Sunday, December 16, 2018

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM MAPLE GROVE PRODUCTIONS!!

A virtual Christmas card...

Happy Holidays, folks! From our family to yours, here is a gift we made just for you. It was inspired by one of our favorite movies: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Hope you enjoy! 🙂🎄👪

Much love,

Matt Leger & Family


Bare Root FRUIT/NUT TREE Tips & Tricks

Maple Grove Productions presents:

Tips & Tricks fro Planting FRUIT and NUT TREES + Best Practices

I know I keep going on and on about the Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery but hear me out! This is a great company for so many reasons. Not only are they local and really know their stuff, but they also genuinely care about their customers. They want you to succeed when you buy their trees! Imagine that. They don't just send you trees and expect you to implicitly know what you're doing. There's none of that "Here are your trees. Good luck with that, buddy!" kind of nonsense.

For example, they include their business card and a well-detailed planting guide with each order. This seemingly small gesture was very much appreciated as a green homesteader. When I saw those, I felt like I at least had a game plan to get me through the process and, if all else failed and I got stuck, I could easily contact them for support. With the guide in hand, combined with additional research I had done before, the whole process went pretty smoothly, as I'm sure is fairly evident in our "Homesteading for Beginners" video series.

I scanned a copy of their business card and planting guide for your consideration. See below. The guide contains a lot of really helpful information that I wanted to share with my readers. It really helped me understand what I was doing and build confidence as I was planting my first trees.
The Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery business card (front/back).


A complimentary Planting Guide provided by Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery that comes with your order. (front)


The Planting Guide included with your tree order is well-detailed and helpful. (back)
I will continue to provide resources as I come across them. Through these blog posts and videos, I hope to demonstrate to other newbies out there that getting started with homesteading begins with that first simple step to something regenerative and wholesome. If I help you intermediate to advanced level pros out there a things or two then all the better! Please send them back my way when you see something I could improve upon or you think could be done differently.

Many thanks for reading!

Keep Dreaming BIG and Dreaming Often, my friends! :)


KOREAN PINE Tree Planting & Winterizing

Learn how to plant and winterize Korean Pine trees.

Korean Pine trees, also known as PINUS KORAIENSIS, are a relatively easy tree to plant. If you order them in the mail, they will likely come in a dirt ball that has been pre-inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi. As with other young trees, you want to get them in the ground ASAP. This variety of tree is a bit different though. You DO NOT need to soak them. Doing so will almost surely kill them as they are easily stressed and shocked during transplantation. This is why they come in a ball of their native soil.

An important thing to note with Korean Pines is that they won't grow much for the first 3-7 years but when they do, they blow up! Hence, location is key with these guys. Don't expect to get any nuts for the first 10-20 years. They really do take that long to mature. This tree is an investment in a long term gain.

On the positive side though, they grow very well in all kinds of soil, even poor soil or highly acidic soil and they are quite shade-tolerant. What it lacks in rapid production, it makes up for in longevity, hardiness and sheer size. In its native habitat and with ideal growing condition, it's not uncommon for these trees to grow to heights of 30 m or higher!

All in all, the Korean Pine is a fine addition to any permaculture farm or homestead.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Planting & Winterizing Bare Root NUT TREES

Here's my handy dandy guide on the basics of planting bare root nut trees!

First off, I'll mention that there's not a lot of added information here for those that have been following the series so far. But for the sake of new potential readers and viewers, I'll go ahead and cover some of the stuff I talked about in my other posts, in addition to a few new golden nuggets. 

In the end (spoiler alert!), you should start to see that planting a bare root nut tree is not unlike planting a bare root fruit tree. But don't make a rookie mistake like I did though and go on talking about your tree's "graft point" if there is none lol.

PRO TIP: Hazelbert bare root nut trees from Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery are NOT grafted.
Planting bare root nut trees is simple, highly beneficial and fun! :)

As always, we're talking about BEST PRACTICES on these posts and in the videos. From talking to the people on the forums and the people I've known over the years, they all say the same thing: "I want to learn new tips and tricks but they have to be easy to understand and concise and the whole thing has to be under 5 minutes!" So they want it all, basically 🤣 And who doesn't, right? I want the same thing when I'm watching videos and reading blogs, so that's why I've made it a point to do just that for my own audience. For the most part, I've succeeded in trimming down and any lengthier videos coming up were meant to squeeze in some of the last fall footage of 2018. Filler? No, no, it's bonus material! 😉

The first few steps are the same as planting fruit trees (Dig, remove obstructions, add optionals, place tree, refill, etc.)

