Two Orchards in Spring

edible landscaping plants food forest installation Apr 22, 2024

By Josh Rosenstien

Earlier this spring we had two really exciting opportunities I wanted to share with you all. 

First, our favorite reconstructionist synagogue, Oseh Shalom, received a grant from the Chesapeake Bay foundation to plant 60 native trees on their beautiful campus in Laurel, MD and hired Edible Eden to implement it. 

We worked with the synagogue lay leadership to choose the trees, and along with planting many beautiful native trees like Redbuds, Sweet Bay Magnolia and Willow Oak that look great, sequester carbon and support local birds and pollinators; Edible Eden had the opportunity to plant our first, native, food forest on the synagogue grounds. 

We started with blight resistant Chestnuts, Hardy Pecans, and American Persimmon trees for the highest canopy layer and then interplanted Serviceberry, Paw Paw and Hazlenuts for the understory. 

We rented a two-man, tow behind auger to dig the 60 holes and then created mulch rings and installed oak stakes for each tree. 

As I was pushing the two-man auger around the grounds with Jax, our perennials lead, I paused for a moment to enjoy the spring sunshine, drifts of cherry blossoms, and the sounds of forest edge birds.  I rested against the machine, looked around and realized I was living my dream. I was in the process of getting paid to plant native fruit and nut trees on suburban lawn. The trees we planted will hopefully feed people I will never meet along with countless birds, squirrels, deer, and other critters. 

The following week we had the opportunity to work with local nonprofit Baltimore Orchard Project to plant 20 fruit tree guild gardens in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park. Each guild included a beautiful fruit tree from Tree Authority including disease resistant varieties of Apple, Pear and Asian Persimmon. Each tree was planted inside a deer ring with an assortment of pollinator and companion plants. 

The sod was difficult to strip and heavy to move but working with a great team of folks from Blue Water Baltimore, Tree Baltimore and Real Food Farm (all at appropriate social distance wearing masks of course) we got them all planted out. The edible eden team was racing the clock to get to the next job, and I pushed my body harder than I like pounding 20 Oak stakes in with an oversized post pounder in quick succession… but feeling sore, walking up the hill and looking back at this fledgling orchard, appearing in such a short window of time, felt magical. 

I was struck by how, in setting out to start Edible Eden in 2014, I wanted my passion for making the world a more fruitful, abundant, compassionate and beautiful place to become my livelihood- the thing I spent the bulk of my time and energy doing. 

And while the reality of creating, building and growing a sustainable small business is endlessly challenging and sometimes anxiety producing; and I spend lots of time banging my head against the Quickbooks and staring at spreadsheets…I am conscious of the great blessing and privilege I have to be doing this work, and the gratitude to the customers, partners and staff that allow me to keep doing it…honestly; this is what living a dream looks like.