Conservation Tillage and Organic Farming

Organic agriculture is often characterized as addicted to maximum tillage with growers using every opportunity to lay the land bare with shovel, plow, or rototiller. This image has been magnified through the popularity of small-scale organic systems like the French Intensive and Biointensive Mini Farming models that espouse double- and triple-digging to create deep rooting beds. While appropriate to such intensive systems, this degree of cultivation is not characteristic of organic agriculture...

Planned Crop Rotation

Organic Field Crop Rotation

Essentially a tool for annual cropping systems, crop rotation refers to the sequence of crops and cover crops grown on a specific field. Particular sequences confer particular benefits to long and short-term soil fertility, and to pest management. Agronomic operations are especially dependent on crop rotations that include forage legumes. These provide the vast majority of the nitrogen required by subsequent crops like corn, which is a heavy consumer of that nutrient. Even when livestock are...

Esoteric Practices

There are a number of farming and gardening practices based on belief in a non-physical world closely aligned with our physical reality. Those who use these practices believe that conditions in this unseen realm influence, or even dictate, what happens on a material level. They take pains to understand these influences and adjust their farm activities. In some instances, they act to influence events. Obviously, these practices are rooted more deeply in metaphysics than in the conventional...

Organic Farming Niche Market or Viable Alternative

The pioneers of organic farming considered organics the preferred direction for the whole of agriculture to take. It is likely that most contemporary proponents still hold that view. While recent growth in the organic industry is definitely encouraging, much of the impetus is tied to its growth as a niche market, not as a serious shift in the direction of mainstream agriculture. Unfortunately, a likely reason for the newfound tolerance of organic agriculture in many land grant universities and...