Gordon Haverland

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since Jun 22, 2016
Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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Recent posts by Gordon Haverland

A guild supposedly has a founder, and for the lilac the founder is probably as short as many of the members to be planted around it.

How does one expand a guild to a founder which is not "a point"?    In particular, a dense hedge.  (My lilac hedge is discrete points in a line, the blue honeysuckle hedge is a think line..)

I think Ag Canada/Beaverlodge stopped investigating blue honeysuckle as a plant for farms in about 1976.  I have 2 hedges of that plant here, and a single pairing (male and female plants in a single hole). on the farm.  And over the years, birds have done there thing, and so there are prodigy in the odd place here and there.

This blue honeysuckle is dense, and makes a good windbreak and snowbreak.  The berries are horrible.  I believe I have slightly less than 50% of both hedges alive this year; they weren't that bad last year.  Because of how quickly all the plants seem to be "dying", I suspect they are all clones, which would go to the berries always being horrible.

Maybe a decade after Ag Canada/Beaverlodge gave up on this blue honeysuckle, USaskatchewan started a related line of research, which begat the highly successful "haskap" (named for the Japanese cultivar).  The taste of the berries seems to be related to both the "male" and "female" sources.  So who knows how bad these blue honeysuckles from Ag Canada/Beaverlodge would be, it they had access to some of the more modern sources of pollen?   On the flipside, if a person has Ag Canada/Beaverlodge honeysuckles on the proeprty, will they make the haskap berries taste worse?

On the trip to look at a used tractor to buy (not yet arrived here), I stopped at DNA Gardens in the thriving metroplis of Elnora, AB (population, 298).  The groundskeeper has had experience with blue honeysuckle (probably not what Ag Canada/Beaverlodge ended up with), and said that coppicing the hedge would probably see it all grow back.  On the leeward side of the property, this might be fine.  Pollen probably won't travel westward from these plants on its own, but bees will do things.  The other hedge is set up against a stand of tall aspen, and it doesn't see much wind.  Again bees could do things.  About midway between the two, is what I think is a male/female pair planted in a single hole.  It is possible that that location is the only male plant on the property, and bees were carrying pollen upwind and downwind to the two hedges.  I just don't know.

Near the "pair", a couple of years ago I planted a Cosco special which was probably the popular haskap pair from USask 10 years ago.  No documentation.  This year would be the first year it would have fruit.  Maybe.  At DNA Gardens, I bought Boreal Beauty and Boreal Beast, the new best of breed from USask.  And they are planted not in the same hole, between 3 Evan's cherry seedlings from DNA Gardens (actually from some place in Manitoba).

The leeward hedge runs SW-NE.  In the summer, the downhill side is mostly in shade; and conversely the uphill side is mostly in sun.  The hedge is more or less 7-8 foot tall, and more than half dead by appearances.  I plan to start coppicing it from the west, but I won't take it all down.  I may take 1, 2 or 4 "trunks" down, and see what happens over the rest of the summer and into next spring.
23 hours ago
The hedge slightly higher in elevation to this one, is shorter.  It was probably intended to be alternating laurel leaf willow and caragana arbosescens, but they have both moved over the years.  So there are mostly overlapping regions of "control" between the two.  The downhill side is north (it is a north facing slope for the bulk of the farm).  There was too much "black topsoil" brought in for all of the lawn, and I believe in places where trees were planted the topsoil could be 3-4 feet deep.  In some places where lawn was planted, the applied topsoil could be minimal.  The underlying soil is mostly clay.

Someone had an idea about willow and blueberries, I don't know that the pH of the soil is low here.  I suppose a person could apply horticultural sulfur to lower the pH.


While many places mention that caragana arborescens can grow to 20 feet, it seldom gets beyond 10 feet.  I have in my cold frame, an assortment of caragana.  I think most of the caragana that are here now, were transplants from the Ag Canada research station at Beaverlodge.  I have a source of caragana arborescens from Nova Scotia, and I have another source from elsewhere (obtained from JL Hudson).  I have caragana microphylla (nominally to 8 feet, yellow flowers) and caragana rosea (3 feet, with pink flowers).  Maybe adding in 2 independent sources of caragana arborescens will help, as may the two smaller caragana.  I believe according to PFAF, only arborescens rates high on edibility.
1 day ago
Some nameless person who had no knowledge and too much money, decided a 40 acre "farm" needed a 4.5 acre lawn, and hired someone fresh out of a landscape design course.  Forty some odd years later, the family farm is now mine.  Except for the lawn, the last real work was done by me in high school (late 1970's).  The lawn was done maybe 5 tears after that.  No documentation exists for the lawn design.

