2017 Dave Brandt Field Day - Gabe Brown

I understand this video is about commercial farming, however, the principle of having cover crops on your soil at all times is the issue with which I am concerned. 

I was born in Whitman County, N.E. Washington state where my family had farms on the rolling loesse hills covered with wheat, oats, peas, and lentiles during the growing season, the ground is deeply tilled and left bare for the water and wind to erode it away. Erosion was one problem they faced, another was dead soil. The tops of the rolling hills had no top-soil left, only bare subsoils which have low growth.

Both of my grandmothers had vegetable and fruit gardens, which were lush with all kinds of green growth, then turned with a tiller and left bare for the winter. 

Everyone farmed and gardened this way for generations. The bunch grass was first broken in the 1870s when a flood of settlers came into Whitman Co. and started farming with horse and plow. My cousins changed to no-till farming after we graduated from college. The USDA and WA State College, a land grant college, started making the changes after they completed their Ag. training. Even my grandmothers were influenced by the no-till, using cover crops, and mulching after this change. 

Now, to gardens, 

1) leave no bare soil, it needs what is called armor to protect the soil life, including worms, bacteria, and fungi. 

2) use nitrogen fixing plants for ground cover, These produce nitrogen in the soil and their cuttings make good mulch. 

3) use mycorrhizal fungi, they help solubolize (the process of incorporating the solubilizate (the component that undergoes solublization) into or onto micelles), phosphorus, and bring soil nutrients (phosphorus, nitrogen, micronutrients, and perhaps water) to the plant. [It is similar to making a solution out of a mineral].

4) use well composted "brown" (animal manure) and "green" (plants) manure. I keep bins of each in my garden and empty them every year in the spring. 

5) do not use chemical fertilizers or weed killers or fungicides of any kind, they are too potent, tend to kill worms, soil organisms, and friendly fungi and bacteria. Learn how to use organic methods of organic disease control and Natural pest control. I have used Gardens Alive for at least 20 years, if not 40 years and am totally satisfied with their products. Whether in the garden or kitchen, these pest and disease products work. 

6) use Diatomaceous Earth (food grade): bug killer you can eat! Food grade is a bit more costly, but you can eat produce that has D.E. on it, it doesn't harm mammals, it is effective, and is available in most hardware and garden stores. It is cheaper than other alternatives. 

7) use worms to till your vegetable and flower garden. They work day and night, year around, and you don't have to do anything to keep them working on your team. I use a worm farm to get a supply, then add it to my compost as I spread my well composted green or brown manure.

8) use insects to control disease and pests. They do fly away to other gardens, to be killed by insecticides, but many stay home if there are insects to eat. I discovered that my roses were free of aphids for 4 years after I brought in a package of lady bugs. The pests disappeared and so did the lady bugs. I suspect the good bugs hand around and check back in, perhaps. I have used Gardener's Supply Company for at least 20 years for information and products. I have never been disappointed!

9) use Square Food Gardening, if you are new at gardening or read the material for ideas

10) use Permaculture strategies. You don't have to live on a farm to learn the principles and Permaculture. 

My Permaculture garden in the city grows on a garden 50' x 100'.

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