I got a phone call last night with the incredible news that our new till-guy was on his way out to prepare the garden! We met him out there Tuesday evening, and he had some good advice for us, and pointed out a low spot that will likely stay fairly wet. We haven’t gotten rain for a few days, so it was dry enough for him to till.
We’re planning to go out today – we haven’t seen it yet! Chris’s graduation ceremony and after-party are today, so the pictures will have to wait. But at least we’re moving forward!
I planted two flats of sunflowers (144 total) last week. We’re sending some of these home with our weekend guests, but a bunch of them will go into the garden as well. These are Skyscraper, Lemon Queen, and Autumn Beauty – I just got a dwarf variety in the mail the other day. I also broadcast basil seeds in three flats. Next year we’ll have more time to prepare earlier!
That’s great that your patch is almost ready – vegetables for all! Lynn and I were considering your tilling predicament, and thinking 2/3 of an acre + 2 people working full time + no mechanical equipment = impossible situation.
I ran across an article that is probably old hat for you guys, but which I found fascinating – http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2007/04/ government_subsidizing_obesity.php. I feel a little guilty for passing it on (my dad grows corn & Roundup Ready soybeans to feed to dairy calves – what can you do) but it’s a really interesting summary of the interaction of immigration, farm policy, and obesity.
I was in D.C. in March lobbying for the Farm Bill. We focused mostly on sustainability and Crop/Land Reserve and Conservation programs, but all of the parts of the bill do really come together full-circle.
The Farm Bill also appropriates how much money goes into Food Stamps, WIC, and other food-assistance programs. If a family can choose between fast food dinners for all and two pounds of rice and beans for the same price, I wonder what it would take to convince them to choose the latter.
Collin Peterson told me (well, us, in March) that if he does not see money increases in the sustainability/organic areas of the bill, he’s going to just close the floor to discussion and pass the Farm Bill as-is. He said something along the lines of, “Somebody has to win, somebody has to lose. If we can’t make positive changes, then there’s no point wasting our time shifting money around.”
I had been under the impression that Peterson – a very moderate democrat – could care less about organics and sustainabilty. After all, the majority of his campaign money and support comes from large Agri-businesses. I’m not sure if he was just acting agreeable, or if he is sincere.
I’ll be rototilling soon. I don’t think it is impossible. There are people who do this kind of thing. Ideally I’d like to have more of a permaculture system and use no-till methods, but that would take time.
That link was interesting, but, yeah, I have read similar articles. There does seem to be a consciousness growing around these and other related issues. I feel like all this will start to change as the demographics of farmers change and I think that will start to happen as more and more conventional farmers retire or transition to using different practices which require less inputs. Maybe that is idealistic knowing how powerfull agribusiness is – I don’t know. But it makes more sense than thinking the Farm Bill is going to be an engine of change. If the Farm Bill was radically altered that’d only be evidence that a lot of people had already changed their minds about somethings.
It’s not the famers fault though is it? The Farm Bill goes back to the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl and ever since I would guess farm policy has constricted choices farmers have. Someone told me recently there are farmers interested in moving toward organic methods, but they don’t know where to begin. I wonder how many young people will want to be conventional farmers knowing what we know now.
not all of that makes sense, but maybe you get the idea