YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED – 071919
Here’s the YouTube video if you’d like to watch it.
Josh – 00:46
I have a question for you if you dont mind giving me a minute,
I am a 28 year old guy from Red Deer, Alberta. When I was 26 I fell off a roof at work and shattered both of my heels and just absolutely mangled both my feet. Its been 2 years + now but its all been a horror story. WCB sent me to school to retrain as a Heavy Equipment Operator, I was a stonemason/contractor and that isnt an option anymore. Its kind of a long story, I should just start with the question.
My main goal in life hasnt changed since my injury and actually I think It has become more important that I get my self employment/homestead going. I have tried my best to get a plan locked down, starting small with a poultry and pig farm/native tree farm that has pasture and room to develop into a proper silvoculture with birch trees and highland cattle, I spent the most part of a year researching permaculture and watching your youtube videos while I was in the wheelchair. Ive got a small marijuana grow going now that has been somewhat successful but overall, life injured pays too little and it is too hard to get work that doesnt involve me doing hard labour on my feet for some prick of a boss. Basically I am asking for advice and maybe even help. WCB trained me to run machines but nobody at all hires a rookie kid that just crawled out of a wheelchair, its a very competitive industry. I had a job tilling fields but then it started to rain about June 25th, and still hasnt stopped.
Im not really sure what the question is in tangle of sentences. I just consider you wiser than me and you have what anyone would call a lot of experience.
Anyway, I just want to say thanks again. Your videos really helped me in a lot of ways. At first I was just bored of being stuck at home so I watched you do work that I couldnt do, living vicariously right. But then I realized that going forward, this was probably the best shot I have of paying my bills.
Dan Howes – 06:16
Thought you might like this. And any feedback would be incredibly valuable. Been a long time watcher of your channel. We run a small vertical hydroponics farm in Pitt Meadows BC. We figured out a way to grow herbs in towers, with no soil. We currently have a small green house and small indoor space for micro greens.
We have a very different business model then most farms. We put these towers in grocery stores living. In micro hydro systems and customers pick them alive off the vine. Can’t get any fresher then that! The bonus for the grocery store is that they only pay for what is sold by weight. There is virtually zero wastage as we take the towers back and regrow them.
My question is, what is the best way to get into some of the bigger grocery stores. As its a radical new selling method, were finding it difficult to get there attention. Although the ones that do respond are going crazy over the towers! haha.
Thanks for your time. Would love to send you some photos of our greenhouse. Currently has about 40kg of basil sitting in it.
Megan – 11:18
Hi Curtis, Thank you so much for what you do. It´s uncanny how you have been addressing topics that are relevant to my current context. I thoroughly enjoy From the Field — an incredible resource that I want to take even better advantage of. So, my first question:
Here in Mexico (Oaxaca Central Valleys specifically) it is difficult to source large, dependable, regular quantities of chemically-untreated seed for growing microgreens. There are some such seeds avaialbe, but it is a limited variety.
Can you please talk about the importance of using untreated seed for microgreens? What are the dangers to the farmer and to the consumer? Are there any direct harmful effects to the environment in the microgreen context? For the consumer, is it more hazardous than eating mature vegetables that were grown from thiram-treated seed? Of course, for the micros where the seed stays on the product (e.g., onions), for esthetic reasons the seed needs to be a natural color.
Do you have any experience with microgreen businesses that use seeds from sources that are not larger-scale commercial? I think guaranteed rates of germination are important.
I know that using organic or chemically untreated seed is a fundamental part of supporting organic agriculture, but I would also like to be clear on the health and environmental factors that are causing me and other growers to smuggle in untreated seeds from US companies.
Maybe it is best to keep smuggling in the seed, but to also write letters to Mexican seed companies to pressure them for better access to chemically untreated seed. Also, I think that learning how to produce top-quality seed for market will be in my future.
Thank you so much for your time, and I will hit you up with more questions soon!
carl – 17:28
Some questions from a home gardener.
Root Crops and Greens:
If greens are harvested only once or twice from a root crop like beets, radishes or turnips, will the plant go on to form a root? I am wondering if it’s possible to sow only once, but harvest greens from part of a root crop in order to spread out the maturity date.
Pole beans have reached top of trellis. Better to leave alone or to cut off the tops? If relevant: Zone 7b.
BCMV and BYMV:
When pole beans have Bean Common or Yellow Mosaic Virus, is it best to pull out and dispose of the infected plant or just leave it alone till end of season?
Plant Spacing and Yield, for example, Swiss Chard:
Seed packet recommends 4″ to 12″. Assume that size of the leaves harvested is not an issue. Over a growing season, is total yield per area substantially different from 4″ to 12″ spacing for a plant like Swiss Chard? Is there a spacing that you like best?
