gardening (201)

No-Till Farming in North Dakota

Another ’60s concept that has now resurfaced with increased vigor: soil-conserving, no-till farming. In the ’60s, all us gardeners were reading 90-year-old Ruth Stout’s How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back, wherein she just kept adding bales of straw to her garden and tucking seeds under the rotting mulch — no digging.

Then in 1978, Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka published One-straw Revolution: Introduction to Natural Farming. It seemed fringe-ish at the time, and in fact Wendell Berry commented that it wouldn’t work in America.

Well, things have moved along, and there was an article in last week’s New York Times by Erica Goode about North Dakota farming methods that “…promote… leaving fields untilled…” and “…mimic the biology of virgin land, can revive degenerated earth, minimize erosion, encourage pants growth and increase farmer’s profits…”

No chemical fertilizers or fungicides, can you believe it?

So wonderful to read about good things nowadays…

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/10/science/farmers-put-down-the-plow-for-more-productive-soil.html?_r=0

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The Barefoot Farmer grows more than food

“Take a trip to Jeff Poppen’s Long Hungry Creek Farm and you’ll find a year-round farm. You’re also likely to stumble across some agricultural teaching moments or discover yourself in the middle of a 1,000-person celebration. And it’s possible you’ll find all of that occurring simultaneously.

 Poppen, known to many as the Barefoot Farmer, uses his land to grow and raise food like plenty of other farmers do. But much more happens around his 250 acres in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee, and most of it centers around Poppen’s many passions — a passion for small family farms, for community, for getting young people back on the land, and for healing the environment.…”

https://www.mnn.com/leaderboard/stories/the-barefoot-farmer-grows-more-than-food

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Australian Beekeepers Invention: Honey on Tap

On 2/19/15, Kevin Kelly wrote in a message entitled

Automatic honey harvester:
“Might be revolutionary; might be hype.
To which I replied:
“Looks plausible. The FAQs read pretty well. You keep the normal brood chamber.

They ought to set one up in the UC Davis bee lab. You used to be able to stop in there and watch the bees through a glass cover do their pollen-directional dance.

If this really does work and doesn’t get clogged, it’s revolutionary. To not have to mess with extractors would be a boon for a family-sized bee colony.”

–LK

Then Kevin emailed again:

“That crazy honey extractor has raised $ 2.5 million so far and counting.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flow-hive-honey-on-tap-directly-from-your-beehive

If it does not work a lot of folks will be disappointed.

But I tell ya, Kickstarter-style crowd funding is very powerful.

— KK”

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Tiny Home Builder and Tree Surgeon Coming to US From UK

Craftsperson Willow De La Roche was featured in Tiny Homes on the Move. She built Willow’s Wagon in 2011, and has a new company, Artisan Homes UK, that builds alternative small living spaces, such as gypsy caravans, shepherds wagons, tree houses, boat conversions, as well as earth-bag and cob houses.

Dear Lloyd,

I’m still living in my beautiful wagon thankfully the sheep have gone from my field now, as they uses to cram in under the wagon and make the most disconcerting and sudden noises in the middle of the night, not to mention reeking havoc with my log pile. But this morning the snow lies all around but i’m really nice and cozy inside. 🙂

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Stewart Brand's Summary of Jesse Ausubel's SALT Talk "Why Nature is Rebounding"

Nature rebounding? Agriculture doing well? Huh? I wish all this were true, but I find this analysis troubling. What’s wrong here? What parts of this are right and what parts are not? I’m posting this for comment.

I don’t like Stewart’s (and probably Jesse’s) take on GMOs. Gardeners, people who work with the soil and respect natural processes know intuitively there’s something wrong with the GMO juggernaut. And I’ve just found out that Kauai is a proving grounds for the GMO giants: Dow Chemical (makers of napalm, right?), Syngenta, DuPont and their like seem to be poisoning Kauai and its people in their brilliant blending of genetic manipulation, poisons, and profit.

We are as gods, right? Wrong.

In the next few days I’ll post my observations on all this. It’s especially vivid because I just saw huge fields of genetic experiments (nary a weed in sight) on the road from Waimea to Polihale Beach.

—LK

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