JP002 – Resources

This episode provides resources that we have found useful to our understanding of plants, soils, and agriculture.

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Transcript (automated)

Peace. My name is Olonade

Welcome to jiggy, jiggy, agriculture Podcast, where we get our hands and minds dirty, detailing the African relationship between the soul and the soil.

On today’s episode, I’m broadcasting from the creek that gives Rock Creek Park. Its name. It is terrifically calm today. I hope that’s communicated.

On today’s episode, I’d like to share with you some resources that have really helped me understand what the soil is. there I’ll give some resources on trying to help understand the African understanding of what the soul is.

Today I’ll just mention, shortly some books and podcasts, that I found immensely valuable.

The first one of the podcasts is ATTRA sustainable agriculture. All of the podcasts and books that I mentioned will be in the show notes as your sustainable agriculture is put on by SARE, which is a offshoot of USDA’s extension. And this is a really fascinating podcast because it provides exactlyit. It it details,what extension is all about now for for those of us who don’t know what, it’s what I mean by extension in the United States when land grant universities were made, they were made to help American farmers farm better. And these land grant universities were there to perform agricultural experiments. And then there were these people called extension agents that would go out to farms of their states and communities. And they would communicate the findings of the university and help these farmers grow. And so with actual sustainable agriculture, they not only talked about no till and cover crops and things like that, but they give regional experiences and interviews with other scientists, other farmers, people in industry, about how different different things are going on. I just checked it today and they have this very, I haven’t listened to it yet. But as of May 29, they had this episode that was just released about seed saving. So I definitely recommend checking that out.

And that’s how saving seeds has been, as is on my blog. How I started some of my foods Namely my butternut squash. I eaten it in January of 2018. With a friend of mine, Jelani, I saved the seeds from it. And then a couple months later I started growing it and by September I had my first butternut squash, one of four and as of May 29 I still haven’t eaten it. So pretty hardy seeds. The next episode in the next podcast is called the future of agriculture. This one is a very exciting podcast that really is focused more about how technology’s interfacing with agriculture and changing the industry. They’ve had they some particularly fascinating episodes that I’ve listened to where they won that they were talking with people that were Ryan Jones, and talking about the pitfalls of drones and how they were used in agriculture, how they can be used, and most importantly, how they should be used. There seemed to be some sort of bubble within the agriculture industry. And people really didn’t. Farmers didn’t know what to do with the data, they didn’t have time to process the data, and definitely did not have the resources that are necessary to deal with that data. That was really one really, really great one.

And then another one was a podcast that was talking about how people are using American techniques and Dutch techniques to hybridize seeds and, you know, I guess Lean management techniques and bringing those to the continent, and really changing people’s lives almost, you know, within one growing season. That was an immensely Fascinating episode that I shared with a couple friends of mine. I, I really highly recommend that podcast.

next podcast is the no till farmer podcast. This one gives you an understanding about what no till and cover crops is like not even an organic context but a niche and its initial context in the practice of growing corn, wheat and soybeans in rotation. Generally people would say they would, they would, if they were going to grow soybeans, they would have some sort of different cover crop going through the winter like like wheat or whatever. They would then put some initial cover interstitial cover crops in before they got the soy beans going. They’d harvest the soy beans and then plant corn later. Reason why this soy beans work for this particular thing is because soy beans are nitrogen mixers, and they form commensal symbiotic relationships with bacteria that will take nitrogen out of the air and put it into the soil in exchange for carbon in the form of some sugars by the plants. So you’d have all this nitrogen in the soil, proper for the corn to come up over the course of the summer really quickly. Then after that, they cut that down and maybe have the winner they then they’d follow it up with wheat. Again, the wheat would die off and over or either overwinter a die-off in the winter. And so they talk about this a whole lot, you can learn more than even I’ve just communicated to you by checking out the no till farmer podcast.

One thing that I learned from this podcast was that I didn’t understand how important glyphosate was to no till as an agricultural practice. So one thing that I really didn’t explain with cover crops That the purpose for the cover crops is to keep the soil alive year round. And in doing so you have a living root in the ground, that is keeping the microbial community up the soil structure together so that it doesn’t get compacted so that the soil stays alive. Now, what they would do is that they had, they would then in order to reap the benefits of this nitrogen fixation, immediately what you need to do would be to kill the previous cover crop and plant directly into it. So what they had done was use glyphosate to kill the cover crop and then plant directly into this whether it was it was a corn or wheat or, or soybeans at depending on what was what was their previous. So that was that was particularly fascinating to me. And now times have changed where we are now able to use in an organic no till cover cropping scenario you’re now able to use these machines called rollers and crimpers that look like you know, basically steam rollers with like long knives on them that will roll over the cover crop, chop it so that it’ll stop growing or be at all impeded into the growth and then behind like the the, and then you’ll be able to plant directly into it. So if you can imagine, on the front of the tractor, they’d have the roller crimper and then on the back of the tractor, they’d have the either something to plant seeds directly into or they’d have a different type of machine that injects the seedling and in a given row structure into the soil. So no till farmer podcasts and you can learn from this no-till Farmer podcast about what no till is like in an industrial agriculture scenario, which is which is like I said, it’s immensely valuable because it lets you know How to scale down. The pardon me Just give me a second here, lost the image.

