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Greater Efficiencies for Home Gardens Part 3

Bob Gregory


This class will look at strategies and methods to get maximum efficiencies of space, yield and labor from home gardens. It will include plans to help you know what your annual results, costs and rewards will be before you event start.


Bob Gregory

Owner/Director of Berea Gardens Agriculture Center in Minnora, WV


  • January 15, 2020
    8:15 AM
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Ok I know it was a long time ago when we talked about this that I want to mention Rogan you dare. Say. If you're like me you know 10 minutes go by and look what was it what was he saying was that topic and the reason I just want to mention this again and put this live back up here is that this is really valuable and most gardeners and even many commercial growers are very very reluctant to do this and I'm just saying I don't want to be callous but to everything there is a season and you know I. Get. A little bit frustrated too sometimes when I see a crop that I've tended to in lovingly cared for and you know plucked the bounty from it and then basically have to terminate it before its natural life is over that's that's that's I can see how that can be a little bit troubling but it's essential it's really important for a practical approach to to protecting your garden and then again it's not just for your crop cycles but it grossly diminishes. Disease and past problems too so that's you know that's the satisfaction that you have when you take those crops out what might appear to be prematurely to you is that you're actually securing the environment for for the long term. This is you know just a photograph I use this as an example by block planting again when those beans have peaked out and their production I'm going to plow them into the ground and plant another crop right behind it and that will have far more value than whatever few residual beans I would have had coming from that and here today those are my smaller hive towels that you see behind them and this is a good photograph too to demonstrate the. Scope of the next one demonstrate the ventilation that I use instead of using roll up sides I just take the upper panels off and and take the doors off and that staves ventilated very well through the through the summer growing season I do get some heat in there. 78 degrees. I had some contention about that at one time in fact I had suggested. And West Virginia for the past 8 or 9 years there has been a strong. Investment by the Department of Agriculture and by the University Extension Service to encourage small scale growers we're living in a part of the country that's considered a food desert. We have very little production in West Virginia and you know a few years ago it was recognized that since everything that comes in in the way of foodstuffs to West Virginia and other parts of the country too for that matter is running by trucks. If something happens it will supply guess what folks we all star so it's not a matter of just whether food is available or not it's the transportation system that's involved in getting it to us also that needs to be considered and they have made some big investments in small scale agriculture as a consequence of that that is where the funding for the u.s. da or in the n.r.c. as high tunnel program came from there has been a large farm to school. Movement that's been in place for the last few years to help encourage school systems to buy locally produced food and as a consequences of some of this activity on the part of the government agencies there's. A gentleman at West Virginia University Extension Service Dr Louis Jet who has worked specifically to help small growers discover better ways to use high tunnels to use season expansion and a lot of that work is been dedicated to finding varieties that work well in a high tunnel and what's well adapted to West Virginia and that type of thing and he and I have. Gotten to know each other pretty well and he was asking me about what I thought of the high tunnel program and I told him I think it's a great program but I think the specs on the high panel need some revision because they were advocating long high tunnels with roll up sides and I said you know I think I think you'd be better idea to advocate or shorter tunnel with open end walls in terms of a ventilating So in order to satisfy his curiosity. One year I took one of my high tunnels and I rolled up the side on it closed and walls rolled up the side and we hung a recording thermometer in there that recorded the temperature for a 30 day period of time and the height and all that was right beside it which was this morning. I left just as it is and we are recording thermometer in there for 30 period of time and it was a good exercise because I proved to me what I have thought and that is that the open and walls on about a 50 foot structure is totally adequate and cools just as well as the roll up sides do we had a half degree variation on about 3 days various over the course of time not 3 days in a row but there were 3 days during that 30 day period of time when the high tunnel without the role of sides was actually have to agree color and the high tunnel that had to roll up sides So anyway that's that's part of the reason for the size of this high tunnel and really for home gardeners You don't need anything bigger than that anyway because you're going to grow an enormous amount of food on the tunnel it's it's an enormous amount of food that comes out of there this particular tunnel has less planted in the center Rover. That lettuce is planted on a whim and one plant per square foot area someone had mentioned square foot planting before and this is kind of an ad that Taishan to add to it but spraying lettuce works very well on a one per