Our nursery is probably not what many would consider a typical nursery. We are a small, family run operation. We have our nursery beds and plant stock scattered throughout our home’s relatively small yard. At any given time we have hundreds if not thousands of small trees and shrubs growing on our quarter of an acre.
We have often been asked about having so many trees and shrubs in our little yard. “Why…?” “How…?” The ‘why’ is simple, we believe that people can solve the world’s problems if we harmonize with nature instead of trying to conquer it… and the world needs more trees.
The ‘how’ requires a bit more explanation. It all started with a half dozen blackberry plants and a half dozen raspberry plants given to us in memory of a grandparent. Our ‘problem’ was how best to grow them. When we researched growing techniques, two very different ideologies became apparent. The first was the labor intensive agricultural model (till, plant, spray, weed, worry, etc.). The other was the thought intensive permaculture model (plan, plant, leave alone…). We went with the latter option… We think very carefully about where we put our trees, and then we let nature work. The weak plants are not coddled into surviving. If they don’t thrive on their own, they go back to feed the soil. So the answer to “How…?” is that we dig a hole and we plant it… then we wait as patiently as we possibly can, fighting the urge to just ‘DO something’.
Unfortunately, the size of our nursery is not the only deviation from the typical nursery model. Although many people are beginning to see that the industrial agriculture process is destructive and poisonous. Most are not aware that the edible and ornamental plants are generally raised in equally poor conditions. The nursery industry is incredibly damaging to the environment. In almost all nurseries you can find rampant use of synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and excessive use of plastic and peat moss. Plants are sold in the summer, at their weakest time of the year, while pumped full of nitrogen to make them appear lush and full so the buyer assumes they’re healthy. Meanwhile their roots are often just beginning to strangle themselves because they’re crammed into a circular pot filled with peat moss and chemicals.
At Rugged Root our trees and plants are grown in cooperation with nature. We believe that the best way to have healthy plants is to grow them in soil teeming with healthy microorganisms. Our nursery beds are mostly nestled around our chicken coop. This is so we can easily amend the soil with our composted mixture of waste plant material, food scraps, manure, and wood chips. This compost is our primary soil amendment. Because we are so small, we have to assist nature with performing the task of bringing the compost to the plants (opportunity for future improvement).
We have never used artificial fertilizers… and we never will. We also never spray… anything… ever. Weed control is achieved through a thick mulch of wood chips, hand pulling, and judicious use of fire. We feed our soil only that which comes from nature, such as waste wood chips, manure, and leaf mold. In the few years we’ve been on this property we have seen a dramatic improvement in the soil health. We do everything we can to protect it from being destroyed by the elements by keeping it covered.
Because our soil is so healthy, it is teeming with microbial life. And when we dig up the plants in the fall and early spring, the roots are generally covered in symbiotic fungal mycelium.
Regardless of when you place your order, we will only dig up your plants when nature says its time. Generally speaking this is in the fall and spring, while they are dormant. This varies a bit from species to species, but generally speaking plants do better when they are disturbed during dormancy than when disturbed during other times of the year.
We proudly offer only our healthiest plants for sale.