One acre of vegetable production can produce tons of food, if properly managed the nutrient content in the food will be higher that most produce sold at supermarkets. Lets plan for our 2014 growing season to plant only what we can properly manage. When this mindset is applied the food brought to the table is of higher quality and better flavor.
By properly managing a small area with the correct fertility practices, we can produce more food in less space. Less space to manage gives a grower more time for attention to detail, allowing the grower to watch for signs from the plants in order to understand how they are feeling. By understanding what nutrients and conditions crops require, we are able to make better fertility decisions both economically and from a productive potential standpoint. Vegetable plants grown in a biologically active soil are easier to manage, often times the soil will have higher water and nutrient holding capability, as well as an ideal environment for the plants to uptake minerals. When adding foliar feeding into the management program biological activity can be additionally managed.
The foods required for a healthy diet are mineral rich foods. Fresh vegetables grown in mineralized soil are different than conventionally grown vegetables, they stand out for quality and great flavor. When shopping for produce at local farmers markets look for foods grown with not only the label for clean crop production but for foods that are nutrient dense with a high brix content.
Mineral rich soils that are biologically active give off an aroma that we want to smell while working in our fields. We planted crimson clover throughout the field, when the clover was in bloom it was amazing to have the extra gift for our pollinators. Once the cover crop is in bloom many added benefits can be gained from tilling it into the soil, we did this in-between the rows during the growing season. This was our idea for weed suppression and reduction of tillage to keep the weeds down.
We work with many small scale market growers to create biological soil programs for healthier food production, we are seeing many benefits for farmers with our vegetable programs, a major one being flavor. Management practices are the bottom line of vegetable production with a strong correlation between a properly executed management and profitably.
Here we go down the last mile of the 2013 season. This year had its challenges and disappointments for some, but we must remember that every year brings its own unique blessings and adversities. Our spring started off wet across most of the area we cover, causing compaction and less than ideal growing conditions.
We saw early planting problems that resulted in over grown plant and early fruit set loss. Part of the problem came from 2012 being a dry year resulting in a nitrogen build-up carry over. Excess nitrogen availability along with the extra water led to accelerated growth, crowing out the minerals and trace elements needed for proper plant growth, fruit set and development. Signs of nitrogen problems observed this year were one lobe peppers, cantaloupes with green stripes, seedless tomatoes.
Besides the challenges we were faced with there was nice produce at the market, but it took some good management to accomplish it. The first place to start is by taking a soil sample in the fall and applying fry minerals followed by ReStore 3G to stimulate bacteria and fungi in the soil, which then provide nutrients for the following crop. The spring is the best time to apply dry fertilizer trace elements along with a good transplant solution containing a rooting stimulate and some humic acid.
Another management tool that worked well this year was PhytoGroXtra, a high carbon plant growth and soil activator with enzyme/ micro extract concentrate, soil modifiers, and chelated micronutrients. This product will aid in reducing sodium buildup, and improve water and air ratio by reducing soil compaction. PhytoGroxtra aids in phosphate uptake (both applied and in the soil) by increasing carbon levels. Research in many areas has shown that humic acid aids in increasing yeild, plant vitality and fruit quality while reducing fungal disease.
Additional boron may also be added when fruit set is not at a desirable level. We have seen growers having problems with not getting good fruit set and when boron is added fruit set improved. Remember calcium is the truck, phosphorus is the engine being driven by boron.
Just a few things for you to keep in mind while planning next years crops!
Shopping at farmers markets and roadside stands are great ways to meet farmers and ask questions about how the food was produced. Don’t be surprised if the farmers are able to give you great ideas for recipes with the ingredients they have for sale. They take this food home and feed it to their families also. It is important to understand that all food in agriculture is not created equal, it is known that high quality fruits and vegetables can contain up to 1,000 times more nutrition than low quality produce. “So When your are shopping at the farmers markets or roadside stands make sure your are shopping from Revolutionary soil farmers that will use practices that will sustain not only your health but the environment.
“Know your farmers goals, what do they want to become? Are the vegetables firm and do they have flavor? Growers with a focus on flavor have the mindset of doing what they have to in order to achieve that business model and it correlates well with what Mother Nature has in mind”
We started in vegetable production because we were driven by a passion for growing vegetables, working in the great outdoors and having the freedom of being business owners. We quickly caught on that customers at the farmers market and our roadside stand were noticing our produce to be of top quality. Most importantly comments on flavor being the reason customers kept coming back to us at the farmers market. We had noticed farmers who were in agriculture much longer than we had, didn’t have the flavor and shelf life. We had quality and customers were beating a path to our door. This is because we did not follow the conventional form of agriculture, we are soil farmers. Mother Nature controls agriculture and soil farmers help make sure the environment is in balance for the soil biology to help create life in the soil.
