So Dollar general didnt let me quit. They wanted me to work 10 hours. Well I’ve officially put in my two week notice…Again. I have been working with a farmer for the past month or so. It has been very interesting. It has been a huge learning curve. My operation is all on one little acre. I have a CSA of 5 people and thats it. Farmer Joe is just a tad bigger.
Joe has probably 3 acres. 2 of which are totally full of vegetables. He never sprays any pesticides or herbicides, yet he has hardly no bugs at all. His produce is like twice the size of mine. What is his secret?? Soil. He told me everything that is wrong with your plants is soil based. Then he gave me a book to read, How to grow more Vegetables by John Jeavons.
I’ve learned so much that I am now going to incorporate into my garden. So let me tell you so that you can do it to yours as well. I guarantee it will help your garden grow. Now that your gardens are almost done, the best thing to do is find a good quality compost. Here close to my town, the recycle center makes compost. They charge $10 per yard. My garden with a heavy coating used about 1 yard. Once compost is spread on your soil, you want to add microbes. I havent looked into this yet and I’m not sure what he uses but you really dont have to if you dont want to. Just adding compost made a world of difference. I always put on my own stuff, but using another source proved to be extremely beneficial. The next thing to do is add some sea minerals. He buys Sea-90 Livestock trace minerals and puts on 6 lbs per 100 sq ft. He says this is essential for our soil because it is so depleted of trace minerals. After those three things have been applied he then tills the ground. After the ground is tilled, he plants a variety of cover crops.
Cover crops are important to every garden. Bare ground leaches away all the nutrients. The rain and snow keeps pushing it down into the soil. When you plant a cover crop the roots keep the nutrients up towards the surface and into the plant. Then over winter most of the plants die therefore releasing the nutrients onto the top of the soil. When you till in the spring you mix those nutrients back into the soil right at the top.
Farmer Joe recommends planting buckwheat for sure. I have and it is absolutely beautiful. It only takes a month to grow and flowers pretty white. Use it when you are waiting to plant new things or after crops are done for the year. It suppresses weeds really well because it grows so fast. A few others you can plant are oats. They are winter hardy as well as rye grass. He also plants Vetch and Daikon radishes. He said these are great for clay soils. As they grow they break up the ground allowing air and water into the soil. He recommends planting at least three mixed together because each has a different root depth and will pull up different minerals to the surface.
This guy knows what he is talking about. He sells at multiple markets and sells hundreds of dollars each week. He is big into fermenting and sells tons of it. He grows pretty much everything for his own ferments and grows year round in multiple hoop houses. Just looking at his garden is a wonder in itself. He is doing something right. As I learn more I will share what I learn. I just thought this would be helpful for all of you heading into fall.
Happy Homesteading!! 😀