Tanglefoot is a very small farm; 1.97 acres of which approximately 1.25 acres can be cultivated. So when crops go into the ground, every square inch matters. So we use “intensive” gardening, which is just a fancy term for overplanting. So our tomato plants are 18 inches apart, instead of 2.5 feet. Most of our greens are planted 4 inches apart, and carrots only 3 inches apart! The space between our 30 inch wide rows is only 12 inches, so we don’t waste good ground on pathways.
In order for plants to thrive in an intensive farming setup, the soil has to be AMAZING. So we don’t feed our plants chemicals, but instead we feed the soil, and the millions of organisms in it. We practice no-till farming. We use cover crops to build organic matter, put nitrogen into the soil, and break up the hard Oklahoma clay. We compost the waste from the farm, and give it back to the soil. We use worms to help aerate and enrich the soil. When needed we use organic, OMRI-listed amendments like bone meal, feather meal, manure and greensand. In other words, we are working hard to restore the fertility of our property. And happily, we are slowly succeeding by using regenerative practices.
Regenerative Agriculture is a method of rebuilding soil by kick-starting the carbon cycle using ecologically sound practices. These include no-till farming, increasing organic matter, and managing ruminant animals appropriately. It is going back to farming the way it was done for centuries before humans decided we could do better than Nature. It is a chance to reverse the damage done, and restore our land’s ability to support life, including humans. It’s kind of a big deal, and I’m committed to leaving our tiny patch of green better than we discovered it.