Monday, April 03, 2006

Changeable Weather

They say it is going to snow tomorrow. All my sources back that up, and yet there are certainly many farmers in the area who have put their peas in the ground. Not Rachel and I, for two reasons: 1) I don't think during the next cold few days too much growing will get done by them, but much more importantly 2) since our field has not been a vegetable farm for some time (if ever) we are going to wait for our innoculant to arrive. The innoculant is a prettygood window into what organic means these days: it is a soil based bacteria, which if you don't know, and I don't guess there is any reason you would, there are lots of bacteria naturally living in the soil, healthy soil, every day. Just like they are in your gut helping you digest food (they are there too!). So the scientists or soilists or what have you, I gather, isolate some of particular strains that help peas both produce peas and fix nitrogen nodules in the ground, thereby helping whatever is next to go in that area. Once the Bacteria is introduced to a field, it can live there on its own, especially, as previously noted, in a healthy soil, which is what the Intervale soil looks like.

So how does this relate to the "organic" thing? (I get off topic pretty easiliy, huh?) It's just to say that organic doesn't mean eschewing all technology or never adding anything besides compost to the soil. It's more about finding solutions to problems that don't create new problems, and maybe even solve some problems off to the side, which general soil health has a tendency to do (ie helping the plants stave off bugs and other diseases). Conventional Farms, to show the counter example, wouldn't be adding the innoculant, and there is generally little chance the bacteria would survive in a soil that had been conventionally farmed field for long, because there is very little organic matter and almost no soil life.

Here I'm doing my yapping and the weather in Burlington has changed again, back to Sun, so I'll take advantage of it.


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