Soil tests after 9 years of no-spray no-till

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Thu, 03/02/2017 - 10:23

In August, 2008, we moved into our house on a 1/10 acre lot, and I began gardening with a single sheet-mulched plot in the front yard. I took a baseline set of soil tests from the front and back yards in January, 2009 and began a regimen of no-till, no-spray (i.e. no chemical amendments), no-manure gardening, using only plant-based mulch to maintain soil fertility while harvesting as many as 75 crops for market each growing season. The soil tests were done by our local university extension agency.

notes on Oklahoma Native Plant Society Indoor Outing, Feb 3, 2017

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Sat, 02/04/2017 - 22:22

Gardening with Oklahoma Native Plants: Steve Owens, Bustani Plant Farm

Soil preparation is not as important for native plants: they like the soil the way it is! Some even like to be stressed. Try growing them in cracks between landscape elements.

Wildflower meadow gardens are great for pollinator habitat, but study your site first. Consider microclimate and choose plants accordingly. Contrasting white flowers can help break up the uniformity of a meadow garden.

Rethinking circular keyhole beds and mandala gardens

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Wed, 12/14/2016 - 17:28

I'm a big fan of the late Toby Hemenway's book, Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. I own both editions, and for many years I used it as the curriculum for the intro permaculture courses I taught. In my opinion it's a classic right up there with Mollison's big black book.

Why we're discontinuing selling our produce at market

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Sun, 11/15/2015 - 20:35

[Revised 1/9/16 to add November and December income]

When people ask about our tenth of an acre, I frequently say, "We call it an urban farm, but it's more of a market garden." That's because for the last six years (2009-2015), we've brought essentially all of our produce to the farmers' market. What doesn't sell, we eat ourselves or preserve. We're going to try a different strategy in 2016, for a number of reasons, and I feel we owe our customers an explanation.