Fruit Growing, Wood Heating, and Other Homesteading Advice From Helen and Scott Nearing

In this installment of their regular column on homesteading, Helen and Scott Nearing provided readers with advice on fruit growing and wood heating.

| July/August 1981

Scott Nearing

Scott Nearing responded to questions from readers on a range of homesteading topics, including fruit growing and wood heating.


The following are questions readers submitted to Helen and Scott Nearing in their regular column on homesteading.   

Fruit Growing Advice

Q: I eat only fruits and nuts, which I'd like to grow year round in a greenhouse. What kind of setup would you suggest?  

A: If you are a fruitarian, you should probably reside in the semitropics where the items necessary to your diet grow naturally, outdoors, in abundance and variety. You would have to have an enormous greenhouse in order to raise enough fruit and nut trees indoors to supply all your food needs. It seems to us that the southern states would offer more practical locations for fruitarians. 

Wood Heating Advice

Q: We plan to heat our home with a wood stove this winter. Frankly, we've been besieged with confusing (and often contradictory) advice on the do's and don'ts of wood heat, so we'd like to ask you a few questions.  

Do you burn aged hardwood exclusively? If so, how long do you age it? If not, do you find chimney creosote buildup a regular problem? Is a modern airtight stove really worth the difference in price from that of a used—but serviceable—Franklin?  

On our seaside property we have no "good" firewood. Our nearest facsimile is white birch, which is not considered a hardwood. The last few years we have purchased a few cords of oak to supplement what we cut on our own place (and pick up along the beach). We take care of the occasional creosote problem by cleaning the flues and chimney about every three months.  

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