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Posts Tagged ‘efficient farming’

Becoming Resilient in an Ever-Changing World

sheep looking out on farm

One of the most important skills to have in life is to be able to adapt to the changes that come your way. Being resilient sets you up to succeed with any challenges that may arise, but it’s not always an easy task. However, if you follow a few simple guidelines you can better prepare…

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Homesteading: Highlighting Our Need For Each Other

chickens, goats, and a young farmer feeding the animals

Homesteading isn’t meant to be a solitary adventure or done in isolation. Building and living on your land takes at least one partner, if not several. That’s why homesteaders have come to rely not just on their specialized skills but on the skills of their neighbors, family, friends, and other homesteaders as well. It doesn’t…

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Go Lean: Ten Types of Farm Waste

farmer picking vegetables

Spring cleaning is a big deal for those who want to get rid of unnecessary clutter. People get rid of everything from old furniture to clothes and games. However, this doesn’t only apply to households–farms also have a lot of waste to get rid of that isn’t strictly food scraps or broken tractor parts. But…

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The Phases of Composting

compost in a community garden

Although the stages of composting are very closely intertwined, each separate one has its own value and needs to be nurtured accordingly. The materials used go through several transformations: physical, biological, and chemical. Understanding each phase of this process is the first step in creating the best nutrients for your plants. The following is an…

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A Farm is More Than Land: Why Farm Infrastructure is Important

Barn in a field

The basis for a good farm isn’t just about finding a piece of land with great soil. No, to truly succeed on the farm you need a well-planned and implemented infrastructure coupled with hard work, dedication, and will-power. As farming practices continue to change, it’s important for the next generation to remember that insight and…

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The “American Farmer” Fallacy

Tractor clearing a field

For those who aren’t in the know, it may seem like all farmers are created equal, but that’s simply not the case. In fact, there is such a wide variety of farmers that it’s nearly impossible to put a label on them. But that doesn’t stop organizations from trying. The following is an excerpt from…

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Hydroponic Versus Soil Growing: Which Should You Choose

Lettuce growing in a deep water culture system

You probably learned when you were young that plants need soil to get the essential nutrients needed to grow. However, there is another way you can give your plants what they need to flourish. A hydroponic system uses water-based fertilizer as opposed to soil fertilizer. This practice is relatively new to farmers, though it is…

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Winter Gardening Without Heated Greenhouses

Greenhouse covered in snow

It might seem like a myth that you can grow food in an unheated greenhouse during the winter, but we’re here to prove you wrong. As long as there is sunlight there are several techniques you can use to keep your crops warm enough to harvest well into the cold weather. The key? Layers. Just…

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How to Use Climate Maps to Navigate the Winter Harvest

Continuing to grow your crops and harvest them well into the winter months seems like an impossible task. How can they grow when weather conditions are far from warm sunny days? It’s all about adapting to what the season gives you. With the proper techniques and studying the patterns of your area’s climate, growing and…

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Four Books for Growing Food in Winter

Sprouts Growing in a Greenhouse

Don’t let cold weather stop you from producing and enjoying your own food! For many, the coming of winter simply means cultivation moves indoors or under cover. Small farmers, homesteaders, home gardeners, and commercial growers can extend the growing season by following just a few of the techniques outlined in the books below. And, there’s…

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Presenting the Four-Season Harvest

For most gardeners, a typical season begins with planting in the spring and ends with a big harvest in the fall – one that the frugal home-gardener hopes lasts through until spring sprouts again. And if it doesn’t, well, then it’s off to the store to pick up whatever measly, unfresh produce is available. But…

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Resiliency: Becoming an Adaptive Human

They say history is bound to repeat itself if we don’t take the time to learn from the past. Our decision-making skills are essential for survival but, for some, it’s difficult to connect the dots between the cause and effect of said decisions. However, in this day and age, it’s important to recognize our strengths,…

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How The Great Migration Led to Urban Farming

