“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” quoth the late great Yogi Berra, who rates second to none in the ranks of our great American folk heroes, as much for these gnomic words of wisdom as for his immortal achievements on the baseball diamond. Let the post-modern deconstructivists make of this what they will; any ReFarmer worth his salt holds this wisdom close at heart, without having to think too much about it.
In the wake of Project GROW -whose EU funding ran out last autumn- there remains some “afterbirth” in the form of (a) soil sensors in the ground, in the care of (b) ReFarmers determined to continue monitoring the conditions of our soils ongoingly, with or without any outside support. So it is that i have this historical record of Surface Soil Temperature and Light (Top Left and Right, respectively, in these graphs), and Surface Soil Moisture and %change (Bottom Left and Right) for 15 representative sites around my farm, for the period from mid-August 2018 to present (mid-Feb 2020).
By getting plants off to the best possible start, you can avoid all sorts of problems that would otherwise crop up later. This is the fundamental truth on which our SMART Greenhouse project is based; it is also the filter through which we look at our Simple Polytunnel as it stands, and consider how we can improve conditions to produce the most robust, disease-resistant and nutrient-dense plants, as efficiently as possible.
Though the concept of “Slow Food” was a thing some time ago -today, maybe not so much- the SLO (Seasonal/ Local/ Organic) food movement here in Lagos is really gaining traction, as locals are coming to understand what it means and appreciate the many benefits. As we are challenged by the growing number of discriminating consumers to explain exactly what this means to us at Quinta Vale da Lama, and what we are doing about it, we are elevating core principles to the level of policy:
Beautiful time of year here, in this landscape so liberally sprinkled with almond flowers -introduced as a form of artificial snow, according to legend. Beautiful, but also challenging, in that Good Stewardship of these trees and the soil in which they grown involves a lot of work that needs doing in this short winter season, when days are short and weather unpredictable. SO: There's a lot going on! And not much time for squinting and pecking at the computer screen…
While government-approved organic certification standards are a good thing to have, they are by no means a guarantee that the produce under the label is of the highest nutritional quality. Indeed, as anyone who's seen the film “Keeping the Soil in Organic” must admit, the standard -at least in USA (i.e. USDA Ceritified Organic)- is so broad as to admit of some very unhealthful practices… And because those practices are essential to the profitiability of those big agri-businesses that have lobbied successfully to protect them, they are in fact coming to increasingly dominate the organic food supply chain.