The next podcast that I’m going to recommend is the regenerative agriculture podcast. This podcast is probably my largest inspiration for starting my own podcast. I’ve been listening to podcasts since probably 2007. Winter of 2007. And this podcast in an informational space has been is one of the best run podcasts that i’ve i’ve ever listened to. Definitely. And the best agriculture podcasts that I’ve ever listened to. The podcast contains no personality, so you won’t find voices like mine on there, but that is totally fine because what it is for is for people To get information quickly and apply it immediately, they’ve had the host of the podcast isn’t is a agronomic consultant. Now an agronomist is somebody who works with farmers to increase the economic value of the farm. So he does that and he interviews other people that he’s come across within his career. Some really fascinating episodes. One of the probably the most fascinating and most influential podcast episode of his podcast was the one where he interviewed the scientist who studies insect communication and since and he was talking about how, I guess senses both se, n, s, e and s, C, E, n, T, s. Because he’s talking about how bugs can smell sick plants, and eat those sick plants, and plants generally will do this so that they take themselves out of the population. Just gonna give that a minute because it’s, it’s pretty deep concept that that really changed the way that I understood plants as a whole. No longer Am I looking at plants as if there’s something wrong with them. But what is going on is that there’s something wrong with where it’s growing.

Meaning Well, I’ll go into this later about, like how drainage matters. I’ll follow this up at the end of the podcast. Let me let me just keep going with my recommendations at this point in time.

The next podcasts that are mentioned is called the urban farmer podcast. I just listened to an episode of this right before while I was cleaning my room earlier. This podcast is very, very good too because it provides an introductory level of information about urban gardening, which is pretty much just generally who I envisioned my audience to be.

And the host generally interviews people from around Arizona, so if you are if you are urban gardening in a dry place, like Arizona in an arid climate, this podcast will be right up your alley and you’ll be able to take stuff that is from there and apply it immediately. There’s been a lot of it is it is purely organic, lots of personality but the the information is have high quality. The replayability is also of high quality. And some of the books that I’ve gotten today have been recommended from or the some of the books that I later recommend. I’ve learned about from from this podcast.

The next podcast is one done by a colleague of mine. Christian is called Afro beets. Christian is going through and explaining his own journey with growing plants at the same time as he is going through the vegan lifestyle from personal conversations that I’ve had with him, you know, he’s he’s also doing a lot of indoor growing, which is pretty fascinating. He’s growing tomatoes, you know, in his in his window sill in his apartment, and he’s able to sustain himself from this. So he’s he’s doing really excellent work, and I definitely recommend it.

And then the last podcast that I’ll mention is The edible activist podcast. These last two podcasts are run by and for black people. Edible, edible activist podcast is another podcast run out of chocolate city and where she hosts interviews a host. The hosts interviews a host of people who are there talking about food justice, food security, generally within the context of Washington DC, but these can be really applied to all of the chocolate cities across the United States.

For the books, the first book is titled The one straw revolution and introduction to natural farming.This book is by Masanobu Fukuoka.

Wow. is what I had to say about this book. I probably read it in about two days. It’s maybe 100 100 something pages and Hello, Mr. woodpecker, One of the one of the particular things that I took and put into practice immediately after reading this book was caring less about my plants. Now what I mean by that is I, it’s not that I cared less about whether or not they succeeded. But I definitely beat them less. Which is definitely important because otherwise you while you’re you babying your plants, you’re not allowing them to build up their own defenses like within the insect communication. And since since episode that I was talking about before, this is very much how I’ve witnessed my dad change his gardening habits over the course of my life, where now, he said to me before, amen. If it survives, it survives. I couldn’t agree more. One of the other things that I took from Masanobu Fukuoka his book is, I took a but I was I was out in the backyard just watching my squash grow. And a storm had come. So I’d gone on to the front. I was sitting on the porch watching the storm over the Catholic University athletic grounds. And then I heard this enormous crash wound. Wow. And what had happened is that this dead tree that was in the alley had finally given and one of the branches fell off and it exploded in the alley. And how fortunate it was for me because one of the things that must Nobu gogo was talking about was, you know, he was suggesting abandoning trellises and just letting things happen their natural way. So what I did is that I took those branches and I had, you know, with for everyone that had a sort of slingshot situation I had laid one of the ends of the branches in And you know, I had sort of repeated that until this natural trellis had developed. And I had just placed the squash vine that had started growing there. And by the end of the summer hit it had it had really done his job taking over the structure that I had provided to it. Masanobu Fukuoka is an immense immensely How do I say this-I just want to share his work to to to raise awareness as to to how, how powerful these this this book is.