square foot basis and this high tunnel is about 700 square feet it's attractive walkways and I have 5 or $600.00 heads of lettuce in that tunnel and I can do that 5 times a year. That's a lot of productivity a lot of productivity so that's. And terms of generating income for me. That's all that's between $4.00 and $6000.00 a year in one high tunnel that cost me $800.00 initially to build So that's the way the economics works there. The block planting is evidence here to even see at the end of that bad I have some red romaine lettuce I don't have a lot of demand for that job and I've planted in a block rather than a rose so there when it comes time to harvest it I can harvest that block and replanted and then when the Romaine is harvested a little bit later I heard a stat and then you can replant to the right bed here is kale the left bed is a different variety of kale and again by using the block planting Messud we can plant a lot of plants in a small space and and do pretty well which in rating and can now I'm a market for and one of our thing was that it was necessary for home starters. Is what to do with the produce that you've got that's a little over abundant we'll go back to our broccoli crop and you know if you've planted more than what you can use immediately if you're not going to can it a lot of these crops will store very well even in the refrigerator for a good period of time and this after. Then we're going to talk about some of the methods of preparing the crop as well as what to do with their crop for longer term storage the title of the program this afternoon is bagging the bounty and basically it's how to make the most efficient use out of which you harvest some of that starts before you even harvest the crop even if you're thinking of canning refreezing products we're going to discuss some of the aspects of what's necessary from a growers perspective not just the kitchen perspective about what to do with their crops but one thing you can do is use cold storage and it doesn't take a lot of this so if you're home gardener and doesn't take a lot of space in cold storage is what I should say this is all of the cold storage that I have on my farm right here these 2 commercial refrigerators on the left hand side of the picture here those those are 4 feet wide 2 feet deep and 6 feet tall. That's not a lot of that's not a lot of space that's equivalent to maybe 5 large household refrigerators maybe 6 of the most and I buy cycling my crops are these this is all the cold storage I need for all of the produce that comes off my farm. And so you don't need a big walking cold room if you're a small home scale grower you might disagree with me if you're growing cut flowers in large quantity but you don't need a lot of extra space but it is really helpful from home gardener that is you know producing a good portion of the food for yourself to have an extra refrigerator even if you don't use it all the time so if you can find a used large refrigerator you put in the garage for an outbuilding or someplace we're not going to use it all the time just to handle some of the overflow of your crop production it can pay for itself will quickly too and it's very much a good idea to have that. We can store cauliflower and broccoli and cabbage and things like that for anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks and just a refrigerator so you know when you consider that sounds kind of extraordinary but when you consider that the cabbage in the cauliflower that you're buying here today in the grocery store is already 4 to 6 weeks old because it made the trip all the way here from California. It's not that that extreme but it's growing your props crops properly and you harvest them properly and handle them properly all of which we're going to talk about this afternoon and then some additional cold storage space for you can be really valuable and make you know make more efficient use of your crop to. Ok I want to talk a little bit about some of the tools and techniques techniques that I use and this is really where the rubber repeats the road here about having 2 hands taking care of 2 acres Believe me I don't like wasting steps and I don't like wasting time. You know I absolutely love farming but at my core I am too lazy and I don't want to do any more than I have to and I want to get the best return I can for every. 3 movements that I make on my farm and 2 acres isn't a huge area but from one end of my production area to the other end of my production area it's about a half a mile. Maybe a little less and maybe about as more than a quarter mile less than a half mile so if I get out to that far and then I realize hoops I left my tool or I left something back at the other and I'm walking half a mile or more and wasting time just to go retrieve something so we want to think about ways that we can make a minimum of movement and save your steps if I'm walking from one end of the farm and I know that you know one hour later I'm going to need something at that end of the farm even though I may be coming back I gotta keep these things kind of an inventory in my mind so that I'm taking what I need where I need it before I just. Take it before I need it and that basically is. Involves just staging tools and equipment and hoses and things where they're ready readily available when I need them and even if I'm going out to cultivate and I'm taking my home with me if I know that later that day I'm going to be planting some plants out in that area and I'm going to need a hose to water the plants and take the hose to you know beast be sensible and try to try to limit your steps each of us is going to have a different capacity to do this in the different way of going about this but it's really important to be efficient in what you do and look at the big picture for what you're trying to accomplish