Currently living in the post apocalypse? Dec 27, 2018 9:44:42 GMT -5
Post by Walk on Dec 27, 2018 9:44:42 GMT -5
The news about climate change is bad, its depressing and maybe in some ways worse than the reality for many of us.
I think the reality is that people will probably change the way they live. Garden more. Buy less stuff. Drive electric cars instead of gas cars.
I think the past is a pretty good road map to how to deal with this future. Gardens used to be bigger. People didn't used to own cars. My own grandparents still had teams of horses and knew how to farm with them on both sides.
So my great grandmother who lived to see the moon landings was born in a very different time.
We can live differently than we do today.
I'm reading Will Bonsall's book on gardening. He uses his own composted humanure to fertilize his corn and refuses to get any animal manure for his gardens on principle. He does however use tree leaves from town.
I am actually a little dubious about tree leaves from town and about animal manure because of bind weed seed and herbicide contamination respectively. I am not in general though opposed to free soil fertility (around here both manure and leaves can be had for free) on principle because it seems like a waste. I've gotten both for my garden in the past. I've also had some scares with bindweed seedlings and I know how liberally many folk treat their land with herbicides many of which now have residual ongoing effects that can go right through stock from treated forage or hay.
However both Will and Jeavons write that we can close the sustainability circle on our land and still have big productive gardens. So maybe the windfall times of free or cheap external garden inputs will come to an end because of increased competition for them and we will need to be careful to not sell our soil fertility. Elliot Coleman hays for compost too- though writes that we can feed it to animals first if we want with minimal loss of soil fertility. Im pretty sure I have enough grassland to harvest grass mulch for my garden and plan to do more of that next year. Hay it's free and sustainable.
I'm the daughter of Depression-era horse farmers, but we use people power to work our 1/4 acre garden. Like Will Bonsall, we use our composted humanure on our corn plantings which is about 1/4 of our plot each year, along with the composted manure from our few chickens and ducks. We use our homemade garden waste compost and leaf mulch on brassicas, onions, cucurbits, root crops, and greens. Another 1/4 of our plot is solanacea and amaranth and these all get grass mulch that we "make hay" from our land. The last 1/4 of our plot is legumes which don't get any fertilizer or mulch. We let weeds grow that are beneficial - ground ivy, dandelions, and chickweed in paths and purslane and crab grass as understory in tall crops to add biomass eventually (we've stopped planting intentional green manure crops and utilize weeds instead). We mow weeds in paths and hoe or cut as needed in beds. We don't have any way of hauling mulch or leaves in from off the farm and so just use what we have here. By the way, we've found that cutting grass with our GE ElecTrak front deck mower and raking the cuttings when dry with a 44" Agri-Fab tow-behind lawn sweeper with a "dump" feature makes easy to pick up piles of grass hay. When we had sheep we bought hay from a friend and used their bedding and manure instead of making our own mulch. So far the organic matter percentage is holding at about 4%, up from the 2.5% it started with in 1999 after 20 years of CRP that was plowed down initially. I really liked Will's book as it gave me lots of thought provoking ideas to incorporate into our fertility plans.