• 13Apr
    Categories: soil Click to Comment

    Soil health is vital to the success of any farm, large or small. The state of your soil directly correlates with that which you are able to grow from it. Thus it is worthwhile to give your soil the time and attention it needs. One way to invigorate soil is by subsoiling with a low disturbance tool.

    Depending on the region in which your farm is located, you could have one of many types of soils. Some soils are naturally more low maintenance whereas other soils need to be coaxed along by actions such as subsoiling. For example, silty or clay loam soil is naturally prone to compression on its own but this compression increases with the passage of heavy machinery atop it. For soil such as this, subsoiling at a depth of 12 to 18 inches (which is much deeper than a standard subsoiling at 6 to 8 inches) will increase root aeration and give water a place to go, retaining it and giving it better access to crops that need it for survival. This ultimately translates to more nutrient and mineral access by crops, which in turn affects your yield and bottom line.

    Even healthy soil can become too tight to allow water access and can benefit from subsoiling. Regardless of if your mineral and nutrient levels are where you want them to be, you could still be faced with a compressed layer of soil known as a plow pan. When this is the case, water will collect on the surface of soil, leading one to believe proper hydration is present. The reality of the situation, however, is that the tight soil prevents water from penetrating it, so all the water you see is unable to reach deep roots to nourish them. Roots themselves often can also not penetrate the plow pan and may grow sideways, which is not good for their health or that of nearby crops. In this case, crops tend to fail to thrive.

    Photo: JIRCAS

    Photo: JIRCAS

    As with all things, however, there are pros and cons to subsoiling. For one thing, it is hard work that requires equipment to complete, which in turn raises production costs. Don’t let this get you down though as along with the rising costs comes a rise in yield, largely offsetting the addition expense over time. Subsoiling also saves money by allowing crops to be saved which otherwise might have failed to thrive due to growing sideways or not having access to water and essential soil nutrients.

    Before you decide whether or not subsoiling is for you, it is imperative that you take a good, hard look at your soil. Some soil types will benefit from it more so than others, such as those with compaction issues. If you are on the fence about weather this is a process that will prove beneficial on your farm, conduct an experiment in order to sate your curiosity. By subsoiling a small portion of your property, you can conduct a controlled experiment in order to see for yourself if this is something you need. The results could either dazzle or dismay, but the more you know about your soil’s needs, the better you will be able to farm it in the long run.

  • 31Jan

    Farm PanoramaField & Harvest Assistant Job – Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Massachusetts – 2015

    We are a very unique farm and social enterprise located on the South Shore, about 45 minutes south of Boston. We run a 100 member CSA, two farm stand locations and have a few whole sale customers.  Our farm focuses not only on growing healthy organic foods, but also working with adults with special needs.

    The farm is looking for a field and harvest assistant who has a good understanding of farming, takes initiative and is able to supervise volunteers in the field. The person needs to be enthusiastic and energetic about sustainable agriculture and open to working with developmentally disabled adults.

    The farm is an 8 acre working certified organic farm, where just over 2 acres will be cultivated for vegetables in 2015. They also have 100 hens on rotational grazing for our Egg CSA, and next year will begin a small flower CSA as well.

    Summary of Position:

    Farming – growing quality produce for our CSA, farm stand, and wholesale. The Field Assistant is a full-time (40hrs) seasonal job from March until November Read more »

  • 15Dec

    Future Harvest CASA 13th ANNUAL CONFERENCE Farm to Institution: Making Local Food Economies a Reality January 13-14, 2012 – National Conference Center – Lansdowne, Virginia

    The Future Harvest CASA 13th Annual Conference is one of the most important gatherings of the sustainable agriculture community in the Chesapeake region. Join them for a two-day lineup of keynote speakers and workshop presenters including innovative farmers and experts from Maryland,  Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, DC and West Virginia. Many bring particular expertise to our conference theme “Farm to Institution: Making Local Food Economies a Reality.”

    Keynote Speakers

    Friday, January 13: Anthony Flaccavento, founder of Appalachian Sustainable Development and SCALE

    Saturday, January 14: Mike Curtin, CEO of DC Central Kitchen
    Visit the Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture website for conference details and registration. Email futureharvestcasa@gmail.com to be added to their email list for conference updates.

  • 03Jul

    Glynwood, an organization whose mission is to ‘save farming in the Northeast’ is calling for nominations for its eighth annual Harvest Awards.  The Awards recognizes farmers, organizations, and businesses across the United States that demonstrates innovation and leadership in support of regional agriculture and sustainable food systems.

    This year’s categories include:

    •       The Glynwood Harvest Farmer Award
    •       The Glynwood Harvest Award for Connecting Communities, Farmers and Food
    •       The Glynwood Harvest Wave of the Future Award
    •       The Glynwood Harvest Good Food for Health Award

    Please see the attached or visit www.glynwood.org/Programs/HarvestAwards for nomination details, information on past winners, and to make an electronic submission.  Nominations must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than July 23, 2010.

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