A few weeks ago my friend Grant from Prairie Boy Farm, near Meaford called me up. We met last summer, both having embarked on our first year of running a CSA and both scrambling to put together a last-minute irrigation system during what turned out to be an epic drought. Anyway, Grant called me up a few weeks ago because he needed a hand digging 500 lbs of Jerusalem artichokes – naturally, I accepted the call to action.
When I arrived he showed me around his garden – the totally amazing thing about visiting other farms is seeing an entirely different approach to doing basically the same thing – coaxing the most and the best out of seeds and soil. We toured the gardens and then got to the digging. Just as we finished Mark, of Sunrise Organics, another local farmer came by to check in on his neighbour. So we chatted over a few cold ones (who drinks beer in an unheated garage in mid-January while packing cardboard boxes full of Jerusalem artichokes?). Anyway, as usually happens when several enthused gardeners get together, the discussion moved swiftly to the topics of plant health and soil. And then Mark dropped the big one (this is my best attempt at a paraphrase…)
“The whole approach of using this or that to kill a certain insect will always necessitate ‘ collateral damage’; that is, killing insects that aren’t intended to be killed; and that just can’t happen – it throws everything out of balance. So I focus on promoting the health of the plant. ”
I couldn’t have said it better myself…
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There are still a few spots left in next years Community Shared Agriculture program for the Wednesday afternoon pick-up in Clarksburg. Collingwood is full, but I am compiling a waiting list, so let me know if you are interested. Soon I will be busy firing up the green house and starting onions, leeks, celery & celeriac. The days are getting longer and longer and in its time, the gardens will be teaming with leaves, flowers, roots and fruits once again!