Hello and welcome. We’re back. You know, we’ve been studying this natural growing cycle of vegetable gardening, and we’ve come a long ways. You know, we’ve talked about how not to mettle with the soil and, and how there’s certain things that we need. And the growing cycle, we’ve talked about the native Prairie and how we can learn things from that as far as growing.
And that’s all part of this natural growing cycle. So today with soil life, we’re gonna learn about how important the number two principle is. And that number two principle is cover. We refer to it as the armor. And the reason it’s an armor layer is because it’s like a protective cover. It’s just like the warriors that fought that were shielded.
They had that protective cover on ’em and that’s what we provide. That’s what we use over the soil, you know, in a, in the native vegetation, it, it has its own armor layer. You know, it, it builds it very slow, but the advantage we have is we can do it so fast. We can do it manmade, like I said, in a previous episode here that we can hundred X vegetable gardening compared to production agriculture.
So behind me, this is. We’ve been applying armor layer and we let this go for a while and it grew up pretty good. Then we came in and we weed eated it real short again, now we’ve got the root structure back in the soil again. And this is like the third time we did that and we let it grow up and then we cut it back short and then cover it.
And what happens is this armor layer that we’re putting on top, it eventually goes away. It starts disappearing. Just unbelievable how fast the, the, the more we do this, the faster it goes away because the activity in the soil is, is getting stronger. And we want this, you know, we could come in and, and just put a biodegradable mat down and that would be the end of it.
But we want something that feeds the soil underneath, that feeds all that microbiology so that keeps growing and increasing. So that’s why I like putting, I like using carbon on top and you know, there’s some grass stems poking out. First time I’ve been out here, we did this about two days ago, and first time I’ve been out here and I can see some greens starting to poke through in places, but, you know, that’s good.
That’s the plants that just want to keep growing. And that’s neat to see when you have plants that want to keep growing. That’s that’s a really good sign. So today’s tip is armor armor layer, number two, principle. It’s so important. It serves many, many functions that we will talk about later on, but important thing is, is to keep that soil covered. So. We have that shield over everything that’s underneath.
So last time I told you I would finish the story about grandpa and about my good friend, Darryl. He lived about eight miles south. Uh, Darryl’s grandpa homestead eight miles south of my grandpa. And he had the same thing with 160 acres, back then that was the free claim for a promise to homestead it.
He tilled it first. He broke that cycle and he, he just broke half of it. He broke 80 acres of it and he seeded it to oats. Well, that summer before harvest grampa built a grain bin, Darrell has this wrote down in a journal. His grandfather wrote it in a journal. Darrell found it, and he was at a conference reading. And it was kind of an amazing story, but his grandfather and it it’s quite detailed and I’ll shorten it up.
But you know, his grandfather, he built that 10,000 bushel grainery with the idea that when he broke the entire 160 acres, he’d have enough room for all of the 160 acres. Well, lo and behold, when he harvested his oats that fall, he filled the grainery off that 80 acres. As the story goes on, he was never able to fill that grainery again, off them, 80 acres, like he did the first time, why he broke the growing cycle.
He broke that growing cycle. Number one with tillage, number two, he got rid of that armor layer that’s on top and there wasn’t anything protective to help the soil. So basically the plants are on their own. And they struggle on their own. So with that, so when we come back here in a few days, I’ve got something planned that’s I think you’ll find really exciting.
It’s, it’s, uh, it’s really an exciting thing for me. And I’m gonna be, I I’m excited to share it with you. I just, I can’t wait to get out there and start filming and doing some things and I travel a little ways to get to it, but, um, I’m really excited to share it with you. So stay tuned. Look, look for the follow up on this one for a, for another email coming here in a, in a few days or so.
Hello! And we’re back with another video on another tip, we’re gonna talk today about what can help in your project to be weeds gone in this natural growing cycle of vegetable gardening. You know, we we’ve talked, we’ve covered a lot of ground up to this point. You know, we talked about no Meddling in the soil and, and how important it is that we keep the growing cycle intact and just a lot of reasons why.
