Sept. 10 Updates from Farmer Dan and Damien
Growing healthy food is the most pleasurable thing we can do and it’s a way to reclaim our independence. There is no better activity than gardening to simultaneously promote human health, restore vibrancy to our abused earth, and bring new energy into our lives and hope to our communities. ~ Farmer Dan
Info on the forthcoming 2022 e-course and in-person course on Sept. 25
From the desk of farmer Dan
Date: September 10, 2021
A couple of decades ago when I started gardening, fall was cleanup time in the garden. The last straggling pole beans were harvested, stubborn carrots were dug up for storage and potato vines were thrown onto the compost heap.
A few aphid-infested kale plants were left in the corner of the garden for winter harvest. They always seemed to recuperate somewhat as the cold weather approached and hung around all winter to remind us of the coming spring when we’d be doing it all again.
Ignorantly, I’d fire up the tiller for one last round of the garden trying to kill the out-of-control weeds and work in the manure I wheeled over from the neighbour’s horse stable.
Honestly, it was drudgery.
Today, as a no-till market gardener, I often reflect on my early days in the garden. I’m keenly aware that I was simply repeating the same practices as my parents and grandparents. Most of our time in the garden was spent weeding. My kids hated it more than the Fairfield Island mosquitos and so did my wife since it seemed that the only time we spent together was pulling lambs quarters and chickweed.
Our yields were okay but pests were a huge problem; particularly caterpillars, slugs and wireworm. It seemed as if we were always at war with something and we were always toiling. It’s no wonder I looked forward to cleanup season with a sense of relief.
When I started our market garden, I soon began to recognize that the late summer and fall presented an awesome opportunity for growing, especially here on the West Coast (zone 7). I fell in love with the works of Elliot Coleman and was amazed at the productivity of his gardens and their ability to yield a bountiful harvest well into the fall and through the cold winters in his region.
Growing food became addictive. We began experimenting with simple low-cost season extension methods. We created detailed planting charts, experimenting with planting dates and varieties, always pushing the boundaries of what the experts told us was possible.
No-till and mulching became a central practice to combat weeds and build soil fertility. I began to recognize that in order to grow great food you needed to produce great compost, and this involved more than simply throwing organic material on a mound in the back corner of the yard.
Late summer is now an exciting time on the farm. During the cooler days we’re actively planting and seeding our fall and winter crops. Melons, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, lettuce, ginger and more is harvested daily.
Meanwhile, we’re busy keeping the garden beds weed-free and composted. Every bed on the farm is occupied. Carbon sequestering is at its peak. Soil life flourishes as is evident by the spongy earth beneath our bare feet.
It’s this joy that I want to share with every gardener. Growing healthy food is the most pleasurable thing we can do and it’s a way to reclaim our independence. There is no better activity than gardening to simultaneously promote human health, restore vibrancy to our abused earth, and bring new energy into our lives and hope to our communities.
Thank you for joining us on this journey.
From Damien’s desk
Ref: Forthcoming 2022 course material
Dan and Andrew are in the process of structuring content for the 2022 course. Filming will begin shortly and content will be released as it’s produced.
All new course participants, including those who have joined us since August 1st, will have full access to the forthcoming 2022 content at no further cost as it becomes available.
Our intention is to take you through the seasons and offer in-time content that provides you with a practical approach to gardening with clear demonstrations of no-till gardening practices.
Course content will be presented in a series of bite-sized videos that are compiled under these 9 big ideas:
Dan and Andrew will continue to conduct monthly interactive webinars via Zoom. Each webinar will focus on one or more topics relevant to the time of year.
These are interactive Q&A webinars where they answer any questions you may have. You are also welcome to submit your questions a few days in advance via email or the contact form.
I will be installing a members’ only discussion forum shortly and hope to complete all remaining components of the website by the end of this month.
The forum will allow you to share your gardening experiences with other community members, seek their feedback, as well as post questions for Dan, Andrew or myself to answer.
The forum will be divided into categories and sub-categories.
Our intention is that, over time, the forum will become a searchable, go-to repository of knowledge on growing different fruits, vegetables and legumes across a wide array of planting zones.
Once the new website is complete, I will be raising the price of the e-course to US$197 as I intend to begin promoting it internationally through an affiliate program.
As mentioned, all members who have signed up since August 1st will also receive all the forthcoming 2022 course content. So if you’re thinking about joining our gardening community, I would encourage you to take advantage of the current CAD$125 before the price increase.
This is the direct link to sign-up for the e-course: https://thelocalharvest.ca/ntg/organic-no-till-gardening-course
I hope you can join us on our journey towards building regional food security and growing healthy, nutrient-dense food.
Thank you kindly,
P.S. For those people attending Dan & Andrew’s in-person “Preparing your garden for the 2022 growing season” course on Sept. 25, there is some further course and logistics info posted at https://localharvestgardening.com/sept-25
If you wish to join us in-person on the 25th, you can reserve your spot below.
Three on-farm course dates are availableMaximum 20 participants per date
Closed: Saturday, September 11
Closed: Saturday, September 18
Saturday, September 25, 9am-3pm