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Logo of 2019 Adventist Agricultural Association Conference: True Success

Minimum Till Market Gardening Methods

Jeff Birth


  • January 18, 2019
    10:45 AM


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Father God thank you very much for the chance to be at this conference. Thank you for what we're learning about. About agriculture and how it pertains to your work thank you for all the resources that we have available here and all the the information that you have provided to at Agra be with us now as we study another topic I pray that it will glorify you and what we discuss and I just pray that we would all seek your will and what we do in Jesus' name in. What I'm going to share today is a system that we've implemented for various reasons that I was able to learn about. A couple of years ago now just about 2 years ago and I think it aligns with the. The natural systems that God put in place or I wouldn't be here telling you about it and I think that it will help alleviate some problems that. That we might have with some other systems so I'll let you guys decide and. I call that minimum till for problem solving and sustainability now I almost didn't put that word sustainability on there it's kind of a cliché ish word lately and I tend to not like that so let me define what I'm getting at so the definition here one of the definitions of the word sustainability means able to be maintained and what we encountered on our farm was it was difficult to maintain a system. Well the 1st year we started. We filled everything up and picked rocks and cleared brush and and then we planted seeds and we irrigated with Rainbird irrigation and we grew a lot of weeds that year and we couldn't keep up with it and we didn't matter how many students and how much time we couldn't keep up with it in course you know a lot of students never we did before so they might not get very far and the amount of time that we had in so no matter how much training we had it wasn't sustainable it wasn't able to be maintained and so we've implemented drip irrigation and I started looking for other systems that would function and still align with the systems that God put in place so that's why I use that word so forgive me. This is a neat story from the the pre Avondale days and I'll just read it here for you guys. The creators interested in us knowing the science of the soil I believe and I think this represents that before I visited corn Vong the Lord gave me a dream in my dream I was taken to the land that was for sale and corn corn bong and I've probably seen that wrong fish in the Aussies here I'm sorry. In my dream I was taken excuse me several of our brother and had been solicited to visit the land and I dreamed that I was walking upon the ground I came to a neat cut furrow that had been plowed one quarter of a yard deep and tooth are 2 thirds 2 yards and link I'm sorry to the brother in who had been acquainted with the rich soil of Iowa were standing before the sparrow and saying this is not good land this soil is not favorable Welcome back to that in a minute but one who has often no one is capitalized here one who has often spoken counsel was present also and he said false witness has been born of this land then he described the properties of the different layers of the earth he explained the science of the soil and said that this land was adapted to the growth of fruit and vegetables and that if well worked it would produce its treasures for the benefit of man this dream I related to Brother and Sister star in my family the next day we were on the cars on our way to meet the others who were investigating the land and as I was I was afterward walking on the ground where the trees had been removed low there was a furrow just as I had described it and the men also who had criticised the appearance of the land in the words were spoken just as I had dreamed and then it goes on to tell how she told them of this dream and said No no. I think we have it wrong this will this land will be functional now incidentally I grew up in northeast Iowa on a corn and soybean farm and. The dirt in Iowa is black and I'm not kidding it's black black and here in Oregon the soil in like in the well Willamette Valley is very good down at Milo where we're at There's a lot of clay and it's a river bottom area so there's a lot of rocks and it's extremely. Patchy it's in zone Xin and you can't depend on 10 feet over from from the spot you're standing on to grow the same as it does here and people say all this is such good land and I'm thinking. You haven't seen Iowa soil so I probably would have said something like this. But anyway the Creator is interested in the science of the soul he created the science of the soil right. So. You guys have probably heard we need to plow often in deep and I'm not here to to create a controversy or get into that too deeply but that's a in Christ object lessons please read the whole book it's a wonderful book and but that's the quote that's that's often brought up when we talk about no till minimum till systems. I personally believe that what I'm going to describe aligns OK with that because. I don't know if you guys had the opportunity to listen to the DI singers on the 1st day or the 2nd day on Wednesday. But they talk about using broad forks and the system incorporates use of broad forks and so you are getting the soul loosened to a reasonable depth you're just not turning the salt We'll talk about that in a minute but. I actually put this in after the meeting this morning this is a quote if you remember in our meeting this morning L. and I said this is how it is and my mind has been greatly stirred in regard to the idea quote Why Sister White has said so and so and Sister White has said so and so and therefore we are going right up to it in other words copying it exactly without question she says God wants us all to have common sense and he wants us to reason from common sense. Circumstances alter conditions circumstances change the relation of things so she says think about it understand the context obviously which is what I wrote here next pray and study for yourself understand the context of what what was written in Christ object lessons most importantly I want you guys all the see can follow the creator's will for you and his lead in your heart don't take what I say for granted make sure you feel like God is is either leading you to consider this or not before you just go into it. What it is not it is not turning over or inverting the natural layers of the soil if you guys have studied soul science we know that there's there's different strata that are important in the biology of the soil and. I'll