Organic Gardening and Soil Notes

Yesterday I went to a program that included an organic gardener and a soil scientist. Here are the notes from the programs.

Kris Larson – Organic Gardener from Alton, Illinois.

  • He tills most of his beds. Not recommended by the USDA.
  • He use BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) – this is a good reason to be very careful if you are trying to feed parsley to Black Swallowtail caterpillars.
  • This was mainly a “classroom” approach to organic gardening. No pictures or videos of his farm.
  • He emphasizes keeping your gardens small enough to manage. He down-sized last year.

Ross Braun – Soil Scientist – retired from USDA

  • Apple demonstration
  • He recommends the book – How to Lie with Statistics
  • To show kids the effect of capillary action use celery and colored water (also paper towel and colored water)
  • Possibly add red wiggler worms to school soils if they are very degraded. One person said that their schools soil had no worms even after two years of adding organic matter.
  • Raindrop impact – picture on wikipedia – keep your soil covered.
  • Organic Farming Handbook
  • Watch videos by Ray Archuleta to see most of what he said.
  • 50% of corn farmers use no-till while 38% of organic farmers use no-till or minimum till. ( from the handbook above)

Other Notes

  • St. Louis Composting – said that you don’t have to add compost every year. They also talked about biochar. They don’t have a biochar product at this time.  They do have a program to help schools.

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