that day not just the immediate task that's in front of you whenever I'm walking through the fields if I do have weed issue and I've got a large weed that's popping up in a bed I don't just look at it was. On and say I'm going to get that later when I do weeding you know it's not weeding period that doesn't work that way and you know if I'm walking by I had shit gets ripped out of my way to go do something else and constantly keep the big picture in mind of what you doing out in the garden so that you don't put yourself in little boxes of specialized tasks Ok that's just sensible just common sense and remember too that when it comes to water hoses only firemen Kweller hose farmers do not call hose I have seen this over and over and over again it drives me absolutely bizarre irc because people coil there of those has and then when their uncoiling the hoses they get tangled and they're all bent and distorted and a it's not good for the hose and b it's not good for efficiency so when I finish with my hose for example I only go back to your picture if I if I want to run this greenhouse by hand if you know I have drip tape and other things too but instead of pulling the hose out of the greenhouse if I'm going to use it again I just leave it stretched out in the row and when I want to use it again I grab that I walk out the door I walk 50 feet into the garden with it's with the hoses all nice and straight and then I turn it on and I walk back into the greenhouse and and water with it so you know everything is linear when it comes to the water tubing the drip tape is linear the hoses are linear everything is long and stretched out that way you don't end up with the fight with the coils and you also save a lot of steps that way. So I always think about you know. This always think about the step ahead. And you know just find different ways to make things work for you I have like I said my farm is kind of spread out and if I'm going to be needing a set of tools at one end of the farm and the next day a set of tools at the other end of the farm might be worthwhile to get 2 sets tools like and leave one at one area and one in the other areas so I'm not you know chasing things back and forth all the time and having good waste to store those and protect them is important too but I always think in terms of what's going to save you steps steps are useless in terms of productivity I don't make any money I don't get anything accomplished if I'm walking from one place to another place it's all the stuff I do in between that is viable in production so you want to try to minimize that. Next thing I'm going to do is just go over a brief list of my favorite tools the tools that I use that are mine favorites now I'm not saying that. What is good for me is good for you one of the things that I've discovered as I've gotten older is I don't move the way I use to move I can't do what I used to do and my body doesn't like certain things now that it used to just be fine with so I you know ergonomics is basically finding ways that you can be comfortable doing repetitive tasks and the tools that I use are based on what works for me and I want to point this out because where so will materialistically consumer driven these days that we're often influenced more by the advertising or friends or the ads says that this is the easiest way to do this this is the easiest way to do this and I feel this bad I don't think I can do this anymore you know rather than looking for another tool or another way of going about it so there's a lot of different stuff out there for sale these days I'm just going to show you some simple things that I use and again. Simplicity is kind of where I'm coming from in terms of how I go about doing things I want all of you to be able to do what I do if you choose to. And if that's going to be the case then I don't want you to have to go out and buy a tractor tomorrow I don't want you to have to go out and invest $20000.00 and and tools and equipment and high titles and stuff before you can even start I want you to be able to start out with simple things that work well and that's part of the choices that I have made here too is based on them I have to run or tellers and a lot of guys that you know especially when couples come to our training program of West Virginia the 1st question that I use to get from the guys do I need a tractor. And allow How much again a farm oh we've got about a quarter of an acre but. We want to buy the tractor actually have one guy that did do that he left the class and bought a tractor and I don't think he's gardening anymore but he saw the tractor payments. That the thing is to to consider what's appropriate for your scale and realistically there are some power tillers out there that are very effective for. Gardening operations that will be totally adequate for what you want to do as a home gardener when you start commercial gardening at the scale that I'm at we're going to have to 2 acres or so then maybe a tractor would be worth your while and only for some operations really and there are some really good power tillers out there on the market today the B.B.C.'s Tiller is one of them that a friend of mine uses who has a garden about the same size that I do and he's also he's my best buddy at the Farmers Market and he farms how little less than I do but he's 70 years old and he does it all the teller so a tractor is not necessarily necessary but Tiller's are good and I use 2 types of tailors I. I'm a front timing teller and arrear time to learn and I regret I didn't bring pictures of them with me here but I think most of us are familiar with waterfront tie until Or is that means the timings are in front of the engine and it cuts into the soil before the machine actually passes over it that's very good for initially breaking up soil and does a much better job