The next one is JADAM I assume organic farming ultra powerful pest and disease solution disease control solution. Make all natural pesticide though all the way to ultra low cost agriculture. This is one of the other books actually replaces, with the the book that I intended on putting up there, which is the Korean natural farming update. I’ll read the title to you in just a second on my phone comes out of airplane mode. Turns out that that was the name of the book I had I had assumed incorrectly. Now this book is really fascinating because the Korean natural farming techniques are very different than any than even. You know, Fukuoka has Japanese natural farming techniques. One thing that I’d like to see is a standardization a little bit of what African natural farming techniques would be and I hope to be at the forefront of that development. But either way that needs to happen. So with with Korean natural farming, they are really big on fermentation. As we know, Koreans eat a lot of kimchi, which is fermented cabbage. They generally from what I remember the you know, take the cabbage put in, in a, in a glass jar, you know, big mason jars situation with a bunch of spices and some vinegar over you know, put in the ground for a couple months or whatever, and then eat eat that fermented cabbage later. What they were starting to notice was that when they dumped out the kimchi juice onto their, you know, to their garden, where they dumped the kimchi juice out, the plants would explode. So, YoungSang Cho and his father, in particular, his father was the creator of this Korean Korean natural farming technique. What they would do is they would begin to sort of apply this technique to farming as a whole. So in Now what they would do would be to collect mold from the woods because the mold is the mold in the woods near where you live or where you farm is most reasonably regionally adapted to breaking down and releasing the nutrients breaking down whatever was nutritious and releasing nutrients back into the soil for new things to grow. We see this in the woods, or like where I am right now in the in the, in the beside the creek that gives rock pockets name. There’s there’s life happening all the time whether it’s the leaves at the top of the canopy, or the leaves that are being broken down into soil by the different mushrooms that exist out here and the other detritus devours. So it would take that put it at the initial Korean natural farming technique was to to collect some of this mold or fine Find some of this site, find some of this mold, and then put a bunch of parboiled rice on top. And what this would do is that the the mold would then colonize the rice, then you could take the rice back home, and then you could start making new the you can make your own

Korean natural farming reagents, they have a whole list of name for all of these things that I’m not going to go into right now. But the basis is collecting this mold. Now this book that I’m recommending, is by the son of the founder, this man, young thing show now has improved his father’s technique by doing away with one of the principal ingredients of these fermentation which was the brown sugar. And I believe it was a no till farmer podcast. There was no it wasn’t it An urban farmer podcast with this is Dr. Out of the University of Washington, Oregon. She was talking about composting and, and people like to use, especially within the cannabis industry like to use molasses as a soil amendment. And they use it not only for the amount of carbon that it brings to the soil, but because of the, the sugar provides a lot of nutrients to the microbial life that are in the soil. Now, what this professor talked about that young St. Joe later talked about more was that the sugar doesn’t necessarily attract the microbes that you want, it does attract more microbes, but it may just attract microbes that are not even beneficial to the things that you want to grow in your soil at all. So what they could do is outcompete. Eat and leave Your soil even more better than it was before because after the sugar is gone, those microbes that were feeding on the sugar are also gone. So a young st Joe has done is now he says to go out into the woods, collect this leaf mold, and then begin making solutions of fermenting this leaf mold. This is something that I’m trying now, except that I didn’t have to go into the into Rock Creek Park and I was able to find some, I was able to find some mycelium that was growing beside a bucket behind this shed, this garage shed and so I added that to my to my compost where I have a lot of soil and some grass clippings. And ideally, as the summer progresses, I’ll be able to see this thing take off just with with natural farming. You know, I have to caution everybody that life takes time, and we have to be patient.

The next book that I recommend is how to grow more vegetables by john Jevons. This book is extremely fascinating. On the urban farmer podcast, I highly recommend listening to the two episodes the double feature by john Jevons.