make a book recommendation a little bit later but that's something you can you can readily learn about in fairly easily understood layman's terms. It is not know till and it's pure sense because again I said for the most part you carry the soul with a broad fork it's not the method properly popularly known as the BACK TO EAT method or the chip method. And that is work for some people and the gentleman that came up with it is a very good Christian man I believe but if if you talk to Michael to be C.E.O. or what Mike McConnell they they've encountered some people who have had difficulties with it and have actually had a hard time recovering their soil after using it so I don't think it may be for Also all types it probably works in some places. And this is not a system that disregards soul science it integrates and depends on Soul science. So often there's typical production problems in market farming or or other agriculture these are just some of them retention of water in the soil which is the amount of water the total amount of water you need often it evaporates or it's not retaining the soil through runoff of some means we often have weed pressure I don't think anybody's escaped weed pressure completely. There's been a lot of organic content in the soil either to start with or through misuse so a condition called poor topsoil. Another problem is the amount of space needed to support the scope of a program so how much acreage do you need to do what you're trying to do and I this is this can address that a little bit plant health problems test problems soil biology problems soil texture quality problems these are all things that can be addressed by the system and then there's other problems too that we touch on just just a little bit but at one time the top souls in the US had a 6 to 10 percent soil organic matter content so back in the pioneer days when they were for selling the land 2 years of the prairie soils you know laying down its crop from one year and it naturally composting and in the next year the same over and over and over 2 years the soils had had a very good healthy topsoil layer that was bio active and had 6 to 10 percent organic so matter solar unit matter now days after. Depending on the parts of the country but at least a century or in some cases close to 2 centuries of. Agriculture it's been depleted down to one to 3 percent organic matter which is not good. Because plants depend on that organic matter in the soil. Worldwide in the last century roughly 2 thirds of the sole carbon or the organic matter has been depleted in agricultural soils tillage tends to deplete the carbon and the nitrogen in the soil and we don't have time here to get in the science but that's something you can study about too much oxygen. Releases that nitrogen and other nutrients too quickly and then it's gone and so repeated tilling can bring that about topsoil loss due to erosion is increased by tell edge I grew up in Iowa like I said and when I was young it was before the days of some tillage reform and I remember my grandfather used a mo board plow that was you know that's been used for years and years and it's probably still a space and time to use it once in a while but back then all the fields would get more bored plowed in then winter would come and in winter in Iowa it's very snowy and it's the plains so it's windy and the snow scours all of that dirt and deposits it in snow drifts along the fence lines and road road ditches and in the spring there's a layer of topsoil in that ditch and over time those ditches fill up with dirt and they have to come scoop them out so they continue to drain. So so erosion whether it's when snow water whatever is heavy under certain tillage conditions now they they've created better systems to tell that leave more stubble on top and such but there's still some level of loss due to erosion. Tillage decreases the plan available water content in the soil. Part of that is because the organic matter breaks down more quickly when you tail and it doesn't stay in the soil and it doesn't retain that water the organic matter primarily is what retains the water in the soil. I would invite you to look at some of the research that Rodale Institute has done with with tillage systems in the organic matter retaining water and it's pretty interesting tillage also is a catastrophic event to soil microorganism colonies that the plants depend on symbiotically. And again we don't have time today for all the science but plants put exit dates into the soil that feed the microorganisms in the soil and in return they gain breakdown of nutrients from those microorganisms and in some. Soil predator control. Etc So so the plants depend on the fungi in the bacteria that are in the soil if you till. It tears it all up and they always have to start over from scratch and in some cases I've heard and again you guys I'm not an expert I'm trying to reiterate things I've learned. In some cases it can take up to a year for that so biology to recover again and so if you can imagine killing maybe 2 or 3 times a year depending on what you're doing you never get that benefit of that so biology so the question is are we talking just about road or tilling or other types of killing so to be fair some types of killing are less catastrophic than others rota killing is a very bad one not just for the soil biology but because it can create a Hardpan layer and if you if you guys haven't heard about that in a nutshell the blades on a rototiller are shaped in an L. shape and as they go around they push on the bottom swing of where where their path goes in so you get a layer at the base of your tillage that's that's thick and heart so so. Anon mechanized plow of some kind is better because usually you get more of a lifting instead of a pushing action and it doesn't pulverized as much to answer brains question right and that's very correct yeah back in Illinois it's day when she made some of the comments it was not the catastrophic road killing that we have today and that's a good point thank you for bringing that up. It was more than likely a mole board plough because that's what was used heavily then. You know now days we have chisel plows and things that will will open the soil without turning it completely inverted. So it's just educate yourself on the type of plough and what it does how it works and that's that's part of your decision making process I believe so in looking at this all these problems there's 4 principles that can promote soil health and the 1st one is. Disturb the soil later layers as little as possible and again that that maintains that soul biology and the the colonies that are formed in the soil that are helping the plants so if you