Theo Johnson

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since Dec 31, 2013
Duluth, Minnesota
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Recent posts by Theo Johnson

I give this nursery 8.5 out of 10 acorns.

I have purchased several fruit trees and shrubs from them over the years, including placing an order this year.  My previous orders were before the ownership change, but I do want to continue to support the nursery as they have a good story, obviously care about what they do, and sell a good product.   Also I like the fact that they are smaller operation with a focus on quality over quantity.

The cold hardiness is a definite draw, but also their attention to tap roots on the various nut tress they offer.  They dig deep to ensure as much as the tap root it protected in the process of propagation.  I have particularly enjoyed an Ely pear I got from them a few years back; I didn't see it on offer this year, but it has been a vigorous grower and I am looking forward to the fruits (hopefully this Spring?)

The website is pretty bare-bones, and does not match the stock offered in the current year's catalog.  It might shy some folks away, but I think their focus is in physical nursery and taking care of their plants, so I can forgive the basic web presence.  

Bare-root stock care and shipment have been great in the past, I can't recall a plant that did not take.

If I think back, I think I have purchased Hudar and Ely pears, hazel-berts, sea berries, buffalo berries, elders, black currants, nanking cherries, manchurian apricots, sour cherries, bush cherries, and blue berries in the past.  
11 months ago

John Weiland wrote:

I have mine (still in conetainers as pictured above in the thread) under mulch and hope to see them re-sprout/re-bud for planting this year.  Keeping my fingers crossed!



For what it is worth I would think getting them in the ground this spring would be best.  They don't seem to like root disturbance, but I think it makes sense to try to get them established for a year when starting by seed in your (our) area.  It is obviously too late now, but if you do seeds in containers again I would add a pot-in-pot container method in addition to a good mulching.  Just gives it that little extra bit of insulation of the roots.  You probably have a good blanket of snow covering them now too.  

Keep us posted and be patient for the late Spring/early Summer bud out.
1 year ago
I wanted to update that my two paw paw mentioned above definitely had their best season of growth this past year.  First time they had vigorous growth, probably doubling in height.  I am hoping that the root system is getting established and that I can look forward to more of this trend.

I plan on getting a bundle of some cheap seedlings for $0.40/plant this Spring to see how this scales up in Duluth.  Seems like there is some promise to push the zone with paw paw.  Going to be trying some others as well this year: redbud, persimmon, pecan, et cetera.
1 year ago
I planted a couple that I purchased from Oikos a few years back and they are both still with us.  I had given them up for dead after the first winter, but they eventually started to leaf out in late June.  I think  two more winters have past and this year they look like they are going to put on some substantial growth actually instead of just surviving.  I haven't paid to much attention to them, just chop n drop some surrounding growth once or twice a season.

While being pretty far north, I do live within a couple miles of the the Big Lake that tends to moderate our winter lows and summer highs, so I suspect that plays a factor as well.  Head inland a couple miles and you are smack in the middle of the boreal forest!  I have had some good luck with starting Black Walnut from seed as well, although those don't range this far north in MN.  
2 years ago

Shelah Horvitz wrote:Yes, it's edible, but there is an important use for this. It is highly effective against lyme disease.



I am glad Shelah brought this up. I have had Lyme a couple of times now and have used Knotweed tincture that my wife makes as part of my treatment. Great and important medicine, very high in resveratrol. It is hard to find a source that is verified as not poisoned in my town, as the city spays it with nasty chemicals as often as it can find, (and even actively tries to mobilize the population to take part as "Duluth Invaders." The medicinal, along with the edibility and excellent bee forage it provides, are among some of its attribute. I have eaten the young shoots sauteed, I think they are tasty, a lemony/ sour flavor.

Tao Orion http://permies.com/t/55694/plants/Tao-Orion-author-War-invasive discusses the species in her recent book and looks at some other uses, such as building the base of compost piles with old canes to allow oxygenation and working with the Knotweed on riparian restoration using on-going management strategies to cut and build organic gabions to slow increased water flows, especially in light of the largely absent beavers that served a similar purpose in so much of North Americas historical waterways.

Not to discount it growth rate and ability to disperse itself (I read recently that all individuals in N. America are female clones, spreading exclusively by rhizome in the introduced areas, not sure if that is true). I have witnessed that first hand. Orion makes the crucial point of placing the "invasive" phenomenon in the wider ecological context, seeing historical disturbances that have taken place and the ones taking place right now, and understanding the organism as a part of this whole and not in isolation.

I guess point being try to make your 'problems' into solutions. Get a yield, better yet get a couple, while you manage it by cutting the growth on a regular basis, the rhizomes will eventually succumb if you are diligent and patient (and give it a few years).
2 years ago