I found out about a lot of books from from that particular episode that I haven’t, I haven’t yet recommended. One of them because the book is $3,000 which is test your soil with plants. I have come across a copy of it and I am reading it and it is fascinating, but I am not recommending it for financial reasons at this point in time, and then another one they had was future fertility, which is about using human manure. But this book is literally about how to grow more vegetables. The central aspect of john Jevons technique explained within his book published by ecology action is double digging and changing the spacing of your plants. So double digging is instead of just putting soil on top you are to this this technique is so powerful because you can grow more food in less space and build soil quicker than you would in any other method. But it is an intense and it has to be followed to the tee, or else you could undo everything that you’re actually doing. But it’s not hard to do to a tee. Life is forgiving. So double digging is where you initially dig once and then replace you dig, you dig one level and then you dig another level. You take that first layer and combine it with some soil, put that first layer back into the bottom of what you’re doing. Now having built up the soil and then that second layer you then use for compost for next year and you add compost to that and then put that on the next The next year and you repeat this double digging, the spacing technique that they use is down. Now what they do instead of planning in rows, you plant in a honeycomb structure. So we’re all familiar with honeycombs in the hex hexagonal structure that honeycombs present. So imagine imagine this this hexagon, and so I say at points for those of you that are familiar with, you know, organic chemistry, you know very much about these hexagons because they look just like the benzene rings. But the, if we’re going clockwise, the you you have you have you say, actually abandon that. We’re looking at these instead of planning in a row. Or just like with bricks, right? You have you have one line of bricks that are offset by the second line of grace. And then the first line looks like the third line. The second line looks like the fourth line as it continues down the line. So that is how they would recommend planting. And you can plant things like the three sisters, which is corn, beans and squash. And so say that corn needs three feet of space for an optimal corn stock to make the optimal corn cobs. Now instead of planning these three feet apart in rows, you can now plant the squash at spaces at this at the one and a half foot space in between the corn right so now you have corn, beans, corn, and then in the next row you can put squash, corn, squash, right and then in the next row corn bean corn you know and blah blah blah like that and you can have everything in this, this this very tight structure and this tight structure will keep the soil alive keep the soil shaded and keep the soil moist and draining well. Not only does he talk about how to grow more vegetables, but he also talks about how to do this in significantly low amount of space where you can grow food for yourself food for clothing, and food for market. Fascinating work.

The next book is straw bale gardens complete. Straw bale Gardens is a very fascinating technique for growing in your backyard, where instead of digging down into the soil, what you can do is build upwards so you don’t put so much pressure on your back by using straw bales to plant into. So now you can have something like a raised bed that’s four feet high off the ground, because you’re planting into some soil that maybe occupies the first the first layer so maybe the first six inches of your garden will be so Soil but then the next 3.4 feet will be the straw bales. I’ve seen this done in an industrial capacity for a growing burdock root, where the roots can be, you know, 3,4,6 feet long. So what instead of trying to dig down into the soil, what they’ll do is grow on top of the soil. They’ll they’ll stack, you know, pressure treated pallets up in a square four by four by four by four. That’s not four dimensions, just, you know, four and a square. Then they’ll have the pallets inside, put some soil on top to get the plant started and then the burdock root will grow down to the ground. Then what you can do is open up the pallet and then just pull the burdock root out. Wow.

The next book is square foot gardening. This book is sort of like john Jevons book, how to grow more vegetables and as much as it gives you another technique for Planning and planning your plantings. And this is really more focused towards backyard gardener making most efficient use of of their space.

The next. This is a Google Drive link to, you know, my personal Google Drive and being shared with you, which is to the entirety of George Washington Carver, his body of work. All of his bulletins have been made available, thanks to a friend of mine, and a friend of hers. It Was I a couple years ago when I learned about how exactly, George Washington Carver learned everything that he learned. This figure that had been just to me as the peanut man had taken on and an enigmatic quality and I needed to read everything that he that he had put out. But it’s kind of difficult, I was able to find I wasn’t able to find any on Tuskeegee’s website, I was able to find an index. But a lot of them I found on but I still wasn’t able to find all 44 of them. 44,43

Unknown Speaker 31:23
but now life is, you know, granted me availability to these, and I am so thankful. And in honor of my things, my gratitude, I wish to share them with you.

