Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014 Key Hickory Data to Be Collected

Hurrah!  We are anticipating a bumper crop from the hybrid hickory-pecan (a.k.a hickories)plantings... both the one near the picnic area and on the back hill.  Data from this crop will be the first of multiple years of data collection that will enable us to make well-informed decisions for our first selection cycle in this "crop-in-the-making". As with the hazels and chestnuts, we need to have baseline data as we begin/continue the process of crop domestication. 

Because of the bountiful harvest and the need for attention to detail, we are in serious need of additional staffing, (volunteers), who would be interested in being part of this substantial effort.  I am changing  my schedule for the next 4 to 6 weeks to work Sundays from 10 to 5 or so collecting, husking and collecting data from the hickories. The one exception is October 12th, when I will be showcasing my Babydoll lambs on a regional Sheep and Fiber Farm Tour.

For individuals interested in obtaining credit for future Badgersett plant purchases (not restricted to hickories), our arrangement is this: the first day is considered training = no credit given.  After the first day, credit will be given at a rate of $10/hour.

Overnight option: For those who may be interested, campsites and water can be made available should you wish to stay here the night before or after the day worked (or both). There is also an Amish B&B that may be of interest to you that is very near by.

PLEASE let me know if you are coming so I can plan accordingly.  During harvest season there are many competing demands and I may be putting out fires elsewhere if I don't know you are arriving.  I plan to make the trip worthwhile for anyone interested in working with me on this fascinating, multi-purpose crop.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Permaculture Voices Podcasts

After speaking at the Permaculture Voices conference last March near San Diego, Philip met online with the organizer Diego Footer to record a podcast episode. As is often the case in interviews with him, it went a bit over! Diego turned it into two, and they are available at

Go ahead and scroll down on one of those pages; there are a bunch of linked articles and videos, some of which could be new to you.

From the introduction:

"This interview is with Phil Rutter of Badgersett Research Corporation. We talk about why perennial based woody agriculture is important and how chestnuts and hazelnuts fit into that system. We also talk a lot about plant breeding using mass selection to find genotypes of plants that have the traits that you are looking for. This episode is pretty dense and has a ton of information in it for anyone looking to breed plants. Phil is brilliant and I think I learned more about plant breeding in my conversations with him than I ever have anywhere else. Given how much information is in this podcast and how long this podcast is, I have split it into two parts. This is part one, with the second part coming in episode 58.

Take it all in, enjoy it, and most importantly do something with this information."

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tubelings Available

We've still got tubelings for the 2014 summer planting season! Most types of hazel, chestnut, and hickory-pecan are still available, though Select tubelings are essentially sold out and we're running low on a few others. If you've been thinking of putting in some top-of-the-line genetics this year, you could still make it before we run out.
We've worked most of the way through the order queue, so many new orders that allow substitutions should ship out in about 2 weeks. Some types may take longer; take a look at to see when we recommend planting these actively-growing seedlings. Then order plants by following the catalog links at .  As always, we take orders up to 12 months in advance of desired ship date, and payment locks in the current prices.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The hazards of an industry built on "the best" clones-

Good lucid article today in the NYT on all the reasons the Florida grapefruit crop used to be around 40 million boxes; and this year will be around 19.

Besides hurricanes and bad health press, there is citrus canker and now citrus greening, invading pests.

Cost of production has tripled.

You are very unlikely to hear this point anywhere else- but a major part of this disaster is the near total lack of genetic diversity in the crop.

It's known- it's not a guess- that diseases spread in genetically uniform plantings far, far faster than in diverse ones. And with enough genetic diversity, you have real hope of finding some resistance - or an antagonistic organism that eats the disease.  They like diversity too.

All of which is why we recommend planting seedling hazels etc.

The dogma that "consumers won't buy them" is uninformed bull.  The consumers will believe what you tell them; most times.  Tell them "this one is the best, those are lousy" - and the believe it.

Tell them "These are all different- which makes eating them much more interesting." - they'll believe that just as fast.  We've done it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Replicated Clonal Planting in the Works for 2014

The division-based cloning has been quite successful allowing us to plan for the first ever block of strictly clonal plants at Badgersett Research Farm in 2014.  We have 6 genotypes that will go in this year with another 6 to follow next year.  Fortuitously, 2 of the clones going out this year are of high interest.  One is of a plant that held the record for production for a while.  The second is nick-named Jackie Chan because if "kicked all the others' butts" in nut production - until it became shaded by our big Northern Pin Oak.

I've been working on both field-to-pot (establishment) and pot-to-pot techniques (multiplication).  It also helps to have everyone on the same page regarding watering.  Our use of pyrethrin sprays and Gnatrol drench to control fungus gnats has been instrumental in keeping advantage to the plant during the winter when the unheated greenhouse can have high temps in the 40s(F) on some gray days.

Unlike others who are keen on clonal plantings for production, we are most interested in having multiple individuals of the same genotype in order to study what proportion of plant performance is due to genetics versus environmental effects.