You can call me crazy

That’s interesting, I wonder what’s different, maybe siltier soil in the tidewater region?

Same with kudzu actually. We have some, yes, but it’s pretty infrequent. Plenty of wisteria and honeysuckle though. And privet of course, the regular kind and the treelike evergreen one with big leaves, glossy privet I think.

I’ve noticed we don’t get Paulownia all that much here either. Solitary tree here and there, but less than I’ve seen in the clay soil west of here. And Chinese tallow tree, I’ve seen it a few times, but nothing common enough I’d call invasive, unlike how it is down by the Gulf from what I’ve read.

I leave it be in my yard. I prefer what bit of centipede I’ve got of course, but Bermuda has my blessing in the yard. That d*mn Bahiagrass on the other hand…

This is exactly one half of what I wanted to post. Now for the other half.
You NEED to intervene with nature if you want something “natural”. Many places in the US (most places where people live) hasn’t seen a true climax habitat in 100-200 years. Many of our grandparents even only saw a ravaged husk of what was so if that’s what you’re aiming for with your rewilding you’re heading in the wrong direction

Fundamentally echoing what you and Richard both said, it’s about knowledge, nature can’t and won’t do everything…but because nature does the work FOR you it just makes sense to have it do as much work as possible.
There is a lot of “ag science” that fights against nature and makes your job and nature’s job that much harder… that’s extremely foolish and short sighted…even if on a short enough timescale (ie a growing season) “It works great! Here’s the six months study we did” it’s just objectively bad science based on bad assumptions that we’ve been running with for a century and we’re so far down this one road that it’s hard to see any other option

And to the people saying “I live in X and it’s HARD” well if the people who lived there for the last hundred years had their priorities right (knowledge again) they would’ve already selectively bred many fruit varieties that do well in those areas, instead of dumping water and spray on things adapted to Europe.
And the secret is many of them were already made and some are even still around being grown by people on this forum! AND a few are even willing to tell you about it!
But if you’re still complaining then get breeding


100% on the money. I’d say 100-200 years is pushing it, most places have been altered by humans since the last glaciation, and often times so altered that “leaving nature to itself” wouldn’t restore things for at least a few million years, probably tens of millions.

I’ll quibble that my point isn’t that it’s hard, just that’s hard, impossible even, if you’re unrealistically dedicated to ideas of naturalness and purity.

I’d say it’s mostly the universities at fault, they’re the ones who have the resources, and more importantly the longevity, to do these kinds of major breeding projects, let alone novel domestications. Things have gotten better, but there’s still lots of room for improvement.

That being said, I ain’t waiting for the universities to get their act together. Doing what I can by the by, perhaps to the wife’s slight frustration.


I saw this huge boulder today with a forest growing on top of it… The mosses are breaking down the leaves and giving the trees all that they need… likely leaching nutrients from the rock as well.

Nature finds a way.


Nice monoculture there. There’s a decided lack of woolly fauna in that picture too. Sure, eventually nature will evolve new megafauna out of the mice and stay cats that are all that’s left of a functional ecosystem. Eventually.

Looks like prime torreya taxifolia habit, pity nature’s way is for torreya taxifolia to go extinct within the next few decades. Sometimes natural means stuff going extinct because of dumb luck, because that’s all Nature is, just random noise and chance.

I don’t put much faith in randomness doing much good except over unacceptably long timeframes.

A well-meaning and well-informed human with an acre of a few can do more good in a couple decades than “mother” nature can in a hundred.

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You can’t select for a trait that doesn’t already exist. Not for pest/disease resistance at least. Or color or flavor. If the biosynthetic pathway doesn’t already exist in the population or a related species, no amount of selection is going to get you there. Sure, you could have a chance mutation, but one that leads you in the right direction is vanishingly rare, if it’s possible at all. At best, without a source of genetic resistance, you can only nudge a given species towards increased tolerance for a disease or lower palatability to a pest. You also can’t selectively breed something if it never manages to get big enough to flower and set seed.

Look at American chestnuts. How close are we to a fully blight-resistant, non-GMO chestnut with no Asian genetics?


And how easy was it to breed in Chinese chestnut to make a mostly American that was blight resistant? Pathogens don’t evolve in a vacuum from a host so almost every plant will have some kind of defense, whether you have to cross breed with the species that coevolved with that host or not. Not to say your point is wrong, we’ll never grow mangos in the arctic, but everyone already knows that

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Same here, I live in far NE Texas (like 30 minutes from Arkansas and Oklahoma) and you could try that down here and learn the hard way. Between 110 summers with 2-3 months without rain, single digit winters and rainy seasons that then try to drown the trees you have to intervene if you want to grow some things or at least get them established.

I have 66 acres, 120 fruit / nut trees, another 60 berry bushes and 200’ of grape vine. That not counting the 22 4’x12’ raised beds. We grow a very very large variety of things and some stuff just needs extra attention and the all natural approach just won’t work whether its fungus or crazy insect pressure.

Now, to be fair I do believe in trying to get nature to do as much as she can through introducing other actors into the scene via thousands of earthworms to help with soil quality or other beneficial insects to balance out what you don’t want - but that isn’t overnight and its rarely 100%.