Plant Spacing and Pest Control:
Does wider plant spacing reduce pest pressure? Are predators more effective? For example, are parasitic wasps or lady bugs more effective at aphid control in a bush bean bed with 6″ spacing vs 4″ spacing?
OMRI Approved Organic Insecticides:
What do you think of insecticidal soap and pyrethrin? I know what OMRI has to say about this, but do YOU consider them safe and “organic” chemicals for pest control? My co-habitants do not want physical barriers. They insist that insect netting is ugly and pesticide fear is overblown.
Your video/audio content is very informative. I’m learning to think and practice like a professional. I do not want to start a farm. But, it is a lot of fun to learn about agriculture and the business of farming.
Aria – 25:36
Hello Curtis. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the information and resources you put out there. Two years ago my world was flipped upside down when I had to pull my kids away from their dad for not being abused and mistreated. I was essentially homeless living in a pop up camper in my now husband’s yard having to fight for my children. Three months later I was injured at work leaving my right hand pretty much useless and permanently injured. Which is detrimental to a massage therapist. I found myself working two to three fast food jobs while keeping the few clients I could just to try and maintain some level of income.
We found ourselves in a desperate financial situation, with all of our food coming from food banks. After months of being sickened that I couldn’t feed my kids healthy food I went to YouTube and there I found your videos. I think I watched every single video you’ve made with particular interest in microgreens. I started with a plastic Tupperware containers, paper towels and radish seeds from the dollar tree. I watched in amazement that I was actually able to grow them. Everyday as soon as I got home from work I’d look at the progress and track what was happening. While it wasn’t a great success and we didn’t get yummy microgreens (mostly because I over watered, what it did give me was hope. Which is one of the things that kept me going.
I watch your videos over and over taking notes on everything you said and was even in the microgreens webinar you hosted.
Even though I haven’t used it as a business, yet, I went from having a black thumb to growing more food than I know what to do with. This year I have over 50 tomatoes plants, carrots, cucumbers, and all kind of stuff.
My husband inherited a 3 acre property in Mississippi with a nearly 4000 sq ft greenhouse and we are now selling everything we own, moving there to restore the greenhouse and turn it into an urban farm. From homeless to homestead!! And I can’t not thank you enough for your passion and expertise that you share so openly. I hope you know how much you are helping people and giving so many people hope for a better life. I’m even getting my brother into growing microgreens. It’s contagious.
Anywho… I just wanted to let you know how much your videos have changed our lives.
Cheryl Recker – 28:40
Thank you so much for these newest videos. We own 17 acres, but should inherit over 100 acres and have access to some of that in a couple years. The BCS never made sense in our context but it wasn’t until these last 3 videos that I saw what we could use to replace it. I have a friend who works for Kubota so I’m going to look into a packaged deal on the implements. Thank you for expanding your scope and size of the farms you feature.
Side note…yesterday I found out that the USA Food Safety Modernization Act also takes in corn, soybean, beef cattle, pig, and poultry farmers. When I took my training 2 years ago they said none of that counted toward our total farm income and if we were exempt. But it does now. None of the conventional farmers I know even have heard of FSMA.
Charlie Wainger – 32:14
Rain Dog Farm
I’m using the Jang with F26 roller. This crop is Arugula. I’ve been getting patchy germination. Is this from going too slow? Too fast? Appreciate your help and thanks for all you do!
Craig Liebeck – 37:07
Last summer some of our carrots had an off flavour.
Would this have been the result of leaving them to long in the ground or something else? How often did you seed baby carrots (for bunching to sell fresh at the farmers market) in spring and summer and what window of time did you allow for harvesting?
Yoni – 40:05
How are you? Yoni, from israel.. If you remember from the previous mails..
Today i’ve got more of a content request/suggestion, rather than a question..
Due to the condition of my market garden (loads of diseases and pests) I’ve been advised to solarize my field (approx an acre in size) using clear tarp, which should be preceeded by heavy irrigation. This method actually was conceived here in israel in the 70s apparently… This should be done in july/august which are by far the hottest here..
Unfortunately I’ve missed the Train for this season, and I’ll probably have to wait for next summer..
Im actually considering not growing anything in July – august, as a rule, as it gets very hot and moist, with peaks oh over 40c sometimes..
Anyway – I’d really like to hear if any of the farms you’re visiting also solarize, or any other insights for this method.. Which is very harsh on the soil biology (not much is supposed to survive).
Thanks again for all the great content in the site..
General YouTube questions – 43:54