can leave it alone it keeps doing what it's supposed to do you want to grow as many different plants as practical different plants provide different system benefits and I just invite you to take a look at how how God created the natural systems there's not you don't look at the forest and see a one type of tree you don't look at a grassland and have all one species of grass it's mixed it's blended God designed it so that there's a variety everywhere you look and those things work together he designed them to work together. In the garden there's we can talk about this in a little bit too but there's different system benefits such as you know some plants will add different eggs dates or different nutrients into the soul than others some attracts different insects or repel different insects than others and so there's different benefits you can get from blending as many different types of plants as possible the 3rd one keep living plants in the soil as often as possible and that keeps the photosynthesis happening and the cell biology active and you keep feeding the soil so. And there's probably a time and place for leaving something fallow but most of the time if you can keep that process going you keep the process healthy the 4th one keeps the soil covered all of the time. And this keeps the soul life healthy and active and the weeds down so this is kind of on the tail of the previous one if you don't if you're not able to do your system to have plants on and all the time covered with something else. That I think the die singers touched on. Stale seed bed mechanisms and covering with a solid start you can also use. Woven landscape fabric that's a nice one what that does that a little bit better than than a sheet plastic is it allows the soul to breed some oxygen transfer and carbon dioxide transfer I use both at our garden and I think I think there's a time and place for each You just have to make sure you understand the system and and make sure you understand the pros and cons and use it wisely this system heavily relies on transplants versus direct seed and there's some reasons for that. With transplanting all of your plans when they're 4 weeks old or slightly older depends on the crop you have. If you could could have a faster transition from crop to crop so when you take your old crop out and you put a new crop in you get a faster transition if you don't have to wait and prepare your seed bed you know adding anything to it and then waiting for perhaps. We drove period and then killing that in and seeding if you can put big plants in immediately you get a faster turnaround so that equals more crops per year can you see where that's going perhaps a little more profitability maybe. The the next thing is there is less time. That when that when the plants are in the garden less time less time in the garden minimizes the availability of pests so if they're not there for for quite so long the pest are going to have access to them for quite a long more predictable crop coverage have have any of you ever seeded some beds and then had maybe 75 percent emergence and you've been dismayed because now you have holes and if you replant there's going to be some some more time for germination and it's never going to quite a line it's just frustrating right only if you plant plants you know you have a much higher degree of the chance that your entire bed going to be full the way you intended it. Larger plants outcompete weeds so imagine imagine a little seedling that you've planted along with rugged weeds right next to it that in many cases choke out the seed you planted and we have parables of Jesus told us about that very thing imagine planting that plant in a bigger stage and then competing with that little weed is going to have a lot better chance and so that's one of the primary we reasons that we use. Transplants when possible and in this system almost exclusively there's also less water needed for stablish NG so. If you're planning seeds usually you need the entire seed bed to be most in this system you can you can use a drip line and orient the plants along the drip line and you're not going to need as much water in addition there's less evaporation. The other the other neat thing about this and here's some pictures from our farm and my disclaimer is this is this is our winter crop I should have gotten pictures earlier in the season when we had better crops there and we actually had a problem with our fence and some deer got in and they they took out some of the plants here and so if you see a little spottiness it's because I didn't take pictures at the right time. So so this is this is a good representation and I'll try and describe for audio verse here as well but you can use a system either with a raised bed or a flat bed whatever works for whatever your growing or your soul type this area that that we grew on. That we have to grow on at Milo is very heavy soil very clay. This Iowa boy would say it's not suitable for grown produce but it's grown produce and that is thanks in large degree to the system so we formed beds out of the dirt that was in place and. We the system uses. Layers of compost at each crop rotation and so you put a layer of compost on top and over time you build the soil below because. And I'll show you here in a little bit you leave the roots in the soil after each crop and layer upon layer as as it goes on with each each compost layer and crop transition you're still below becomes very rich and so in essence you can farm on top of clay. And that's not exactly true because more and more the the sleigh will the clay will disappear as the roots enrich that soil. But this is this is showing the crop interplay anting And so we'll talk about this in a 2nd on the next page but these are our brassicas I think they're I can't remember which righty but they're cabbage as you see here and here is well this picture and this picture are interrupted with lettuce and this one is in a cup with color Abbie So the idea is that initially you have some space as you're waiting for large plants to get bigger because you have to space them based on their adult size but in the meantime you have open space that weeds are going to take advantage of and if you can cover that you've you've helped choke some weeds out you help so biology keep functioning and you've gotten a 2nd crop where in that space you would have only gotten one crop before so Intertropical benefits just to go over it again the soil is covered more of the time there's more photosynthesizing and that equals more active biology and available nutrients for your crops for your plants short period crops help fill a canopy until long period crops fill out so again with the canopy choking