So. You know, to, to have weeds gone. It’s really a simple process. Very simple. We talked about, you know, by meddling in the soil, it helps to bring those weed seeds to the top. And by eliminating that tillage process of any sort we should be eliminating that, but there’s one step we have to go. We have to go a little bit further on, and that’s what we call an armor layer and it’s cover.
We never leave the soil exposed, and there’s a variety of reasons we want to do that, that we won’t talk about today, but that whole thing is key to building the system. So that, well, the most important thing here that you wanna know about is that it eliminates the weed pressure. The weeds are gone, is a project that we started, you know, we, we started doing this three years ago and then it’s, it’s funny how fast the armor, it just disappears.
We put cover on this. and it’s gone and you know, this we’re, we’re just building soil here. We’re seeing how fast we can do it. Cuz the first year, you know, we, we basically could not grow anything in this river sand. It just, it was a complete failure. So you know where this is grass underneath. You can see some of it around these plants here where these guys have taken over with runners.
And there’s, there’s a lot of grass that wants to grow. There’s there’s weeds in here. There are all kinds of stuff. And there’s actually some that are poking through right now that we’ll go in and do some touch up, work on, but you know, after a while they give up, the neat part is letting it grow up. We get that rich structure into the soil.
We let those plants feed that soil, and now we’re gonna smother ’em out. And so it’ll break down in the soil and then that soil store food for the life beneath the surface and feed the next growing crop. The plants we want to plant in there. And then in turn, they’ll start feeding the soil again. So it’s that complete cycle, but it all started with the cover, the cover we put on it and, you know, we could, we could go in and, and put a biodegradable mat on.
I’ve done some of that, but, um, The whole thing is, is that Matt doesn’t feed the soil. I’ve used cardboard. I’ve done a lot of things as far as, as armor layer, but I like using carbon that’s from plants because that’s, what is food for our life beneath the surface of the soil. So, you know, in the last video I talked about, I was gonna share the rest of the grandpa story.
Kind of the rest of the story, another story behind grandpa’s. And this is about a friend of mine. It’s about his grandpa and he had it wrote in a journal and he had the same thing. He got his 160 acres of, of ground, and he went and he tilled 80 acres of it. He broke that cycle and he seeded it to oats. And Darrell’s reading this at a conference out of this journal that his grandfather wrote.
And that summer he built his grandpa built a 10,000 bushel grainery to. Not only to hold that crop, but he figured when he broke the entire 160 acres you’d have enough room. Well, lo and behold, that fall, he filled that 10,000 bushel grainery with oats to the brim. And so it’s like, wow, what a crop? The rest of the story that’s wrote after that, that years that followed that he was never able to fill that grain rig again, off that same 80 acres.
And why? Because he broke that natural growing cycle. It all got used up in the, in the one year and then it was gone and the only way to get it. It takes years and years to build it on the production side, I was talking about with the native Prairie about how important or what we can learn from it. So it’s, uh, it’s a story that I think about quite often. Be on the lookout, cuz in a couple days I got something that I’m gonna share with you that I think you’re really, really gonna enjoy.
It’s it’s a, is a pretty exciting place that we’re gonna be traveling to. I don’t wanna reveal too much on it, but I want you to be on the lookout for it because I’m really, really excited to be able to share it with you. So with. We’ll talk to you again in a couple days.
Hello. And we’re back again, we’re back with another segment in this series that we’ve been talking about, you know, and this, this whole series is about, we’ve been talking about the natural growing cycle of vegetable gardening, and we’ve been using like the native Prairie for reference, for instance, like we did in, the last video.
And we’ve been talking about how that cycle gets disrupted. And this whole thing is about how we can have planting a whole lot simpler in, in this segment of it. And so in a nutshell to have planting simplified in an environment that we have a natural growing cycle. We can’t break the cycle. And the number two principle in that cycle that aids us is what we call armor layer or cover.
Now I have an example of it back here, and I just did this a few days ago here. It, uh, Got away on us a little bit. We come back and cut it back down, and now we’re coming back. And the, the important thing is that we got root structure in the soil. So we come back in and we put our armor layer in here. Now to simply plant in this, all we do is move a little bit of this out of the way.
