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Summary

Paul calls up Alexandra and Richard, who have recently aquired 0.3 acres in “Mosquito Town”, Minnesota, just on the edge between urban and suburban for a consultation on what to do with it.

Paul suggests making a food garden, but there’s a bunch of large conifers on the south boundary that both block sun and, being allelopathic, hinder other plants from growing around them by releasing toxins.  Paul’s response to this is to remove as many of the offending trees as they can, as not all of them are on their land, and using the logs to make hugelkultur.  Considering that they have a young child, Paul suggests leaving an area of flat lawn for the kid to play in and basically act as sprog storage.

In the north part of the property, there’s a large blue spruce that’s spreading its allelopathy as far as 15 feet in every direction, so that’s best gone, along with a black walnut that’s also allelopathic but at the same time produces a good amount of walnuts, so the three are all conflicted about it.  Paul suggests leaving the tree there, but pruning the lowermost branches every other year to keep high nut production, but gradually increase the amount of sun getting to the ground.  In a stroke of good luck, the black walnut tree is the other side of an impermeable asphalt driveway that creates a dry area underneath, which works to prevent the roots from reaching the other side where there’s a great big grape vine.  Furthermore, the black walnut’s toxins don’t affect all plants, so it should be possible to grow a somewhat restricted garden in the same area as the roots.

There is a dip in the land that looks like Minnesota is trying to create its ten thousand and first lake that may be because of a leaky pipe, but chances are it can be used productively.  Luckily they’re in a comparatively built up area, so it won’t be a septic tank.

Relevant Threads

Midwestern USA regional forum

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