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 05-03-2017, 20:53 Post: 50596
jlanglois



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 Have you read Wendell Berry?

I surmise from the postings that this forum has many people at the same stage that I am. We just purchased a 77 acre farm in NE Alabama. 35 acres are tillable. I would like to farm this using organic methods that will repair the damaged humus (previous owner rented to corn growers). I have learned a lot from reading Wendell Berry. Is there anyone else you have found to be helpful? I especially need pointers on crop rotation, plants that protect each other from bugs and weeds, etc.
Thanks.






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 05-04-2017, 01:48 Post: 50603
Billy Passmore



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 Have you read Wendell Berry?

jlanglois,

You can contact your local Soil Conservation Office. They can give you all the info you'll need. Since you're paying for this service anyway, you might as well take advantage of it.

Another good source of information would be to contact the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. They should have an agent that serves your county.

Billy






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 05-04-2017, 06:42 Post: 50604
hardwood



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 Have you read Wendell Berry?

Who is Wendell Berry?






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 05-04-2017, 11:37 Post: 50621
jlanglois



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 Have you read Wendell Berry?

Wendell Berry is the author of thirty-two books of essays, poetry and novels. He has worked a farm in Henry County, Kentucky since 1965. He is a former professor of English at the University of Kentucky and a past fellow of both the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. He has received numerous awards for his work, including an award from the National Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters in 1971, and most recently, the T.S. Eliot Award.

His books of essays include:

Home Economics
The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture
The Gift of Good Land
Another Turn of the Crank
Recollected Essays: 1965-1980
Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community
Meeting the Expectations of the Land, edited with Wes Jackson and Bruce Colman

I discovered him in Andrew Kimbrell's "The Fatal Harvest Reader".

The University of Louisville has an excellent interview with him at the link below. I am especially intrigued about his ideas on small scale farming outside the "agribusiness" model that we grew up with.






Link:   Wendell Berry Interview 

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 05-04-2017, 16:31 Post: 50686
petwas



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 Have you read Wendell Berry?

jlanglois,

I've never attempted organic gardening on such a scale as you describe. About 15 years ago I discovered a book by a guy, his last name was Barthalamew or something like that called Square Foot gardening. In it he extolled the virtues of organic gardening, no fertilizers, companion planting and such. This intrigued me but while preparing a 25 foot by 25 foot raised bed I came to realize that this could be a full time job. I used a lot of his concepts and while doing further research I found that Rodale has a line of gardening encyclopedias that really gets deep into the organic aspects of gardening. Needless to say that raised bed provided all the fresh veggies my family needed for a season, of course that was 3 plantings and harvests per year. This year the raised bed is laying fallow, having filled it with organic humus, it is going to give me and my neighbors quite a bit of night crawlers. You may be able to gain some insight from these pubs I've mentioned, I'd be interested to hear how you do. I'm located in the upper part of SC, I've seen the scarred land during travels in Northern Alabama and thought many times that area would be ideal for organic gardening.






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 05-05-2017, 12:09 Post: 50895
mathews



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 Have you read Wendell Berry?

Gene Logsdon, for starters, especially "The Contrary Farmer," "The Contrary Farmer's Invitation to Gardening," and "You Can Go Home Again." Amazon has them. Also try Karl Schwenke's "Successful Small Scale Farming."

If it's farm-scale organic vegetables you're interested in, the best author has to be Eliot Coleman.






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 05-06-2017, 02:52 Post: 50903
Peters



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 Have you read Wendell Berry?

I may be missing something, but there is an Organic Gardening Magazine. I remember seeing it back in the early 70's. A friends mom was into it.
I remember helping add organic material to the garden (tons of wood chips) in the 60's and returned in 1980. I had to rototill the garden for the new occupant. I remarked at what beautiful soil my friend's mom had made essentually gravel. The woman wouldn't believe me, but I pointed out that the line of the old garden and the definite difference in the soil.
I am sure most everything has been reviewed in this magazine over the years. I guess I would look through the citation index at a good library on the specific topics you need clarified. You might find it in the college in Dothan or Chattanoga.






Link:   Organic Gardening 

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 05-06-2017, 07:47 Post: 50906
mathews



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 Have you read Wendell Berry?

For organic gardening publications on the farm scale you might look at "Small Farm Today" and "Acres USA." You can find them at www.smallfarmtoday.com and www.acresusa.com. Acres USA is more purely organic practice but Small Farm Today has a strong preference for organic with a dose of pragmatism. Acres USA occasionally strays to the weird side with "biodynamic farming," which is sort of mystical and partly pseudoscientific, and political ranting and raving by the founder/editor, but ignoring that stuff you get the best large scale organic farming articles.

These two magazines have book sections and will lead you to all sorts of organic farming books you would never have heard of.

You'll also learn alot through the right seed and supply companies. Look at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (www.southernexposure.com) and Peaceful Valley Farm Supply (www.groworganic.com). Southern Exposure is particularly good for southern farms. Peaceful Valley is on the west coast but carries alot of equipment and other supplies in addition to seed. Both carry books.

My own experience with the government ag service has not been good. Basically what you'll get is a recommendation to put X tons of 10-10-10 per acre and if its organic you want go get some city sewage plant sludge (I'm serious).






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 05-08-2017, 13:46 Post: 51039
jlanglois



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 Have you read Wendell Berry?

Thanks for the help. Bless their hearts, the ag service guys seem stuck in the 70's. I have heard the "sludge talk", too. What is ironic is that if they would let go of their "agribusiness" model and embrace the small farmer as a resource rather than a nuisance, they would raise the value of what they provide in their jobs, which was their original mandate.






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