The No-Till Organic Vegetable Farm

Daniel Mays. . Storey, $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-63586-189-1
Farmer Mays draws from nearly a decade’s worth of experience running his five-acre Frith Farm in Maine for this useful primer on “intensive no-till vegetable production.” Arguing that large-scale agricultural production is at the heart of modern ecological problems, he proposes a less-is-more ideology that suggests “the best approach for caring for the soil is usually to stop messing with it” and employs a strict “no-spray policy.” The book’s definitions of farming terms nicely illuminate Mays’s philosophy; tillage is “a largely unnecessary application of mechanical power to a biological system,” which ends up killing beneficial organisms and driving erosion, while sustainability is “a comprehensive effort to maximize positive environmental, social, and economic impacts simultaneously.” He takes a deep dive into the nitty-gritty of soil science before advising on planting, irrigation, weeds, mulching, compost, cover crops, fertilizers, and harvesting. Candid about starting costs, he gives instructions on writing a business plan; keeping records; securing land, materials, and labor; and finding places to sell the harvest. Straightforward and encouraging, Mays’s insightful and detailed account is a one-stop source for small farmers looking for both inspiration and practical advice. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 07/28/2020
Release date: 11/01/2020
Genre: Lifestyle
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