Healthy Soil, Healthy Vegetables,
(Talk to me for any amount of time and you will hear this…. often!)
It all starts with healthy soil
Although I am not USDA Certified Organic, I strictly adhere to organic growing practices. That simply means I DO NOT USE herbicides, synthetic pesticides or synthetic fungicides on the farm. I use only the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) list of approved pest products, disease management products and organic fertilizers.
I put a lot of work into building healthy soil on the farm. Healthy soil in turn produces stronger plants that resist disease and pests better (Healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy people). We do this by adding carbon back into the soil using hay for mulching, wood chips in between rows and leaving roots and stalks in the ground when we can. We then add compost to the rows every year. We also try to keep the ground covered using cover crops like clover and legumes. This puts Nitrogen and other nutrients back into the soil.
The majority of my pest management systems consists of using row covers to keep pests out, planting companion crops to attract beneficial insects and planting certain crops to keep the pests away (onions is one of them). This year I am going to try attracting more blue birds to the garden because I hear that they are very efficient pest managers.
New for this year- I found a product that basically is clay. It mixes with water and is sprayed on anything that would be susceptible to harmful insects.
My Goals for the future
In the future I would like to buy enough land to put it all into a rotation. 1/3 would have vegetables growing, 1/3 would have chickens on it and the last 1/3 would have livestock. The livestock would disturb the soil while depositing there stuff. The following year the chickens would be moved onto that plot and they would scratch and distribute the cow's deposit.The following year that plot would be used for growing the vegetables.