The Chaos Garden: Year 1

Some call it a mess. Others contend it’s natural order. Technically, it’s referred to as polycropping but we call it a chaos garden and it’s the perfect microcosm of a regenerative farm. Regenerative agriculture is focused on restoring natural nutrient cycles in the soil by emulating the natural ecosystem. The goal is to create an …

Rethinking Success: Soil, profit and regenerative farming

Traditionally, farmers have correlated yield to success. That is to say, on a field by field basis, yield is often the primary determining factor used to judge whether a crop was successful or not.  And for good reason. To begin with, yield is fairly easy to measure (e.g. bushels/acre) and can be calculated during harvest. …

Soil as an Ecosystem

Healthy ecosystems produce healthy organisms. It’s really that simple. From gardeners to agriculturalists, it’s becoming increasingly important to understand the role of the soil microbiome in relation to soil health and land rejuvenation. Traditionally, farmers tend to disassociate their target crop from land that it is grown on, focusing on production processes which produce immediate …

Risk, Reward and Regenerative Farming

In business, risk is often associated with reward. The general idea being the greater the risk, the greater the return.  In agriculture, this is generally taken to mean that by increasing your input costs (i.e. fertilizers, herbicides, irrigation, etc.,), your yields, and thus your profits, will increase correspondingly — simply put, the more you spend …

On Cold-Pressed Canola Oil

Cold-pressed canola oil is to regular canola oil as extra virgin olive oil is to regular olive oil. Except, it’s healthier, tastier, more sustainable and just all around better. Okay, there is a clear bias here. But that seems only right and fair as we are a Canadian blog and most farms in our country …

Five Principles for Soil Restoration: Revitalizing the Carbon Cycle

Just a few generations ago, when the prairies were first broken, pioneering farmers were able to produce good yielding, high protein crops without the addition of synthetic fertilizers. However, years of conventional farming practices (e.g. monocropping, heavy tillage, etc.) have interrupted natural regenerative processes (e.g. carbon, nitrogen and water cycles) which restores soil fertility.  As …

Cover Crop Cocktails

As cover-cropping is becoming more and more popular, the idea of a cover crop cocktail has been attracting more and more attention on both farms and gardens. While many cocktails are custom mixes – designed by growers to perform a specific function(s) – the practice refers to any seed mix that contains three or more …

On Micronutrients: Liebig’s Law

It’s called Liebig’s barrel. The contents of the barrel represent a crop’s yield potential, while each wooden slat represent a different nutrient required by the plant. The barrel is meant as a visual representation of Liebig’s Law of the minimum – a crucial concept when calculating the nutrient needs and yield potential of any field …

Soil Formation on the Prairies

Across the great American plains, where the seasons are stark and natural grasslands still dot the prairie, the land is mostly covered in the rich dark loam known as chernozemic soil which have developed since the glaciers receded a few millennia ago.    There are five key factors that determine the type of soil that is …

If it ain’t in the ground, it ain’t in the food

“You’d think, wouldn’t you, that a carrot is a carrot – that one is about as good as another as far as nourishment is concerned? But it isn’t; one carrot may look and taste like another and yet be lacking in the particular mineral element which our system requires and which carrots are supposed to …