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Hay Mulch and Other Low tech Adaptations for Home Gardens

Drawing by Toki Oshima By Joyce White My garden area in Stoneham’s stony foothills is ringed with trees, mostly ash and maple, that have grown very tall during the 21 years I’ve lived here. Their roots have grown very long, too, reaching beneath the soil of the whole garden area. Because of those roots and

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Worldwide Agricultural Travel Through IFOAM and WWOOFing

Pakaraka Farm raises beef, sheep and pecans. Mustering the sheep at Pakaraka In addition to working hard in the farm fields at Pakaraka, I played duets with my host, Jeanette (right), every afternoon. By Amy LeBlanc Photos courtesy of the author. If you had asked me 20 years ago if I would be traveling, and

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Too Many Wood Chips

A pile of year-old chips partially transformed by white mold. These heavily-bearing blackberry plants have never been treated with anything but chip mulch. By Will Bonsall I’ve spoken and written extensively about using forest residues, especially shredded brushwood, or “ramial chips,” to build and maintain soil tilth. I’ve advocated incorporating them into gardens as short-term

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Agriculture in El Salvador

Juan Luis Avilés Moreno at the Common Ground Country Fair with (left to right) interpreters Jan Morrill and Christa Little-Siebold and (right) MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee member Karen Volckhausen. English photo Avilés Moreno (center) talks with Will Bonsall about grain processing at the Fair. Jim Torbert, interpreter and MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee member, is on

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The Maine Forest and the Perfect Storm

When forests are left to grow, they continue to sequester carbon. English photo By Peter Hagerty When my wife and I moved to Maine in 1974, I went into the woods logging with a team of horses named Barney and Nick. Since that first winter we have always had big horses on our farm. In

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Low tech Grain Production

Banatka wheat with a dense understory of Dutch white clover, and no weeds. Hand harvesting Banatka wheat. Temporary storage in a drying cart. Threshing uses a modified MacKissic chipper-shredder. By Ben Hoffman After struggling for 10 years trying to grow and process cereal grains, I joined forces with an equally frustrated Bob Mowdy. We worked

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Harvest Kitchen Summer Heat

Toki Oshima illustration By Roberta Bailey When I was a child, my family went out to eat at a restaurant once a year, on Mother’s Day. We went to Howard Johnson’s. I always got fried clams. I know it was due to socioeconomics, but I also think people went out to eat less in the

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Building the Mycorrhizal Connection

Toki Oshima illustration By C.J. Walke As spring rolls into summer, we should see young, month-old fruitlets on our trees, slowly swelling with growth in the sunlight of our longest days of the year. Nutrition for that growth is centered in the soil, where we look to build a biologically active ecosystem for soil microbes

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An Inexpensive Low Tunnel Season Extender

Photo 1 – Each frame was fitted over a 2-foot-long, half-inch re-rod driven into the ground. Re-rods were covered with half-inch plastic pipe for added rigidity. Longer re-rods would be an improvement, and 3-foot 4-inch sections of half-inch conduit might be even better. Photo 2 – Frames were assembled on the ground, left and right

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