Are w planting for the future? It’s a question well worth asking.
I am often amazed at how short-sighted I can become when it involves plants, landscapes, and gardens. I seem always to be thinking of just the next growing season or the next planting cycle. All of my focus is on the next few months or, at most, a year.
A recent article I read jolted me into realizing that to focus on the short term is not a very sound plan from an organic and environmental standpoint.
The article I read is here. The link is also listed at the bottom of this article if your browser won’t open the embedded link. The article profiles a tree. Yes, a tree. The tree is on the island of Crete and is a producing olive tree. Now Crete has lots of olive orchards and is renowned as an olive producing region. The interesting fact here is that the tree is reported to be 3000 years old.
No, that isn’t a typo. Three thousand years old. Some scientists suggest it may be as old as 4000 years. The trunk of the tree is more than 40 feet around with a diameter of 15 feet. Olive trees are hardy plants that renew their wood outwardly, which keeps them healthy and strong. They are drought-resistant, fire-resistant, and disease resistant. This tree is a variety called tsounati and Is an evergreen type of olive.
The age of this tree put it in the period when organized cultivation was becoming the norm.
The Dangerous Proposition
The article prompted me to think, always a dangerous proposition, some would say. I first thought about the man who planted that tree maybe 4,000 years ago. I wondered if he had any idea that he was planting a tree that would still be producing fruit and feeding people that are into the future. Likely not in my estimation.
I asked myself, how far down the timeline are you thinking when you plant? I realized that my long-range planting plans were almost non-existent. Certainly not in the range of 3 to 4 thousand years. I doubt any of us plan that far ahead.
So, I considered what I have done in the past. My one contribution to what I now call longevity planting is a pecan tree in our back yard. Pecan trees are long-lived. Some specimens are 300 years old and still producing pecans. That, I think, is a pretty good contribution.
However, all the rest of my garden and landscape plans are woefully deficient in longevity plantings. We all tend to fall into this trap. by planting annuals that we expect to replace each year. Too often, we plant perennials that will flower or produce fruit for several years but, if you do the research, are relatively short-lived. Planting in urban gardens and landscapes in some ways forces us into this pattern.
Breaking the Cycle
How do we break this cycle and begin to think long instead of short? Food forests are one concept that lend themselves to longevity planting. Planning and planting food forests and the concepts of permaculture design are beyond the scope of this short article. However, I do hope that you stop and think a bit about your concepts of longevity planning and consider how you can change your perception as you plan and plant your landscape.
Links and Resources
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If you found the information here helpful, you might also find these articles on our website of interest.
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3000-Year-Old Olive Tree Still Produces Olives Today, Return to Now,