Of course these numbers represent total coverage. One normally only
compost mulches the growing surface of the planting areas, so only one third
of each acre of rows is mulched cutting the above numbers to a third. Just
one look at those numbers and it is ridiculous to attempt to mulch cover 175
acres. Where would you get the organic material from? Obviously, I choose a
different system of growing from the one you choose. I'd love to have 175
acres, because I could turn so much of it into wildlife sanctuary. I would
shrink down the worked portion to just so much as meets my monetary needs,
without necessarily providing for the monetary needs of the many off-farm
families you must be supporting. There are an infinite number of ways to meet
economic goals. Some people running a roadside produce market stand might
make a $1 million gross on one acre selling what you and other farmers produce
on your combined hundreds of acres.
It seems to have gone unnoticed that I have been promoting two to ten
acre farmsteads in my writings ~ designed to produce a satisfactory middle-
class income with low-debt, low-work, low-stress systems, tightly compact,
using intensive productivity almost year round to compensate for the small
size. A large ten acre farmstead would have more orchard than a five acre or
smaller one. Even the tiniest could accomodate some dwarf trees. Profitable
herb farms are measured in half-acres, so we both know it is how smart you use
the land, not how much you use which is the biggest factor. A lady publishing
the book "The Flower Farmer" promises you can make $15,000 on half an acre if
you follow her recipe in the book. How many $15k/half-acres you need to farm
to make your target income varies according to each family situation. If you
are farming your 175 acres at $15k/per half acre you must be pulling in $5.25
million annually. I guess that's how much it takes to keep you happy. I know
of an operation pulling in $10 million/year doing mostly sun dried tomatoes
down in California on ten acres. That's how much it takes to keep her happy.
Some people never have enough, in fact, don't know what "enough" means. I
know, and I usually have it.
I get rid of some of the work by composting right where I will be
growing, using worm-composted worked and digested materials in intensive beds
which will never be tilled or stepped on. Some raw materials come down the
driveway, mostly scrap cardboard and alfalfa hay, but manures and animal
byproducts are close by where they will be composted. Things don't have to be
hauled twice: once to the compost pile, and then later to some distant fields.
If you understand organics nuts and bolts, as I think you do, than you know
the value to the compost (and worms) of rabbit, chicken, duck and fish
manures; fish heads; feathermeal; bonemeal; bloodmeal; wastes from harvested
crops, spoilage, and scraps. Compost is worth $15 per cubic yard, but worm
castings sell for $50/yard for a reason = they are more than three times as
beneficial as compost is why. Worms make the short trip back to the chickens,
ducks and fish. It is Ecologically-synergistic cycles which is why I named
the system Ecological Synergy(tm).
Weed seeds are dealt with in a novel way, but you realize that making
one foot layers of worm-casting compost over existing soil smothers the pre-
existing seeds don't you? One foot of worm-castings means the intended plants
have a throughly aerated loose fluffy bed to root into, which is easily hand
weeded in some cases. It also means that the plants never get much contact
with pre-existing toxic residues from the farm history, and what they do get
is so diluted that there is negligible impact from what is lingering around.
Intensive planting means a green mulch over the growing bed, and that takes
care of some weeds who drop in.
It takes at least a couple of years to get systems operational, mainly
multiplying your worm armies, who are seeded into the beds at levels of 8,000
per cubic foot and who reproduce to 25,000 per cubic foot in 90 days for
harvest and moving to new beds.
The raised beds means optimal drainage, even over heavy clay soils. At
the same time water infiltration is maximized, and water retention and
capillary water movement are peaked. It is doubtful that there will ever be
an improvement over this growing system, but I would be truely delighted if
somebody goes ahead and figures out a better one. The nooks and crannies of
the soil particles form more surfaces for beneficial microbes to multiply than
any other I can think of. The tight compact intensive bed system lends itself
to miserly low-maintenance drip irrigation.
Two kinds of worms are hired to do the digging: red wigglers and
northern nightcrawlers. The reds chew the initial compost and are moved on,
then later the night crawlers are introduced to dig down to eight feet
churning the soil, bringing up deep minerals which the roots can't reach and
aerating deeply. Songbirds are always around, keeping insects in hiding and
picking off insects who show themselves. Of course they eat some of the worms
too, but it is not a problem: it is ecology.
Ecological-Synergy is designed to be low-impact on the ecology, with few
off-farm inputs, and tightly managed effluents. As time and money allows more
walled raised beds are added, hoarding nutients in a vertical profile ~ with
near zero runoff. The raised walled beds are mounts for the season extension
covers which are added as time and money permit. Screened covers for insect
pollination control could be added later for seed saving variety purety.
Between beds, mowed clovers make regular contributions to the mulch compost.
Nitrates are hoarded in living bodies until seconds before the plants get
them. Pollution of nitrates in the groundwater means you must be watering too
much and wasting money down the drain.
Ecologically-Synergistically Yours, signed Lion Kuntz
Nothing new follows...
In a message dated 98-08-16 17:23:07 EDT, you write:
> Subj: Re: Practical = BS
> Date: 98-08-16 17:23:07 EDT
> From: email@example.com (Steve Groff)
> Reply-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: LionKuntz@aol.com
> CC: email@example.com, WILSONDO@phibred.com
> LionKuntz@aol.com wrote:
> > (1). My preferred system doesn't use cover crops, it uses composted
> > when not growing plants. Sorry about that.
> I'm intrigued by the no-till component of your system.How many tons per
> compost do you apply? I farm 175 acres.Steve Groff
> "New Generation Cropping Systems": the cutting edge of sustainable
> Steve Groff
> Cedar Meadow Farm
> 679 Hilldale Rd
> Holtwood PA 17532 USA
> Ph. 717-284-5152
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