On Sunday and Monday of this week, we attended the Homesteading Life Conference in Hannibal Missouri. This is an annual event organized by Doug and Stacy, and both my son Ezekiel and I gave presentations. He talked on his landrace watermelon project, and I spoke on composting and Grocery Row Gardening.
It was an excellent event with lots of wonderful people – and the town of Hannibal is excellent. It’s the home town of Mark Twain so we spent Tuesday visiting his boyhood home and other sites from his life. We also got to see multiple original Normal Rockwell paintings at the Mark Twain Museum.
After that, however, we had a little more time so some of the older children and I walked around the shops of downtown. There we visited Lydia’s Cabinet of Curiosities, which is a fantastically weird store. The owner restored paintings and had quite a bizarre collection of artifacts for sale.
Somehow, we ended up talking about gardening, and he mentioned growing pawpaws, and shared with me that a grove of wild pawpaws was located just a short distance away at Riverside Park, near the playground alongside a creek by the Mississippi. He also mentioned that he had found Native American artifacts in the area.
I thanked him and we walked back to our Air BnB, where I gathered up the whole family and took them to the park.
While Rachel watched most of the younger children at the playground, some of the older ones joined me on a hunt, both for arrowheads and pawpaws.
Though we didn’t find arrowheads, we did find lots of pawpaws:
Unfortunately, we were too early in the season, but I’m hoping we get enough ripening after the fact to give us viable seeds.
Pawpaw trees are a native North American tree species which is one of the few fruit trees to flower and fruit in the shade, making it a very good food forest species. If you live in a place with some shade, decent rainfall, and not super hot or super cold, pawpaw trees will probably fit into your garden.
How to germinate pawpaw seeds: https://www.thesurvivalgardener.com/how-to-grow-pawpaws-from-seed/
Michael Judd’s FOR THE LOVE OF PAWPAWS: https://amzn.to/3YyVE5P