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Farming - I need some help Answered

NEW QUESTION: Should I grow food, or food and commodities (IE wheat, cotton, etc) Well, I grew vegetables last year, and the crop was a failure. Don't ask me why, since there were at least 20 things I did wrong, and on top of that, mother nature was pissed off at me. Well, I already have some ideas on how I'm going to make my farming more eco-friendly, but I'd like some more, some ideas I have are: No fertilizer (I grew organics last year too) collecting rainwater in buckets to use to water on drier days (I'm going to make a small shed which I can store the water for just such an occasion) Allowing bugs into my garden Also, I plan to compost all the plant waste (I also use my dog's "Waste" for fertilizer... weird, I know, but it works, and it means I don't have to use up plastic bags, or pick the stuff up. Plus, it's better in the ground being broken up than in the landfill taking up space) And some things I worry about are: Moving sand into the area. I hear that sand is better for beats and carrots, but I wonder if it would be a bad environmental change to move sand into the area. It's not a large area of land, but still. Please excuse me if I didn't make too much sense, I'm really confused right now... school is getting to me :(

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skunkbait (author)2008-06-07

How big of a farm do you have. It requires a pretty good spread to make cotton, soybeans, etc. worthwhile. (We haven't gone that route in 25 years.) Vegtables are a little different. If the veggies are less than productive at least you can scrounge enough to feed the family. We only plant enough for our needs plus enough to feed a couple of the elderly ladies from church. My wife does our gardening, and I'll see if she has any helpful sugggestions for you.

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A good name (author)skunkbait2008-06-08

Do you feed yourselves year round on your own garden? And I doubt that I'll be able to grow them at this point. My dad ruined it by elevated it and buying the most terrible soil ever (more than 95% of it was mulch, no lie)

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skunkbait (author)A good name2008-06-08

We mostly feed ourselves summer and fall from the garden. Primarily it's mustard greens, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes. It is usually gone by October, but this year my wife is hoping to can and freeze some. We usually fill our freezer with meat in the winter ( I'm still enjoying venison from November and ducks from February), but we bought a new freezer that should accomodate veggies. My tiller is dead, so my wife has done a mix of gardening styles this year. I think my wife may do an ible on small gardening so be on the lookout.

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NachoMahma (author)2008-04-15

. Seems like you have most of the bases covered. . Clean sand is pretty inert so it shouldn't be a problem. Make sure you mix in some mulch, since sand has zero nutrients. Probably be a good idea to sterilize the sand before mixing and using. . The proper amount of water is very important. Too much is just as bad as not enough. . There may be something in your soil that is causing problems. Check the pH and you might even want to send a sample to your county farm agency.

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A good name (author)NachoMahma2008-04-15

Oh no, it's not that I'm worried about problems with the soil, I'm worried about whether or not it will damage the environment. Should I use only native plants?

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Goodhart (author)A good name2008-05-15

As Nacho mentions, depending on where you live (for instance, where I live) non-native plants like tomatoes, will not thrive outside the garden. They need a longer growing season then we have, so plants are normally hothoused and slowly hardened off until all fear of frost is gone. One good frost and they die. There are SOME plants that caused problems though. Kudzu was brought in as a ground cover in some areas to stop erosion, and it took over and became one of those problems. A little research will tell you whether that could take place or not.

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NachoMahma (author)A good name2008-04-15

. The sand won't bother anything (most dirt is sand, anyway) and I can't think of any veggies that would escape into the wild and go feral, so plant whatever you like.

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Goodhart (author)NachoMahma2008-04-15

Jerusalem Artichokes (which are not from Jerusalem, nor are they artichokes, but are like small potatoes) will take OVER a garden. If this hardy little lower starch potato is grown, it should be in a separate garden.....again, experience speaking here.

