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Category: Blog

Strength in Numbers: The Edible Forest Revisited

It is not a surprise that people have strong opinions about how plants grow and what plant belongs where. Everyone wants to rule the plant world. Plants are giving and flexible. It is good to be a ruler of your plant kingdom however you individually define it. Gardening is such a joy to do. You …

Category: Blog

Ecological Enrichment: The Integration of Opposites

Along the shoreline of my family’s farm pond grew an apple tree. Sticking straight out of the water,  it’s a kind of biological integration you do not normally see. Being an apple tree while submerged in water year-round makes this an improbable event. This seedling tree retains its health and vigor while producing wonderful flowers …

Category: Blog

Snow Fountain Becomes Snow Mountain

It began very innocently. Watch the bumblebees with my daughters and see if you could “pet” or touch the bees as they were pollinating the flowers on our weeping cherry in our front yard. This involved just lightly touching the bees back so they wouldn’t fly off on the flower they were pollinating. Simple and …

Category: Blog

Finding Treasures in Nature

      I am an expert in digging holes. That I can do. There is no shovel Olympics but if there was I could at least bring home the silver. Every hole I dug began with a certain anticipation of what I would find. There would be dirt and rocks and sometimes a few …

Category: Blog

Cultivating a Wild Plant the Thimbleberry Way

The thimbleberry represents one of those fruit plants with a certain mystique around it. Many people throughout the world know this plant in its northern arboreal habitats including many mountainous regions within the United States. It is one of many circumpolar plants found on several continents. Yet, no one cultivates it. Why would you? There are …

Category: Blog

Soilicious for Establishing Trees in Open Fields

My two year old peach and apple trees grown from seeds. Soilicious made it not only possible but highly probable that the trees were going to live through that critical first year without water or tending in any way. Forty years ago it was difficult for me to establish trees in my open pasture. Now …

Category: Blog

One Farmer-One Mission-One Goal-Oaks

When I started my farm after college in the early 80’s I soon found out that my limited resources was not going to allow me to plant a typical orchard of grafted fruit cultivars let alone a barn to work in or irrigation. (That took me another decade to accomplish.)  I began to look for …

Category: Blog

Nursery Confidential: You Might Be Surprised

You might be surprised at the shenanigans of the nursery industry. I wince when I think my own problems I encountered let alone scaled up versions of the same or different issues running a small business. Most are just odd things that occur but they all taught me valuable  lessons. When I closed my nursery, …

Category: Blog

Dreams, Pillows and Curiosity

The Milkweed Forest On one of my family’s Christmas tree farms a great expanse of milkweed existed. This was due to an over application of Simazine herbicide which sterilized the soil for several years.  This not only wiped out all existing vegetation, it prevented everything else from germinating.  Apparently milkweed was immune to this.  The …

Category: Blog

Dude, what happened to your corn?

It all started with jury duty. In this case, it was purgatory with magazines. The waiting room was stacked with magazines as it was the era before cell phones.  A Smithsonian article on corn and its possible origins caught my attention. I dove in. Apparently a scientist discovered a species of grass unrelated to corn …