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Shining a Light on Blight: PART 2

July 8, 2016 in Blog , New Plant Discoveries , Recent Articles , Tips for Healthy Plants

More on the people behind the plants and the origins of blight… (To read Part 1, click here). The Plum Guy The Story Behind the Plant:  Ralph loved the idea of a tree crop farm. Having worked in the paper industry his whole life, he purchased 30 acres of land and began planting large amounts of heartnuts, butternuts and English walnuts, all of which he purchased from Oikos Tree Crops. He planted over 10 acres of walnuts alone.  He also planted a few types of Japanese plums from ...

Shining a Light on Blight: PART 1

June 27, 2016 in Blog , New Plant Discoveries , Tips for Healthy Plants

Chestnuts: Immune to Blight In 2010, we received an email from a long-time customer who conducted some research he had done on our trees. The research used a group of hybrid American Chestnut trees from our farm, (namely Timburr American Hybrid Chestnut and Ken’s Select Hybrids), to determine the amount of blight resistance and cold tolerance. From his control group he knew that if blight had struck the tree, it was usually within the first few years of growth. After studying over ...

In praise of discovery and the spirit of sharing

June 24, 2016 in Blog , New Plant Discoveries , Recent Articles

Recently at Oikos Tree Crops we have been reflecting on some inspiring stories of plants and people we admire for various reasons. Here are three short stories we think you will enjoy. Mirabelle Plums represent one of the most widely distributed and highly coveted plums throughout the world. Part of the mystique is its label as an ‘illegal’ plum with a Protected Geographical Indication, meaning the fruit is protected in the French region of Lorraine. Despite the PGI, Mirabelle can also be ...

Organic Methods and Products used at Oikos Tree Crops

May 13, 2016 in Blog , Tips for Healthy Plants

When I first began raising nursery stock in 1980 I really wanted to use organic methods both for soil improvement and for insect and disease control. At that time, the methods, chemicals and technology made it more difficult to fulfill these ideals. I stuck with it, did research and through trial and error created what I believed was a safer work environment with a cost close to conventional.  Here a few of the most effective organic controls we use at the farm. Soil Mixes and Fertilizers ...

Growing Thimbleberries – More than a Raspberry

April 29, 2016 in Blog , New Plant Discoveries

Of all the so called ‘wild plants’ I have grown under cultivation, there was no greater mystery for me than that of the thimbleberry. This species of raspberry like almost all Rubus is highly vigorous, produces a fair amount of flowers and beautiful dark green maple-like leaves. Collecting them on my up north vacations with my daughters was a great joy. Lucky thimbleberries are not thorny. However, when I grew them in my own backyard there was no fruit.  Personally seeing the fruiting ...

How to Grow Sunchokes

April 20, 2016 in Blog , Tips for Healthy Plants

One of the easiest perennial tuber crops to grow, sunchokes are widely adaptable to a variety of climates and soils.  Selections are based on flavor, texture, ease of cleaning and harvest as well as yield. Here are a few tips to help grow this species and keep your planting productive year after year. Spacing Requirements:  Sunchokes should be spaced 2 ft. apart with rows 4-6 ft. apart. Sunlight for each plant is ideal for the highest yields and largest tubers. If you are maintaining an ...

Perennial Solutions to Annual Problems

July 28, 2015 in Blog , Tips for Healthy Plants

One of the constant challenges when faced with any horticultural endeavor is finding ways to eliminate or greatly reduce plants that are competing with your crop plant. Here are a few examples of ways to enhance what nature has already done: companion planting with perennials, tree and shrub crops where mutual coexistence is an advantage. Crownvetch and Potato This was a planting done in December of 2014 in central Michigan.  I planted Ecos Purple Potato in early December in a large patch ...

New to YouTube: How to Plant a Tree

July 24, 2015 in News from the Farm

Our YouTube channel continues to grow.  Planting a tree is easy but yet how can something be grown in  an open field with no care afterwards. Watch this  video and see how.This instructional video explains how to create the best growing conditions in a place that may not have the ideal conditions to begin with plus a formula for a multimineral mix for planting. Check out all of the videos in on our channel, or subscribe to one of our playlists to be notified when a new video is posted. This ...