77 Trees

Where to Start
How to Participate
. . . . Donate
. . . . Terraform
Selecting the Trees
Preparing for new Trees


Roshi received the 77Trees gift on September 11th., and our account is here

We are planning the first Garden Retreat in March, see here


A project to transform the aging Alder forest of Tahoma into an edible permaculture forest.

Roshi often teaches us to cultivate a 1,000 year view. The land of Tahoma zen monastery has a weak ecology after multiple clear cutting decades ago.

Many trees of the predominately Alder forest are reaching the end of their days and with this project of celebration we will start to cultivate the forest and land to sustain future generations of practitioners and residents of all species.

Over the years we’ve planted an orchard of dwarf fruit trees as part of the garden and begun to re-plant the various meadows between the buildings.

The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Rinzai includes the lines:

When Linji was planting pine trees, Huangbo asked, “What’s the good of planting so many trees in the deep mountains?”
“First, I want to make a natural setting for the main gate. Second, I want to make a landmark for later generations,” said Linji, thumping the ground with his mattock three times.

Working together, enacting a 1,000 year view over 1,000 days, we are planting trees to celebrate what we’ve received from the past and what we pass to the future. Seventy-seven trees is a large number and we are not able to plant them in a single season given we need to prepare the forest and organize the work. We’ve outlined our approach below. Giving ourselves a thousand days to transform an aging alder forest into a vibrant food forest allows the time to integrate the work into our practise and share the knowledge with as many as wish to participate.

Where to Start

We will start in the area surrounding the new Columbarium.

This image shows Tahoma south of the Kitchen (top building center), to just below  the existing parking lot.
Roll over the image to identify the buildings and places.

Garden columbarium 77Trees Zone 1 Orchard Dining Hall Kitchen Path

Our hope is to celebrate Roshi’s founding of Tahoma by landscaping this area with many kinds of fruit, nut and berry trees and shrubs to help sustain the local ecology of birds, beasts and people. The plantings will provide food, shelter and beauty for present and future generations of practitioners, visitors and all beings.

How to Participate

Please contribute to our project in any of the following ways;  by donating to the general fund which will be used to purchase equipment,  to prepare the land by removing some older trees,  to install  irrigation, and maintain our holding area for trees awaiting planting. See the equipment section for some of the tools.

If you wish to gift specific trees to the project either provide a note with your donation [link is below] specifying the tree (remember that many trees need a partner for pollination) and we will manage the order with a nursery. If you wish to ship or bring trees directly to Tahoma then send an email to [gensho AT mentalblocks DOT com] so we can coordinate.

We organized an irrigated holding area this spring so we can have a dozen or so trees on-site before they are planted. We need to prepare planting areas before we find ourselves with too many trees  waiting new homes, so coordination is best for direct donations.

We plan to extend the landscaping outward from the Columbarium as funds allow. Extending East toward the main path to the new Zendo and toward the south to limit the view of the parking lot, and to the north to parallel the main path to the new Zendo.

If you would like to help do the work please let us know, we’ll be organizing a series of special events. We’ll hold at least one work event organized around permaculture principles and providing zazen in the early morning and evening.

It is a project that anyone can contribute to, in fact there is enough work ahead that every contribution will make a difference and add to the result.

You can make a donation by sending a cheque to:

Rozan Lenny Gerson
2552 NE 46th Ave
Portland OR 97213

Make the cheque payable to Tahoma Zen Monastery and mark it as a donation to 77Trees.

If you’d like to be a part of one of our on-the-land intensives, please follow the link and out the form [To Be Completed]

Selecting the Trees

Landscaping the area surrounding the Columbarium with many kinds of fruit, nut and berry trees and shrubs to help sustain the local ecology of birds, beasts and people. The plantings will provide food, shelter and beauty for present and future generations of practitioners, visitors and all beings.

Below are some of the trees of all sizes that we would like to plant. Any tree that is successful in our soil and climate is welcome!

Nut trees

Hazelnut or Filberts seems an ideal nut tree coming in various sizes from shrub to tree and able to feed a wide variety of hungry beings.

Hazelnut; flower and nut
Tonda Di Giffoni Hazelnut cultivar

Chestnuts (Chinquapins) are a native classic but need well drained soil, so selecting a suitable location is key.

A dwarf Chinquapin – native Chestnut variety
Yellowhorn, small tree with pretty flowers and edible nuts

Walnut varieties


Fruit trees

We have explored numerous fruits and berries  that are suitable for our location and use. Below are some of the trees with links that are interesting; there are many more and we hope to plan a real diversity.

Recommended Fruit Trees for the Puget Sound

Western Cascade Fruit Society


People love apples, they deer do too. Any apples will need protective fencing until they are big and strong.

Dogwood – edible

Edible Dogwoods originated in Caspian sea region.


Doyenne de Juillet; rich, juicy, buttery flavor; highly productive, early ripening pear. Needs a pollenizer.


Apple Serviceberry: White flowers spring. Fall foliage bright red-orange. Edible red-black berries .

In addition to Serviceberries, there are many other berries that are  ideal for our location and the foragers that live here.

Aronia fills the lower storey with flowers and berries


Prized in Japan for flavoring, juice and preserves, this hardy variety bears abundant, easy-to-peel, 3™ diameter fruit with tasty, lemon-lime flavor. Yuzu is reportedly hardy to 0°F.

Preparing for New Trees
Removing Trees

We need to selectively log both older alders and a variety of shrubs. Once a tree is cut we plan to re-use the wood on the land.

We plan to use the bulk of the trees we cut down to enrich the soil with a technique called Hugelkultur.

Hugelkultur bed a year after creation

The Hugelkultur technique will allow us to use felled trees to shape the cleared land to manage water run-off from rain and increase the natural soil for the new plantings.

Sample of felled trees being organized into new forest beds

Some irrigation may be needed to provide a good start to the new trees. We will extend our garden water line to the Columbarium and surrounding area to provide drip irrigation to the new plantings if needed.


We will repurpose felled trees by using the bulk of the trunk via Hugelkultur. Smaller trunks will be kept aside and inoculated with mushrooms. We need to move tree trunks about either with a specialized or a small tractor.

We will use the brush from the tree or shrubs either to create mulch with a chipper or to create bio-char with a customized burn-barrel,

So, small tractor, chipper, bio-char burner are the key tools that will allow us to prepare the land.

Irrigation piping, deer fencing are the other key items.

The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. – Masanobu Fukuoka