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Farm For All - A Journal Of Sorts

 
pioneer
Posts: 509
Location: Oregon 8b
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Well, I was browsing the seed bank this morning, waiting for the sun to come up. Who wants to grow this carrot?
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pollinator
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Location: SE Indiana
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Mathew Trotter wrote:
And yeah. I guess the 2012 census put total cropland under no-till management at almost 100 million acres, or about 25% of the total. I'm sure that's grown in the past decade, but it also doesn't tell you anything else about those farmers' practices.


I wasn't thinking of the industrial no-till that is now very common around here. I'd guess that locally this no-till practice represents 80% or more of the total. In fact I can't remember the last time I saw  a tractor pulling a plow. Now they just spray everything with herbicide each spring and sometimes in fall too. They use what I think is called a chisel plow or something like that and seeder to cut little slits and drop in the seed. Not exactly the same thing as I had in mind but still I guess technically it is no-till.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Posts: 509
Location: Oregon 8b
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Mark Reed wrote:
I wasn't thinking of the industrial no-till that is now very common around here. I'd guess that locally this no-till practice represents 80% or more of the total. In fact I can't remember the last time I saw  a tractor pulling a plow. Now they just spray everything with herbicide each spring and sometimes in fall too. They use what I think is called a chisel plow or something like that and seeder to cut little slits and drop in the seed. Not exactly the same thing as I had in mind but still I guess technically it is no-till.




Yeah. There are different gradations of the industrial no-till scheme. There are a lot more cropping up that grow polycultures, and growing in crop residue as mulch, and keeping living roots in the ground year round, and not fertilizing or spraying. I don't think it's as elegant or long-lasting as a more hyperlocalized food system with cooperation within the larger region (I mean, we now know that pre-European Americans had trade routes from coast to coast and from North America to South.) Especially with regard to the distribution and conservation of genetic material. But I think the better forms of industrial no-till, the ones that are actually showing an increase in organic matter, have a role to play in preventing genuinely and problematically disruptive panic and civil unrest. As we already saw with random shit during the pandemic. It's a way to keep people fed while we transition to something better, and it's a way to feed people that reduces the negative impact of large farms. Permaculture is a lot easier when you can use some of this infrastructure to jump start things. It's a lot harder if everything's fallen apart. Even with as limited as my resources are, I still have access to the internet (and steel tools, etc.), which affords me way more knowledge than I ever could have amassed on my own. There's definitely bullshit to cut through, but there so much more good information too, especially with as much new stuff as we're figuring out every day. It was said that sunchokes were planted along the trade routes Lewis and Clark took to the Pacific as a reliable food source for travelers. I could see maybe large scale farms nationally or regionally that could act as a kind of emergency food crop, especially if there were regionally appropriate low input crops like sunchokes, or perennial grains, or whatever. The kind of thing where we could mobilize technology to harvest and distribute food in an emergency, but not employ that as our primary source of food. But I'm just spit-balling. As more large farms move closer to the ideal form of such an entity we'll end up with more data to analyze and see how much if any impact they're having. Like, how far do we have to go to ensure that we can survive the next thousand years? What level of technology can we coexist with in a genuinely sustainable way? There are so many moving parts that I don't think we can truly answer that right now. My tendency is toward less technology and more genuinely human connection and meaningful work, but surely there's a middle ground with regard to the technology. We just don't have a good track record when it comes to making these kinds of decisions.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Finally decided to try to make another batch of hominy with the remainder of the corn I grew last year. This batch I allowed to soak in lime overnight and then gave it a nice long cook. Compared to the last batch, this was damn near perfect.
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Mathew Trotter
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Posts: 509
Location: Oregon 8b
134
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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Was excited to share my latest walnut harvest, but I had an abysmal number of empties. I probably picked 8 to 10 times as many nuts this time versus last time and I think I ended up with slightly fewer good nuts. I really, really, really hope it's just because it's the earliest stuff to have fallen and the season will improve as time progresses, but it might just be a bad season, or I'm being beaten to the good stuff. Got my fingers crossed, otherwise it's going to be a very fruit-filled diet for a while.
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Mathew Trotter
pioneer
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Location: Oregon 8b
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Today I started planting my garlic and doing further selection of my fava seeds as I get prepared to plant them.

I did a full write-up on my selection process over the past two generations here: https://permies.com/t/168487/generations-fava-selection-weevil-resistance
 
Mathew Trotter
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Posts: 509
Location: Oregon 8b
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Well, the good news is that my first batch of seeds arrived today. The bad news is that most of the packets were severely underweight. The favas were all the correct weight, but the carrots, beets, and lettuce were all about half of what they were supposed to be, give or take a couple tenths of a gram. I'm sure it was a calibration error or something, since all three carrots were almost the identical amount of wrong. This was my first time working with this particular company so I don't know if this is a fluke or typical. I calibrated my scale twice and weighed a couple of unopened packets from two other companies just to make sure it wasn't my scale. Both of those packets checked out. Emailed the company and am waiting to see how they handle it.

In other news, it looks like we're getting cats. I've been telling the landowner that the rodent problem has been getting out of control since my cat of 15 years passed away last summer. They've been pretty indifferent to the whole situation, which has been par for the course on most things. Well, they finally cracked open the water heater that's been sitting in the barn for months now to find that mice have been nesting in it and have absolutely destroyed it. So, now a brand new water heater has to be replaced and we're getting barn cats. Which is good, because something's been eating my garden and I'm ready to have some feline hitmen to take care of the problem once and for all. A little anxious to see exactly how wild the cats from the local barn cat program are. I'm anticipating that it's going to be a pretty crazy adjustment period.
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Mark Reed
pollinator
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Location: SE Indiana
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Mathew, I have an F1 mix up of Brassica oleracea. I started with around 30 different cabbage, brussels sprout, collards and so on planted in late summer of 2020. About 30 plants survived the winter with coldest temps about -5 F and no snow cover. I don't know how many of the initial individual varieties were represented in the survivors nor which they were but there was plenty of phenotypical variation in the plants making seed this spring.

