Denis Huel

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since Jul 04, 2013
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Recent posts by Denis Huel

However, an advantage of the nursery bed would be the ability to initially screen a very large number of seedlings before moving the survivors to spaced rows for more advanced testing.
5 months ago
With respect to selecting hardy mulberries I would think that a bit more space than what a nursery bed provides would be preferable.

Many traits affect cold hardiness and the crowded conditions of the nursery bed might affect your ability to select for that. For example fast growing individuals may crowd out others in a nursery bed but slower growing individuals might be more better adapted to cold shorter season environments. I would think that 1m distance in a long rows in a sheltered site might be a better initial selection situation and easy to maintain.

Plant lots and try several seed sources.

Have you tried the Trader Mulberry?

D. Huel,
5 months ago
Southern Saskatchewan, an hour north of the MT border is my location. The drought has been extreme (likely worst ever) and the high heat is making the situation much worse. Has not been a very pleasant summer. I hate the winter but am starting to look forward to it now!

I have always been water conscious and use greywater to flush my toilet and for watering if extra is available. Water quality issues are becoming just as important as quantity. Water salinity has increased to the point that I am reluctant to use it on my garden and limit its use to high priority crops and and have let others go.

I am perhaps atypical for many on the site because I have nearly 900 acres of land, much of it pasture, which is for the most part not grazed and left as a biodiversity reserve. I also plant a lot of trees, usually several thousand a year but have lost most of my last 2 years of planting, ironically not due to drought but grasshoppers. This is especially unfortunate because a tree that dies of drought still provides information on tree care methods and  species suitability for current and future climates. A young tree that is destroyed by grasshoppers before it dies by drought (or not!) is just a loss.

I hope to invest in some water storage projects this fall. However, you can only store surplus water. Digging a hole requires you to wait for that time. The drought is not over and no one really know when it will be. Next week? Next year? Next decade? Who knows. Unfortunately, in my area I think the trend will NOT be our friend. I am preparing the best I can for hotter and drier.

The local cattle producers are eying my pasture longingly and I will likely soon rent some of it for grazing for the income. It is clear that there is far too many cattle on the landscape for its long term health and a herd reduction is needed but governments are determined to prevent that. It is also obvious that in dry landscapes very conservative grazing practices are required. Plant material remaining from years when moisture is more plentiful protects the soils from the heat and conserves moisture for extra growth in the dry years. It has definitely been a challenging year on all fronts.
10 months ago
Call me a plant geek,  I don't care!  I find wheat fascinating! The diversity of types, uses and culture surrounding it growth and use  never gets boring. There was lots about farming I didn't like but the wheat harvest was special.
Forgot something about awns. During growing seasons when the crop ripened without drought (rare in southern Saskatchewan), a few varieties, (Wascana is the only one I can think of at the moment) would shed their awns at maturity easing the harvest difficulties associated with the awns.
Grew up and lived on small grain farm in Southern Saskatchewan where durum was the primary crop. Hardness is a quality characteristic and durum is milled into semolina (small particles) not flour. Anything that reduced the hardness of your grain (weather damage or poor fertility) lowered the price. Grain buyers measured HVK (hard vitreous kernels) and protein level to determine grade.

Yes the awns have a high PITA factor and durum varieties are still awned.  In fact it was our job as kids to climb into the combine harvesters at the start of each day to clean the awns that were clogging the grain separating systems of the harvesters. It was a dirty job delegated to the smallest, youngest, bottom of the pecking order member of the harvesting crew. Usually it was me!

The Ternier's at Prairie Garden Seeds sell seed of Wakooma. It was widely grown in southern Saskatchewan in the 70's and 80's. It is a good high quality variety, fairly tall, with long black awns (good for weaving). Modern varieties are very short compared to the old varieties. The old varieties lodged badly (fell over and didn't ripen properly). Durum in general requires a longer and hotter growing season than bread wheat and was only grown in the southern grain growing areas of Saskatchewan.
I bought mine from Sheffield's Seeds in NY. No issue getting them across the border. They are selling a different source now. Mine came from Mongolia.
2 years ago
2 years later and after some extreme weather, record drought and extreme cold (-40C), most of mine are still alive although growing very slowly. They are in an old field and receive absolutely no care. Next year I will start giving them more attention as they appear to be able to survive in my harsh northern plains environment.
2 years ago

A Crossman wrote:

Denis Huel wrote:I never did get a mulberry tree. I read about a variety that was selected in North Dakota called the "Trader" mulberry.  It probably was Morus alba var tatarica. Likely can't get it Canada but if you find a source let me know. I'm tempted to buy an "Illinois Everbearing" from Grimo Nut Nursery. I believe this variety is a Morus rubra x Morus alba hybrid.

I live 80 km SW of Moose Jaw and am likely a little bit warmer than you. Very interested in bees but have too many projects on the go at the moment. I am experimenting with a variety of tree crops on a little bit larger scale and a kind of a tree seed nut. Feel free to contact me with questions about trees and shrubs and I will do my best to help you. Take care.

What kind of tree crops do you have? I am growing trees and am getting a tree seed order in the next few weeks.

Tried quite few types, but most of my trees are extremely young. Weather has been extremely difficult here the past year, driest on record (130 yrs) and wildly fluctuating temperatures, including some very damaging growing season frosts in 2017. Along with the deer my plantings received an tremendous amount of damage over the last 12 months. I think climate change is going make life very challenging in my area.

I have several hundred black walnuts from hardy seed sources (seed source is extremely important if you are in a marginal area). I am quite impressed with black walnut's toughness and am optimistic I will have some success with it. Have butternuts as well and although they don't seem as tough as the b.walnuts they are still promising. Have shagbark hickories that have survived one winter so far. Yellowhorn has also survived a winter. Bur oak is ironclad. Have seedlings of three hybrid hazelnut sources. They don't seem to like my heat and drought but I am not giving up on them yet. American chestnut was a bust.

Nut pines, I have Siberian(P.sibirica), Korean(P.koraiensis), Limber(P.flexilis), and Pinyon(P.edulis). Pinyon pine may seem a stretch but Natural Resources Canada has a plant hardiness site where they run species adaptions through various climate change models and some predict southern Saskatchewan and Alberta as the core area of climate suitability for P.edulis by mid century. Unfortunately deer ate many of my Siberian and Limber pines this fall.

Honeylocust seems OK in my area. Manchurian apricot fruits well occasionally, many apples, have some seedling pears with poor quality fruit but very tough plants. Saskatoons. Ponderosa pine is very good. I do like the North Plateau strain better than the Black Hills type for variety of reasons. Red pine which is never planted here seems to be doing very well. Not so fond of Siberian Larch. Would like to try Douglas fir.

When buying seed of trees, seed source or locality can be critical for some species.

Where are you from?
4 years ago