of telling than a rear timing Tiller does for that purpose and I use the front tine tiller when I'm breaking new ground or when I'm breaking up ground that hasn't been tilled in quite some time just to get it loosened up and to break it up the tiller that I have is. 19 a model craftsman front time till or 5 horsepower nothing fancy and by God's grace I've been able to maintain it and keep ignoring all these years but it's getting pretty worn out but you don't need to go out and spend a lot of money on this stuff if you look at yard sales and things to. Have replaced the times on it a couple of times but that tiller will loosen the soil about 9 inches which is currently good for a for a hand rototiller I have a weird time Tiller too I use that for finer cultivation occasionally my walkways will get a little bit over room with weeds and I'll set the the rear time tiller so it only cuts maybe an inch or 2 into the soil and do the walk ways with that is to cultivate the weeds out of the walkways and it doesn't nicer job of preparing a seed bed then a front time Tiller does so I may on some of my beds if I'm seeding crops like carrots or beets or something else I'll pass it with the front tine tiller to break the soil up and then I'll use the rear timing tiller to really make the fine seed bed. I use a landscape rake for forming beds and show you pictures of these this is my list by the ways and I'm no bigger than s.s. is my list of garden tools a landscaper ache for forming beds I use a grub ho for forming walkways I use something called a stirrup 0 for most of my cultivations I use what's called a worn hole also for cultivations and I use what's called a potato fork as a harvest aid to try to move away and I should add a pitchfork on this list too. Before I move on with some pictures of these things I do want to stress the good quality tools earth sensual they are essential and the reason that I say that is a the difference in cost between a. A cheap. Use it once and throw it away ho and a high quality whole Ho is about 4 times and in the sense that I can buy at a relatively cheap Oh that will got get the job done for maybe $10.00 and I can buy a really good quality hoe that will get the job done for $40.00 and my suggestion to you is to always buy the $40.00 home and the reason that I say that is that $40.00 hokum last you use I have one that is over 20 years old most of my hand tools have multiple years on them and. When you m.r. ties the cost of that cheapo vs the expensive tool there's there's no question about which one is more cost effective stay away from cheap tools and that the other disadvantage of that is if you have cheap tools and a job really needs to get done and it breaks on you guess what your job's not going to get down and if that job happen. To be something critical I towing at a stage when the when the when the plants are easy to hoe versus having to wait until maybe 5 or 6 days later when they go into town and can get another hony come back in the weeds and gone from here to here and it just is not sensible to use poor quality tools so everything that we use on our farm is is maybe more expensive but a good quality tool. This is a landscape rake. You can find these at and a number of places am Leonard company is one that is a good source for a lot of these type of things their website is a m l e e o dot com am l.b.o. dot com. This landscape rake I use for forming beds and it's 36 inches wide and it's got an aluminum had it's not as heavy as it looks but it doesn't beautiful job of leveling the beds out once I've killed the beds I can pull this landscape rake across the bed and have a really nice fine level surface they use these in golf courses to rake out the sand traps you may have seen seen them used in that way the teeth are fairly wide and they've got a little bit of a bump on the backside of them so that as you rake through the soil it doesn't cut in like a regular garden rake doesn't leave furrows of these a nice smooth surface those are great for for making beds another tool that I use a nest I use for primarily making walkways if I tilt. A large area I will use this to create a slight depression and you notice how my beds were a little higher than the walkways of this just I just pull these down the walkways and pull dirt to reach for soil to each side to create the bed and this is called a grub hoe and this is a heavy duty tool and. By the way the landscaper a cab don't quote me on these prices because it's been a long tense and so I bought these things for they may have gone up in price but the landscape breaks about a typically a $30.00 to $40.00 tool this is a $40.00 to $50.00 tool here that you're looking at you're not going to break one of the see how it's designed here you're not going break the tip off in that area and that's. The only thing that is important is to be thoughtful and provide care for the wood handles and I do that simply by using some some linseed oil or. A couple of times a year and avoid leaving them out in in the weather I store them in a dark place preferably where I shouldn't say dark where they're not in direct sunlight and the ones that that I have all I have one of them that's probably 15 years old now that looks just like this one in the picture except some of the paints gone. This is a grading hoe this is also useful tool this is very similar to the gravel hope it has a much longer bite to it and it's really quite interesting because you couldn't tell by looking at this but when you pull this it pulls a nice flat surface the other hoed depending on how you. You hold it you can get ridges or you can pull shallow and pull deep with this so you get a really nice level level cab with it so again I use this for making walkways too nothing really extraordinary about it the grub hoe is very good for removing deep rooted weed