My goal with this project is a vegetable that makes lots of tasty leaves, stalks and flower heads from late winter and into late spring. Maybe eventually even in the coldest part of winter. I was shocked at the initial success, flavor of the cool weather produce was outstanding for the most part and zero issue with the cabbage worms that plague this species when grown here in the traditional way.

I'm basically turning this biannual in to an annual except it's year runs from early summer to the next early summer. Basically planting at the time it naturally makes seed, harvesting for a long time and starting over again. I planted seed this year of course but the volunteers came up before that and are larger and more robust.

Any way, seeds are not from Oregon but are only one year removed from the seed company sources. If you would like some for your project let me know and I'll send some off to you.

 
Mathew Trotter
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Mark Reed wrote:Any way, seeds are not from Oregon but are only one year removed from the seed company sources. If you would like some for your project let me know and I'll send some off to you.



Ugh. I want to say yes, because brassicas are something I definitely need more of, but brassicas are one thing I've been hesitant to import. There's a brassica quarantine in place throughout most of the Pacific Northwest to control the spread of blackleg. Seeds sold here have to be tested and come back negative for spores. On the one hand, I'd like to think I can just landrace my way into resistance, but if I import the disease before I have the necessary resistance, it will be able to proliferate in our cold and wet conditions and completely wipe out all of my brassicas and destroy one or more generations of the work I've been doing.

I've also gone to great lengths to maintain distinct cabbage, kale, and broccoli lines. I've avoided oleracea kales to prevent anything but the occasional interspecies cross (and also because I prefer the flavor of the Siberian kales), and have used the late flowering of Russian Hunger Gap as a jumping of point to further protect against crosses. I've specifically avoided sprouting/biennial broccolis to push their flowering later in the season, leaving the cabbages an earlier flowering window after they overwinter.

Cabbage and broccoli are two of my favorite vegetables of all time, and I love them for different reasons. I really only grow kale because it's basically invincible, though it's not my preferred green. Fermented kale isn't the same thing as sauerkraut (though, I've got a jar of it fermenting away right now.) Teeny tiny brassica flowers are fun to munch on, but I'd never gather enough to cook a meal like I can by harvesting one giant broccoli head. If I can continue to maintain my distinct lines without physical isolation, that's what I'd prefer. But that means being selective about what brassicas I import for reasons that go beyond just disease.

I'm sure at some point I'll change my mind, either out of laziness or desperation. I've certainly become a lot more laissez-faire with my other projects in past couple years as simply having something that can survive our climate has taken precedence over other factors. And with the CSA, I'd like to be able to send people distinct packets of broccoli, cabbage, and kale, rather than just a random brassica mix. But we'll see. This time next year I might be singing a different tune...
 
Mark Reed
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Mathew Trotter wrote:
Ugh. I want to say yes, because brassicas are something I definitely need more of, but brassicas are one thing I've been hesitant to import. There's a brassica quarantine in place throughout most of the Pacific Northwest to control the spread of blackleg.


Ugh is right! I didn't know about that little issue so my offer is withdrawn.

Mathew Trotter wrote:
Cabbage and broccoli are two of my favorite vegetables of all time, and I love them for different reasons. I really only grow kale because it's basically invincible, though it's not my preferred green.


I also really enjoy both of those as well as brussels sprouts. Kale is just ok, there wasn't any of it in the mix except for one volunteer plant, I culled the rest of it to prevent too much of it the mix but it is so hardy I thought a little wouldn't hurt as the winter hardiness is a primary goal.

As far as food production I was shocked at how much there was and it's not just the flower heads but the stems and smaller leaves. Anything not too much larger than a pencil was delicious and the more I picked the more they grew... for weeks.

In my garden this project turned out o be the best thing since my seed grown sweet potatoes.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Posts: 509
Location: Oregon 8b
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Happy to report that the seed company has already gotten back to me. They're double checking everything on their end and getting more seeds shipped out by the end of the week. Still kind of a bummer that the packets were under packed, but I'm super impressed with their response time and commitment to fixing the issue. Which is great, since they have a lot more varieties that I'd like to add to my projects in the future.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Location: Oregon 8b
134
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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And here are the new additions to my fava breeding project. They're some good sized beans (with the exception of the Cambridge Scarlet, though that was already a given.) Looking forward to seeing how the new additions shake out and what kinds of flavors they add.

Selecting for flavor in the favas is going to be one of the more tedious parts of the process. I'm basically going to have to cook and taste the beans from one pod from each plant. Maybe I can load a bunch of half pint jars, each containing beans from one plant, into the pressure cooker. I'm just not sure how I'll label the jars to keep track of which is which. I'm pretty sure even sharpie will come off in the pressure cooker, though I could be wrong.

Oh! I bet I could put some other bean in each jar to keep track. Like garbanzos or something that won't disintegrate over the course of the cooking time. One garbanzo for plant one, two for plant two, etc. Or popcorn? I bet that would stay pretty solid throughout the cook time.

Problem solving. Always problem solving.

Though I'm going to totally forget that this thought occurred to me by this time next year, so somebody remind me that I already came up with a solution when harvest time comes around and I don't remember any of this...
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Why does your bag say "bombs"? The reason I ask is that my bag says "tiny ads" and it has stuff like this:
Natural Swimming Pool movie and eBook PLUS World Domination Gardening 3-DVD set - super combo!
https://permies.com/wiki/135800/Natural-Swimming-Pool-movie-eBook
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