[permaculture] (FWD) Bob Cannard grows mixed fruits and vegetables on a 25-acre farm in Glen Ellen.
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
lfl at intrex.net
Mon Jun 20 23:26:15 EDT 2005
Oakland, CA May 14, 2005 -- Bob Cannard grows mixed fruits and
vegetables on a 25-acre farm in Glen Ellen. He manages it so that
something is always ready to harvest.
Bob Cannard: I'd say we're growing enough to generate a minimum of
150 generous vegetable meals a day. Right now [in early May] we could
pick at least 5,000 salads and 5,000 bowls of fava beans infused with
various herbs. Those two crops are generous right at the moment. In a
month we'll have around 80,000 pounds of potatoes. Every day between
now and then there'll be some major crop that is passing through. It
may be turnips that people don't like too much, but it'll be a food
crop that's good for them.
Given one good worker -one man of the soil from Mexico who knows what
his trade is and how to practice it energetically- we can take care
of this 20 to 25 acres with its wide range of vegetables and fruits
and berries and herbs and cover crops for the soil. Monday we'll
plant 5,000 tomato plants, after we pick a load of vegetables in the
morning. We'll plant them, we'll get the irrigation lines out, and
we'll have the water on them before 4:30, when his day finishes.
The tomatoes were started 49 to the flat in flats filled with
composty soils, All the nutrition that's available on the earth is in
that media and available to the plant. They're strong and will resist
the stress of transplant They're all about two inches apart.
Everything they need is right in the soil and they don't have to set
out these seeking roots that run to the outside and the bottom of the
pot looking for stuff, and wrap around and around and around in
pursuit of escape from the prison they're in. As long as I don't let
them try to get too big and force spatial competition, until that
point there's no stress. They root out, they don't intertangle, the
root systems are easily separable, they have finely branched, divided
root systems that indicate contentment where they are. Everything
they need is there. We have more than 100 flats of them; we just
crawl along and stick 'em in. And the ground is all prepared. I use
tractors. I just spaded it this morning. I'll take the little tractor
and mark out all the rows. I do most of the crawling and it takes
Javier just about as much time to walk back to the truck and pick up
a flat of plants and haul it out to me as it takes me to plant 50 of
'em. Then he'll get a little bit ahead of me in laying out the flats,
and then he'll dispatch himself down to pick up another truck load.
If I get done before, I sit down and have a puff (of tobacco).
What's important is the work ethic. The two of us are taking care of
hundreds of thousands, or millions of plants. And they're delicate,
they've got to be perfect. Those plants go to famous professional
chefs who are extremely demanding. Cleanliness, size, uniformity, are
all important to those guys.
What you need to grow good quality plants is good mineral
nutrition, good digestion in the soil, and the appropriate cosmic
wavelength that we call sunlight and a good quotient of old air in
the soil to feed the digestion, which is compost, and a good clean
air environment so that the plants can absorb non-polluted air to
build on and function. I use rock dust and oyster shell and rock
phosphates and crushed rock. I couldn't grow a garden without mineral
supplementation. Every enzymatic process is built around a mineral
element -a single element or a mineral compound. And enzymatic
processes control all life. So, delete minerals, you got problems.
Listen to the land-grant colleges and feed plants that old commercial
NPK stuff and you're guaranteed to have imbalances. You can't force
something to grow to completeness. You can only nurture it to grow to
completeness. And it's so easy to do it right. And it's so hard to do
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