Thursday, February 28, 2013

Season Begins!!

In spite of the snow outside the greenhouse, the nuts are starting to wake up from their winter dormancy. I'm sharing a close-up profile of a chestnut germling below.

We've planted over 4000 hazelnuts and 900 chestnuts to date.  We wait until they have germinated so that all seeds in a flat are nearly the same developmentally.  By doing so we can ensure watering and other treatments can be provided at near optimal timing for the entire population of plants in a flat.

We use subirrigation via flood-able tables to ensure even water availability to the tublings.  If you are familiar with the leaf size of hazelnuts (or chestnuts) you can readily see how water from an overhead source could be deflected from reaching the surface (and interior) of individual tubes (white containers above and below).  In order to ensure good capillary action we presoak the flats after planting.  Included in this presoak is a combination of beneficial soil organisms in a product called Actinovate.  These organisms become established in the soilless planting medium and help ensure pathogens causing rootrot do not take over.  This is critical for the continued health of the crop as the irrigation water is drained from the tables and reused.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Badgersett Short Courses: Mar 23-24 AND April 13-14. Two Locations; Details:

Email just sent out to our mailing lists:

According to demand, we are expanding the annual Short Course to TWO dates this year for the first time; at two different venues.

March 23-24 (with some events 22 and 25) at the traditional location near Badgersett in SE Minnesota, at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center.

April 13-14 (with some events 12) at The Dept. of Sustainable Living, Maharishi Univ., Fairfield Iowa.

The two events will be somewhat different, again in response to demand; the March Short Course will focus on theory and Hybrid Hazelnut crop specifics; the April, Iowa, Short Course will teach theory with a focus on Hybrid Chestnut crop specifics.

Both will provide a good grounding in Woody Agriculture crop basics, including pests, genetics, harvest, marketing, and establishment; but detailed examples and discussions will be specialized for the first time.  Persons who want to attend both will likely not be disappointed.

Some additional details for housing and registration pricing for the Minnesota course on March 23-25 are available at last year's short course page at . Updates for both events will be posted on the blog as they become available.

Brandon Rutter

Dr. Brandon L. Rutter
COO and Acting Vice President,
Badgersett Research Corporation
888 557 4211

Time is short, REGISTER NOW:

Minnesota Woody Ag Short Course: March 22-25
->> Early bird registration at $279 until March 8, $309 after <<<
Woody Agriculture theory, with a concentration on HAZELNUT practices. Field class on Monday.
Register at: (it's okay to use last year's forms until we get them up for 2013; just note that the dates are different)

Iowa Woody Ag Short Course: April 12-14
Hosted by the Department of Sustainable Living of the Maharishi University of Management
Presenters: Philip A. Rutter, founding president of the American Chestnut Foundation, and Dr. Susan Wiegrefe
Woody Agriculture theory, with a concentration on CHESTNUT practices.
Registration pricing and lodging options TBA, we will announce them on our blog. Registration will be through the Department of Sustainable Living.

Held nearly every April since 2006, the two-day short course is an in-depth event covering details of both the theory behind and practice of Woody Agriculture crop production. Attendance is highly recommended for current and potential serious producers. The most up-to-date and advanced material is covered, some of which is only available here or through our consulting services.

For those of you who have attended before, there are some bigger changes this year in addition to the overall updating of information we always do:

1 -> Chestnut-focused course in Fairfield! This course will still have Woody Ag basics, but focus primarily on the practical details of growing chestnuts. The one you've been waiting for! More details to come on the blog:

2 -> Rotating Presenters. This means most talks will be given by a different member of our science staff from usual, adding perspective and information from different viewpoints. Most likely there'll be something presented more clearly than before, from your own point of view!

For the course in Minnesota– stay for the field tour of Badgersett Farm on Monday if you can; potential field class/demonstrations include coppice, in-field cloning, gopher control and others.

We consider the Short Course to be one of the cornerstones for people building experience and expertise in Woody Agriculture. We think it's an excellent event, but you don't have to take our word for it– see what previous attendees have to say!

"I know that you probably wanted a shorter, one-paragraph testimonial, but there was so much to brag about, that I had to include everything…"
-Matt Nowak, KS Grower. Natural Resources Specialist for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, US Army.

"As for the presentations:   They were just awesome."
-Erlyn Madsen, UT Grower.

For more detailed testimonials, see

If you're interested in learning more about the practice of Woody Ag field management, the theory behind our advanced NeoHybrid genetics, or long term pest management (to name a few things we'll cover), we encourage you to take advantage of this excellent value.

ALSO: As usual, there is some flexibility in this year's exact course content. If you have a particular topic you would like to have covered; please comment here with your suggestions, by March 15.

Monday, February 11, 2013

"Education Is Never Free."

But this is ridiculous:

  This is Meg's Leg; very soon after the major reconstruction surgery.  It actually looks quite a lot better these days; but it's worth remembering where we started.  I'm hoping we'll eventually have the xrays we can show you- boy, they're impressive.  We could start our own scrap metal business.

  The red spot to the left of the top stitches is the hole left by the screw for the immobilizer rig.  I still don't understand why these wounds (4; penetrating skin and muscle and leaving screw holes in the bones) don't result in gangrene and death.  But they don't.  Sterile technique and intravenous antibiotics notwithstanding- I would think you couldn't keep them clean enough.  They're all closed tight now.

  Meg is still mostly in bed, until the end of February.  She is on track to start putting weight on the reconstructed knee then.  Stitches out weeks ago.  She did have to have another operating room procedure, to break scar tissue that was restricting movement, under general anesthesia.  That turned into a 4 day stay in the hospital; but she now has 120° of flex in the knee; and a good chance she'll recover more.  Also recovering torsion of the knee; she can't quite cross her legs and sit- but almost.

  Progress.  And, I've now managed to abbreviate the response when we get asked; "Ohmigosh; what did you DO??"  to: "Draft horse miscalculation."  That seems to communicate clearly.