My top 10 best farming and gardening practices

10 . BE PASSIONATE. Always remember despite the ups and downs you are doing something that you LOVE to do. If you don’t, the negative results will come through in your product and others will ingest that. Treat it as a lifestyle not a job. If you’re in it for the money, you’ve chosen the wrong profession. Expect joy, disappointments, successes and failures.

9. SET REASONABLE/ ACHIEVABLE  GOALS.   It’s so easy to take on too much and to try to grow everything. Just because you planted a ton of seedlings and tilled a huge garden bed, doesn’t mean you can maintain it. Focus on what you do best and keep it simple.  Create a niche  and take baby steps.

8. TREAT PLANTS LIKE DEPENDENTS. Plants are living entities that require food, water, shelter, love and care and then there’s the point where they mature and you have to let go by harvesting, letting  go to seed, and waking up one fall morning to see that a frost has killed off all your annuals. Just like kids, adolescents and adults, it’s all a cycle of life.

7 . SAVE SEEDS. There’s often a single plant that out-performs the rest. Let it go to seed, collect and store for the following year. That’s exactly how humans created an agrarian society and prospered. Food security and biodiversity are now more important than ever.

6. KEEP YOUR OVERHEAD LOW. There are all sorts of fancy gadgets, expensive planters, machines and tools you will need once a year. Plants couldn’t care less. Borrow, rent, fix and improvise.  Be efficient and devise ways to save time. Most farms go bankrupt, don’t be a statistic.

5. KEEP IT NATURAL.  Look to nature for inspiration and explore organic, biodynamic and permaculture methods. Remember that a garden is part of the ecology. Consider birds, insects and animals are all part of the cycle. Mother Nature is the wisest gardener of all.

4. BUILD YOUR SOIL. Even if your planting in fertile ground, plants take nutrients and once you harvest you’ve created a deficit. Build and maintain a compost pile, rotate your crops, plant cover crops and nitrogen fixing legumes.Test your soil occasionally and amend as needed. Good soil is the foundation of a healthy and bountiful garden.

3. KEEP LEARNING. Its literally impossible to know it all. Read, experiment, discuss, research and always be interested in finding out more. Teach others as that re-inforces your own knowledge.

2. SHARE.  Whether it’s your experiences, successes, failures or the final tasty product.  That’s what creates a healthy garden and farm community. Use the barter system. Someone else has too much or too little compared to you so trading balances things out.

1. MULCH. This simple technique will save you hours of weeding and watering, while preventing erosion , encouraging beneficial micro-organisms, creating humus and  future soil.