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Posts Tagged ‘agriculture’

Just say no

So-called “Roundup-ready” seeds — for crops that can withstand the non-selective herbicide glyphosate — have become popular in conventional farming because farmers can spray entire fields with Roundup to kill a variety of weeds but not the crop. Much easier than cultivating or spot-spraying. But as with many “advances,” we now are finding unforeseen consequences.
There are two ways to protect your family from being exposed to an overdose of glyphosate: Grow your own food using organic methods, or buy organic. I do both.
Read about the science of this important aspect of food safety.

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Colin McCrate of Seattle Urban Farm Company. Photo credit: Mike Siegel / Seattle Times

Colin McCrate of Seattle Urban Farm Company. Photo credit: Mike Siegel / Seattle Times

I was glad to read in the Seattle Times about the Seattle Urban Farm Company that is bringing vegetable gardening, berry bushes and dwarf fruit trees to rooftops and backyards in the city. They’ve also created a farm in the suburbs where they do contract growing for restaurants, and have a forthcoming book on how to make vegetable gardens more productive.

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Yet another truckload of weeds ready to go to recycling center.

Yet another truckload of weeds ready to go to recycling center.

For the past two weeks I’ve spent at least two hours a day weeding. I’ve filled seven pick-up truckloads that I’ve hauled to the recycling center and there’s easily that amount still left to pull in the coming two weeks. For me that’s the worst aspect of organic gardening. I use mulch, I use weed-barrier cloth, I plant densely to try to crowd out weeds (but not so densely as to compromise air circulation), I use drip irrigation rather than overhead watering, I use organic pre-emergent granules. I’m sure those techniques help, and the problem would be worse if I didn’t do those things, BUT … it’s a never-ending battle.

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Benji Nagel and Carys Wilkins, both 25, started Mahonia Gardens in Sisters, OR.

Benji Nagel and Carys Wilkins, both 25, started Mahonia Gardens in Sisters, OR.

One of the great things about the online world is the way its technology can bring together like-minded people who otherwise never would meet. New technologies like Kickstarter bring together would-be angel investors who lack the resources to be those angels in the usual financial sense, but enough of them can come together online to help small businesses get started — including low-tech businesses like small family farms in Central Oregon like Mahonia Gardens. Should Smith Rock Farm go this route? Would you be a supporter?

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This season I was one of more than 100 local producers selling farm products through Central Oregon Locavore (http://centraloregonlocavore.com/), where customers order online, producers log in to find their orders, and fulfillment is every other Thursday. Now the organization has taken the next step and will open a retail store late this month.

 

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