A Jungle of Trees… Hopefully

Our “branch” 2008

For the past few Christmas’ in Bulgaria, our Christmas trees have been quite sad and pathetic.  I know that the spirt of Christmas doesn’t care what size your tree is, but when you have grown accustomed to perfectly shaped, full trees that fill your house with the intoxicating odor of fresh pine, you will understand my disappointment in the tree selection available here, plus they don’t smell, so I am reduced to artificial candle scent… at least they are Yankee Candles… Thanks Mom!

                                    Tree in a baby bath 2009

Since 2006, we are slowly getting better selections, but last summer I came up with the brilliant idea to grow my own Christmas trees.  Thanks to the selection available at Whatcom Seed Company, I bought 6 packets of each Noble Fir, Douglas Fir, plus some Coastal Redwoods, Giant Sequoia, Pistachio Nut and Pecan Trees.  Here’s the thing, like most of my undertakings, I know nothing about growing trees, but thankfully they included some excellent instructions for breaking dormancy and encouraging germinations.

It’s my goal to start preparing for the spring/summer gardening in January 2010, this way I can transplant my seedlings after the frost.  In theory this all sounds good, but the reality is another thing entirely.  I don’t really enjoy gardening the way I do cooking, but I find gardening a necessary evil.  I do love the feeling I have after being outside for hours doing manual labor.  If there was one thing that my mother instilled in me, it was the love of yard work or “operation clean-up”.  If you have ever been to Saylor’s Lake in the spring, you have been sucked into raking leaves and then hauling them to “Hansie’s” yard.  Anyway, I hate cleaning, but yard work… I love it.

Over the weekend I set to work on a plan for growing my trees, and I typed it! Here is the example for day 1:

Saturday January 2, 2010
  • Soak Pecan seeds for 24 hours (Change water every day for 4 days)
  • Soak Cranberry seeds for 24 hours
  • Soak Noble Fir seeds for 24 hours
  • Soak Douglas Fir seed for 24 hours
  • Soak Pistachio seeds for 24 hours
  • Sow Coastal Redwood seeds (21 – 70 days germination)

 First, I scarified my seeds by soaking them in water for 24 hours
The directions called for vermiculite and perlite mixtures to cold stratify the seedlings, but I am at a loss of where to by it in Kyustendil or Sofia.  I know that perlite is mixed into commercial soil mixtures, but I have spent so much time making compost, I want to use that.

But, I needed to sterilize it, so I baked it in the oven at 180F (80C) for 30 minutes. Angel was really pissed at me for cooking compost in the oven.  He said it smelled like shit!  Hot shit actually!

Then I needed to sift out all the large chunks, which was all rather time consuming, but worth the effort… I hope.

Finally, after 24 hours, I put the seeds in freezer bags and will store them in the fridge till they are ready for sowing.

After the designated amount of time, I will sow the germinated seed and wait for them to become transplantable.  I will keep you updated on the status of my jungle!

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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria www.caseyangelova.com

7 thoughts on “A Jungle of Trees… Hopefully”

  1. Love this project! Having worked for a tree service and also attended forestry school before I changed careers in the culinary world I can feel your pain!

    Keep us posted on your new little trees! The seedlings should sprout soon.

    Like

  2. Thanks you!!!

    Chef Ryan – I appreciate your optimism, especially considering you background in forestry!

    PT – I enjoy all my projects and very happy to share. Not all my undertakings are successful (see Candy Canes), but I am always eager to learn something new!

    Like

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