the young weeds out you have less weed pressure which means less weeding which might mean a little more time to get things accomplished or freetime. You also can do multiple crops on less space so that equals more production volume and that might equal more income potential So now on that one bed instead of. Instead of one crop you've got into and over the course of the season instead of maybe $2.00 to $3.00 you get. 4 to 6 or more maybe up to 8 depends on your season. You need less space so there's less infrastructure needed so you know if you're if you're going to crops in the space of one you only need one set of irrigation instead of 2 sets of irrigation. Possible companion plant benefits if you guys have ever looked into companion plannings there's huge benefits to utilising certain plants to drive away other. Potentially problematic insects or to bring in Predator insects or pollinator insects. The companion planting is a nice study you should look into it sometime so that equals less past pressure or perhaps nitrogen fixing maybe you could plant a lagoon next to a nitrogen user and that would help too here's a. Bigger view of our beds at Milo there at our farm and again we have some like here's some cabbage missing from the system because the deer got it but you can kind of get an idea for what's going on and we shoot for and will have a slide about this in a little bit we shoot for about a 30 inch wide bed which is kind of a standard I think you guys may have heard of that before I think Coleman is the one that that has been pioneered by and it's been kind of adopted by a lot of market gardeners and in the pathways we use. Sawdust as a mall to keep the weeds down and I'm not going to tell you that that's the best mulch to use but we heat our school with sawdust we have a sawdust boiler and so we have lots of sawdust for free so to speak and so that's what we use and when we're not incorporating it into the soil we don't really see the nitrogen loss and it's also in the pathway and not on the bed and so so we get away with it with good functionality it doesn't seem to draw too much nitrogen from the crops. And it does a great job of keeping the weeds down it's a city Canucks that they don't like it too much anyway Next Slide Here's another view of one of our beds. Since you're looking at the picture help us touch on one thing we'll talk about to begin here maybe a little bit in a little bit but the spacing between the beds. All you need is enough space to function with what you're doing we like you'll get a wheelbarrow down the pathway and so we leave about 16 inches or so it's just enough to get a wheelbarrow down the bed and set it down without it destroying the bed and it seems to be enough to stand sideways and work over the bed or anything like that that you might need to do and so so you can change the frequency of your beds based on your needs but these equal out to 4 feet 9 inches kind of an odd number but I actually cheated and I stole that number from where I learned this and we'll talk about that the source of this in a little bit so James just asked the question are these permanent beds the answer is yes these are permanent beds and we started this in the worst areas of our garden that that we couldn't tell if we if we wanted to because because we tried and it didn't work right it was like rocks the clay was so heavy you know and in the summertime it was it was rocks and in the wintertime it's just soup so so what this allows us to do at our school is to utilize it year round instead of leaving it in the wet wet winter months that we experience and so so we can we can garden in the winter whereas we just have to leave it alone otherwise right the question is in the picture there's lines 2 lines going down each bed and so that is in fact replying. We utilize both drip tape and poly drip line at our farm and I. I think they both have their place on these permanent beds I use poly because it's more permanent as well and it's a little more rigid and you can set it to the side while you're dealing with with crop transition and then put it back and then replanted it is pretty forgiving and it lasts like 10 years the other neat thing about it is you can use the emitter zone on the pipe for your spacing you don't have to use a tape measure or a stick to to gauge it if you're savvy you can just look for the minerals in space or plants accordingly makes it fast the 2nd part of the question is what is the advantage to 2 lines. Just uniform coverage on a wider bed if you had to if you had one single row wonder plane would be enough but when you plant 3 or 4 or 5 small rows in a 30 inch wide bed 2 lines help cover better with no dry spots. So those pictures you saw were over here where we had gotten more proactive in gotten our mulch between in the pathways better this is where we haven't renewed the sawdust most between the pathways and you can see some weed pressure starting to form. But but keep this in mind as we look at the next picture because this this is not much weed pressure and that's easy to deal with with a stirrup Oh. Hopefully you guys know what a stir oppo is but it's. It's a kind of a D.C. 8 loop of sharp metal with a handle and it's one of the best hose you can get it works really well it shares a plant off right below the crown if you use it wisely. So so a little bit of weed pressure that we could have nipped in the bud earlier if we'd If we'd gotten to it but the next one shows an area where we tilt and so we killed this. In the fall I want to say it was in October and this is what it looks like now I took this right before we came up to the conference and you know we could have flame we did it if we had a flame waiter which we don't yet we're going to remedy that right away hopefully farmers friend can help us. But we could have claim we did this and it would look a lot better we could have also put a tarp on it and it would look a lot better right now but this is what happens in in our climate in the winter in a tillage system and then that so wet you can't tell that if you want to rent because you get your tractor stuck so or your B.C.'s or whatever you have it wouldn't work very well at all and so. This is one of the reasons we've moved away from the tillage system in our in our garden. This is just another shot of of an area that we have killed that that is better soil. Foretelling it's more loamy and we have it covered right now with salads tarps and that's a great system to make a steel seed bed for the spring time this also keeps excess moisture off and so our thought is that we'll be able to there's the 1st year we've implemented it our thought is we'll be able to get into the field sooner to plant in the