problems like heavy grasses and things that have great big root systems and you're taking out large clumps of things they're not particularly good for doing fine called evasion in your garden bed is too big and too heavy duty for that and it's as you know like using a hammer to try to push a pin into a bulletin board it's a little bit too much for the tool. Couple of tools that are really. Probably the ones that I wear out the fastest as this is called the stirrup health. And I told you that most of our crops after we transplant them. About 7 to 10 days later I cultivate and this is what I cultivate with and I'm cold having with this plants that are only you know an inch or or so tall. Weeds we've heard. The parables way too many times about how we need to being in an image of sin and if we get them out when they're young you know before it takes deep root it's a lot easier and that is very true so when you cultivate want to cultivate one when the weeds are really small and these tools work really well for that because basically they just slice about the top quarter inch of the soil they work in both directions and it's this tool that I use typically to cultivate crops between the period of time of transplanting and when the crop hasn't has fully formed a canopy over the bed so that it shaded Now don't get in you more we germination they come in different widths and sizes I have 2 different weights on my farm so that they're coordinated with the plant spacing that I use and definitely a must have tool for for home gardeners and I have kind of stony soil so. I have to have good quality stirrup hose also one with a good solid blade because I'm sharpening those blades frequently. About. This this is a really useful tool and probably the simplest easiest way to keep your your your weeds under control on your farm. Another tool that I use is called a worn home. And this is a triangular shaped hole that is very useful for doing a lot of different types of tasks where the store oppose might not be you know complete that the job fully use the war and home sometimes to cultivate if we have a real heavy downpour from a thunderstorm For example before I have a chance to cultivate that top layer of soil gets a little bit compacted and we can get a little crust layer on the top of the soil and the stirrup hose can break that up a little bit but this one actually works a lot better at breaking upper crust on the sole surface of the the war and how I use for that and I don't use it as frequently as the others but it is something that I do use on a pretty regular basis. This next picture is what I call a potato fork this is real handy for pulling vines out of beds when I'm cleaning up after crops have been harvested and I'm removing the debris from the beds things like you know lining plants particularly and just reach out there and grab it and I use it more like a rake than anything else but it's a small rake with big teeth it gives you a bite into being able to deal with these other large things I also use this when I'm harvesting potatoes. I have a potato lifter from my tractor we grow a lot of potatoes we grow about 6 to 8000 pounds of potatoes a year so I'm not digging those by hand I'm doing them with the tractor and I have a little shovel that goes on the back of the tractor that lifts the row and then I've got to separate the potatoes from the soil within that row and that's what this potato fork is and use it to to get the potatoes. My newest best friend. Is my Hatfield transplant or. An I. I am thrilled to be able to recommend this to you. A little bit of a story behind that as I have for many years had lower back problems I didn't lots of stupid things when I was in on lifted things I should have lifted and jumped off of things I should have jumped off of and I have substantial little back problems. And about 3 years ago I was planting our fall crop of cauliflower in one of our fields and I had about 3000 cauliflowers to transplant and at that time I was just bending over and doing it by hand I had a little hand hobo that I used kind of for oh and put the plan to move down and cut the furrows so I spent most of the day bent over transplanting cauliflower and when I got to the end of the row I discovered I can't stand that and I'm not exaggerating I could not stand and I was in such pain I was about a quarter of a mile from my house it took me almost 20 minutes to get back to the house and when I got back to the house I looked at my wife and I said Lineen it's time for us to put a you pick Mary operation in because I can't do this anymore I just can't do this anymore and. It took me quite a while to recover from that it was very painful. And I recalled as I was recovering from that about a friend of mine that had referred me to this tool and this tool is basically a tool that I can use to transplant plants standing up I don't have to bend over anymore to do transplants and Johnnie's seeds was selling them last time I looked at their website I didn't see them on their website but they come in 3 different sizes and I use 2 different plug sizes depending on the size of the crop that I'm planting I have 2 of these and basically they work by. They have an angled plate at the bottom you shove it into the soil when you open the handle that opens that plate you drop your plant down the tube and then just pull that right out of the ground it's very simple easy and efficient to use and the day that my back went out on the planted about 3. 