For centuries, humans have been migrating in search of better land, opportunities, and quality of life. For some, those migrations were voluntary while others were forced to move due to far more sinister circumstances. The Great Migration is one such case. During the 1900’s through 1970, over six million black people left the rural south…

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Worm Real Estate: Vermicast Structures

When you were little, you may have created homes for worms using twigs and leaves. It might surprise you then to learn that farmers all over the world are still doing that but on a much bigger scale. Farmers rely on earthworms to create vermicomposting systems and where the worms live and grow are the…

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Lessons in Resilience: How to Plan a Successful Farm Business

Humans are extremely resilient beings. We have the capability to create wondrous things out of seemingly nothing and continuously reinvent ourselves. However, when the world is against us, it may seem impossible to accomplish our goals. Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm, wanted nothing more than to be able to provide nourishing food for…

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DIY: Make a Self-Watering Planter

Whether you live in a four-season climate or a small apartment in the city, fresh food at your fingertips is easier than you think! Just follow the directions for this self-watering growing container and you’ll have an abundance of produce in no time. The following is an excerpt from Fresh Food From Small Spaces: The…

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The Winter Harvest Project

Harvesting winter spinach

Four-season farmer Eliot Coleman strikes again with inspiration for all you cold-loving farmers out there! A master of extending the growing season, Eliot explains his strategies for successful winter harvesting and greenhouse design. The following excerpt is from The New Organic Grower, 3rd Edition by Eliot Coleman. It has been adapted for the web. Part…

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The 4 Keys to Efficient Vegetable Production

If the idea of running a vegetable farm sounds daunting, you’re not alone. How can you ensure success while also being environmentally conscientious? What can you do to simplify techniques and reduce expenses? Where do you even begin? Well, young farmer, we’re here to help. Eliot Coleman, a pioneer of organic gardening, has identified the…

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Profit or Loss from Farming

Most people don’t start farming to crunch numbers and expenses. Like any business, even small-scale farmers need to consider their income and expenses. In his chapter on economics, Mike Madison breaks down everything he reported on his Form 1040, Schedule F: Profit or Loss from Farming to give readers a good idea of what kind of accounting…

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What in the world is Silvopasture?

Have you heard of silvopasture? This system of managing grazing animals in a temperate forest ecosystem is quite common in Europe but it didn’t quite make its way over to North America with the colonists. They must not have realized the benefits of silvopasture: healthier animals, better soil, less pest control and mowing, and climate…

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Good fences and good gates make good goats

So you’ve figured out how to move your goats, now how do you get them to stay in one place? We’re back with advice from fellow author and goat expert, Gianaclis Caldwell. She knows just how sneaky goats can be, so take her advice when considering the various options for fencing to keep your goats happy…

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The Perfect Mix: All Purpose Potting Soil Recipe

Potting Soil Annual plants require an early start to bear fruit in the short growing season of New England. The planting medium, daylight length, and temperature conditions are crucial factors for a healthy nursery of seedlings. In an attempt to localize our annual production we start seedlings on-site. This production requires specific timing and appropriate…

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Work Smarter, Not Harder: Goat Handling

If you have goats or are considering getting goats, at some point you’ll need to move them.  This can be a tricky task, as goats can scare easily and high levels of stress are not good for their health or productivity. Take some advice from author and goat whisperer, Gianaclis Caldwell, who has a handful…

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Organic No-Till: Farming like the Earth Matters

If we could do one thing for the planet it would be to ditch the plough. When we turn over soil, the air and sun wreak havoc on the microbes, which is why we need chemicals to bring the fertility back. No-till creates thin furrows in the soil and drops seeds in. It’s difficult to…

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Sustainable Food From the Local Greenhouse

The Netherlands—a country two-thirds the size of West Virginia— is ranked second in agricultural export volume behind the United States. Their secret weapon? Greenhouses and hoophouses. These protected structures allow you to control the environment, resulting in maximum resource efficiency, higher yields, and ultimately higher profits. Drawing inspiration from Dutch agricultural practices, Andrew Mefferd has…

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