Joseph Lofthouse

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since Dec 16, 2014
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Joseph Lofthouse grew up on the farm and in the community that was settled by his ggg-grandmother and her son. He still farms there. Growing conditions are high-altitude brilliantly-sunlit desert mountain valley in Northern Utah with irrigation, clayish-silty high-pH soil, super low humidity, short-season, and intense radiant cooling at night. Joseph learned traditional agricultural and seed saving techniques from his grandfather and father. Joseph is a sustenance market farmer and landrace seed-developer. He grows seed for about 95 species. Joseph is enamored with landrace growing and is working to convert every species that he grows into adaptivar landraces. He writes the Landrace Gardening Blog for Mother Earth News.
Farming Philosophy
Promiscuous Pollination and ongoing segregation are encouraged in all varieties. Joseph's style of landrace gardening can best be summed up as throwing a bunch of varieties into a field, allowing them to promiscuously cross pollinate, and then through a combination of survival-of-the-fittest and farmer-directed selection saving seeds year after year to arrive at a locally-adapted genetically-diverse population that thrives because it is closely tied to the land, the weather, the pests, the farmer's habits and tastes, and community desires.
Joseph lives under a vow of poverty and grows using subsistence level conditions without using cides or fertilizers. He prefers to select for genetics that can thrive under existing conditions. He figures that it is easier to change the genetics of a population of plants than it is to modify the soil, weather, bugs, etc. For example, because Joseph's weeding is marginal, plants have to germinate quickly, and burst out of the soil with robust growth in order to compete with the weeds.
Joseph is preserving the genes of thousands of varieties of plants, but does not keep individual varieties intact or pure. The stories don't matter to him. What matters is the web of ongoing life. For his purposes a squash is a squash is a squash. Plant purity doesn't exist in Joseph's world, other than in very broad ways like keeping hot peppers separate from sweet peppers. Some landraces might even contain multiple species!
Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Recent posts by Joseph Lofthouse

On my farm, many green leafy vegetables develop bitterness as a response to hot temperatures and low humidity. Those same species are not bitter if bought from the grocery store: Things like kale, lettuce, etc.
4 days ago

My favorite tree grows on the lawn of the county courthouse where our farmer's market it held. Her roots are wide and gnarly, perfect for providing a bit of cover for a weary primate to hunker down and find refuge from the commotion of the big city. Her energy is calm and long-term, in stark contrast to the rushing short-term energy on the nearby streets. I visit her most every week after market, and thoroughly enjoy being embraced by her roots.

1 week ago

My blood pressure dropped 20 points during/after my first week long fast. And stayed down when I resumed eating. It is the primary reason that I have continued the practice on a yearly basis.
1 week ago
At my place, black locust is a marginal species. It barely manages to survive. It is not at all invasive. It is attacked by a borer so young trees often break apart during wind storms.
1 week ago

Mike Homest wrote:Indeed, some 4x4 car with good winter tires is much better then chains. Though if the snow gets deeper then the cars ground clearance, snow gets stuck below and you are finished.

In my world, chains are only installed on a 4X4 truck, with good studded winter tires, and high clearance....
1 week ago

My third post to this thread, and I'm finally getting around to the thing I think is most important about dealing with winter. Just stay home!
1 week ago

Chains are really annoying. They vibrate like crazy. You can only go about 25 mph. Whenever I put them on, it's blowing, frigid, and snowing. I basically have to lay in the snow to put them on, and take them off. I love them!

There are two types. Traditional "chains" which are made of chain links. They take a bit more skill to put on, and I like to adjust them after driving a short distance. The sound of them must bring fond memories to me, cause I find them soothing. Sometimes the links can freeze while driving, so can be a pain to take off. As if laying on a snowy wet road isn't pain enough.

The newer type is made from coiled wire. They are held on with plastic clips and rubber bands. They are easier to install and self-adjusting. I think of them as the planned obsolescence option.

The best time to put chains on, is before you need them! Really sucks to put them on after I'm already stuck.

1 week ago
I really like a standard square-nosed shovel for dealing with lots of snow or with heavy snow. They are only about  8" wide, which makes them easy to handle. I can use one of them all day long, rather than getting tired out in a few minutes using an 18" to 20" wide show shovel. Sure, it takes longer, but the work is lighter.

1 week ago
For me, black locust is a barely viable species. It sorta grows here, but it doesn't thrive, and it's not invasive.
1 week ago