Cutting 4.5 acres is a bit much, and I am going to repurpose much of the lawn area.  But, it is probably better to build from what is there, if I can.  All the treed areas, have that geotech fabric on them, now firmly intertwined with things like quack grass.  Grass from the lawn has long since invaded all the tree plantings.  If I can find a predicted rainy day, I have a 3 foot tall pile of local newspapers to distribute on some of the tree areas.  I am also trying to get horseradish growing in some.  My first attempt at horseradish, was planting in early spring (beginning of May), without any compost in the hole.  I am not seeing anything at the moment.   I bought some more horseradish root, and this attempt will add some compost to the holes.  I have comfrey growing elsewhere (only a 1 year old plant at the moment), and  was planning to ring tree plantings with comfrey once I got the grass problem under control in the tree plantings.

I found some suggestions for companion plants to lilac, which included a bunch of ornamentals that I see no use for.  Dwarf cherry and dogwood were listed.  A number of clubs were listed (I think daffodils were on that list).  I have 3 different locations on the lawn with lilac, the biggest one being a hedge about 16 plants long, situated on a change in slope in the lawn (steeper below the lilacs).  The line of this hedge, is not of constant elevation.  I had bought a bunch of Cornus Kousa 'Satomi' seeds from Oikos, and 8 seeds went into the centres of my first attempt to grow squash in a 40 year old fescue pasture.  I think they need a winter before they will germinate, so next year.  I probably have enough seeds to plant one of these dogwoods on the downhill side midway between lilacs.

I have a tractor coming (52hp), with FEL and some 3pt implements (box blade, tilt/angle blade, subsoiler).  I could make small swales which terminate near the lilac on the upper side.  I could plant small cherry (Evan's, Nanking, ...) on the swale berms above the lilac.  Some of the lilac are looking ragged (they are 40 ish year old), so t may be that some of these lilac should be replaced.

I could plant bulbs between the lilacs or otherwise central to the point between two lilacs.  On the uphill side, perhaps a person plants a radius of 3 sisters (corn/sunflower, squash, beans).

I've tried growing corn elsewhere on the property, and it is very windy here and the corn can take a beating.  This area on the uphill side of the lilac is more wind shielded than the other place was.  I have also been thinking of trying to grow the Gaspe flint corn which is dwarf.  Not much for a bean to climb, but if I alternate a taller sunflower with corn, that might work?

Once the grass is "tamed", I was thinking that this "guild area" get planted to white clover.

----

Deer issues - I have white tail and mule deer here, and moose.  Elk are in the region, I've never seen one.  While there are willow all over the farm, the moose really like eating the willow on the lawn.  I don't water the lawn or fertilize it; so other than the willow hedges being also carragana hedges; I don't know why they are particular about the willows on the lawn.  I also have various dogwood growing on  the farm, some in the lawn and more outside.  The deer and moose seem to graze all of that about equally.
1 day ago
Thanks for the "like" Bryant Redhawk!

Having spent years with pharmaceutical chemists, a little rubbed off.  I can manage to read and understand some of the biological literature.  But mostly I am a materials science person.
5 days ago
ScienceDirect had something else of interest.

Many people talk/write about there being components in a food which can affect the action of components such as toxins.

It seems that the ability of acetogenins in some foods to cause DA cell death (presumably by inhibiting mitochondrial complex I) can be influenced by sugars.

Annonacin caused the death of DA neurons in mesencephalic cultures via a mechanism that mostly resulted from impairment of energy metabolism. Indeed, annonacin-induced DA cell death was prevented by two hexoses, glucose and its glycolyzable isomer mannose, which both operated by partially restoring intracellular ATP levels which were decreased as a consequence of mitochondrial complex I inhibition (Lannuzel et al., 2003). Deoxyglucose, a non-metabolizable glucose/mannose analog, reversed these neuroprotective effects probably by competition, at the glucose transporter sites. Other hexoses such as galactose and fructose were not protective because they were poorly taken up by DA neurons (Lannuzel et al., 2003). Attempts to restore oxidative phosphorylation with substrates of the citric acid cycle, lactate or pyruvate, failed to provide protection to DA neurons whereas idoacetate, an inhibitor of glycolysis, inhibited survival promotion by glucose and mannose indicating that both hexoses acted upstream of the mitochondria by stimulating the glycolytic flux in these neurons (Lannuzel et al., 2003).

