Tuesday, July 15, 2008

organic no-till agriculture

Four Winds Farm Tour:
We do a lot of plowing & tilling of the soil, as most farmers do, but yesterday I visited Four Winds Farm which hasn't tilled their soil in 14 years! They just spread a lot of homemade compost on their soil to build organic matter & prevent weeds from emerging. Of course they have about 20 cows, who provide enough manure in the winter months in the barn to be the basis of their compost fertility. These beef cattle are Herefords:
The compost pile is turned/moved 3 times with the front loader, then aerated with this stationary manure spreader. Then it sits for about a year before it gets spread on the beds.
The beds are permanent. The tractor tires stay in the same place every year, so compaction never happens on the growing surface of the beds. Here is some kale, undersown about a month after transplanting with crimson clover, which will become a green mulch until the winter when it will be killed by frost. Then compost is spread right over it.
Check out these blueberries! Lots and lots of compost & mulch!
They are experimenting with this marigold variety bred especially to rid the soil of nematodes.
An interesting way to trellis peas... just pvc pipe and twine. Extensions are placed on the top as the peas grow higher than this.
A beautiful sunset as the almost-full moon rises over the fields.

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