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VEGANIC FARMING AND GARDENING. Veganic farming and gardening is a willingness to balance our existence with the natural world.

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VEGANIC FARMING AND GARDENING

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VEGANIC FARMING AND GARDENING


Veganic farming and gardening is a willingness to balance our existence with the natural world.

the soil microorganisms we try not to disturb with excessive tillage, the birds, butterflies, and insects we do not poison with insecticides, the weeds that are not killed with herbicides, and the animals who are not killed for food.


Unlike Conventional Organic,

Tillage to manage weeds and water


Veganic is livestock-free and does not use manure as a fertilizer…..

Manure problems: herbicide contamination, nitrate-N leaching into ground water, human pathogens such as ecoli…..


Veganic Works With Nature to Mimic Natural Plant Eco-Systems:

Reduced tillage – keeping soil covered,

Increased plant diversity,

Regular addition of plant residues.


Increased plant diversity, regular additions of plant residues, & keeping the soil covered promotes a healthy soil & Rhizospere (root-soil zone of greatest soil foodweb activity)


To create a healthy rhizsphere: add plant residues.

There are many ways to add plant residues…..


Alfalfa pellets added to greenhouse tomatoes provide nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium


Sheet composting or mulching – surface application of grass clippings or hay

In a perfect world we would be able to harvest our own hay for veganic growing and wait until mid July to cut, so most grassland birds (and small mammals) have fledged their young. Though less nitrogen and more viable seed in a late cutting, later cut hay holds up better over time - suppressing weeds longer. A late cutting will allow insects to work flowers - at least until the hay is cut.


Dead Mulch – straw and leaves


Living Mulch

weeds between crop rows


Planted legume Living Mulch


Living Mulch Suppresses Disease


Cover Crops and Green Manures (spring tillage/incorporation into soil)


Perennials: Rye grass (Lolium) mixed with hairy vetch – good balance of nitrogen and carbon.


Oats and Red Clover

(combinations of grasses and legumes are usually best for weed suppression)


Clovers provide the best levels of nitrogen when mowed or tilled into the soil

White Clover


Crown Vetch – another good nitrogen source.


Annuals –

Buckwheat accumulates phosphorus.


Rye (Secale) – annual – allelopathic (when tilled into the soil, produces biochemicals that inhibit seed germination and seedling growth).


Parabinga medic – handles high pH and low moisture once established


Snail Medic – drought tolerant once estblished


Winter kills in cold climates


Brassicas – Rape – allelopathic:

Inhibits weeds and root rot diseases


Annual Ryegrass – lower nitrogen than legume living mulches or cover crops.


Which organic residue to use?

Depends on soil type, texture and pH, precipitation, and temperature…and cropping system


composted wood bark – low nitrogen and phosphorus and pH

Soil Pep

5.0

0.2

0.2

0.2

6.3

0.2

0.1

0.1

Clark Fork

composted wood bark/ human waste mix – higher nitrogen and Phosphorus

Ekocompost

5.9

1.0

1.5

0.4

Glacier Gold

5.7

0.5

0.7

0.1

Butte Biologic

6.7

0.8

0.6

0.3

MUSHROOM COMPOST

7.2

1.7

1.7

3.7

GRASS CLIPPINGS

6.6

1.9

0.3

0.8

NUTRIENT CONTENT OF WOODY MATERIALS AND GRASS CLIPPINGS

PH N P K


Green and succulent plant residues (higher nitrogen) vs. brown and dry residues (lower nitrogen, higher carbon)

High carbon materials can temporarily steal nitrogen from crop plants as microorganisms break them down


Brown and dry

Green and succulent

Bio chemical pathways of decomposition both residue types break down to humus, but with different microorganisms and nutrient release rates.Green/succulent = fasterBrown/dry = slower


Green Manures Suppress Disease –bare soil (fallow) = more disease.


Organic residues suppressed disease at different levels –alfalfa hay was best.

Suppression of Sclerotinia lettuce drop


TILLAGE AFFECTS DISEASE SUPPRESSION

Pythium Suppression Decreases With Cultivation Intensity

Lourd and Bouhot, 1987


Using Living Mulches

Case study @ Biodesign Farm


Soil covered spring, summer, fall, & winter.


Light tillage in the spring (lots of residue left)


Bed making – residue inside beds


Seed new cover between rows in spring, recruits from previous season’s living mulch already re-growing


New living mulch well-established when we plant transplants of warm season crops


Mature living mulch kept mowed monthly (surface-applied residue)


Benefits of Living Mulch System: balanced nutrient supply


Improved yield and quality


Improved cold tolerance


Habitat for beneficials provided


New beneficials appeared – predateous stink bug attacking CPB larvae


Habitat for pollinators = increased fruit set


Long-term soil health improved with Living Mulch system


LM has different nutrients and C:N ratio at different times of the year. High C:N ratio material (greater than 30-50) may cause temporary unavailability of N and P.


Soil Fertility Summary: Apply plant residue additions throughout the season; mix higher and lower C and N materials


With careful planning, veganic farming and gardening can be bountiful and productive as well as kind to the other organisms with whom we share the earth


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