Some Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Farmer

It’s Alex here, the guy who eats everything that isn’t poisonous on the farm. Most of what we’ve been doing is indoor greenhouse work due to the inclement weather, as well as bed-building when the soil was workable (I got to use the BCS and tractor!). However, much is about to happen- and if you’re paying attention you know this too. If you visit the farm blog on a regular basis you are probably used to learning something new, and that’s great. However, today I want to show with you guys something realllllly old, however to most it will be a new concept. The Bible is perhaps the oldest book known to man, and even if you don’t believe everything in it, it was still written based on experience by people who lived in an agrarian society, who had insights on agriculture that modern scientific establishment is only just now catching up with. Therefore it’s advice is of value to us organic farmers as on farm the right way (hint: not the conventional way).

In Proverbs 27:23, it states: Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, [and] look well to thy herds. 24 For riches [are] not for ever: and doth the crown [endure] to every generation? 25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.

Basically what this is saying is: farming is a full-time job. You can’t have a desk job and farm successfully only on the weekends- because by the time a week is over your plants could be dried up due to rain, and your chickens all eaten by wolves. In verse 24 it talks about the fact that even if you do farm full-time you must make sure you instill those values in your lazy children too because otherwise your farm will not last past you. You may chuckle and think, why is this important? Because, we are trying to grow SUSTAINABLY at CCCC, and if when you die your farm is sold by your son to be turned into development, then it doesn’t matter how good of a crop rotation plan you got going.

Have you ever seen new spring grass? Pretty luscious looking isn’t it? At least until it dies next season, never to be seen again. This is exactly what verse 25 is talking about- there is a moment, and it can catch you unprepared if you’re not careful, when you need to start planting RIGHT NOW. Carpe diem if you will. Also, people put down hay and plant tender grass, so that the grass doesn’t have to outcompete weeds, this is important because if you can gather precious herbs from inhospitable mountains you should be able to gather a harvest from your garden (if you make sure the conditions are right).

So what am I getting at? Just when we thought we weren’t going to have a winter, we had 3 snows in the last 2 weeks, an icing this Sunday morning, and this Thursday another snow-mix is a possibility. We have very little in the field besides garlic, sugar snap peas and overwintered Brussel sprouts (that are amazingly still standing up). However, weeds don’t sleep, and most of the aisles of the beds are covered in Bermuda grass and other weeds. Wednesday is going to be 70 degrees, and according to Hillary, March is when you want to start planting like MAD. Because it might snow on Thursday we should plant the transplants in the greenhouse that will be better able to handle the shock. This is where farmers make it or break it- if you’re not out there every day you wont realize that it’s time to plant immediately, and the short window of opportunity of the tender grass will vanquish.


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