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/acetogenin

Peterson gives the (ripe?) composition of paw paw fruit as:

Sugars in  ripe pawpaw
Fructose 1.3-2.8
Glucose 1.8-4.0
Sucrose 6.0-13.3

I am not finding any information about deoxyglucose in fruits (or pawpaw fruit in particular), but I did run across a research paper where deoxyglucose was used as an internal standard in a fruit extraction.  If that extract was then used in a toxicology study, the results could be biased.


1 week ago
Greetings.

I was into some of the paw paw (asima triloba ?) literature, and got diverted by the toxicology information.

There are compounds which Bryant Redhawk pointed out, and at least some of them have interest in an antic-cancer sense.

However, at least one of the compounds is also a neurotoxin.  In particular, it kills/damage cortical neurons.  Pubmed references a few articles that are relatively recent.

In some pages on the Internet, these compounds get mentioned in the context of Parkinson's.  A few point out, the relationship (or probably better described as a correlation, as causality doesn't seem to be demonstrated) is with atypical Parkinson's.  Parkinson's responds to L-DOPA; and atypical doesn't (if I remember correctly).

Best of luck and continued good health.

1 week ago
Addendum: Nothing to do with Vibernums - But has to do with Oikos

Some thread on Permies.com says that you can grow squash in a hay pasture.  So, I am trying it.  Using a mattock, I removed patches of sod of about 4 square feet, and laid them upside down next to the excavation.  I then put a litre or so of "soil" on top of the clay soil of my farm, and planted squash near the 4 corners of each "square" plot.  The season is still early for me as I am so far north, but I have 3 (out of 28) locations showing a squash (or pair of squash, there were 2 seeds per location) and a second location in a single plot seemed to be starting.

Squash needs water to make these big watery fruits, and all of the locations I excavated are in places which tend to collect water or stay wet longer after a rainfall.  At some point, I may have to lay slabs of wood next to the excavations to keep fescue close to the squash from growing.

From Oikos, I have Cornus kousa 'Satomi' (an Asian dogwood).  I have dogwoods on the farm (not planted, all spontaneous, probably due to some bird or ungulate of the bambi family).  I  never tried to inventory them, but I wouldn't be surprised if they all have a berry.  Satomi has a different fruit.

The instructions seem to be that it needs to be planted 2 inches deep (unusual for a small seed), and it needs to see cold (it will see winter in a few months).  So, I am going to plant all 7 of my squash excavations with one of these dogwood seeds in the centre, and seed what happens next spring.  And I will try to plant some dogwood seeds just by driving an object (12 inch spike is likely) into the sod in places.

I suppose white tail and mule deer eat dogwood, but what really seems to like dogwood is bullwinkle (moose).  And they all come here to eat at the moment.

1 week ago
Two year old post with no replies.

Last year I planted 2 high bush cranberries (probably raised in Quebec, I am in NE BC Canada).  I mentioned this to a neighbour who has hiked enough in the local forest, to know what is growing here.  He wondered why I would bring in high bush cranberries from Quebec.  I gather this means they already grow here.

If these 2 high bush cranberries from Quebec can benefit from many other pollen sources from NE BC, I think this is a good thing.  If so, that means that at some point these benefits will diffuse outwards (when birds eat berries and poop them elsewhere).

Neither question answers the what do the Oikos products taste like.

I have been planting Oikos things.  In particular, I just set out some Oikos Wild Raisin seeds into pots, and hopefully at some point they grow.  They probably need a winter before they germinate, but they are planted in a cold frame and I will see next spring.  Maybe.

I have various vibernums on the property.  Most are things where I have no idea as to what they are.  And so, I have seldom found the need to explore them.  It was someone else's decision 40 years ago, and there is no documentation.


Last year, I tried 2 or 3 times to taste a persimmon.  And every time, my persimmon was confused with a tomato, and ended up in a salad.  And the salads all tasted fine (by me and others who didn't know of the mix up).  So, one of my swale projects  is to try and set things up so that I have 2 "tomato" trees on the property.  I have Oikos seed for that.  I have paw paw seeds here from them as well.

1 week ago
No matter how much you read, you will make bonehead mistakes.

