Andy Jones and Erin Hanley, managers of Intervale Community Farm, produce bumper crops by using a full arsenal of organic techniques, many of which can be used in the home garden:
- Build soil tilth and fertility by applying generous amounts of compost.
- Plant legume cover crops, such as clover and vetch, to add organic matter and nitrogen to the soil.
- Use fabric row covers to protect crops from insect pests.
- Use BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) sparingly if necessary to control potato-beetle larvae.
- In cold climates, use a plastic-covered hoop house to give tomatoes an early start outdoors. Hoop houses also discourage soil borne diseases by preventing rainfall from splashing soil on the plants’ leaves.
- Nature hates a mono culture. Diversify and rotate crops to confuse insects and best use soil nutrients.
- Interplant flowers with vegetables to attract bees and other beneficial insects.
Reprinted with permission from Organic Gardening Magazine