spring which means earlier crops which means we might have some things available at farmer's market before others do good question that the question is how long you leave the silence tarps on for Sit still seed bed and that depends on the time of year so in the summer months it happens really fast because it heats your goal is to either kill weeds or or to keep weeds from coming and usually it's to kill weeds to get them to germinate and then kill them right now in the wintertime it's cooler and you don't get the heating effect from the sun so it takes a little bit longer because you're relying on blocking the light from the sun and that's a term called octal Taishan it sounds a little bit bad but it just means shutting the light out. So so probably in the range of 10 weeks perhaps in the wintertime depending on your climate. So crop to crop turnaround with the system you can get $3.00 to $8.00 crops per year in one bed as opposed to $1.00 to $3.00 and we kind of mentioned that already you get same day crop out to crop in depending on the size maybe one hour per bed so one person could probably take out the old crop prepare and plant the new crop in one hour usually And we'll look at how that happens here in a minute the roots of the previous crop always stay in the soil to feed the next crop and it adds soil organic matter and it retains the mike arrival colonizations that are there in the bacteria that are there so if you pull the roots out you're taking out the colonized Mike arise all with it you're taking out that organic matter that can stay there so what you what we do is we clip the plant at just below the crown at just subsoil level and then we leave the roots there and you can have to be careful some some crops will come back if you don't cut them a little bit deeper so we use pairs of loppers that are dedicated to using in the dirt which you would not normally want to use your loppers for the I was always taught that that's not OK because it makes them dull but in this case if you reserve some just for that it works quite well so how do you do it. When you said you clip the crop below the crown with loppers. The next step after you do that so that's removing the previous crop you clip it all off. After that if there's any weeds present that's when you take those weeds out now if they're a weed that you can cut off and leave the root like Amaranth or lambs quarters or something like that then then you can do that and gain some of the same benefits of the crop roots but if it's grass you're probably better off to take it out if it if it will propagate itself below the soil level you need to pull it out. But usually in the system there's not very many so if you are not not too large a part of the system the next step is you lay aside the drip line so the drip lines in the pictures you saw were laying right down the the bed so you need those out of the way to do what you're going to do see take the drip lines and you you part the waters and set them on either side out of your way so you can walk the next step if the bed needs any reshaping you might want to reshape the bed then they don't have to look perfect if they're raised a little bit and a little bit. Strangely shaped they're going to grow just fine so depending on on how much of a perfectionist you are you may or may not feel like that's necessary then you would add amendments based on a good soil test only as needed and with the system there's there's a lot of food for the plant going back in all the time and so you may not need to add amendments at each crop rotation but but your soul tests are going to tell you a lot more about what's necessary and some good advice and again I mentioned what more McConnell if you if you work with him make sure you tell him what system you're using in and how deep your perhaps incorporating this. And we'll touch on that in just a 2nd here. Because the amendments that are recommended are dependent on how deep they're getting put in the soil and how that's been incorporated a good question when you take a soil test they they want to know the square footage. That the area that you're planting and so the question is would you include the walkways and the answer is no so you have to roughly figure the with and the length of the bed itself because you're only applying the amendment to the bed and not the pathways because we have permanent beds correct yes so you add the amendments the next step is you broad fork often and deep so that's where that comes in if you guys haven't used a broad fork before I'll just describe it briefly it's a it's a wide fork usually from like one foot to 30 inches wide and you would want to 30 inch wide 14 or 30 inch wide bed usually and it has a handle it either end of it so it's 2 handles and you you step it in your bed and then you pull the handles back so it lifts the soil a little bit with the tines of the fork and then you stand up and you pull it out and you move back 6 inches and you step in. And you do the same thing you lean the handles down and it lifts the soil and so what you're doing is you're you're opening the soil. For roots to go through you're adding a little bit of oxygenation down in there to help the soul life but you're not turning the soil which is important. And if you're wondering where to get some. Johnny's selves an excellent one that's what we use and then you know we discussed. Where some of this is started Elliot Coleman uses it heavily if you've heard of COLEMAN So it's something that's out there that's well used that's well known after you brought a fork will during the process of broad forking your amendments that you put on will kind of filter into some of those cracks that's the reason for putting them on before broad forking you want them to be able to to go deep into the soil a little bit and that helps with incorporation the next step is add a good layer of good quality and known content to compost. And I'm saying this little bit tongue in cheek because ours isn't the best but we make it ourselves with what we have but you want to add and this is actually I wrote on here one half inch to an inch and a half. You can adjust that based on what you're experiencing and what your souls like it's probably actually a quarter of an inch or 2 in our case we've added 2 inches sometimes but but usually that's too much. Are compos happens to be very high in sawdust we have any question program at the school and so we compost all of the horse stall betting with the manure and all of the scraps from our kitchen from our cafeteria so they we have barrels in the cafeteria that all of the preparation scraps go into and then maintenance puts rake leaves and grass clippings in our pile. Along with that