Good morning Permies,
Against much warning from my organic growing friends, I have decided to enroll in the Master Gardener class through the local university extension.
I have just started this week, but I am a fast reader, so I have read ahead in the manual a great deal. Although all the old conventional knowledge is taught, there are frequent addendums which show how to do it organic. They seem to be doing a decent job of explaining this without stepping on the toes of their big corporate grantors.
It's really funny because they will go through this long detailed complex process for conventional agriculture, then they will finish the section with a short organic tidbit.
So for example they went into great detail about micro-nutrients, which ones interfere with others, how to get micro-nutrients into the soil, etc. Then in one paragraph they basically said, or you could leave more grass clippings and leaves on the ground, instead of bagging them up. Plots managed in this manner seldom need micro-nutrients.
I just don't see how someone is going to read pages of detailed instruction on conventional farming, then see such a simple solution, and choose conventional anyways.
I feel optimistic about the direction science is headed in the field of agriculture.
I am also privy to see some organic products which are being developed, through my job, and this is also encouraging.
I will be interested to see what your thoughts when the course is through. Especially I will be interested what they say about organic or better gardening.
Thanks, I'll try to keep the thread updated as I progress. There has already been much emphasis on the low organic material in South Carolina Soils, as well as the role microbes, manures, and cover crops play into its creation.
One interesting tidbit they noted was how areas where soil was created with poor drainage have retained more organic material.
This really sounds to me like thousands of little farm ponds are needed to slow our soil erosion, in addition to giving up the deep plowing.