Unknown Speaker 31:37
So, I know I’ve left you hanging with how George Washington Carver did this, in his biography told the story about how he wanted nothing more than a pocket knife because he had lost one of his in this pocket knife was at the you know, at the forefront of his desire. And he’s thinking about it, thinking about it, thinking about it, thinking about it. And so then one day, he had A dream in the fields that he is that he knew very well, the fields that he tended to, there was a watermelon. And there is a, there is a handle of a knife sticking out of the watermelon. And he knew exactly where this was. So he woke up, didn’t eat breakfast, ran, or, well, well, he woke up at you know, inhaled his breakfast and then ran out to that particular spot in the fields. And what did he find a watermelon with a handle sticking out of it. And what was on the other end of that handle was a pocket knife. From that point in time what he then did for the entirety of his life was wake up before dawn and God into his fields and with an immense I mean, I’ve said that word like three or four times now but I really mean it here with an immense extreme over Flowing amount of love in his heart he communicated to the plants. What will we do today? What can you be made into? And how can I do that? And the plants would tell him, he said that there were no books in his lab, just ever, just the instruments that he needed. And he would do it. You know, it’s not just that the stuff that he did for the peanut, he also did for the sweet potato, tomato, cotton and Alabama clay. And not only that, but also soils. You know, one of the one of the first mentions of you know, his, there’s a, there’s a, there’s a particular bulletin that I pointed towards, which is building up our worn out soils. And one of the soil amendments that he talks about is The forest mck, taking that forest muck and putting it down as a first layer on top of the soil because the forest muck contains all the nutrients that were present in the leaves that were brought up from the roots that go down so far down into the soil. You know, I think that there’s a one to one relationship between the height of a tree and the soil and and, and the depth of its roots. I you know, it’s just, you know, as the for all all all it’s worth as above so below situation you know, the the, the the book on the bulletin on tomatoes, you know, in 40 pages it’s it says, you know how to grow tomatoes and a and 128 ways to prepare for a table or something like that. You know, George Washington Carver has been like many figures disneyfied in the way that Black History Month is being taught to black African people across the globe. And once I learned about about who this man really was it really it, it changed my life. I would not be doing this podcast without George Washington Carver.

The next book is Booker T Whatley’s handbook on how to make $100,000 farming 25 acres with special plans for prospering on 10 to 200 acres of all these books, you know, I definitely recommend you buying all these books, especially through the links that I provided, you know, that affiliate income, but this particular book, you know, this this is this is a hashtag Rare Book, and highly valuable. Booker T Whatley another another brilliant African mind, who created the concept of the CSA Community Supported Agriculture. For those who don’t know, Community Supported Agriculture is when an individual like myself would purchase share a share of the vegetables that you are to harvest at a standard rate from you, the farmer. and that way you get a guaranteed source of income and I get a guaranteed source of food. And so this relationship built this builds a relationship between the consumer and not only the farmer but the consumer and the food right and also showing you as a wise and clever businessman. Another he has a book do what a doctor Booker T what Lee has a lot of techniques for, for farmers, not you know, farm tours and you know, ag tourism. He had this one thing called the Clientele Membership Club, which he recommends to people who are within I think it’s like four Miles have a major metropolitan area where the farmer, you know, has it’s basically like Costco but for the farm, and so people would pay, you know, some sort of fee for a yearly membership to the farm. And what they would be able to do would then be able tobe able to buproduce from you at say 60% of the market value. But, you know, every year they’re paying $50 on top, and there once they come there, they pick it themselves, they they and then they buy it themselves. So it’s greatly reducing the work that you need to do as a farmer because you don’t have to pack it up. You don’t have to take it to the farmers market. You don’t have to stay there at the farmers market where everybody looks and says Hmm, you’re trying to sell tomatoes for $4 Okay, and then you know, and then you you have harvested all this sort of stuff and you can’t use anymore so now goes into compost for next year’s thing, but meanwhile you’ve lost a day and however many dollars. So Dr. Booker T Whately continued, obviously in the tradition of Dr. of Booker T. Washington, but also in the tradition of Dr. George Washington Carver.

The last book that I have here that I’ll recommend is land in power, sustainable agriculture and African Americans. This book is available for free. It’s a it’s a, it’s a really fascinating PDF that that does what that, you know, that that really talks about a lot of the political aspects of what it has been for us, since we have been here as Africans on American soil. There’s a lot of really fascinating information in this book about the relationship between Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver a lot of stuff that I didn’t know that I want you to find out And while it is light on the techniques, it is heavy on the history and that is just as good. So please visit these links. Even if you don’t buy anything from the Amazon links, you know from these books. If you’re going to buy something from Amazon, definitely head to oil in a dot d slash jig pod. find these Amazon affiliate links and then buy whatever you got to on Amazon so I can get a nice share that and that’ll continue the development of this podcast after this podcast. Definitely be ready for some interviews and some other breakdowns. I was going to go into some philosophical concepts but I’m going to say that for a later episode, because becoming right up on this time, so I want to say Medase, Medase, Medase PA, Modupe.

Thank you. Listening to Jigijigi Episode Two Peace