I think if your interested in growing you set aside what you want to believe and you use what works - period. If some hippy with dreadlocks showed me something and it worked better than what I am doing right now I would use it without a second thought - but the proof has to be in the pudding otherwise its just wishful thinking. If you want to grow in a certain style then more power to ya, its your farm and your rules.


This is only true in an idealized sense. The balance of pest pressure and host defenses exists on average, but there are plenty of perfectly natural instances where coevolution just doesn’t happen fast enough, or didn’t happen at all.

I mentioned the Florida nutmeg yew earlier, Torreya taxifolia. It’s on the verge of extinction, with the entire natural population in process of being killed off by a native fungus. That species, without human intervention, will be extinct in a generation or two because of a, I’ll repeat, a native fungus. Torreya trees live for hundreds to thousands of years, how quickly do you think they evolve compared to canker and root rot?

White tail deer populations are crashing in many areas of the United States because of a very recent new disease called Chronic Wasting. It’s a prion, there is no immune response to it, nor can deer evolve an immune response because the immune system can’t fight prions. Absence strict quarantine, or some other kind of intervention, white tail deer may simply all die out eventually. No fault of mankind, we didn’t even introduce the disease from elsewhere, it “evolved” on its own and is spreading with and without human help.

Devil facial tumor disease is a completely natural contagious cancer with a near 100% fatality rate that has utterly devastated the Tasmanian devil population, there is no resistance and none has evolved because the fatality rate is too high. There is no cue, and the disease is on track to wipe out the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. The only successful conservation method has been to keep devils in zoos outside their native range, and then reintroduce them to areas where the cancer has already killed off all the local devils. Without this very direct human intervention, the Tasmanian devil would be on the fast track to a perfectly natural extinction.

Wollemi pine and related species used to be present on every continent, now they’re native only to Australia. Why? Because Australia is the only continent where phytophthera never naturally spread to. We don’t know what wiped out the Wollemi pines around the world millions of years ago, but it’s reasonably likely that it was phytophthera, a disease which was simply too devastating for the host to evolve resistance to in time. We do know the only surviving Wollemi pines aren’t evolving resistance fast enough.

99.9999% of all species are extinct. If nature was actually all about balance, she wouldn’t have brutality murdered virtually every child she ever bore.

We only think we see balance in nature because of survivorship bias.


To each their own and all of that. I say hold onto your beliefs but acknowledge their limitations. There’s a cost benefit to everything. One question is how badly do you want that particular harvest? Another question is how perfect and unblemished do you insist it be? Still another question is what are the long term effects of intervention, on health perhaps on the need for further intervention? A stitch in time seems sensible to me. Something more akin to the iron lung seems less so. Its hard to grow most things most places for one reason or another. If it were easy everyone would do it, eh? For my part, I grow way to much just because, and as Im sometimes want to say I dont know what Id do with it all if it all did as well as I sometimes wish it did. But then my kids won’t be shoeless if my harvest doesn’t come in, and thats a harvest in itself.

I wouldn’t purport to tell anyone how to grow, but I also dont think you can realistically judge what’s possible based on what is. Im not big on magic beans or silver bullets, but Ive seen places where collective action has led to far more productive and hospitable environs than we are accustomed to. Our collective actions, mostly individual and largely shortsighted, seem somehow to breed the plagues of our ire for one reason or another.


Heh, like I said grow how ya wanna grow but if I cut away the psuedo philosophy and amusing hyperbole to iron lungs there isn’t anything really tangible there.

but I also dont think you can realistically judge what’s possible based on what is

That’s the whole point - I am not talking about whats possible. I am talking about whether tangible steps either work or don’t work. My response was mainly for the benefit of people in rough climates who might see a thread like this and think they can be successful and get the results they desire in all climates (or one like mine) just by letting nature do it’s thing cause there is a whole lot of really fine print there.

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I think calling permaculture “just . . . letting nature do its thing” is a pretty extreme oversimplification, and most people practicing permaculture would readily admit that they are creating a highly artificial landscape that is simply meant to mimic “natural” interactions between insects and birds and microbes and invertebrates and plants, in a pretty highly controlled way. It’s not “just letting nature do its thing,” it’s harnessing those non-human “helpers” to do mutually beneficial work for your plants.

And that’s not to say that everything the permaculture people suggest will work everywhere, or even that it all is scientifically accurate, but there are absolutely successful permaculture farms throughout all those “hard to grow” areas.


My point is that pest disease and weed pressures are all products of the environment we in some sense have stewarded. We do PLENTY of letting things run their course, in fact its our typical MO unless there’s something of value to be extracted and then we do that, typically until its gone or not worth getting at. Where’s the intention, the cleverness, the stewardship? Thats the potential Im hinting at. So your trees get fungus if you dont spray them, or whatever. Fine, thats small potatoes. Im not claiming theres an easy answer for every problem, but I do think an awful lot of our problems are unequivocally a result of our shortsightedness or negligence. If all we want out of all of creation is to lord over our petty little fiefdom then so be it, but I find it a pretty meagre an unimaginative existence. Like the Stones’ song, you can’t always get what you want. Maybe in some sense we have the landscape we deserve.

