Farming Weird

Carolla

wondering & wandering
Messages
6,910
Reaction score
5,076
Today's Toronto Star had a long (multiple pages) article on farming in Saskatchewan - How Saskatchewan farmers are preparing for climate change | The Star - featuring new methods now being employed by some farmers. The focus is on protecting and nourishing the soil, using organics, and for some also on sequestering CO2 to improve our air quality & affect the global warming trend. I found it to be a very interesting read. So amazing what is going on out there.

I realize that @Naman is (I think!) our only member here with significant farming history - but we all need to take an interest I think in how our food is produced, and the effect on our world more broadly as a result of these practices. So if you have time - I highly recommend the article & would be interested in your thoughts.
 

Naman

Well-Known Member
Messages
381
Reaction score
272
Thanks Carolla for posting the link as it relates to The Earth and Our World. It will be on my mind as I go about my day and I am happy to be back on the farm for a few days. However I do not have access to a microscope to zero in on the ground cover as does the Axton farm woman in the article.
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
Messages
6,910
Reaction score
5,076
Thanks Naman for dropping by! Glad to hear you're on the farm for a few days.

It's interesting to me how the application of science to farming is evolving. Seems like not so long ago the effort was on genetically modifying seed etc and applying a mix of chemicals to the soil to enhance yield - but some are now going the microscope route and using more organic means to enhance and protect our precious earth.

When I was at GC42 a few years ago, a young woman at my table was from SK and was just finishing up a degree in agriculture - it was fascinating for me (a city slicker!) to talk with her and learn so much.
 

Naman

Well-Known Member
Messages
381
Reaction score
272
Excessive cultivation, and summer fallowing to conserve moisture and control weeds have been every damaging to the soil tilth. Now that farmers have switched to minimum cultivation, and continuous cropping the soil tilth is much improved. Care must be taken to look after soil microorganisms while relying on genetic modifications, chemicals and fertilizer. However, excessive cultivation and summer following were for more damaging to the soil tilth.
 

ChemGal

One with keen eye
Messages
11,285
Reaction score
3,189
applying a mix of chemicals to the soil to enhance yield - but some are now going the microscope route and using more organic means to enhance and protect our precious earth.
The article actually discusses them applying a mix of chemicals to the soil.
A group that was gardening based, switched to permaculture. Some there are very anti-chemical. I also see some places claim they don't use chemicals. That's impossible.

Chemicals are needed to grow anything, there are just different types and ways to use them.
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
Messages
6,910
Reaction score
5,076
Now that farmers have switched to minimum cultivation,
It is interesting that even in our smaller urban gardens, many are switching to minimum cultivation and are attending more to adding things like worm castings & composted manure on a semi-annual basis.
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
Messages
6,910
Reaction score
5,076
@ChemGal - permaculture is a very interesting method I think. Is that anything you've looked at for your own veggie garden?
 

ChemGal

One with keen eye
Messages
11,285
Reaction score
3,189
@ChemGal - permaculture is a very interesting method I think. Is that anything you've looked at for your own veggie garden?
I don't really have plans to change much in how I garden.
Most of the recommendations I see about mulching aren't suitable for my allergies.
No till doesn't really apply to garden boxes IMO. With squash, I'm not going to leave all that stuff in there there, that could really interfere with beets and carrots. Also, when we dump the pots (I have peas, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers and some brassica crosses in pots) the soil needs to be leveled out. I think even with the no till methods some still work in compost, our boxes aren't really that deep.

A drip line would be interesting, but the yard slopes the wrong way. I haven't heard of others using the same system that we have, so we're already doing our own thing that way. We rarely use hose water, a bit for some trees that the hoses on the barrels don't reach and sometimes for the grass although we don't water the grass that much.
We've discussed composting but decided against the work that would go into that - if the community garden gets going I could see contributing to it at times.

A beehive sounds like a bad idea considering my health issues and I wouldn't be into doing that anyway. Allergies definitely prevent backyard chickens, and I want the freedom to be able to leave for a vacation.

I do use synthetic fertilizer, with tomatoes in pots it's necessary to add in nutrients. I don't use lots in my boxes, but I do for the squash and the tomatoes and cucumbers that are in the boxes. We do buy composted manure too and used to get worm castings. We skipped on the worm casting this year as the worm population now seems to be good, for a while it was rare to see a worm.

We don't spray much in the garden. Chemguy does spray stuff in the yard, he mostly sticks to the plant hormone although roundup is being used to deal with shooters from a neighbours tree which isn't being cared for. For the garden we've used BTK, insecticidal soap, I tried a dishsoap solution once (won't bother doing so again) and sulfur.
In the future for powdery mildew I'm just not going to care unless it gets pretty bad early. I highly doubt it's bad enough to really affect the yield.

I can't imagine using a cover crop. I don't think it's really necessary for raised beds and with when we get snow it would require setting up cold frames and planting when I'm also harvesting - don't have the energy to manage all of that.

Our perennials are ones suited to the climate.

Community rules don't allow us to replace the grass with another ground cover and while I would be happy to have zero lawn I think that would also really negatively affect resale value.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
Messages
41,770
Reaction score
3,609
Working the terre is a complex challenge ... not for those afraid of anything beyond simple! Thus we plough on like Walter Brennan and that dark mule called Midnight ... just to raise curiosity about the unknown ... the devil to those that believe they know all they need! Thus satyrs keep popping up as Jocks and Jacqulare ... sometime Jacqueline ... to play Lucille to the cultivator! The myth may be projected to great length ...
 
Top