Why Should You Have a Sustainable Farm?
The three main objectives of sustainable farming is to create a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social/economic equity. This way of farming is to seek techniques that will promote farming practices that will help improve the soil environment and are economically good for the community. Unlike commercial farming, sustainable farming focuses on producing crops that have not been sprayed with harsh chemical pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers. This makes for a safer growing environment and healthier producing plants in the vegetable garden. Along with having a healthy environment, a sustainable farm allows you to save money around the homestead. By producing your own food you are saving the amount of money you spend in supermarkets and increase your supply of healthier crops grown in the garden.
Methods of Sustainable Farming
There are a couple of different methods or techniques when it comes to sustainable farming. The first method is crop rotation which is the process of rotating crops to avoid planting the same crop in the same area every year. If one crop is planted in the same area every year you will cause pest problems and reduce soil nutrients in the garden. Accurate crop rotation helps eliminate the reproduction cycle of pests and will replenish soil nutrients because of the different crop benefits being planted. Another technique of sustainable farming is planting cover crops to improve soil build-up. With warm-season and cool-season cover crops such as Sunn Hemp, Sorghum Sudangrass, Crimson Clover, and Tillage Radish there are plenty of benefits that ensure improvement is being incorporated back into the soil. The third effective method of sustainable farming is the use of good compost for soil enrichment. Travis and Greg are believers in the FAD system which is furrow, amend, and drip. When creating a furrow this allows for a destinated place to plant the crops. Once the furrow is created, you can amend the furrow with a good quality of compost which will improve the overall garden soil. Then, by adding drip tape we can effectively supply the growing plants with the needed amount of irrigation in the vegetable garden. We recommend using quality compost such as cow manure or chicken manure to get the best results in the garden. One more method of sustainable farming is integrating livestock to help with the garden. Allowing livestock such as cows, chickens, goats, or pigs to graze on crops after harvesting can create organic matter in the soil, feed the animals, and allows the garden to be worked in different ways depending on each animal.
The Lazy Acres Family Farm
On this week’s episode, Greg is at The Lazy Acres Family Farm in Marianna, Florida talking with Ryan Ziglar about leaving his everyday desk job for sustainable farming. Ryan used to own a video production company but wanted to leave this to pursue a healthier lifestyle and spend more time with family in the future. Ryan showed off his garden area where in the winter he planned to plant wheat, rye, and oats. He also planted a cool-season cover crop known as Hairy Vetch to improve his nitrogen within the garden soil. Before it was a small garden, Ryan mentions that the area where his garden is now used to be farmed for row crops meaning four to five rows of different crops. Along with compost, Ryan has livestock such as cows, goats, and pigs to help forage the garden. His favorite animal to use in the garden is cows because they supply the ground with lots of manure in a quick amount of time.