Here’s a new book I’m really looking forward to reading: Laura Lengnick’s Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate. $19.95 from New Society Publishers.
Like many farmers, I’ve been struggling not to get despondent about erratic and extreme weather, especially in the past few years. I worry about how and if we are going to be able to adapt to continue producing good food despite extreme heat, cold, drought and deluge. I don’t want to slide into catastrophic thinking about plagues of new pests and diseases. Obviously we’ll need to make changes to how and when we plant and harvest – old-timey calendars don’t work any more.
I’m already there with the need for good record-keeping (to figure out what works best); eating and supplying local food (to reduce transportation fuel use and to get the freshest food); and doing my personal best not to make climate change worse. And I need help in understanding how to be more resilient and use the options I have. And it’s definitely time to start this!
I went to a workshop given by Laura Lengnick at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Conference in 2012: Managing a Changing Climate:A Farm Vulnerability Assessment and I was encouraged by her grasp of both the science and of farming. Her book is one of three being launched by New Society at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC
Resilience is a concept familiar to another author, Carol Deppe,
whose new book The Tao of Vegetable Gardening
will, sooner or later, get a review by me on this site. I enjoyed her earlier book, The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times.
That book focuses on staple crops for survival: potatoes, corn, dry beans, squash and eggs. Her new book includes other crops which make our lives richer and worth gardening for: tomatoes, peas, green beans, summer squash. I just read an interesting interview with Carol Deppe from Margaret Roach
who blogs as A Way to Garden
, and makes radio podcasts such as this interview.
And yet more reading! The April issue of Growing for Market
is out. I’ve written the first of a pair of articles on hot weather greens
. This one is about greens mostly cooked and eaten. next month my article will be about greens mostly eaten as salads. I know there is a lot of overlap, but I had to draw a line somewhere! This month’s article includes chard, Malabar spinach, New Zealand spinach, beet greens, Egyptian spinach, leaf amaranths, Aztec Spinach, Water Spinach, sweet potato leaves, squash leaves and shoots, crowder pea shoots and leaves and edible celosia. No need to go short of leafy greens, no matter how hot it gets!
Another article in this issue is about pesticide drift contamination, written by Joanna and Eric Reuter
, whose fascinating blog I love to follow on their website Chert Hollow Farm
. Their blog has a 3-part series of posts about their own experience of being contaminated by a neighbor. Their article tells their own story more briefly and also that of Terra Bella farm, an hour from them.
has a great article on Six strategies to prevent weeds
. We need them all! (Of course, we are already using some of them.) Raymond Cloyd
from Kansas State University has written a timely article about the Spotted Wing Drosophila
, a newly emerging pest of fruit, especially brambles. Gretel Adams,
in her regular column on flower-growing, advises planting bulbs quickly and often. And Lynn Byczynski
reports on what the ag census says about local food. Having the report read carefully and summarized for us is a great service.