that sawdust in and we've produced I think probably on average and we'll have a picture of it here in a little bit. Maybe. I'm not probably estimating very well but maybe 40 to 60 yards a season of compost so so that that helps us a lot we don't have to buy it. But anyway I would recommend you use better known content compost and if you're making your own get it analyzed so you know what's in it so you know what other amendments need to go and in that and you can do that along with your soul testing your soil recommendations so after your compost is on in a nice even layer you layer drip light drip lines back into position and then you play your transplants and water them in and again just like I talked a little bit before about you can use those drip lines to space your plants so you don't need a cumbersome tape measure out there. So the question is would you want to leave some plants in while you're broad fourteen's you have an ongoing system and I I would say I have not experimented with that there's some possibly some potential there but it would be somewhat difficult to broad forth with plants in place and you may damage their roots and so. If the beauty of this system is you can go from living plants to living plants same day and so there's very little window where you have a drop in that life happening in the soil so so you usually want to time it when there's no plants in the bed really the best way you know good question. So. Where this system came from is from a couple who farms in Napa Valley their names are Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser and they developed this actually when they were in sub-Saharan Africa in the Peace Corps. It worked over there they came back they decided to start farming and headed to strike here and it works here they've had people try it in all different zones in North America it seems to just work most places really well. This is a video clip I pulled from one of their videos that you guys can go and check out on You Tube and it just gives you a good idea on how this process works now understand they sped it up but this whole process is a fairly short process I think. They say that without the video being sped up it only takes about $45.00 minutes for this to happen now they have 4 beds here and I think they say they have 4 employees into 3 or 4 employees working on it so here they're taking the crops out with the loppers and next they move the drip lines out of the way and then they add some amendments and then they add compost with wheelbarrows and shovels they don't this is this tractor they have only to facilitate bringing compost closer to the beds they take a little break. And they're transplanting and you can see they just they just very rude a mentally rudimentary I'm not saying that right forgive me but they just get the plants in simply it's not complicated they. And they finished Little Rock or so that's a good question thank you James they have decided after. I'm trying to remember how many years now I think they've been farming this farm this way for upwards to 10 years in my right Brian you know it's close to a decade. And they have had such high soil quality they've stopped broad forking Now we know we need to plow often in deep so maybe we want to keep broad fork in regardless but they have decided to stop. And they can they can insert a soil probe 4 feet into the ground by hand with no effort and if you if you hold their soil the term that's been coined a lot of you want chocolate cakes well and that's what they have it's really lofty full of organic matter more just rich toilets and you can just stick your hand down into the soil you know and in a lot of places like at our garden if we tried doing that before using this you would even get your fingernail in so the question was How do you get started basically how do you how do you initiate this and you know some people say like cardboard down into on top of do what you want to top of that you know peel the thought and try it or there's various things but Paul and Elizabeth recommend just tell just till and get it started and then you'll reap the benefits later because the work to get there in the other methods is too much. And you can build your beds with a machine like a B.C.'s tractor with a rotary per ploughing think is a name we fabricated a little descaler out of parts we had laying around that we used with our tractor you can use a shovel some of them we did we did that we we have students and we should shovel them into into beds with the students so it doesn't have to be complicated. So so yeah just get your beds built and then you reap the consequences in the successive years benefits and I'm sorry not consequences. Thank you thank you words are important thing. So compost we talked about the use of compost in the system that's one of the pivotal things you need in the system you can make your own with all your crop stubble so everything you pull out after each proper tasting goes into the compost pile your reads your tree leaves grass clippings if if you don't treat your grass with chemicals recycled the food waste. And when you use it make sure it's finished learn about learn a little bit about compost you don't want half baked compost you want finished compost and get your compost tested so you know what's in it and you use that in your decision making process about how how thick of a layer you use. The Kaiser's have been told time after time you can't you can't use that much compost you'll destroy your soil because of overloading and they haven't had that happen they've tested they've tested they've tested and they haven't had that consequence is because they're not incorporating it they're leaving it on the surface and the it goes slowly into the soil and they've they've also tested they have several runoff ponds on their property they've tested for nitrates and there's almost none the water flowing into their property is far higher in nitrates than the water leaving their property and that's a rather good point Bryan said the high production of growth is keeping the balance so if the plants are using what's there and it's not allowing that runoff to happen in addition to the organic matter holding it so so the question is do you really want we do your compost I would say it depends on the weeds and it depends on the age of the weeds it's you don't want seeds in your compost so if you have young weeds if you get him out at the right time they can go in if they're bigger than that maybe get into your chickens or something but don't put them in your compost so the question is how long does it take to compost with our sawdust in our compost and I would say it varies depending on how much each batch had