We get down to where we find some bare soil, right in that spot. We don’t till the soil. We just find the top of it. And we’re able to plant right into that. I’ve done no dig potatoes over here for this is going on my third year. We’ve got some pretty awesome pictures from the last couple years of the potatoes that we raised and we didn’t need a shovel to do anything.
There were simply no dig potatoes. So that’s your tip for today is always keep stuff covered. Never have any soil exposed. We want everything covered. So with that, the last time I promised you that I would have. Kind of a sequel or whatever, to the story about grandpa. And he had a neighbor that was like eight miles to the south of where he homesteaded did the same thing.
Took on his 160 acres and he broke (tilled it up) that first summer. He broke the 80 acres. He broke just half of it. And he seeded that half to oats that summer, he built a grainery and he built big enough so that when he had the whole 160 acres broke, he’d have enough storage room for his crop. So he planted that 80 acres to oats.
He got his grainery built to a 10,000 bushel grainery. It’s in a journal. Uh, Darrell has this wrote down, his grandpa wrote it in a journal and he, he found this journal in his, in his things that he’s carried with him through the years. But so grandpa harvested the 80 acres of oats that year. He filled that grainery to the brim 10,000 bushels oats off 80 acres.
So he goes back and as the story goes, He was never able to fill that same grainery again, off those same 80 acres after that. So why is that? Well, he broke the cycle with tillage. He removed the armor from the soil and buried it with tillage. I mean, the whole thing got disrupted that natural growing cycle.
Got disrupted and it couldn’t repair itself. The only way it can repair itself is we have to go back and start practicing those principles by not meddling and number two, the armor layer. So with that, thanks for watching. I’ve got something really special in the plan for you in our next video here. I think you’re gonna really enjoy it.
I’m I’m really excited to share it with you. So with that, we’ll be talking to you soon.
And we are back and we’ve been going through a lot of information, a lot of information about the natural growing cycle of vegetable gardening. We talked about how plants feed the soil and then in turn the soil, feed the plants back. And that’s where we get that cycle. So this segment is part of this.
Natural growing cycle has been about pests and disease. Now, one thing I’m not gonna do, I’m not gonna promise you that we’re going to eliminate disease. I’m not gonna promise you that we’re gonna control disease. I’m not gonna promise you that you’re not gonna have any disease. What we’re going to do, the, the whole kind of the solution or the, the antidote here is.
Eliminate the host of the disease or the pest. And we’re not always gonna eliminate them, but if, if we can do that now, just looking, there’s a bee flying around, down here, gonna pollinate some of these, uh, some of these cucumbers. That’s really cool. The natural pollinators, as far as pests and disease, I hope that clears up any misconception.
This segment is about working to help combat them hosts and today’s is going to be about the number two principle that we have in that vegetable growing cycle. And that’s what we call the actual term that we call it is the armor layer. We call it armor because it’s a protective cover that covers the soil, but it does way more than that.
It has so many functions that we won’t get into on this video. But later on we’ll, we’ll talk in depth. We’ll take a deep dive on that somewhere later on, but for right now, It’s it’s key focus is like armor. You know, you, you look at the warriors that used to be, if, if you watched any movies with those knights or whatever, and the armor they had when they went to battle or, or some of those old movies and some of ’em carried a shield, you know, their armor basically, that’s what this cover’s doing.
And back here, this is armor layer that we put on here and. We’re actually regenerating river sand soil, and we’re doing it in a method that more like what I used to do in my production farming. If we move to the raised bed where we can speed things up and we can speed things up here, we could speed things up here by coming in and dumping a whole bunch of good top soil on top of the river sand.
We don’t want to do that. I want to help you to discover how we can do this, the natural way, how we can make this into the best soil that, that it’s, it’s capable of producing. And in that you get to see the process of how that all works. So the armor layer and what this is, it’s, it’s just grass clippings that we cut a few days ago.