Off the SW corner of our lawn, a long time ago someone planted 4 or 5 rows of conifers (both pine and spruce) on some kind of plan, where the long line of the conifers is something like SE-NW.  No water, no swales, too closely planted to have swales added after the fact.

What does one get for 40 years of conifers with no water?  Not much.  The tallest trees are the ones the most downwind.  And I think the tallest might be pushing 20 feet.

Parallel to the east most row, is a ditch to try and keep water from running into the house in spring run off.

Between this ditch and the board fence which defines the "lawn", I planted two apple and two pear seedlings (all different varieties).

The tallest of the bunch is a pear which is about 4 feet tall.  Might need to get shorter, as we had some -40C weather this winter which was unexpected.  The others are in the 2-3 foot tall range.

Small trees, the dripline is at most 2 feet from the trunk.

A swale is on contour - constant elevation.  Any swales I build here (by hand, it is completely fenced in) will be constant elevation nominally E-W; and I will try to extend them as far to the west to support this array of conifers as I can.  But the swale will be designed to overflow to the west.  The idea is to replace this SE-NW ditch, with a series of swales which all overflow to the west; at least in part.

These  2 apple and 2 pear seedlings are still all small, and only a couple of years in the ground.  They are expected to be spending most of their energy into making roots.  So, if the dripine is 2 feet from the trunk, how close does one come to the trunk with the swale?

Any roots for such a seedling should be small, and of limited extent. To cut one small root, should not be much of a problem.  To cut all of the small roots is a problem.

There are some trees, which impose geometry between roots and branches.  The geometry can get twisted.  For example, you might find a tree which if you cut smaller roots on the east side of the tree, that the branches on the east side of the tree lose vigor.  There is no "twist" there.  You could find another tree if you cut roots on the east side, the branches on the south side could lose vigor.  There is a twist in that relationship.

Maybe some trees have a helical arrangement, so loss of vigor could be west at 10 feet and east at 30 feet.

Some trees randomize things.

Some trees produce root systems which extend many times the diameter of the drip line.


There are 3 parts to a swale; viewed looking downhill:
1. approach
2. ditch
3. berm

How I would like to try building one, is with a 2 bottom plow.  With a 14 in bottom, the ditch part would be about 28 inches wide.  So, the first pass with the plow puts half the soil onto the berm, and half is still in the ditch.  Perhaps a second pass puts all the soil up on the berm?  The berm is supposed to be mostly non-compacted soil, now whether this means one has to till the berm in some regard, I don't know.  As described, the ditch would be 28 inches wide and the berm would be 14 inches.  I would be happier if it was 28 inches wide..  So, we could declare the approach to be 28 inches as well, and it would be symmetric.

It would be something like a square wave.  I don't think this is good.  In wood working, you could make a shaper.  Cut a profile on rotating blades, and apply it to the wood.  All civil construction seems to do, is to apply a flat blade to things.  Rototillers are vaguely like a rotating flat blade.  It may be that a person could treat a box blade like a shaper, if the soil was tilled.  I don't think it would work for sod.

A tilt/angle rear blade, may be able to put in a linear (sloped) approach.  It could possibly do this on the downhill side too; but you would probably end up needing to pull the two plowed rolls further downhill, so that you had room to work with when cutting the linear downslope.  To do the "cut" on the approach, that dirt would end up in the ditch, and maybe the plow can move that to the berm?  To slope the downhill side of the berm, I think you probably need to direct that cut to the ditch as well, if there is any kind of sod involved.  I think a steeper slope on the downhill side would work better, especially since we are adding soil to the downhill side.

If we plow 6 inches deep, our 28 inch wide ditch is 1.1666666 cubic feet per foot of ditch.  To cut a 28 inch wide slope on the approach is half that.  To cut a 14 inch wide slope on the berm side generates 0.29166666 cubic feet per foot.  Which means we are adding 2.0416666666666 cubic feet of soil to the berm area, per foot of swale.

The addition of the slope on the downhill side has made our ditch 42 inches wide, and our spoils to the berm is almost twice what the square wave ditch is.  If we did this in a square wave manner, the berm would rise almost a foot over where the level of the land was before.  With smoothing of corners, the peak of the berm will rise higher if you want to keep the berm at 28 inches wide.

We moved 2.04... cubic feet of dirt per foot of swale,  So, if we discarded the soil, we would be storing a little over 15 (USA) gallons of water per foot of swale.  Keeping the soil in a square wave type berm, our water storage should now be something like 41.5 (USA) gallons per foot.  To me, this sounds like too big a number.