What are we doing different? We were doing everything right and sometimes the answers are just that simple!” ….Healthy Soils…….Healthy Plants……..Great Produce……Health Benefits 🙂
When shopping for produce at the farmers market, you want to purchase mineral dense foods that were grown on balanced mineralized soil. This means the farmers replace the minerals in the ground that previous crops have taken up according to a soil analysis. Next time you are at the farmers market Ask your farmer if they have a soil test on hand or if they can bring one next time they are at market!
Our taste buds respond to the minerals and the flavor proves it point. The quest is for high brix produce and this can vary from plant quality, healthy plants produce healthy food. Farmers who have balanced soils have healthier plants with less disease and insect infestation, eliminating the use of sprays. We believe mother nature is in control of agriculture by sending signals that sick plants are telling us this food is not ideal for consumption. Agriculture faces many weather challenges, but healthy garden soils that are balanced will help farmers make it through adverse challenges.
“Find a farmer at the Farmers Market with a vision you have for your health”
Nutrient dense foods are visually appealing and if vegetables are grown with sufficient calcium levels they tend to have a firm feeling. The extended shelf life on nutrient dense fruits and vegetables will be a shock to those who have never been exposed to truly nutrient dense foods. High quality produce does not rot but it will dehydrate, we have had experience with tomatoes lasting more than 5 weeks. A common question that we are asked as farmers, “was this picked this morning?”
When high quality produce is picked is does not loose mineral content even if the produce is not eaten before it starts to dehydrate, but it can loose some of its vitamin content. Vitamins control the body’s use of minerals and without proper minerals there is no job for vitamins, without minerals the vitamins are useless.
When purchasing shares in community supported agriculture (CSA), dollars will go a lot farther if the correct farmer is selected. Find farmers who believe what you believe! Nutrient dense foods come from farmers who remineralize their soils, biological soil programs, and most importantly soil farmers who have the Nutrition Mission. Management practices are the most important aspect when growing high brixs produce. Farmers who take the extra time to foliar feed minerals through the leaves of their plants usually see a nutritional increase because the plants are given a extra boost of energy to bring more minerals into the crop at key physiological points in crop development with soils that have proper nutrient cycling.
Healthy crops are resistant to many challenges in agriculture including frost protection. Many farmers each year in the midwest loose crops to late frost, high quality plants extend the growing season for many farmers with high brix plants not being killed in some instances until 17 degrees. This allows the farmers to pack CSA boxes later in the season and protect their crops from an early frost. Agriculture throws many challenges at vegetable farmers that are stressful on crop production. When plants are stressed they are not growing the most nutritional food possible.
Nutrient dense foods are not easily found but their is more of it than you are aware, having the knowledge to know it does exist will fuel ones search on the quest to find foods for a healthy diet. The benefits from eating nutrient dense foods will produce long term results far superior to medical treatment. Make sure you support soil farmers who are in charge of keeping agriculture sustainable for the plant.
The demand for local and sustainable food is increasing as consumers are interested in food transparency . Being able to establish relationships through farmers markets is a great way for farmers to connect with their customers to meet their desires. As a customer at a farmers market you can influence the variety of crops the farmer grows and the methods they use to farm.
Food can be a consumer driven industry but it is important for consumers to understand what it is they are shopping for. Farmers will adapt to demand because they want to sell product and stay in business, but not all farmers will change their ways. It is important that consumers continue to shop around the farmers market in search for the farmers who meet their needs and correspond with the values they have.
As farmers we have been encouraged by our own customers at farmers markets to grow certain varieties and give our customers what they want. We work hard to put everything together to raise our produce and bring it to market year after year, but it can only take one time that measures are not taken for proper food safety to put a hard working farmer out of business. Proper sanitation practices in packaging rooms must be used each time before packaging produce.
Once the produce has been sold from the farmers market it is important on a consumer level that food safety issues are understood. No matter how hard a farmer works to prevent food contamination before market things can happen in our own kitchen. Clean surface areas before cutting produce and avoiding cross contamination are good starting points to keep our families. Soilfriends garden sprayers from kwazar are made to last.
Foliar feeding plants is a great way to increase biological activity in the soil, this will encourage plants to uptake more minerals. When crops uptake more minerals the flavor is outstanding and storage ability increases. The Kwazar Mercury garden sprayer has double action technology per stroke. The high quality design of the Kwazar garden sprayers ensures fault free operation. As you can hear in the background children love to use the fine mist from the Kwazar sprayers.