Nursery Notes: The plants are growing at Erickon nursery

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Good things have been happening at the nursery now that the sun has come out of hiding. The plants are actually starting to grow. Flowers are providing the local bees with some nourishment.

I was moving a few of my Apple tree collection around this weekend, trying to keep the tree row in alphabetical order — you know, A for Ambrosia, C for Cox Orange — when I started thinking about a short marketing class I had taken at college 20 years ago. I’m not sure just what triggered this memory but I suspect that it had to do with the relative size of the trees I was moving, and how much bigger all of the Canadian grown trees were. No, this is not just the rootstock being used. I try to collect one of every variety of apple tree I come across for fun.

As I was saying, we had a business professor who was trying to get us horticulture kids to market peanut butter, selling so many cases at such-and-such a price. It was all hypothetical and not too interesting at the time but I distinctly remember him telling us that there were more poor quality peanuts found in no name brand peanut butter than more expensive name brand products. I guess it stands to reason that the cheaper product contained inferior quality ingredients. Fair enough, except that he added the “rotten” nuts contained a known carcinogen.

Now, one might not take everything one hears in school as gospel, but I believed him. In 2012, you can Google just about anything. Check it out. Apparently, aflotoxins are a type of fungus that increases the risk of liver cancer. They are found on mouldy peanuts and grains common enough in tropical regions. Yes, we are supposed to be safe from this but with the recent round of cuts to government inspectors who is really looking out for these kinds of things?

Back to the orchard work. My point is that more often than not you get what you pay for. The Canadian grown nursery stock that I sell hasn’t had to cross the border. They might cost me a few dollars more than the U.S. trees but they are worth it. They haven’t needed any chemical fumigation treatment to keep out any hitchhiking foreign pests or diseases. These treatments can sometimes set the young trees back in growth from a few weeks to a few months.

When purchasing your trees and shrubs, you may wish to look for a grown in Canada sticker or enquire as to their point of origin. I’m not saying that US grown stock is bad, just that it may have been treated with some nasty chemicals.

Evan Davies owns Beltane Nursery at 2915 Highway 3 in Erickson.