1000. Broccoli or cauliflower plants and it took me from about 8 in the morning till 330 or 4 in the afternoon to do that after I bought this tool my daughter now and were able to do it together in about a little over an hour it was it was remarkable I mean just walk down the road and stick it in and drop your transplant down and go it definitely worthwhile especially for those of us that might be on prime back flexibility years. Another one that I. Like very much is this little device assist stand in plant stand and plant and their website is as this word dot com They make a couple of transponders they make one similar to the Hatfield 2 that is a one hand old one handed tool they have failed to lose a 2 handed tool but this particular one I use for transplanting onions again was not able to transplant onions because it requires so much bending over and garlic too by the way requires a lot of bending over to set the clothes on the ground and I was at a small farm conference in West Virginia in the vendor for this the manufacturer for it was there was demonstrating in 2 minutes that he sells it as a seed planter also for large seeded things like you know squash pumpkins corn that kind of thing it's about an inch and a quarter in diameter. But I was looking at it thinking I can drop my onion seedlings down there and that's what I do now so I use this for planting any and. It's a little bit small for large clothes and garlic but you could use it for planting girly too and that is really been a savior for. And I do a lot of onions we grow. Anywhere from from about 1500 to 2000. Garlic plants per year and I grow about $4000.00 the nuance of that those are 2 of the crops and we do real well with the referrers market so I needed a way to to to make that happen without bending over and these 2 things I found to be very helpful. I want to suggest to you when you're buying supplies whether it's tools or seed or soil Manx or frost cloth soil amendments tools anything that you're buying for your gardens don't go to the local garden center and buy. The find an online wholesaler that sells to commercial growers to buy any of these items and the reason that I say that is that because we do this full time and we need tools that are going to hold up we need seeds that are going to be viable we need a soil mix that is good and consistent and we use a lot of this stuff so you get better prices even if you're just a homeowner there is no reason that you can't buy from many wholesale accounts even as a homeowner or from wholesale only supply houses so we have a website if you don't write it down at the beginning in the class it's Bria gardens dot org g. and I have a page on that website where I list some of these wholesale suppliers that I use but definitely take advantage of the quality difference that you get from buying from a commercial supplier. See quality in the seed packets that you find at the local garden center and the local. Hardware store the local Wal-Mart that has lousy seed folks it really is poor quality and that's a topic for another day on Friday I'll be doing a. Segment on seed saving. But even if you have to buy more c. than you'll ever use it's still such an insignificant investment in the overall cost of your garden that it's better to buy an allen So even if you only need a quarter of an ounce and then share the rest of the seed or save it for a period of time use it later by buying from a from a commercial suppliers definitely definitely worth doing. Mulching is something that we do also. Where we can where it's not practical to put the plants close enough together to. To just cultivate once and have the plant canopy cover the area I do use mulch as I do not use plastic mulch. Ever. Under any circumstance and the reason that I don't is because plastic mulch does not breed. And plastic mulch doesn't actually trap water plastic mulch was developed in Israel for use with drip irrigation on a very sandy desert soil and moist climates and by moist Clements I mean here in our country anything east of the Rockies a plastic mulch is an inappropriate method to use in agriculture in part many of the plastic mulch is can leach chemicals into the ground most of them are not organically certified number 2 because of the micro environment that they create by being basically air proof and water proof you accumulate very high levels of moisture under that plastic that can lead to long term disease problems in your crops it is not a good method for mulch. Which you see here in this picture is a woven polyester fiber that allows both air and water to move through it this is called landscape fabric and I do use this it's far more environmentally sound than using plastic tube because most of the mulch plastics that are made are only a mill or so thick they can only use them one time and then you throw it away this particular landscape fabric that you see here I've been using for 10 years so you know I use it for the season that I need it I roll it up put it out the next year and it's very heavy and can be reused obviously more expensive than the plastic but again when I evaluate its use over time it's far more cost effective so. That's. And that's something that you can make use of. I also use hay we have as a $720.00 acre farm we have horses and we have about 10 acres of our farm that is not in pasture or forest we s.n.c. use it as a hay field and we cut the hay off of it every year both for horses and some of it for me use as small as this is garlic. About 4 inches of hay mulch on it to suppress and control weeds to very useful material I use the hay that we harvest the 1st cutting of the season not the 2nd cat. Our 1st cat in comes off of our fields using around the 1st of June and by getting the 1st cutting hay I avoid having. A lot of viable seed in that so that I don't see a problem with my Walsh if you use hey that's cut later in the year often times I'll be a lot of mature seed in the hay and you're not just preventing weeds at the media point but you're sowing weeds for the next crop cycle that doesn't make sense either. Another former molds that I made since we live in West Virginia is hard wood mulch this is basically stuff that came