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caitlinsdad (author)2008-05-11

Could I ask what size of garden/plot you are tending? Use of the word farming means you need to have a tractor to work the land. I'm a city slicker. If it is a big size enough to try commodities type crops, there should be a 4-H club or some other co-op organization locally that could help you plan out something. If you are doing it for profit to sell the crops, they should also be able to provide info on what you need to do. There are some laws to abide by if you want to call something organic or not.

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A good name (author)caitlinsdad2008-05-12

Farming actually doesn't have to use a tractor. Then that would mean that the ancient egyptians weren't farmers. I'm tending about a six feet by about nine feet.

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caitlinsdad (author)A good name2008-05-12

I guess we would call that more like gardening and a studio apartment in New York City. With 6x9 feet, it would be easy to build a trellis or latticework for vinelike veggies or fruits. You might even consider building framework for a simple greenhouse to extend the season.

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caitlinsdad (author)caitlinsdad2008-05-11

Oh, that dog must be the size of a horse. What do you feed it to output that much material to use as fertilizer? :-)

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ledzep567 (author)2008-05-11

well, if you plan on harvesting a vege crop youd better re-think the bug policy

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firedragoon8605 (author)2008-05-11

Have you tried hydroponics? Easy to build and very eco friendly. And you get the best results that way. And you can grow just about everything this way, all times of the year(if you do it indoors). Check it out, may be just what you need. Message me if you have any questions.

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=SMART= (author)2008-04-24

i am currently studying Human and environmental issues about farming, and your situation sounds like one of our case studies. P.S. im 15.9 years old and about to do my GCSE exams in 2 weeks :S

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Firebert010 (author)2008-04-15

If you're using manure for fertilizer then you should be fine. There is nothing wrong with using organic material (such as dog...well you know) to help increase mineral level in the soil. Horse manure is far better than dog however, you might want to just put out and buy (or collect) some. Another important thing to remember is to till your garden thoroughly before planting. If you don't own a tiller you should rent or borrow one. Failing that, you could hand-till, but that's backbreaking work depending on your patch size. I hope I helped, feel free to ask questions.

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A good name (author)Firebert0102008-04-15

Thanks, my grandpa has a few horses, but I don't think my mom will be too enthusiastic about dragging horse... well, you know... with us in the van...

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NachoMahma (author)A good name2008-04-15

. Let it dry in the sun. The odor disappears and you can tote it in paper bags. Just like cow chips. Wrap in plastic if Mom is real squeamish.

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Goodhart (author)NachoMahma2008-04-15

If you are eventually going to compost the manure, which will make the nutrients available to the plants, be careful with the horse manure. It is know to be "hotter" then cow, but not quite as bad as chicken. That is, it will compost fairly quickly but can create enough heat under the proper circumstances to actually smoke and catch fire. Hay/alfalfa can do this too, if damp in the center and left out in the sun.

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A good name (author)Goodhart2008-04-16

I'm using dog ... well... for fertilizer. I don't even have a chicken/horse/cow.

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Goodhart (author)A good name2008-04-17

compost it first, if you can. Still it is NOT recommended for use with "food" crops; only ornamentals, like flowers etc.

Check here and elsewhere for composting hints...

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Goodhart (author)2008-04-15

No fertilizer (I grew organics last year too)

By that I assume you mean "inorganic" fertilizer; as mulch and other organics are needed to put back what the plants take.

Allowing bugs into my garden

again, I assume you mean the good bugs. They tend to eat the bad bugs (the ones that munch on your plants)

Something else about sand, depending on where it came from, it maybe laden with salt. This would not be good for plants :-) .

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A good name (author)Goodhart2008-04-15

Where it came from? the hardware store :P

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Goodhart (author)A good name2008-04-15

Hmm, yeah is it Cement grade sand? If so, it shouldn't have salt in it...but that isn't cheap either. :-)

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Kiteman (author)Goodhart2008-04-17

If the sand is salty, wash the sand out - put it in cloth sacks and pour (rain)water through it.

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