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  • Writer's pictureJohn

So MANY methods and ideas

When I started my market garden in 2017 one of the things I really wanted to prioritize was Investigating alternative methods that achieve similar results in plant growth. I had come to the conclusion that there must be a better way. Conventional methods of growing which I had been a part of for some 30 years, were (and still are) expensive, destructive, and very shortsighted. Six years in, I can say that 'yes' there is a better way, but not just one, possibly hundreds. Off grid, cover crop, organic, permaculture, etc. it's a very long list. The foundation of every regenerative method I've come across that is in opposition to 'conventional' methods revolves around growing the soil not the plants. No dig/no-till, 'Grow the Soil' market gardening that builds around the addition of 1.5-2 inches of compost every fall to feed the microbiology of the soil is my preferred technique. This microbiology breaks down the nutrients in the compost, exchanges these nutrients with the plants for sugars, feeding the microbe population which will grow, provide nutrients for sugars and the cycle repeats. Circular gardening if you will. I cannot overstate the value of this method. Every year my yields continue to climb, my costs continue to drop, and the eating quality of my fruits and vegetables is astonishing! I don't put much stock into crop rotation, nor the 'heavy feeder' conventional mentality of certain vegetables, potatoes for instance, I just compost in the fall and start planting in the spring, succession planting my way through the season.

Potatoes, lettuce, beans, come out; potatoes, lettuce, beans go back in the same place. I know it sounds crazy, I do, but in complete and utter defiance of the 'conventional' garbage heap of wisdom?? I don't care, it's working! I have 5 years of data to show for it. A final note, I've adapted this method to my lawn (yes, I have one of those). In short, my clippings bag has been removed, I gather the fall leaves from my trees, spread them on the lawn, chop them up and allow that to feed my turf grass. No pesticides, no fertilizers (synthetic or otherwise), just water, and less and less of that each year. I plan on expanding on this in a future post. There are 40 million acres of turf in the U.S. with a very bad reputation. Perhaps it's not the plant, perhaps it's the method.

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