from Asplund trees service after they cleared power lines that are an area of those guys and I have got to know each other really well over the 10 years that I've been there we've probably. Had them donate to us 50 or more truckloads of this stuff and I don't use it raw I compost it for a minimum of 5 years before I use it for a moment there are some real problems with you. Wood chips in your garden I'm not an advocate of that at all I am an advocate of using composted wood products as a mulch not as a growing media and this does 2 things for us it really does a good job of controlling weans when it's about 5 to 7 years old it's mostly broken down some of the wood the larger wood pieces are still apparent in it but it's mostly just the black flying. Compost. I put about 2 inches of this on. The ground for controlling weed pressure during the crops like on this case the center of it here is eggplant and we have peppers on the 2 side rows and by the time those crops are harvested in the ready for the next crop cycle I just till this into the ground to add organic matter to the ground now I've got to be a little bit careful with my crop rotations because I don't want to do this with every crop cycle I don't do this any more frequently than once a year as far as using the hardwood mulch on on the ground for weed suppression I don't want to incorporate any more than about an inch or 2 per year into the ground average damage matter otherwise you start to increase your advantage matter content to match and diminish the mineral content of the soil and that has some disadvantages. Another product that we make use of that's. Kind of handy is. A mulch paper a paper mulch. My neighbor and a good friend of mine uses this extensively in his farming operation I use it on occasion where it's appropriate but this is a biodegradable paper that is designed specifically as a mold paper I specify that because using newsprint using cardboard using other forms of paper is not a good idea it's not a good idea because dioxin is produced in the manufacture of paper and dioxin is an extremely potent toxin and you don't want that potent toxin going into your food so this particular product is designed specifically as a mulch for growing crops it contains no doubt excellent and it's also manufactured in a way that it will last. For the duration of your crop but then it's fully biodegradable and you can just tell it into the ground afterwards. So as I said I don't use this a lot but in some instances there are occasions where I've made use of this paper product to I want to make you aware of it from home girder it could be very useful. If you go to there if you want to buy this directly from the weed Guard plus website you'd be best off it comes in 3 foot with 4 foot red with $700.00 foot rolls and $500.00 foot rules and it's more expensive than plastic mulch but it's certainly a much superior product in terms of its safety and utility. Ok Well we're winding down of the last few minutes here and I just want to. Say will take will take a few questions here but more most importantly I want to conclude by saying that when we approach our very lives we want to keep a concept. Efficiency in our minds all the time find ways to solve your own problems and find ways that make sense so that you can do what you do and value your time realize that your time has value and if you find yourself wasting time or spending too much time in one aspect of the garden as opposed to another then you know think of novel ways to solve some of those problems where they're trying to share with you here today are basically some of the solutions that I have found that I think would apply well to a home garden situation but you know your paradigm your circumstance your situations are all going to be different and just. Have an awareness to keep fishing season all right I'm going to take a couple of questions now I'll have to repeat your question for the recording and then I'll answer the question I'm old move on so please be patient with me here you were 1st s l a a call them what you want to know about moveable have titles Elliot Coleman advocates a process of moving high time also that you leech the soil and also have less disease and side. That can be site specific in areas where you have higher when Eliot Coleman's on the coast of Maine where he doesn't get gust front thunderstorms with 80 mile an hour blasts that come at you at any given time during the summer months I do not advocate that if you manage a greenhouse properly you will not have increased salt problems in the soil and you will not have increased disease problems on the plants. But that's a process that works for him but it's not a one size fits all solution by hand means. C.s. are very good question and I test on plant spacing and how do we determine how much space the. We know our plans too much but are just enough but not too much. Now I'm sorry to be vague by that some of that's going to depend on again your experimental knowledge with power of the particular crops grow in your area the concept is predicated on the fact that when the plant is as about halfway mature that there should be some overlap of the leaves when it's fully mature the plant is is overlapped with leaves but not crowded and for me for my brassica crops for example I find that in the fall I need a little more space than I do in the spring actually in our climate so I spaced mine and at 18 inches in the fall 18 is square for things like broccoli and cauliflower in the fall I can go to 22 or 24 inches because with slower growth the plants get a little bit larger there in the ground for a longer period of time before they are they're fully mature and the idea here is you want them to shade but you don't want them crowded if you crowd them too mad so get good competition and also develop more disease