To begin, we basically just proceeded the same way as we did with the fruit trees. If you missed that the first time, I suggest watching the first couple videos of the "Homesteading for Beginners" series which covers preparation steps, the actual planting of bare root fruit and nut trees like we're doing here and also some helpful winterizing precautions that you can take to help your trees survive the harshness of winter.





In addition to the tips in the videos, my previous blog posts also contain useful information with regards to doing things correctly when it comes to planting bare root fruit trees. So take a look at the posts from previous months and years in the archive as we go!


Some basic considerations when planting your bare root nut trees:

  • As I mentioned before, nut trees are not generally grafted, or at least not the particular nut trees that I was planting. My trees are an uncommon variety known as a hazelbert (a cross between a hazelnut and a filbert). I'm still relatively new to working with regenerative agriculture so at worst, this is all extremely valuable experience. That said, I'm not sure if it's possible to graft a nut tree the same as you would a fruit tree. I'll have to look that one up or cross that bridge when I get to it.
    Good soil with good draining and JUST the right amount of water.
  • The location is so crucial! Had I considered that more from the beginning, I would have made minor changes to the sites I chose. No matter though. You'll never find the perfect spot. The aim should be instead of find the most suitable spot for the tree that you are planting. In my case, the hazelberts seemed to fit well scattered a bit around our well and mixed in with the lilac bush. For you it may be something completely different. Do your best to give the trees what they need and take a chance! You have to leave a little room for luck and experimentation.
    Optionals are optional because YOU decide. Are you more of a purist or a utilitarian?
  • Consider soil quality and content before going any further. Then when you think you have it all figured out, consider it again. I've often second guessed myself on this topic and found that I was glad I did. Taking a chance with rocky/clay soil is not something you want to do if you can avoid it. There are easy measures to take to avoid planting into this type of soil, like building up a mound instead of digging down, for example.
    Using wood chips made of REAL forest debris is key! To get a good microbial/fungal diversity, your mulch has to have material of all shapes and sizes like different sizes chips, twigs, sticks and leaves.
  • Make sure all those roots are buried! At first it may appear that you got them all but sometimes there are little stragglers that are still exposed to the environment. This may not necessarily kill your trees, but you want to give them every fighting chance possible when they first go in the ground. This is theoretically their FOREVER home! So try to make it nice and comfy for them. Trees have feelings too! :)
Give those trees the best possible chance at survival the first couple years!
  • Take into account how big the nut tree or bush will become. It may not grow much for the first few years and then BAM! It blows up! So be ready for that in case it happens. The last thing you want to do is cut down your carefully pruned and tended tree because you didn't account for its size at maturity.
Easy peasy hazelberty :P
  • On that note, keep up with the pruning if you don't want it to get out of control. Decide how and when you will prune it for optimal results. Of course, this will all depend on your specific trees and their unique environment. If you're not planning to prune at all then just let your trees do their thing from the get-go and watch in amazement as they transform before your very eyes over the years.
The Leaves
The Nut
The Tree
There are so many more things you can do to prepare, protect and winterize your trees. A lot of the factors depend on your particular environment and the hardiness of your trees. Then there's the level of involvement that you want to put in which may have a huge impact on the development of the plant. And that's not considering other unpredictable factors like infestation, disease, floods/drought and/or acts of god. You can only be so prepared, but on the other hand it's still a great idea to have some contingency plans in mind.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Planting & Winterizing Bare Root FRUIT TREES

A simple 'How To' guide on planting bare root fruit trees, step by step, with tips!

In today's post, I will share with you some Best Practices around planting your bare root fruit trees and winterizing them, or in other words, getting them ready to battle the harsh elements that come with winter. Jack Frost has no mercy! But your hardy fruit trees already know this and they are born combat-ready!
This is what a mail-order fruit tree package looks like when it arrives.
Planting bare root fruit trees is not as easy as it may seem. There's a lot of thought that goes into it. You might be thinking to yourself: "How hard can it possibly be?" Well, I can tell you from firsthand experience that the first year can feel overwhelming.


While mother nature has no problem dropping new plants where she desires, us humans need to put a little more thought into it. I'm sure there are purists out there that will tell you that a lot of the stuff I'm doing is unnecessary. While this may be true (in part), when you spend a good amount of money on grafted bare root trees, you want to make sure they not only survive, but thrive!