Um, there’s a lot of things we have to do with it in order to avoid issues that can Crop up later on. Um, but the whole thing is, is that that’s your takeaway for today? The armor layer, the number two principle in building and maintaining a disease pest free program, or I don’t want to call it solution.
Because solution means end all be all, you know, and we’ll, there’s still things that could pop up. I, I don’t wanna promise you that, but once you start building things this way, one thing I can promise you is that a lot of that stuff will leave your mind. It won’t be poking away at you as hard. It it’s like it’s kind of a forgotten thing.
And will it happen? Yes. Will you get some type of pests that are gonna move in? Yes. Will you have some type of disease at some point in time? Yes. But. May not be as much of it. It may not be as severe. You will know more what’s going on when it does happen. So with that, you know, I promised you that I’d finish a little story about my grandfather when he came to this country or when he came to this part of the country from Wisconsin and he had a neighbor to the south.
Now this story’s actually wrote in a journal. My good friend that started back a year or two before I did with no-till on a large production scale, He had this, he, he found this in his grandfather’s journal and he brought it to a, a conference that we were at it’s. It was a, um, an agricultural conference and he was reading it after speaking there.
And he talked about how his grandfather got his 160 acres just like mine did. And so he went and he actually broke it, which means he plowed it and started tilling it just like what we were talking about, what happens when you break the cycle, he broke that cycle in that natural process. But anyway, he broke the natural cycle not even knowing what was happening.
And he planted half of that, 160 acres, and he seeded it to oats, a crop of oats of tame oats. And that summer, while he was waiting for harvest, he built a grainery and he built a big grainery. He built a 10,000 bushel grainery, cuz he figured he’d have enough room when he broke, got the whole 160 acres broke and started farming the whole thing.
Well, lo and behold, that fall, he filled that 10,000 bushel grain. With oats, he filled it plump full of oats off that 80 acres. After that, he never was able to fill that same grainery again, off that same 80 acres. Why? Because he broke the cycle. The soil burned out in the first year, the oats wasn’t able to feed the soil back.
Because it was busy sucking up the nutrients that were there the first year, but then as far as putting anything back that’s that takes time. That takes years and disrupting that cycle it it basically killed the system. So I found it as a very interesting story. It was in a journal that his grandfather wrote and, you know, it’s something that we don’t think about.
So with that, I have something really exciting plan for you, and I’m real excited to share it with you. So I hope you’re getting value out of these little mini lessons that we have here or this little mini helpful tips that we have. And with that, I’ll look forward to talking to you again soon.
So let’s look at “pests & disease” through a little bit different lens for just a little bit here. And with that, you know, my mentor of over 30 years, one of the first things I can remember him saying that I never forgot is that to study and, and just take a look at the native vegetation, the natural vegetation that’s growing in your area, and that’s the best indicator of what you can grow.
You know, it, I’m not saying weeds, grass, things like that. There’s the plant types in that native vegetation growing that that will help you. So, you know, and that’s kind of stuck with me for those of you that are new here. Don’t know me. My name’s Steve Sera. I’m founder of tabletop farmer. I’ve been doing this for going on eight years of regenerative vegetable gardening practices. And I’ve taken those practices from over 40 years of regenerative growing on a large farming production scale.
So I have a little short story for you. So this past winter, my accountant retired and I had to find a new one. And so I’m going through the process of looking for that.
And I find myself sitting at a kitchen table. This gal works out of her home and does accounting services and stuff. And I’m telling her, and it was. , you know, it was into this spring and I could tell her, you know, it, I could say Debbie, I can tell by your grass out in front of your house, that you have good soil here.
Cause she was interested in what I was doing and, and you know, more, I talked the more, she became interested in stuff and she looked at me and she said, yes, I, I do have good soil. You know, she said, when I was in the backyard, I’ve been here four years in the first year I got here, I was in the backyard and I was working in it.
And, you know, I could tell then that it was whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute here. Working in the soil. That’s what we don’t want to do. That’s one of the biggest things for pest and disease eliminating, not, I shouldn’t say eliminating, I should say a solution to helping to control the. and that’s not working in the soil, not disturbing it by any means, not meddling with it.