problems from lack of air movement. Yes ma'am if you're trying to work Janet garden What do you do for Mexican being beetle are about. This this isn't a Pest Control class and there's a lot that could be talked about here but the t. is a as a common treatment for that that's certified for the soloist and Jim says At what stage of growth are you apply the paper you actually apply that before planting punch holes in it and then plant through the paper I guess or do I incorporate my plant residue directly into the beds on occasion yes I do with things that come out of the greenhouses that are very bulky like those large broccoli and cauliflower where. I actually remove the plants and compost them in a different location and many of the field crops I will just tell them yes or I use a file usually for that I have a small bench grinder and I have a surface grinder too but it's usually a file that I use to sharpen my tools when it's not. Good question came out during our breaks here about whether I run my rose or my who passes north south and east west. The concept that you want to ban attention to 2 concepts to pay attention to when you. Orienting your rows or orienting your greenhouses is what is the prevailing breeze and will one crop shade another crop if it's on the newer size world the northern hemisphere here so if I grow a real tall crop of corn on an east west. Line and plant a short statured crop on the north side of that that short statured crops going to be in the shade all the time the reality is when it comes to greenhouses the prevailing breeze is more important to me than the north south east west and it doesn't matter. I orient mine so that I take the greatest advantage of the prevailing breeze because in this and that's for cooling in the summer so that I get air movement through the tunnels now the one exception to. To That is if you have multiple who passes and you're putting them side by side if you have multiple who've houses that are oriented east west and you have them too close together during the winter months the southern most house as as going or always shade part of the northern most out so if you have them north and south and as the sun goes over each all the areas get some sunlight but if you move orient them east and west and leave enough space between them so that the Southern house doesn't shade the northern house makes no difference you asked me what wholesale companies I use again I said go to my website I have a list of them on on my website Berea gardens dot au r g b e r e a g a our D.E.'s and us dot au argy. I. There was there's a couple methods one of the most effective methods for keeping deer out of the high tunnels is very high velocity lead pellets. No I shouldn't joke about that fortunately where we are I haven't had a problem going into the high tunnels when I was in Virginia for a period of time I built a number of high tunnels at the college that I was at over there and we actually had gear that would jump right through the end of the high tunnels if that's an issue you can put up some wire fence or fencing material or something to prevent say. Yes where do I plant by the moon No I do not and I'm kind of glad you asked that question I'm going to give you a 2 part answer to that question she asked if I planned by the signs of the moon and in the area pardon me. By the fullness that's that's where the moon signs are all about is the face of the moon phase. No I do not and I don't for 2 reasons One is that it has never after some scrutiny by the University of California Davis It has never been proven to be scientifically valid that that has any influence on crop growth the 2nd reason that I have avoided and this is my personal choice and decision is that I want to avoid any sign or semblance of spiritualism I'm. In agriculture now to some people that might be some people might not be I'm not saying that it's spiritualistic what I'm saying is my conscience tells me that the best time to plant a crop is when the conditions for planting the crop are there that means soil moisture weather day when the temperature indications other than the phase of the moon and because I'm growing crops I'm talking about efficiencies here I'm not going to wait around only. My ground empty if I've got a good conditions for planting and fact an extreme case of why I feel this way is that a few years ago many of the local mountain folk were we are planted by by moon or signs by the signs in the phase of the moon and they all of them plant potatoes and one year when the phase of the moon is right we had heavy downpours nobody could get their potatoes planted dried up after that they were going to plant their potatoes to Louis Rice where they're going to wait this was in March they're going to wait until April when the moon phase was right and guess what happened in April and downpours again they never got put it potatoes planted that year so you know we have to be realistic about this and I want to be very cautious particularly in our times today of avoiding any aspect of spiritual does in my approach to agriculture to and the reason that I say this is that there are so many spiritual this take influences agriculture today the winds of doctrine are just ridiculous and I want to have discernment that I'm working in cooperation with the Lord in the ministry that we have in agriculture and I know that he went to that ignorance but because I'm a professional I don't have a lot of ignorance so if there's something that I question in any way shape or form that can kind of test the corners of that my choice is to avoid all appearance of this media was brought to you by audio perhaps 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 you would like to listen to more sermon leave it at that w w w audio verse or.


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