All of the calculations performed to this point are linear.  So, if we go from a plowing depth of 6 inches to a plowing depth of 2 inches, our swale storage capacity should drop to something like 13.8 gallons

The problem with my farm, is the sod is 40 years old (mostly fescue), and to plow 2 inches deep probably only brings up grass and roots and not much soil.  So, to make swales the first time, you probably need to do a few practice swales, just to find out what to do.


I gather a lot of fruit trees tend to have roots near the surface, where grass grows.  And on my farm; the people who started things had no clue about grass.  Lay down geotech fabric,and everything will be wonderful.  Not!  Trying to adjust an area where geotech fabric is present is annoying.  To remove geotech fabric from an area can be very difficult.


If we had of planted our tree in the trailing edge of the berm (still above normal ground level), I will suggest the peak of the berm is at about 1/3 if the berm width (about 9 inches for a 28 inch wide berm), and that the tree would be planted about half way down the downslope (about 18 inches back).  The tree would probably grow roots to the downhill side just the same way it would grow roots if planted on a level ground with respect to the local soil level.  Most trees don't want to have roots smothered in water (there are exceptions).  So, I can see a tree planted into a swale berm, to push roots up into the "peak" of the berm above the level that the trunk is planted at.  Some trees have deeper roots, and I don't know how those kinds of roots would behave in a swale.  Are they going to try to get to the uphill side, going under the swale?   At least in part, the problem with roots being "submerged" (wet because of water filling all the soil pores) is a lack of oxygen.  For trees that can fix nitrogen, it is also a lack of nitrogen.

If I put a swale uphill of a pre-existing tree (even a small one), it is possible that some of the "surface" roots of that tree  will fall under the built up berm area.  For older trees, there could be other kinds of roots which go beyond this point as well.

If I do nothing, I would expect the surface roots that are under this now built up berm to send out new roots, going upwards (to be closer to the surface).  The problem is, that in a wet period, the elevated water table in the vicinity of the berm will keep some roots under water for too long, and they will die.  It is possible, that at the point of dying, that later on they produce new roots which now follow the "proper" path to stay under the surface of the now elevated berm.

Another "solution" which comes to mind, is when one installs a swale "after the fact", that at the line where added soil to the berm ends, that a person use a shovel (or something) vertically, to cut all the surface roots.  This should result in the root system generating new roots, which will try to move up into the elevated berm in part, and doesn't involve the "insult" of having some roots be submerged.

Cutting surface roots I don't believe is much of a problem.  Cutting roots which are tiny probably isn't a problem (unless you are talking seedlings).  Cutting big roots probably means problems.

There are trees which have root systems which far exceed the dripline of the canopy.

My guess, is for an established tree; you want to put the trailing edge of the berm (the transition back to normal soil levels) either at the dripline or slightly inside.


Hopefully someone who is more expert than I am; will comment.  I suspect it might be best to cut roots (with a shovel) on that (berm) line, but to only go down 6 inches or so.  Again, someone may correct me on this.


My land is mostly 40 year old fescue sod.  My feeling, is that the first task in any swale work, is to run a single bottom subsoiler at an appropriate depth at least every foot, possibly every 6 inches across the path you need between the beginning of your approach to the end of your berm.  The appropriate depth is how far you will be cutting with a plow or blade.  Except for the trailing edge of the berm.  I think that is the 6 inches or so one needs, to break all the roots.

Because my land is boreal forest consisting mostly of clonal aspens; I can expect to run into big aspen roots almost anywhere.

Your land could be different.
1 week ago
Leaning on a chicken pun there.

Swales are supposed to be a designed in support structure for trees.

You make a swale moving dirt to the downhill side, you in some way work the downhill berm; and trees get planted  on the downhill  side of the berm.

Can we  place the swale/berm after the tree has been planted?

My guess is that this is possible. We are going to put the  tree probably further downhill than it would be, if we were planting the tree into the berm.

Lots of people plant trees, with a bowl around the tree, so as to have a source of water for the tree.

If the tree is "old", I suspect it isn't worth trying to "graft" a swale onto its upslope, if nothing else there are too many apple roots to cut to do so.  But, if the apple (pear, ...) is young enough, maybe something works?

This may be similar to bringing a swale up to a hedge (that is not on contour).

1 week ago