The Gita is stuffed full of wisdom. Reading it for ten minutes can make my whole day. Anyone trying to expand their consciousness or love or understanding should read it. Or just look at the pictures, they’re awesome too!
This book is amazing. It really puts in perspective the fact that there are so many institutions controlling our lives that are outdated. And the only reason we can come up with to not implement changes to those obviously flawed systems is that it costs too much. He makes the point that, in reality, the cost of not fixing a problem is greater than the cost of fixing it. And we’re talking about actual value, not dollars, which is another very important distinction made by Mr. Fuller. Super insightful.
So here we have a bunch of broccoli and bok choy under those hoops with row covers. Both are of the Brassica family. Brassicas are a picky type of veggie; They like cold soil, yet require large amounts of nitrogen, and micro-nutrients (high in iron, magnesium, etc.). To keep this seemingly awkward balance just means the soil has to have good organic matter content (also called humus). The microbes in a healthy soil circulate the desired minerals, warm up quickly in the spring, and cool off quickly in the fall.
A good humus also helps to fix nitrogen, but the soil will still be depleted after a crop takes what it wants. To revitalize it, other ‘cover crops’ can be planted that specialize in Nitrogen-fixation. Peas, beans, legumes, and hairy vetch are commonly used. They team up with bacteria that form tiny Nitrogen-fixing nodules attatched to the plants root systems. Usually the cover crops will have a rotation devoted to just them after a heavy feeding crop of brassicas, before the next cash crop can be successful.
A few beds of garlic that have been growing for a couple years I believe. The mulch serves a dual purpose of retaining moisture and smothering weeds. The only downside is that it deflects heat. And you have to move it all before you can get to the dirt :P
Nasturtiums, edible flowers! Cut off the flowers and you’ll have new ones in a few days. They’re super flavorful, almost like spicy honey or something..
This is what an $8,000 Greenhouse looks like. It has room for 5 beds, about 3 rows of produce each, 50 ft long. The main point here is protection from cold. The plants in the greenhouse can grow at a normal rate at least 3 months earlier than outside, and that’s in Maine, and with no additional heating! Today we got a warning of late frost so we lined the base with hay bales and added some nifty row covers to a few beds.
So a huge limiting factor in plant productivity is heat (or lack thereof). Other elements that greenhouses protect against are wind and rain battering, as well as some pests. Of course you don’t want to cut air flow off too much or the air will get stale and perfect for bacteria a.k.a. disease to proliferate. To prevent stale air, the sides of the greenhouse rolls up easily; it’s just plastic with a metal frame.
We also use smaller pvc framed versions called caterpillars, which take about 30 minutes to set up and save just as much heat.
I’m not sure yet why there is not a caterpillar over every cold-susceptible crop.. the only disatvantages I can come up with are added irrigation and set-up costs.
On Sundays we have a weekly farm walk during which Brendan or Brady (who own/run the farm) explain the ins and outs of whatever is going on at the time. Today we had scattered topics..
You can never know what kind of season it’s going to be, which means that you don’t know exactly how much of each product you’ll end up with. Therefore timing is an issue for every farmer, no matter how seasoned(!) s/he might be. For example, this year it stayed cold extra long causing all the lettuce that wasn’t in a greenhouse to mature much more slowly than expected (seen behind the rows of spinach). They were transplanted to the ground 6 weeks ago which means they should have full green heads, ready for harvesting by now. But the ones grown inside the greenhouse nearby are doing perfectly well and ready to be harvested for the first farmer’s market this friday!