Adam Mohammed

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since Apr 01, 2012
southern Ontario
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Recent posts by Adam Mohammed

Thanks everyone for your replies.
Sorry I can’t say much more right now, strapped for time what with market gardening, kids, and getting ready for the move (we bought it!).
2 years ago
Figured it would be worth posting this here.

The short story of my post is that I am wondering if any wonderful human reader of this would have any input about these soil and well-water test results: do you see any yellow or red flags about this soil sample; and what would you do to this soil to make it more fertile for veggie production (specific cover crops, or types of compost or manure, mineral inputs); do you see any issues with using this well water in a drip irrigation system for veggies and for seedlings in a greenhouse context. Below, long story, the context of our soil fertility needs.

My wife and I have been market gardening on rented land here in Zone 5 southern Ontario for a couple of years now (on nice rich sandy loam) and are in the process of hopefully buying a property to move residence and business to this fall (zone 6, further south southern Ontario). We may have a signed purchase agreement in two days from when I am writing this, knock on wood. The 5-acre field space where we would do 1-3 acres of annual market gardening (a balance of quick growing/fruiting intensive production like JM Fortier, Neversink, etc, and of less profitable-per-square-foot crops like squash, potatoes, cabbage, etc)  and 2-4 acres of berries, other perennial edibles, and pollinator-supporting species is largely sandy loam. It’s a hay field which apparently hasn’t been tilled or sprayed with anything for 5-6 years, and before that may have been used for other cash crops like corn/soy, though we are not quite sure. The current hay crop seems to be grass- dominant with some red clover and alfalfa, like one plant or cluster every 5-10’, and overall they hay mix seems a little sparse (you can see some bare soil under the foliage, it’s not thick sod).

We would hope to (this fall) till and amend(with compost/manure) at least some space for garlic and overwintering spinach, mizuna etc under row cover (something we have had success with before)  and to have some space (1/4 to 1/2 acre) tarped for early spring planting. We will save other bed prep and amending for the spring, keeping the hay in place as an overwinter cover-crop. Come spring I want to experiment with tilling in the hay in some places, in others just mowing and tarping (with the help of a balanced compost tea maybe) and in others also doing other cover cropping for fall crops or future years. Overall we plan on adding as much compost as is feasible on our first year heavy production beds (quick succession greens and roots, and fruiting crops) but eventually maybe rely more on a rotation of cover cropping and production.

Overall we have a general idea of just building up the organic matter content as much as possible, being low till to maintain and improve soil biology, and wanting to provide adequate nutrients through compost and cover cropping.  But getting to specifics, we have gaps in our knowledge about matter like minerals (other than, I know calcium and magnesium play an important role in healthy fruiting crops, and avoiding blossom end rot in nightshades), micro-nutrients, and pH, and appropriate amendments to correct severe or minor issues.

So again, any context or advice people might have in regards to our soil and water tests would be very welcome.
Thank you all for reading.
2 years ago
My two and a half year old son was born sat home in Toronto with a midwife, and we have another one on the way (due in Sept), again we're working with a midwife and hoping for a home birth. Last time and this time, though, we're open minded about things: if we have to go to the hospital, then have we have to go.
As a birth partner (husband) I found it helpful to have read Ina May Gaskin " Guide to Natural Childbirth" it me helped me know how to be supportive.
6 years ago
Keep posting. I loved reading through this thread!
6 years ago
Hey, from a fellow new Hamiltonian. Join the the Hamilton Permaculture Guild list serve !

And if you're ever shopping at The Mustard Seed Food Coop, ask for "Adam," that's me!
6 years ago
I imagine doing a lot of what people previously mentioned, with one addition: plant lots and lots of fruit seeds, to get hundreds of crab apples, wild cherries etc all over the place, maybe getting lucky and getting some good new cultivars in the process.
That price point for land sounds awesome, makes me think about NS and NB in a new way 😄
6 years ago
I've done a decent bit of wwoofing (a dozen hosts in Canada, USA, and NZ various times over the past 10 years), and 50+hrs/wk is more than l was ever asked for...

Except at one farm, where we had clear communication about roles and expectations at the beginning of the season, and where I developed a close friendship with one of the family members / farm owners where we were good about talking about emotional things.

To me it sounds like you need to provoke a conversation with your host, to be honest about all your "roses and thorns" about them and the internships. Hopefully it goes well. Worst case, it's awkward and sour and you need to move on afterwards.

I think it's fair to think about hours and compensation in a monetary way, because that's the system we live in.
Especially if, at the end of the day, you eventually want enough $ to buy your own chunk of land.
6 years ago
I just wanted to pick people's brains, get some ideas:

My wife and I are buying our first house, a small-ish two bedroom place in urban Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (zone 6-ish). Previously we've rented urban apartments and wwoofed, so we're pretty excited about 'owning' a chunk of land and making it our own, even if it's not yet the multi-acre homestead we want asap.

We found an accidentally special house: the front of the house faces south, and has a glassed-in/covered porch/sunroom (small-ish space, maybe 5'x20' which only gets shaded in the late afternoon. Of course my immediate thoughts are "Hey, it's already a functional passive solar greenhouse." I've been thinking about ways to make it more functional on the cheap (when we would move in in 3 months), this is the list so far:

-either on the inside or outside of the windows, install 6mm greenhouse plastic (using track and wiggle wire), because the current windows are only single pane

-plant something deciduous to provide summer shade. Maybe shrubs/trees like sumac, lilacs, serviceberry, hawthorns, semi-dwarf fruit trees; maybe even have some king of trellis standing in front of (or attached to the sides and top of) the porch for some vines be it grapes, goji berries, curcubits (squash, melons), hops, morning glory, etc.

- inside, have a few shelves / tables for seedling production and a few medium to large pots for year round herbs, greens, exotic novelties

- up against the wall between the "porch" and the interior of the house, some kind of water storage system be it barrels, buckets, rubber maid bins, bottles etc for thermal mass (probably using the water containes as the base for seedling shelves/tables. Probably bags of potting mix ingredients and my worm compost bin to add to the clutter and thermal mass.

Of course one of my limitations is that the porch is an indoor "finished" space. I would need to keep moisture down (careful watering) to avoid any mold or water damage.
Also I am not sure that the ceiling or walls are well insulated (will find out during home inspection this week).

Any ideas, tips?

7 years ago
A couple of permie oreinted farms in rural Hamilton: Old 99, and Simpler Thyme Organic Farm
7 years ago