The debate on how to manage foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) takes on a serious tone considering the latest statistics from the U.K. As of May 14, 2001, over three million animals had been slaughtered, including approximately 500,000 cattle, over two million sheep, 118,000 pigs, and 2,000 goats. Half a million animals are awaiting slaughter.2 It has been estimated that 95% of slaughtered animals were healthy and uninfected.
It's reasonable to say that ten years ago, many organic consumers were happy to buy organic food, regardless of the quality. But increasingly, today’s organic consumer is a different breed and won’t accept stunted apples, wilted spinach, or stale bread. Organic and high quality. That’s what consumers expect today.
Biennial vegetables in flower are among the most interesting things for a gardener to see. Apart from being quite lovely (parsnip, leek and celery flowers could easily be garden ornamentals), they are a necessary stage of growth that is rarely seen. Most commercial seeds of cabbage, beet, turnip, celery and other biennials are grown further south, mostly overseas. The reason that you don't see these plants in bloom here is that some care is usually needed to keep them alive through the winter.
If you’re like me, you started your tomato seedlings too early and now they’re long, spindly vines falling over and getting tangled with one another. Last year, I started mine a few weeks earlier than I should have, and then our late spring kept them indoors for two weeks longer. I wish I had a greenhouse. Don’t we all wish that?
Since the mid 1990s, precipitation in many parts of Canada has become much more early in the 20th Century, Albert Howard, working in India, Noted the prominence of pests on crops where "artificials" (chemical fertilizers) were used, and their virtual absence in the traditional farming systems.
If people had told me seventeen years ago that you could grow sweet potatoes in Canada, I'd have thought they were pulling my leg. At the time, my gardening mindset placed sweet spuds just this side of pineapples and bananas—way out of range for Maritime gardeners. After all, didn’t supermarket sweet potatoes hail from places like Louisiana and Tennessee?
Organic farmers do not usually have problems with insects and plant diseases in field crops. Problems with insects and disease can usually be traced to problems with either the health of the soil or the crop rotation.
If you're an organic farmer and you keep bees, or have a friend who keeps bees, then breeding disease resistant potatoes is easy. Just get seed tubers of about twenty good potato varieties, and plant a row of each variety. If necessary, protect against Colorado beetle with Bt or natural pyrethrum, and protect against blight with copper.
Sheep fit well into many farm operations. If self-sufficiency and sustainability are your goals, raising sheep has many advantages.
Well kept turf grass can create a pleasant setting for your home, an oasis for golf and leisure activities, and a play area for children.