Soaking prevents the roots drying out and gets the sawdust off.
In turn, there's a lot of thought and preparation that goes into all this. You have to consider your placement, positioning, lighting, soil quality, soil content, water, wind shear and drainage. There can also be unexpected things like obstructions, such as other trees or underground roots that you didn't know were there until you start digging. And then there's the whole array of optional additives that could help the whole process along or hinder your plants growth if you don't use them right. Those are just a few examples of the things you'll have to take into consideration before you even think about planting. 
Digging a square hole works much better than a round one.
Ideally, we would want to graft our own scions, or better yet, plant seeds or saplings from nearby mature trees. This is not always easy or feasible though. That's where ordering from a reputable nursery comes into play.


hardyfruittrees.ca

We personally do business with a great tree vendor called Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery. Some of our readers and viewers may be sick of hearing me talk about them, but honestly, the reason I promote their business so much is because:

  1. They are so great at what they do
  2. Their trees are carefully grown and grafted
  3. They have a super high standard on quality
  4. The shipping and packaging of the trees is done with extreme care
  5. Their customer service is top notch
If that's not enough to sell you on them, I don't know what is! They're just a fantastic company and in this day and age, it's pretty rare to see. So that's why I give them so many props. And before you ask, no, they're not a sponsor! Haha! But maybe some day... 😉

DIY = Do It Yourself (So REALLY, do it YOUR way!)
An important thing to note here is that I don't want you to follow this method exactly. Don't be afraid to get down and dirty with DIY! You should really experiment with your own style, in your own way, with your own particular environment. No two orchards or homesteads are the same, and as such, they shouldn't be treated the same way. Try your best to use 'Whole Systems Designs' when customizing the areas where your trees will go. Your end goal should be to create a "closed loop" where everything will function on its own without you. That's the whole idea here. Nature doesn't need us, we're just helping it along, or "orchestrating nature", if you will. Implementing permaculture designs and systems into your orchard or homestead ensures that your trees grow healthy and strong.

Some examples include:

  • Tree guilds that offer your trees plenty of supportive and beneficial plants nearby to aid in pollination or to keep pests away.
  • Other tree guild plants help draw important minerals to the tree roots.
  • Swales or berms help you control water flow from rainfall.
  • Birds on your homestead help by fertilizing the ground, eating scraps and controlling pests.
  • Worms help you build your soil by breaking down dead vegetation into fantastic compost.
  • Bees are of course great pollinators.
  • Even rocks help by holding the heat from the day and slowly releasing it at night and also provide habitat for reptiles and other animals. Rocks can also create micro-climates for your plants.
A 'Final Fantasy Style' Apple Tree Guild. 2018 © Maple Grove Productions
If you're doing it right, everything will have a purpose and a role to play in balancing your ecosystem and micro-climates. You should also constantly be on the lookout for ways to stack functions, like catching rainwater to water your garden or capturing heat energy from a big pile of hot compost to heat your greenhouse or your home. The possibilities are endless! That's what makes it so fun. It's all about YOUR design and YOUR ideas with YOUR own personal spin on it. It really doesn't matter what anyone else is doing. Sure, you can get some good ideas from YouTube or blogs but the only thing you should really be following is Mother Nature. She has been at this far longer than we have. Trust me, she knows all the tricks. So don't be afraid to lean on her for support when you need it. In order to gain the most valuable insights, all you have to do is observe nature, in all its splendor, and before long you'll start seeing ways to mimic those exact processes on your homestead.


A basic Hugelkultur mound, which aims to imitate the processes of nature.
So when you think about "closed loop permaculture systems", simplify it and think about what nature does then copy that model and add a twist. Once your system is in place, it's easy to swap out one plant for another, as long as they are serving the same purpose in the forest layers (ground cover, shrub, canopy, etc).


It's very important to think about all this stuff when designing your permaculture fruit tree orchard or garden.


Your plan can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be!
That said, I would like to invite you to join me for our adventure in getting those last few fruit trees in the ground for Fall 2018. It has been a wild ride so far but also so very gratifying and just plain old fun.

Please know that these are all things that ANYONE can do. It doesn't matter if you live in the country or in the city or even in an apartment building. Everyone has window sills and everyone can use pots to grow plants and trees no matter how small the space. Look up urban permaculture examples out there and prepare to be amazed. You won't believe what some people have done with tiny spaces.

So come along with me for the ride and let's get dirty! :)


And don't forget to dream BIG and dream often, my friends!



