Project/Perennial fruit

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The north-east deer-fenced field, to be developed into a Permacuture food production area.


Project ID: 129

Project steward

Jan Steinman


Produce chestnuts, hazelnuts, blueberries, saskatoon berries, strawberries and other perennial fruit for the use of the co-op and for sale at the farm stand.


  • To select a variety of nuts and berries that would provide a good selection of plants that form one or more guilds of symbiotic relationships.
  • To design a layout for planting that is optimum both for the needs of the plants (sunlight, water, area) and for harvesting.
  • To transplant the desired nuts and berries in about 1/3rd of the northeast field.

Goal or deliverable

  • do research on types of plants
    • Standards, overstory canopy, 10 to 30 metres in height:
      • Castanea dentata, America Chestnut, selected for blight resistance. Compared to Chinese Chestnut, American Chestnuts are smaller, have better flavour, and higher production. The trees coppice readily, and the easily-worked wood has longer rot-resistance than cedar. As an oil crop, it can produce 80% of the output of a similar area of canola, but is a maintenance-free perennial.
      • Acer macrophyllum, Bigleaf Maple. A fast-growing, coppicing tree, used for goat forage and firewood.
      • Populus nigra, v. Italica, Lombardy Poplar, or Black Cottonwood. A super-fast growing, water-loving tree, good for firewood, windbreak, and for draining water-logged areas.
    • High understory, 3 to 10 metres in height:
      • Alnus rubra, Red Alder, a nitrogen-fixing "pioneer species", used for firewood, water management, and for fertilizing the more desirable food trees.
      • Amelanchier alnifolia, Saskatoon or Serviceberry, producing a blueberry-like fruit high in anti-oxidants.
      • Elaeagnus umbellata, Autumn Olive. Not a true olive, this nitrogen fixing shrubby tree produces a small fruit that is very high in lycopene.
      • Gaylussacia baccata, Highbush huckleberry. Unlike the common wild huckleberry, produces large, thumbnail-sized fruit, and is well-adapted to this climate and soil.
      • Salix, various varieties of Willow, to be used as firewood, basketry, medicines, and draining wet areas.
    • Vines and understory, from ground to 3 metres in height:
      • Camelia sinensis, v. Sitka, Chinese Tea, variety selected for northern climates.
      • Elaeagnus multiflora, Korean Gumi Berry, an understory nitrogen fixer that produces tasty 2-3 cm fruit.
      • Hippophae rhamnoides, Sea Buckthorn, another Elaeagnus shrubby nitrogen fixer that bears large quantities of nutritous small fruit.
      • Lycium barbarum, Goji or Wolfberry, a climbing vine that produces large amounts of small berries used in traditional Chinese medicine.
      • Fragaria × ananassa, common garden Strawberry, various varieties selected through experimentation.
  • obtain funding
  • order or propagate plants
    • Chestnut, Cottonwood, and Highbush Huckleberry reserved as of June 2011.
    • Samples of various Elaegnus on-hand for propagation as of August 2010.
    • Strawberries on-hand for transplanting as of July 2010.
    • Sample of Chinese Tea on-hand for greenhouse propagation as of August 2010.
  • plant plants

Click on an image below for a larger image. Click on a link in any caption for a Wikipedia article on that plant.

American Chestnut leaf and fruit.
American Chestnut leaf and fruit.  
Black Cottonwood
Bigleaf Maple leaves.
Bigleaf Maple leaves.  
Red Alder leaves.
Red Alder leaves.  
Saskatoon berries.
Saskatoon berries.  
Autumn Olive fruit.
Autumn Olive fruit.  
Highbush Huckleberry fruit.
Chinese Tea plant.
Chinese Tea plant.  
Gumi fruit.
Gumi fruit.  
Sea Buckthorn fruit.
Sea Buckthorn fruit.  
Goji berries.
Goji berries.  
Common garden strawberries.
Common garden strawberries.  

Timeline, schedule, or end date

  • 2011, March through August: research, design, and planning
  • 2011, March through August: purchase plants
    • Reserve blight-resistant American Chestnuts, Highbush Huckleberries, and Cottonwood DONE!
  • 2011, July/August: Permaculture design for entire NE field
  • 2011, Aug/Sep: prep field for earthworks and transplanting
  • 2011, Sep: greenwood cuttings of goji and tea
  • 2011, Oct: transplant standards and high understory
  • 2011, Oct/Nov: move strawberries
  • 2012, spring: re-assess and fill-in for infant mortality
  • 2012, spring: transplant creepers and climbers


generally, a numbered list of tasks, performed in order, that will together accomplish the project's goals or deliverables

  1. plough the northeast field
  2. build berms
  3. amend soil
  4. plant
  5. repeat steps above, as necessary

Financial budget

  • $400 for 20 1-2 metre American Chestnuts
  • $300 for 20 1 metre Saskatoons
  • $200 for 20 Black Cottonwoods
  • $1100 estimate for other purchased stock this is a very rough estimate!
  • $2000 total estimated budget

Labor budget

how many people are needed for how long, including specific people or specific skill-sets

  • 40 hours: planning and research: Jan & Carol
  • 20 hours: procurement and delivery: Jan
  • 40 hours: soil preparation: Jan, Ron, Carol, volunteers
  • 80 hours: transplanting: Jan, Carol, volunteers
  • 180 hours: contingency only 50% confidence factor in above estimates!

Cash Outlay

Due to pending litigation, EcoReality Co-op statistics are not available at this time.

Labour, by person

Due to pending litigation, EcoReality Co-op statistics are not available at this time.

Labour, by activity

Due to pending litigation, EcoReality Co-op statistics are not available at this time.

Vehicle Use

"Vehicles" with no odometer, such as tractors or stationary equipment, are in tenths of an hour, rather than kilometres.

Due to pending litigation, EcoReality Co-op statistics are not available at this time.


Due to pending litigation, EcoReality Co-op statistics are not available at this time.

Final accounting

List of disbursements, including:

  • final, reconciled costs of the project,
  • where money came from for the project, including Class A/B investment shares and to whom they are issued,
  • final, reconciled labour on the project,
    After final accounting, no more time can be allocated to a project.
  • Class B investment shares and to whom they are issues.
  • Budget versus actual comparison.

Current non-final expenses

  • on hand: 1 each Camelia sinensis, $30 Class B to Jan.
  • on hand: 1 each Elaeagnus multiflora, $30 Class B to Jan.
  • on hand: 1 each Elaeagnus umbellata, $30 Class B to Jan.
  • on hand: 1 each Hippophae rhamnoides, $30 Class B to Jan.
  • on hand: 1 each Lycium barbarum, $30 Class B to Jan.

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