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Author Topic: Forced Inspections???  (Read 10072 times)
T Beek
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« Reply #120 on: February 20, 2011, 07:49:21 AM »

Successful farming, like successful beekeeping, requires persistant learning and the unwavering ability to roll with the punches. 

The 'only' secrets I've learned (long ago) in farming is to pay attention to weather, don't get to big and "grow lots of different crops.'

As in beekeeping, and for the same reasons, its better to have several bee colonies rather than one or 2 (or thousands, but that's just me grin)

One or 2 die-outs out of ten won't hurt too bad, just as one or 2 crop failures won't hurt if you've got 2-3 dozen other crops to harvest.   Does this make sense to those asking??

thomas
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kathyp
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« Reply #121 on: February 20, 2011, 10:06:32 AM »

of course it does.  however, we were presented with a spewing of ways to survive with plants in PVC pipe.    

there are years when no matter what you have planted the weather defeats you.  last year was one of those years. it was not expected.  it just happened.  IF that garden had been my only source of food, i would have starved.  it was not just me.  i have friends who are commercial farmers.  they had a really bad year.  in spite of the bees, the fruit didn't set.  it was not warm enough for the corn to mature or the tomatoes to ripen.  so.....yes, i guess i could try planting corn in a PVC pipe, but it doesn't seem practical.  

 the year before was pretty good.  drying food and canning in good years is a really good idea.  
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
T Beek
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« Reply #122 on: February 20, 2011, 11:08:58 AM »

Sure KathyP, there's as much advise about farming/gardening out there as there is about beekeeping, likely more from my own experience, really.  Now c'mon, what do "you" usually advise folks when given so many options in beekeeping?

In our area (many areas actually) root crops (when still operating, our farm business name was "the Root Seller"), onions, most legumes (food and seed), potato's, Cole crops, many fruits (we have apples, wild plumbs, cranberries, cherries, currents and blueberries) to mention a few, can/do exceptionally well with only limited efforts once soil has been enriched with organic matter.  As said, variety is the spice of life.  Do to a very late frost last year, June 19 I think, we had 'no' apples last year, but we had back ups.

We use a small (6x8) greenhouse (and our house windows) to start many plants and then plant many varieties under hoops (and have at ready, boxes full of blankets to protect from early and late frosts), and which assist in lengthening our growing season by as much as 60 days, some years.  We learned that if we wanted to keep our seeds 'true' we'd have to 'block' our bees from pollinating some of them (peppers, for instance).  

If we only limited our garden to ten or so crops, we wouldn't starve (too many deer, grouse, squirrels and turkeys around Wink) but our taste buds would be in revolt for sure Wink.  So, we typically grow at least 2 varieties, and as many as 6 different 'varieties' of carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas and parsnips alone.  When still operating we sold 22 varieties of garlic (seed from all over the world).  

I should mention that we never had more than five (2 just with garlic, but that was  before NAFTA) acres planted and that our current 'enclosed' garden is roughly 1 1/2 acre.  We've always had plenty to eat and donate.

And This hasn't even touched on what's available wildcrafting herbs and other edibles grin.

thomas

  
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Rosalind
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« Reply #123 on: February 20, 2011, 12:35:43 PM »

there's as much advise about farming/gardening out there as there is about beekeeping, likely more from my own experience, really.  

^This^

But if you are truly interested, may I recommend Joel Salatin's books? He mainly raises livestock, but the same principles apply to plants. We have a local agronomist who works with wheat genetics, and he found while researching wheat strains, that in regions where they have consistent harvests and crop failures are rare, they grow what's called polyculture wheat--several strains with different characteristics all mixed together. His findings have since been replicated at U of Manitoba. This is entirely consistent with the experiences of my Mennonite and Amish cousins' farms: They keep a variety of vegetables, grain, fruit and livestock, several varieties of each kind of plant, and if it's a bad year for one crop, it may be a good year for something else. Total losses are rare for them.

Another suggestion if I may: Tree crops do not fail completely nearly as often as vegetables, and take significantly less work than minding a garden full of annuals. The initial investment is higher, but it is much less work, fertilizer and irrigation than a vegetable garden after a couple of years. If it's consistency you're after, several varieties of trees and bushes, once established, can produce a lot of calories in exchange for relatively little work.
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Chickens, turkeys, 2 dogs, 3 cats, lots and lots of bees!
Acebird
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« Reply #124 on: February 20, 2011, 02:43:41 PM »

Quote
don't get to big and "grow lots of different crops.'


I think trying to get big is what did in most family farms.
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Never thought I would do it!
T Beek
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« Reply #125 on: February 20, 2011, 03:12:33 PM »

That, and the banks and implement companies that convinced them they HAD to get big to survive.

thomas
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
Countryboy
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« Reply #126 on: February 20, 2011, 08:58:39 PM »

there are years when no matter what you have planted the weather defeats you.  last year was one of those years.
the year before was pretty good.  drying food and canning in good years is a really good idea.
 

You have to take the good years with the bad.  You stockpile in good years, to help get by in the leaner years.  It's the same principle for keeping a rainy day fund, versus living paycheck to paycheck.

Now let me ask you this - did ANYTHING grow last year?  I am NOT asking about your garden and the plants 'you' tried to grow.  I am asking about everything from your lawn to weeds on the roadside.  I'd bet that you had quite a few wild plants that did ok last year.  Now, how many are edible?  Everything from cattail roots to dandelions to the grass in your yard are food plants.  Don't limit yourself by planning your garden thinking of what you like to eat, rather than what grows best in your climate.  (I like to eat bananas and pineapples, but those aren't good crop choices for my location.)  Don't be afraid to be an opportunist, and eat whatever crop is available if necessary.  (I'm taking on a pollination job this year, pollinating a smaller orchard.  I'm getting paid in fruit - 3 bu/hive.  If worst comes to worst, I'll have apples to eat.)

You'll notice many survival type gardens grow a wide range of crops, to minimize crop losses due to weather.  Your corn might not mature, but your root crops like carrots and turnips may do great in the cooler wet weather.  Sparrow grass (asparagus) does too.

If you're really hungry, keep in mind that people tending lighthouses in barren locations have survived by eating tallow candles and shoe leather.
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