Diversity in an ecosystem such as a farm is a sign of health. Fields of only one crop create many problems, but there are positive and negative aspects to everything. That is defiitely true in farming. Jeff Poppen grows a wide variety of crops, but also identifies good reasons to fill a field with just one. We explore the benefits and detriments of monoculture.
Fall vegetable gardens require planning, especially if those plants are to be grown from seed. Calculating the days to maturity allows one to start seeds at the proper time. Host Annette Shrader visits an experienced grower to see how the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and peas are performing mid-autumn.
A campaign was launched in December 2018 by Oregon farmers working with Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The Soil Your Undies Challenge was now a thing. It's a simple way to measure the microbial activity in the soil. Julie Berbiglia visits the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville to see the results from their participation in the challenge.
Jeff Poppen has been farming the organic way for decades. He shares his wisdom for those who are just becoming farmers. He covers a lot of the basics: plan before you plant, when to plow and when to plant, successive planting, tending a healthy compost pile, smart use of cover crops, the importance of lime, and keeping the critters away.
A well-read and experienced gardener demonstrates how he recreates lasagna gardening (layering of organic materials in which to grow plants) in outdoor plant containers. He then starts seeds and also grows a variety of vegetables in these containers with great results.
An enthusiastic pair of young farmers focus on building the soil, knowing it will pay off year after year. There's is a no till farm. Their market garden business practice wants to be very accessible and affordable. They have chosen a more flexible business model than a traditional member-based, weekly delivery CSA.