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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ON S 510

Lots of good information here. Nice remedy to all the misleading freaked out anti SB 510 emails floating about. And this does not say there are not problems with these bills (House and Senate) as there are many things to be concerned about but losing backyard gardens or Organics are not some of them.

The exemptions of small farms is well explained and critiqued.

Well worth reading if you raise or eat food.

A Response to Another Blog

On the Cincy Locavore listserv I spotted this question:

Hey Everyone,

I put a post on our blog today about buying local over organic when you have to choose. I thought folks on this list might be interested, and I wonder if people agree with my current assessment.

Any comments - here or on the blog - would be great!


Gavin DeVore Leonard

And here is my answer:

I prefer local over Organic and I am one of those growers who is not certified Organic but grows that way. But by no means are all the local growers growing Organically, even if they say they are. My farm was certified organic by OEFFA for over 6 years back before the USDA took over. I learned an awful lot about organic farm management and Organic growing during that time and find it to be vitally important to keep growing that way. But I also know that before I went through the process of transitioning to Organic and Organic Certification I would tell my customers when asked, "Yes we grow Organically" because I really thought how I was growing was Organic. I was dead wrong. I found out that Organic really doesn't have much to do with avoiding pesticides and fertilizers. As a matter of fact both are used on well managed Organic farms certified or not. What I did fond out is Organic is all about soil management and it is this facet of Organic farm management that puts us apart from the conventional farmers. I also learned that it takes around 7 to 15 years to get one's soils healthy after decades of abuse from conventional salt based fertilizers and pesticides, not the 3 year transition period used by the USDA (which is an arbitrary number that was used by many pre USDA Organic certifiers that would allow some recovery by the soils but not keep farmers waiting so long to get certified that it would make any economical sense to 99% of them).

Most people, including many farmers, believe that Organic farming is all about avoiding certain inputs (pesticides and fertilizers and hormones for livestock). They simply do not understand the processes that must happen to make one's farm truly Organic and thus see no problem with using a bit of RoundUp on "really bad" weeds or some sort of chemical and very toxic insecticide like Sevin dust because they think without it they will lose their crop(s). My point is that a lot of the farmers/growers at farmers markets who are not certified Organic are also not growing Organically, even though they say they are and may believe they really are (as I used to as well until I found out I was anything but Organic at the time) so do not fool yourselves into thinking that all local farm are organic farms. Yes there are those of us who really are Organic and no longer feel the need to have papers that say we are and I do know a few farmers who have never gone through Organic cert. but are indeed deeply Organic in how they grow (generally because they worked on a certified Organic farm for a few years before going out on their own or because they are the type of person who loves to do research and have taken the time to learn what Organic farm management entails). But I find from talking to farmers at markets that most are at best quasi Organic, especially the livestock people who rarely feed Organic feed and thus are feeding GMO's to their stock (which in my mind is NOT Organic and for me is a deal breaker).

But all that said I would rather support quasi Organic farms and conventional farms that are local to me than buying Organic from who knows where

That's my 2¢

Friday, June 25, 2010

Not the Best June

I really need to post here more often but I seem to be doing most of my farm writing and photo posting over at Facebook.

A lot has been going on bad weather. Too much rain but I think that has stopped for now. This month we have had well over 10 inches of rain and it caused us to bring in the garlic early in order to keep the entire crop from rotting in the soil. Some was so wet and muddy when it came out of the ground that we washed it with water, something they say never to do but I figured they are already soaking wet what will a bit more water do other than remove the soil? So far this seems to be a good thing but we won't know for sure for another 4 weeks or so when the curing process is finished. I will say the garlic is huge and the 90% that did not rot away seems to be of high quality. probably due to the fact we applied fertilizer this year so they were well fed garlics.

Broken equipment (the 14 hp BCS does not want to work reliably but Eugene keeps nursing it and can get it to work for up to an hour at a time). He jury rigged a new air filter and changed the gas that seemed to work for a couple of days. I do wonder if the machine got damaged in the flash flood we had earlier in the month that filled the basement of the barn with 2 feet of water(where the BCS and a lot of other equiment lives). Actually I wonder if the gas got water in it. He has mentioned that there was dirty gas in a fuel line. On the plus side we have not had many days in June when the soil could be tilled safely so the tiller being out of service has not been a huge issue

Betty has been Hell on various farm related things like the roses on the watering cans, bagged apples on the two youngest apple trees. Eugene spent hours fashioning bags than putting them over very young pommes in order to keep pests and diseases off of them so that we will have big perfect apples without spraying a lot of toxic chemicals several times a week through the growing season. Betty has found that bagged apples on the tree are a great thing to jump up and grab and take down. the other morning she managed to get 8 or 9 off the tree and that get her repremanded big time and since that morning she has left the apples alone. Now she is into wrestling with Nate in the aisle ways between garden beds (which is a no no but she tests this rule out many times a day and always gets yelled at. I will say she quits after the first "Betty, NO! Out of the garden"). She also likes to go after rodents in overgrown beds, which is not too bad but it does mean she is in the garden which is against the rules around here.

Oh and did I mention the heat? Pretty much all of June has been 10 degrees above normal for around here and very very humid to boot. It's like it is August. This has made it hard to work when it is not raining and it has set up the stage for bad fungal diseases, most of which love hot humid conditions. the good news here is we bought and used a product called Root Shield and it seems to be working as I have seen very little evidence of disease on any crops that have been treated. I did find a cucumber covered in white mold a couple of weeks ago but once that was removed no more problems in the early cukes. And the tomatoes are showing no signs of any diseases (knock wood). Usually by this point the leaves are getting blighted and we know that the plants will likely produce but will die before the first frost. It looks like this year that will not be the case all because we treated their soil that we start the seeds in with the stuff. Time will tell, but I do know late blight has been seen in our county and so far we have zero signs of any disease on the maters (or peppers and eggplant which were also treated but usually they do not have blight issues).

There are 5 more days left in the month and it looks like they will be less humid, cooler and very little rain-Yay!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rainy Template and farm

It's been raining a lot so I changed my template to reflect that fact.

We have had over 10 inches of rain since the beginning of June. I know June is our wettest month but this is ridiculous.