You might have already noticed some videos on this blog of people touring our gardens. In the summer of 2021, I created a photo panel display of changes in the land that we live on over the 37 years that we have been here and began showing the photos to the small tour groups that come to see the farm and give them some of the background information before we start walking around the place. The following video contains some of that kind of info, but takes it a little further and lasts a little bit longer than what I tell the tour groups, since I save most of my talking for when we actually do the walking tour.
As I describe in the video, our little five-acre place in the northern Rocky Mountains of western Montana, on the Flathead Indian Reservation, had been badly damaged by previous residents before we moved onto the land, mainly by scraping off much of the topsoil and overgrazing with too many horses. The video demonstrates how this habitat and ecosystem was restored by the work of water (selected small-scale flood irrigating), the natural deposits of organic nutrients, the entrance of various species of wildlife into the system, the planting and self-propagation of trees (into small forests in places), the increase in numbers of birds, the sun, the germination of dormant seeds and the natural spread of seeds, human labor, and the diverse activities and interaction with land and water of many people of other species. Some of the activities of other species can also rightly be called “labor.”
As with all my posts, I hope that you enjoy and find value in this and are possibly moved to leave a comment or question.
We put in a dripline irrigation system, both in the greenhouse beds and with the crops out in the field, and this change has given me much to think about regarding the tradeoffs of new technologies. In this video, you will see: frogs in the greenhouse; a single Delicata squash plant that has stretched out over 30 feet by about 10 feet and at last count has 45 squahes on it, at various stages of development; our usual 13 foot tall Cherokee Longear popcorn plants; lots of cucumbers and peppers, and more. I also raise questions about the tradeoffs of technology, such as plastic drip irrigation lines and even these plastic and steel high tunnel greenhouses themselves. Since the driplines focus the application of water primarily on the cultivated crop plants, their wild, volunteer neighbor/companions (that most people in the dominant culture call “weeds”) have not received nearly as much water as they used to get around here, and therefore did not grow much this year (hardly at all in the thirsty corn patches). So, we didn’t have to weed nearly as much as we used to, but what was the trade-off regarding our wildland/cultivated area interface? Has this little part of the world we live with benefitted from us humans having more control in these cultivated areas?
The first video focuses on life in the greenhouse, and the second video is about what happened out in the fields. I welcome your comments and/or questions. Peace and good health to you all.
Part 2, life out in the fields….
Correction: at 23:40 I accidentally called my Algonquin squash “Algonquin corn.” Sorry about my old, scrambled brain. 🙂
Sometimes the greenhouse is the only place where a person can get much gardening done in the winter, especially when the ground outside the greenhouse is frozen. One thing that I should add to what I said in this video is that it is real important to keep some of the rough and woody materials from the old dirt and from the new manure that you are mixing in and resist the temptation to weed that stuff out or make the ground more smooth. The rough stuff–stems, root pieces, twigs, wood chips, etc.–help to keep the soil loose and provide feed for the helpful worms, insects and micro-critters who keep the soil in good health.
Springtime Update just before planting the popcorn, we do a little more prep work:
Well, its about time I posted some more examples of Earthways. In this real time, natural sound video you will learn more about the three sisters corn-planting techniques, the importance of having wildland interfaces next to your cultivated crops, welcoming and interspersing wild plants among your cultivated plants, and more. This video only covers about half of our cultivated land and a smaller portion of our crop diversity, since it shows the large corn areas. Part 2 will show the more diverse older part of the farm, along with a hugelkultur update. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and share your own stories about natural, sustainable, joyful, harmonious cultivation of crops.