Best of luck in all your projects! If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Preparing Bare Root FRUIT TREES For Planting


In this first of many posts, I will share some pro tips and best practices around planting your bare root fruit trees.

If you’re like us and you order your trees from far away, these easy tips and tricks will help you ensure that your fruit trees turn out healthy and strong from the moment they arrive. I also offer up some additional options for bettering the trees’ chances of survival. Simple, yet natural things like bone meal and mycorrhiza can make all the difference. This is especially true if you’re dealing with poor soil quality and you don’t have the option to build up your soil over time with permaculture methods, like wood chips, homemade compost or hugelkultur, for example.
This is how your hardy fruit trees will look when they arrive in the mail.
Ideally, you’d want to leave it alone and let nature do its thing. But if you absolutely need to cut a few corners, it’s not the end of the world. The important thing to keep in mind here is to keep using permaculture in every application where possible. Eventually, if done correctly, your system will naturally fall inline with the teachings of permaculture.
You must be ever so careful when cutting the package open.
An important thing to note is that if there is a delay in receiving your trees in the mail, don’t panic! The tree vendor I do business with (Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery) was very reassuring in letting us know that there was nothing to worry about because of a postal strike. A good bare root tree vendor will ensure that the trees are well-packaged and set up to survive long periods in a warehouse or on a postal truck, even up to a month! They basically use moistened sawdust and lots of bubble wrap/tape to accomplish this, depending on the type of trees of course. Odds are, your trees will arrive safe and sound even if there is a delay in shipping. If you order in the fall, they will also be in a dormant state which will help keep them healthy and safe during the whole process.
Soak 'em good!
Remember that these poor little baby trees have been through a lot in their short life! They have gone from being a branch, to being a grafted scion, to being suddenly uprooted, packaged tightly with other trees, shipped miles away and then plopped back into foreign soil! It’s a lot to ask any living thing to do. So be patient and give those trees the best fighting chance they can get! Doing it right from the get-go not only protects your investment but also allows you and your family to reap the benefits for decades!
Planting bare root fruit trees is fairly easy and your trees
should come with some planting recommendations.
Please consider supporting Maple Grove Productions by sharing this article, along with the video below. Also, your simple gesture of liking, commenting and subscribing helps us to continue making videos for everyone to enjoy! It is our goal to help viewers be successful the same way others have helped us. By continuing to care for one another in such ways, we have a better chance at some day living in a world where there is always a fruit tree nearby to feed a hungry belly.


Best of luck with your bare root fruit tree planting and transplanting, my friends. If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to read them. So drop us a line!


Matt Leger
Maple Grove Productions
Dream BIG and dream often!

HUGELKULTUR Basics [5] Q&A + Shoutout


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

New Facebook Page & Logo

The MGP Facebook page is now up and running! :D I also added the newest MGP logo which I'm still working on. There's still lots to do but progress has been good, especially with the Maple Syrup season. I will have much more to update on very soon so stay tuned!


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Blogs, Vlogs & Logs




Officially started working on the blogs today, as well as the YouTube channels, the custom HTML/CSS and the stock footage.



I also started browsing for intro/outro AE templates and musical accompaniment. For the music, I've decide on a Maple Tree theme with a simple yet upbeat acoustic guitar. I haven't decide if I'm going to buy these elements or make them myself. I don't have much faith in my guitar playing abilities since I'm not that great of a "picker", I'm mostly a guitar "strummer", so we'll see about that. It's going to have to be something that really screams Canadian Wilderness! Regardless, whether the opening and closing songs come from me or not, it doesn't really matter, as long as they have the right vibe for the series.


It felt good to finally begin the process of working on this today. It's been years in the making! Now that my family and I are at our dream house in the woods, I can proceed optimistically at long last. I realized today while writing the script for the first episode of GCA that this is all going to be a lot of work. Once the film was rolling, that became very apparent. I must have taken at least 2 dozen still shots of 30 sec-1 min each. I figure, it's better to have more to work with than not enough.


Another positive note is that I'm already done Episode 1's cold open and it turned out pretty darn close to what I was going for. With a little refinement and some file organization, this project will really start coming together.


In other news, the sap is flowing! I will report more about that on the GCA blog at some point so stay tuned for that.

Overall, it was a very successful and productive day. It's a promising start on the long road to completion. Here's hoping that tomorrow brings just as many nice surprises and high levels of productivity - if not more! :)