Well Good Friday was anything but good in terms of the weather. It was cold, raining and at times we were in the clouds. A thoroughly miserable day. Down the hill I watched as some brave soul climbed a large tree and armed with a chainsaw gave it a severe trim. A braver man than me!
Regenerative Farming in Montana
I’ve a cold anyway so started the day the Lemsip way and spent a few hours watching an interesting video on regenerative farming in Montana. At least not all US farming is GM monoculture and massive feed lots with huge polluting slurry lagoons.
What I found most interesting was that the small farmer (small by US standards, 500 acres) basically made no money before changing his system, eliminating chemical inputs and concentrating on improving his soil. This wasn’t an idealistic hippy with theories, he’s a down to earth (no pun intended) commercial farmer looking to make a living.
He’d even worked out that the improvements he’d made to the soil by increasing its depth and organic matter content had increased the NPK content to the same level that adding $3000 of artificial fertiliser per acre would produce.
It’s about 2 hours 30 minutes if you’re interested in watching it!
Spent some more hours working on an article for Home Farmer magazine. I’ve written what I want to say but it doesn’t flow properly yet. I’ll leave it for a couple of days and then get back to it – that usually works.
I’ve an article in this month’s issue about some of the culture shocks we had when we moved from town to country. It’s a bit confusing in that this month’s issue is May but that’s the wonderful world of magazines for you.
In next month’s issue there’s an in-depth master class on growing sweetcorn by yours truly.
Up in the Polytunnel
Saturday was not quite as advertised but at least it didn’t rain. I didn’t fancy getting chilled though so headed up to the polytunnel where it was comfortably warm.
Planted out some Little Gem lettuce in space between the climbing bean supports. They’ll be ready well before the beans are up and shading them. Did a bit of weeding using my Japanese hand hoe which does work well – although I’ve since found a British version for half the price in Stermat (the best hardware store I’ve ever come across)
Earthed up the early potatoes. It’s surprising how well the Sharpe’s Express are doing in comparison to the Arran Pilot as the Sharpe’s are supposed to be temperamental. Watered everything well which took longer than I expected. May have to consider irrigation systems later in the year.
Put some hooks up for tools and my jacket – it’s beginning to feel organised! I need to order some materials after the holiday to build some hanging shelves which I’m planning on using to grow strawberries in grow-bags.
I’m still learning in the polytunnel; how to get the most out of it, planting times for here, maximising use of height and the crop bars etc. but it’s coming together now. I’m glad I’ve done nothing permanent with the paths, I might just change the layout next year to take more advantage of the crop bars but let’s see how it goes first.
I’ve ordered a couple of maximum-minimum thermometers so I can compare the greenhouse with the polytunnel. I suspect the polytunnel is holding a better night time temperature due to the cover material, greater volume and heat sink effect from the soil.