This Week on the Farm 9/16
Sunday Tyler and I attended the Growing Power Conference in Milwaukee. We enjoyed hearing the keynote speakers who were discussing how to market locally grown produce to both large scale distributers and to larger organizations like school districts and government agencies. Much of what was talked about does not apply to the type of farming we want to do, but it gave us some good ideas.
We talked to several vendors at the conference, including one who produces bags/glassware/ and silverware from corn starch. These products are similar to the biodegradable bags we have been sending our leafy greens home in. What we learned is that these bags are not recyclable and will not compost in small scale or home size compost piles. In order for the temperatures to be high enough for a long enough time period, the bags need to be placed in large scale compost piles.
We also found out that throwing biodegradable products out in the normal garbage is worse than throwing out plastic. Plastic will remain in place in a landfill and will not decompose. The biodegradable bags will decompose, but anaerobically, producing methane, the most noxious of greenhouse gases. After hearing this, we have decided to purchase traditional plastic bags that can be more easily recycled.
The most useful information we gained dealt with efficient composting and creating compost teas that can be used as fertilizers. As you can imagine with all of the weeds that grew this year, we have a very large compost pile. With this information we can turn what was undesirable to highly nutritious soil additives.
On Monday and Tuesday we cleared our new lettuce plantings of weeds and installed metal hoops over some of the rows. These hoops will hold our cloth covers in place and help to protect the lettuce from frost. We are working on setting up more hoops in Don’s garden to protect the rest of the leafy greens.
We removed the irrigation equipment from the beans in preparation for tilling the beans under. Once the beans are tilled, that entire field will be planted with winter rye.
Tuesday afternoon we found a lost Australian Shepherd in the west barn. She belongs to one of our neighbors and was picked up an hour or so after we found her. She was very well behaved, except for the running away bit, and Wash really like her. He wanted to run and play with her and was upset when she went home with her owner.