in it we don't really have this down to an exact science where. We're doing the best we can a foot we have and so it takes 0 from $4.00 to $6.00 months anyway usually depending on when we started and when we actually end up using it it can sit there for up to a year it just depends on on our need and how quickly we rotate around but but you want to make sure that it's. It doesn't it shouldn't look like sawdust it should look like compost when it's finished finished is well degraded well aged well broken down. We talk about getting it tested and use nearby resources I know and here in the Willamette Valley you can get Mint compost from the mint farmers and you can get pretty cheap maybe you can compost some alfalfa or something like that I mean there's there's all kinds of things just use what's in your area the benefits of this so biology is maintained and that equals plant health is maintained it significantly decreases water loss in the water needed due to increased retention in practice the sole organic matter is increased to 8 to 11 percent. And they haven't the Kaiser's haven't found any extra rewards for going over 11 percent it's rich soil at 11 percent I think it's parts of there's tested at 14 percent but they said there was no added value to necessarily striving to go higher every crop becomes a cover crop and is directly profitable so you don't have to have times where there's just a unsaleable cover crop because you have it covered all the time and you're selling those crops weed pressures significantly decreased due to not exposing new seeds and more canopy labor inputs become primarily crop turnover and planting and harvesting because there's very little weeding I know they have for year round employees and there they said that their employees we need about 20 hours a year I think is what they said. That got my attention the potential profit in this practice is upwards may maybe there's over $100000.00 per acre and they've proven that however their location probably adds to that possibility because they're in Napa Valley they sell primarily to their C.S.A. members and farmers market and they make that much money doing that. This this is a system where you can create nutrient density you know working with your soil tests. And maybe doing some bricks testing or something you can get nutrient in dense vegetables very well with this system it's non mechanized anyone anywhere can use this it's not dependent on fuel or expensive machinery or machinery breakdowns this works just as good here as it does in a 3rd world country in a mission setting and that's what I've just discussed in my students is if you want to be missionaries and you want to be mission farmers this is something that's very applicable anywhere you go and you know as we get farther in earth's history we may not have access to diesel fuel or gasoline or parts for our machines so this is easily attainable sustainable without mechanisation it will usually produce good results on an ideal soil like rocky soil clay soil Tetra because you end up going on top and then you don't have to dig below as much except for a broad fork in after that synergistic systems now that's a big word so I put the definition up here synergistic means relating to the interaction or cooperation of 2 or more organizations substances or other agents to produce a combined effort greater than the sum of their separate effects and so what do we what do the Kaiser's use what are they implemented along with this they have Woody perennial hedge rows throughout their garden I don't think they have more than 100 feet of open bed area without another Woody perennial hedge row and that does a few things it provides habitat for native if you excuse me before that. What what they use are either native plants that are indigenous to their area or you could pick your own indigenous plants or these fruiting species that can also be sold or utilize a crop. Provide habitat for foraging predatory in insect species and bird species and snake species etc and so on the things you want in your garden like these hedge rows and what they've discovered not to the causes per se but what what science has discovered is that predatory insects forage out probably no more than 200 feet from a woody perennial. Habitat and so they they live in the way he perennial and they forage out from there to catch their prey the bad bugs and so. You're helping eliminate predators this way and the birds love them the birds also eat the the bad insects that are causing you trouble whether it's caterpillars or beetles or whatever it is. And what the causes of discovered is that there's a temperature moderation effect with with hedging sections of beds they are in an area where they get frosts it's a hollow and frost comes through and they've discovered that any plants that are near one of these hedge rows are livid alleviated of frost damage because if it maintains some warmth in that area the other neat thing is in the middle of summer when it's hot and you're struggling getting your lead us to grow if you plan it on on the east side of a hedge Oh it's a little afternoon shade from the hot sun and you can grow some lettuce or some spinach whereas it might be a little more difficult without some kind of protection. They also use pollinator and beneficial insects feeder plantings and so that could be annual or small perennials like Yarrow and fennel and the list goes on and on for pollinators. They they have bird houses for blue birds all over their farm and so they they've had people come in and do counts of the birds and they have a much higher density of birds on their farm than any of the surrounding area and those birds are thriving off of what they have grown for them and the insects that are there that they're eating they have collection ponds that help control some of the runoff. They have grassy strips that also help control erosion and runoff through throughout and then the other thing you can incorporate into a system like this is ducks for predator for past insect control or goats to eat your grass you don't need a lawn mower necessarily if you if you stick a goat in in a succession so the nuts and bolts of this raise better not you decide based on what you're planning you could do this. With with a raised bed very well that's what we chose because the land doesn't drain well where we put ours you can do it flat and just maintain your pathway so you have kind of a sunken pathway of the coin term the bed spacing we talked about that already 30 inches wide 4 feet 9 center to center is what they've developed and it works great I will vouch for that your bed length I would I would recommend you choosing $75.00 or 100 feet specifically