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Floodplain Pawpaws, part 1

April 15, 2012

A couple weeks ago I was directed to Patrick Crouch’s blog Little House on the Urban Prairie by our friend and intern Vicki. She said he was giving away pawpaw seedlings. I had read his early posts about the paw paw seedlings, so I was quite excited about maybe using them for our forest garden. As of right now we have several named and grafted varieties to be planted in a couple weeks in the forest garden. A few seedlings would be cool too. As other people responded to the post it became clear that the goal wasn’t really to distribute seedlings so more people could grow the fruit in their gardens, but to re-introduce them into their native flood plain areas. This was exciting because I have similar dreams.

Brightmoor, the neighborhood we call home, is a flood plain area. The forest garden sits on a plataeu of sorts looking right into the floodplain. I’ve never seen so much water come and go from an area so quickly. I suspect that the stormwater drains and outlets from impervious surfaces throughout the watershed make these water charges even more intense and violent. I often wonder what the land looked like before deforesting for farms and before the supremacy of the automobile, and it’s companions asphalt and concrete.

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Zack playing in an old van on the floodplain

One of my personality quirks/flaws is that I think too much and act too little. For over a year I’ve had fantasies about planting seedling pawpaws on the floodplain. The seeds that I ordered last year got moldy when I tried to stratify them in the fridge and I haven’t planted the new ones yet. Patrick’s initiative was just the kick in the butt I needed to get this vision started and I’m mighty grateful. After seeing all his little seedling pawpaws, hazels, and chestnuts I feel new inspiration to make it happen.

I don’t want to get too long winded so I will continue with a part 2

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Dryad’s Saddle, Polyporus squamosus, is one of the dominant fungal species on the floodplain and doesn’t taste too bad when young

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