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Nick Blonigen

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since Aug 13, 2016
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Recent posts by Nick Blonigen

I planted butternut squash into my yard this spring, just dug out some holes in the sod, mounded the soil up into a low hill, and added seeds.  I noticed by early June that the plants weren't growing as well as I'd hoped, and their leaves had a yellowish hue to them.  So I tried two things.

One, I went fishing in a lake I knew was filled with large bullhead catfish.  I buried a dead bullhead one foot deep and one foot away from each hill in Mid-June.

I then went into the run of my chicken coop, dug out a wheelbarrow of manure-infused soil, and added one shovelful of it to every hill.

The plants exploded in growth by July, and are now laden with squash.

I was so impressed, I've started burying fish and using chicken soil all around my garden.
2 years ago
I'm on 1.4 acres between Farmington and Northfield, right off Highway 3.  Been trying to permaculture my yard for the past few years when time permits between working 50+ hr a week and raising a 6 yr old, so I've still got quite a way to go
2 years ago
It's funny how many people here think you can garden between those silver maples.  I have a half-dozen silver maples in my side yard, about 40 ft tall, and my first thought was a wooded 1/4 acre under them.  No such luck.  That area has the driest soil, despite the shade, no matter how much mulch I apply.  I'm finally having half of them removed this fall, and the others next year.

Silver maples are water hogs of the worst degree.
2 years ago
I planted two yellowhorns from Burnt Ridge Nursery 3 years ago.  One died the first summer, the other winterkilled to the ground the first winter.  However, I left it alone and that survivor resprouted into a multi-stemmed tree/large shrub; today it is 6 ft tall.  It flowered last year, but the few pods fell off when only marble-sized.  This year, one pod did mature fully; I just picked it yesterday as it was starting to dry and split so as not to lose any nuts.

I'm 30 min. south of Minneapolis, MN, in the country with no heat island effect here so we're still a zone 4 (lucky city dwellers are zone 5A).  My particular tree is therefore self-fruitful and hardy to at least -22F.  However, I am thinking it would be more fruitful if there were another one nearby, so I'll be germinating the dozen seeds I got for new specimens next spring to incorporate into my edible windbreak/living snow fence on the north side of my property.

Question: Should I consider pruning off the smaller branches to grow it as a single-stemmed tree, or leave it as a 4-5 stemmed tree/shrub thing?  I'm not so much focused on the look of the plant, only it's health and bearing ability.
2 years ago