because if you use row covers you can cut them fairly easily in those increments because they come in you know like a $300.00 foot roll or something like that so so pick a standardized length and make them all the same and I'm telling you that as we have both 75 and 100 full of it difficult. Some direct heat is necessary there's plants you you can't really transplant souce there's like 4 or 5 crops that you will probably have to direct seed like carrots for instance they just work better that way spinach is another one that works better. The tools you need are very many a wheelbarrow abroad for a shovel rake stirrup O.O. harvest knife long handle loppers. Maybe a few supplies to put your geisha together not a lot supplies tool fabric like for weddings can be used to keep bugs and birds out and it's pretty cheap just lay it as a floating row cover. Actual floating euro covers can work woven landscape fabric you can use for the term Remember we use with occupation to reset a bed if you get a lecture we'd pressure just cover it up for 4 weeks and then it's reset those weeds are dead. Drip lines and you need a greenhouse for your starts you need a greenhouse that size enough to accommodate enough starts for your production that you need. Most transplants are ready in 4 weeks after you sew them pathways mulch treatments we already talked about sawdust You can also use straw you could use probably a variety of things grass clippings just make sure doesn't have weed seeds in it if you don't have compost available you can actually do this with woven row covers and some some torch holes so if you cover your bed with with woven landscape fabric it can work and I've experimented with that it's worked pretty well it's not as good as the compost system I'll tell you that So resources. If you haven't heard of it watch the documentary symphony of the soil it's excellent it's worth worth the time and worth the money this book here is is a must read teeming with microbes it's in ordinary layman's speak you can understand it it tells you about what's going on in your soil so you can make good decisions. Seeing frogs farm pollen Elizabeth have a good website with a lot of information a lot of links. You can find their lectures on you too easily. They have on farm workshops which I attended and it was very useful. We mentioned what Mike McConnell and soul consulting get somebody to interpret for you somebody who knows what they're doing who has good science and then find other books like J M 40 S books and all that Coleman's books their methods aren't too far different from this really they don't use a layer of compost on top but they use the broad fork in method and then you know they are careful to prepare the the seed bed and and their ways or are good and overlapping with the system. Is there any questions that you guys have is were closing the the question is. This lady already has raised beds and is asking if what she has now should be cut off or if it's a plant will be gone by next season so if you're in a colder climate where you can't really do much in the winter and you know that that plane is going to be degraded it's a small not very woody plant maybe you don't have to cut it off maybe just leave it that's totally acceptable it depends on the crop right so just to reiterate for audio versus Ryan just mentioned a couple things better creep has a lot of good resources on their website as well and. He mentioned that this system incorporates gods tillage earthworms etc that are you know even the roots of the plants you heard of tillage radishes roots can be used as a form of tillage and so if you're even though you're not using mechanisation to plough you're using these natural systems to in effect plough the soil that's what it's all about. I prefer north to south because I feel like you get a lot of light coverage on your row as the sun moves around. What the Kaiser's of found is they just do what works so they these beds are north to south these beds are east to west and this is the most sloping part of their land but what they discovered was when they had this section north and south of crosswise to the slope they had lakes in each path and they couldn't function anymore and they weren't getting much runoff which was good but they couldn't they couldn't farm they couldn't deal with it so they turned their beds with the slope which you normally would never do and then they use straw to mitigate the runoff and as long as they're very forward thinking about it they don't have a Roge and they're careful the question is do we use any cover crops in this rotation you could perhaps if it if it seemed to fit what you were doing but you almost never would need to. Let me back up the we talked about having the infill with the interplay and all the time so your crops are your cover tops However in a colder climate you may want to use a cover cut because you might not be able to have some of these crops covering all of your beds all winter long and so then you you might plan a hardier crop as a cover cut that will keep that system going in the wintertime so you definitely could it depends on your climate. The question is what type of irrigation was in the pictures the drip drip to being as opposed to drip tape it functions at least what I use and I believe what the Kaiser's uses is very similar to drip take you have to have a pressure reduce or before the drip lines otherwise the blow out or or not emit at a proper rate. It's poly tubing with built in the midst. The question is Where do you get it at an irrigation supply I think you can order it to rain flow or other online suppliers I don't have a handout I'm sorry but. Watch for audio verse for the audio and then watch the ad Agger website for the slides I would encourage you to go to seeing frogs farms website and to You Tube and watch pollen loaded with Kaisers videos where did I get this this book from is the question the book is teeming with microbes Amazon OK let's close with prayer Father in heaven thank you again for this opportunity to discuss things of nature things that you created is natural mechanisms that that we can learn about and benefit from or thank you so much for the lessons that we can learn in caring for the soil in the plants that will benefit our health less this afternoon continue to. Be with us here at at it at the agri conference and I just pray Lord that you hope all of us all the time struggles for you and look for your coming. This media was brought to you by audio through a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio version or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave it to W W W dot audio verse or.


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