So, you know, that, that whole thing, you know, if we look behind me, this, this thing’s really taken off, you know, it’s, it was eight weeks yesterday. This is the July 31st morning, but a little over about, about two weeks ago, this thing got hailed pretty good. Looked pretty sad, and it has bounced back. It’s like it came back with a vengeance.
See, it’s surviving off the soil that we’ve built in it the last couple years, you know, we had to give it a little bit of a, there’s a certain method that we had to go through the first time when we built this bed and then it was sunken it settled. So we had to do that a little bit again this spring, but this fall, when this crop goes.
We will be ready for planting again. And we will be, we won’t be disease free. We won’t be pest free. You know, we had grasshoppers, you can see some of the leaves even chewed up and some of us from hail, but we had grasshoppers really bet. We still have grasshoppers and I’m still doing natural, safe control measures for the grasshoppers.
And like this morning we go out. I don’t think there’s a grasshopper in here. So we’re, we’re ridding those pests, those pests and, and disease by natural solutions by beneficial factors that we can create around it. So with that, um, I also told you, I was gonna tell you a little story about my grandfather and, you know, he ended up in Western North Dakota, which is west of here 160 miles, 170 miles, and where I spent 40 years.
But nonetheless, you know, He was out in Wisconsin and he slid a plank underneath the rail car and rode all the way out there underneath that rail car to Western North Dakota. And that’s where he got off. What prompted him to get off? Why did he do that? Why did he do it there? You know, there was land that was free all over, but, you know, and I’m, I’m just guessing here, but he knew by studying the, the per I can just picture him laying underneath that rail car, you know, as a young lad bouncing along on a plank, And looking out at the, the lay of the land and looking out at what’s going on out there.
And when he got to where he was at was yep. That train stopped in that town. And he said, this is where I get off. This is good for the land. He went down the land office and I don’t know if they had a map or whatever. You could get 160 acres if you promise to, to, to homestead on it. And he grabbed his steak pin, whatever it was and went out and staked out his 160 acres.
That land is in our family yet to this day. And my dad used to tell stories about it when I was young and we were farming and going by it and stuff, we had other land around it and almost every time went by it, he would tell the story about him and George or him and Joe or whoever, you know, and it was, it was pretty cool.
So, you know, I lived in that era for quite some time. It was, you know, some, some, some things that are just near and dear to me, but the whole point being. You know, there’s another story that follows that I’ll tell in the next email. And it was to a neighbor about eight miles south. That that homesteaded kind of did the same thing.
Can’t say he rode over on a rail, on a plank, on a rail car. Don’t know how he got there, but it’s the same scenario. So with that “pests & disease”, yeah, it’s, it’s a big issue, you know, after a hail. That’s when you’re gonna get disease to come in like crazy, because you’ve opened up that plant tissue and that disease can set in there.
You know, there’s disease all over in the natural vegetation, there’s disease everywhere. I I’ve got some, no dig potatoes that aren’t doing very well, and it didn’t Dawn on me till yesterday, what was going on with them. And it was like you dummy, you know, you knew. But there’s a carrier, there’s a host and I didn’t eliminate the host that was out there.
And, you know, it’s, it’s kind of late now because they’ve infected the potatoes, but it was a learning process that I went through. That’s pretty cool. And, you know, we, we just, we deal with, with grass in this type of gardening scenario, but there’s a way of controlling. It. I’ll be the first to admit I got behind kinda let things go a little bit and boom.
Came up and bit me, because everything’s always wanting to grow. That’s the nature of it. You know, if you have, like I said, a crack in the sidewalk where you can see stuff growing that they haven’t sprayed out if you’re in the city, but if you, if you leave whatever, however, you’re set up, you know, if you’re in a house or, or if you’re in an apartment or whatever, when you go out, you can study the natural things that are growing around.
You go out, take a, Well, and look at the natural things around you that are growing the native stuff. So before this gets too long, I’m gonna end it look for the next email. I’m gonna give you another tip about “pests & disease” that I think will help. So I will look forward to talking to you again soon.