mature tree. Dig a hole large enough to contain the carton. Carefully make a few slices in the bottom of the carton with a sharp knife. Gently place the carton in the hole with about one inch of the carton projecting above ground. Lightly tamp soil up around the carton. The sides of the carton will force the water straight down into the soil: the roots will follow through the bottom of the rotting carton. Water the seedling with approximately a quart of water once a week to start. Add a day between waterings as the roots grow deeper. Eventually the carton will rot away leaving a growing tree.

Why you should
Consider planting fruit trees.

Advantages of Organic agriculture to communities.

A fine commercial web site about fruit tree planting. Lots to learn here.


Encyclopedia of grafting.

Magnificient online course about grafting Yes, you can do it.

Plastic milk crates found outside of grocery stores, or better yet rescued from dumpsters, are the logical storage/ carrying cases for the seedlings in their milk cartons.

Sure enough, someone has thought of a way to make money from this idea.
Here's an outfit that'll send you milk cartons for only ONE DOLLAR EACH plus shipping and handling. What a great opportunity to teach your classroom that they can spend money or they can use their imagination and utilize things around us for useful purposes and save money for truly useful things.

Planting LARGER TREES and transplants. We have had 100% success with planting in the following way both purchased trees or those dug-up-in-the-wild and transplanted to our orchard.

1.Dig a hole at least one foot deeper and wider than the roots extend downward and outward. Before you start digging, use a flat shovel to carefully "scalp", in sections like tile, the top several inches of soil, along with the plants and roots. Set this aside carefully. You will use this to recover the top layer of soil above the tree roots. This top inch or so is alive with a huge amount of bacteria, fungi and other beneficial organisms that will help your tree to grow.

Pile the excavated dirt onto a tarp or just on the ground. Try not to disturb the soil surface around the hole.

2. Remove large rocks and backfill the hole with the excavated soil, making a dome of soil so that you can spread the roots over the top of the "dome", which to clarify is about 6 inches below the ground level. If you don't understand how this will work, make a fist with one hand and drape your fingers over the top of the fist. This is how the roots will cover the dome of soil. Firm up the soil with your foot.

3. Put the tree in the hole so that the majority of the roots are buried between the top of the dome and about 1 inch below the ground level. The roots should gently be spead out and down. Ideally you should see a little of the top most roots at the surface where they come out of the trunk.

(Get someone to hold the tree so that you can do the following without it sinking in or falling over, or use a thin piece of concrete reinforcing rod stuck in the bottom of the hole with old panty hose loosely looped around the rod and tree to hold it erect. Check to see that the biggest branches are pointing into the wind. You might even lean the tree slightly into the wind if its constant.

4. Gently push the excavated dirt onto the roots spread out over the top of the dome and tamp down this additional soil with your fist. Spread the next layer of roots on top of this soil and repeat in layers until the roots are all covered up with firmed up dirt. Spray the roots with a mist of water from the hose to keep them from drying out.

5. You might consider whether your tree needs a stake(s) on the side of the tree the wind comes from to support it. Bamboo is fine, so is concrete reinforcing rod;put a plastic soda cap on it to keep someone from being impaled if its low enough for that to happen. Use old pantyhose or knee highs to LOOSELY tie the tree to the stake(s). If lots of wind use two stakes positioned either side of the tree so that the line drawn through the stakes and the tree is at a right angle to the wind. Push the stakes down so that they don't penetrate any of the roots.

6. You may have a few small roots showing at the soil line. That's OK because now you will cover these up with the "tiles" of the original soil along with the roots, bugs, fungi etc. that you saved. Leave about 1/2 inch of air space around the trunk to keep it from rotting. Dump earth worms in this hole. They will tirelessly work to improve the soil around your tree's roots. The carpet of living soil will nourish the tree, keep the soil from drying out and give the surface roots something to grow up into.

7. Let a hose dribble on top of the root ball for an hour. Then water about one gallon a week or more if very hot and or windy. Clip grasses growing from the soil at the base of the tree that will compete with it. Lay down lots of mulch such as leaves and grass clippings (NOT SPRAYED WITH ANYTHING) on the area around the tree trunk but leave the trunk clear.

How you can create a rainforest by planting random species. Asuncion Island example.

striped line

More tree resources:

Learn about and Understand the Soil

Learn about forest ecosystems

A great site about tree maintenance (Keslick's)

About acorn planting. (you don't need the plastic tubes that they're selling)

U.S. Department of Energy praises trees as energy savers. i.e. reduce A/C costs in Florida by 40%

Booklets, Flyers and Newsletters from
the National Arbor Day Foundation.These are not cheap and you will be barraged by junk-mail. In addition to this, the National Arbor Day Foundation is pretending that they own the name of this traditional holiday and are causing grief to good organizations that give away free trees. A wonderful case study in greed and institutional corruption.

If you're interested in growing food, try our new
FOOD page.

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