Im less concerned with bursting the bubble of novice would be growers. Im not claiming you’ll get a dynamite yield by doing nothing, quite the contrary. Im arguing for the value of tempering our expectations.

I also dont really buy the rough climate argument. Everwhere has its own challenges. Even in places where things “grow themselves” youre dealing with rampant growth of competing vegetation. And thats true of any temperate region with forest as its climax. Then again, if things that happen to grow well where you live turn out to be useful to you, thats a lot handier than pissing into the wind, no?


Recently a fellow in one of my bramble groups posted a picture of a raspberry patch. I have seen this kind of post probably 100 times or more but the question still gets asked - ‘what can i do that kills everything (except for X)’ I have seen it in the fruit tree forums also.

answers were to use a weedeater, use herbicides, plant groundcover plants, fabric, goats, etc etc. Even spread woodchips or bagged mulch was suggested.

Advice from bored people who have likely never done any of that but cannot help themselves to solve the problem with no hints of manual labor.

How do you undo a year or years of neglect?

Or maybe some cannot see the forest for the trees… maybe these are wild raspberries that actually thrive in these conditions. They look healthy to me.

Im sure if this same question were posted here the answers would vary to be near the same.

This person is asking for help of how to get a better harvest.

They have mostly figured out that they need to add vinegar, add holly tone and sulfur. One person suggested that they go to an auto parts store and get hydrochloric acid then from Amazon get goggles, long sleeves, boots, and elbow length waterproof gloves.

I could go on but most of these answers are stranger than fiction from folks that have way too much time on their hands.

Sometimes the answer is pretty obvious i think. But thats crazy talk.


That’s nice - doesn’t make it not true. I am not trying to sell you on it, just stating it for people who see this thread in the future. I have lived all over and people who think that there aren’t easy and hard areas to grow just haven’t tried growing in enough places. If you think growing in San Diego isn’t different and easier than NE Texas then your just not familiar with it - one is very much easy mode.

I don’t follow the point your trying to make? Yes, it’s handy that things like to grow here - that isn’t the point of discussion, it’s the level of intervention required to get what you want established, maintainable and producing.

Sure, especially if you’re trying to grow the same crop in each place. Many places experience a similar enough range of weather as to constitute a biome. Various biomes are going to have their own challenges, that much is obvious. Growing most broadleafed tree fruits in the desert southwest is going to be hard without water. You won’t have many fungal or bacterial diseases to worry about though. How and how much you intervene will depend upon what you choose to grow, as well as what your neighbors choose to grow and what grows around you. Some things are going to be an uphill struggle. If you’re in the desert SW, perhaps consider growing tunas and melons instead of apples and pears? If youre on a foggy peninsula in coastal Maine, maybe plums and cherries arent the best choice? Then again, maybe your trees are engulfed in black knot. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

Ive never lived in San Diego. Maybe it is easier to grow there on the whole than in NE Texas, but so what? I live in VT, so thats my frame of reference. We had 40 some inches of rain (nearly a yrs’ worth) this past summer. almost no sun. Its a verdant place in many ways, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get 6-8 week droughts, late frosts, wild temp swings, ice storms, repeated freeze thaw cycles, and any number of other hurdles. But so do plenty of places. Thats all Im saying.

Growing things is hard work. Ive been at it for 20 years. Anyone who says otherwise is either inexperienced or disingenuous. As I said I dont grow for a living. We produce a handy surplus as a matter of course here though. Some things do well every year, often different things year to year. Its not like I dont intervene, I do plenty. I don’t personally care to wring every ounce of productivity out of my landscape but if you do thats your prerogative. Im not sure why it needs to be an all or nothing proposition, or why it somehow boils down to a ideological clash. Im dogma averse myself. I say leave the imaginary “hippy with dreadlocks” out of this .I’ve interacted enough with @steveb4 to surmise that he doesnt fit your profile and he’s doing something along the lines of what the OP is advocating in Aroostook County, Maine- a far cry from San Diego. So you or anyone else is welcome to the attitude of “try that hippy shit down here…” But youll have to pardon ME for seeing it as slightly misguided.


Pollen hybridization, and the old art of grafting hybridization which was used before Pollen hybridization was discovered, when used for good and not for profit those things are nothing more than taking the nature of plant evolution, and speeding it up, by mixing the best of the best. Lets say that pollen hybridization used to make real improvements was so much common place, that eventually even seedlings would be ahead of their time!!!

If you think about it, even organic fertilizer is not natural, because it’s created with human intervention, just like mycorrhizae is not natural, yes it naturally exists in soil, although it has to be created by people to be more than a trace of it.

Lol ok then sweet mercy what is your point? All folks like me are saying is that the level of intervention is required can vary alot depending on what you are growing, where you are and what your growing conditions are - leaning hard into non intervention approaches is not going to always work.

The point has been that a person needs to approach the problem based on what is working or not rather than an ideology driving their approach. Relying on nature to do the work? Of course, as much as possibly because that’s how you buy back hours during the day - only a fool would not try to leverage that. Nobody has argued against that.