The much anticipated 2nd edition of Organic Farming on the Prairies will soon be available. This publication is for everyone who wants to learn how to use organic principles to grow field crops, vegetables, fruit and livestock. It includes the fundamentals of soil, weed, pest and disease management – all written by experts in these areas.
Organic Farming Manual
Most vegetable crops are grown as annuals in the northern climate, but a few are hardy enough to withstand our winters. Established perennials can remain productive for many years, making site selection critical. Many perennials can adapt to a variety of soil types, but plants grown in moisture holding, well drained soils will be most productive. Choose soils that are not prone to compaction for healthy root growth.
Perennials are relatively static are not moved around the plots in rotation with other crops. As a result, fertility requirements must be provided in place, and weed, disease, and insect controls rely on methods other than crop rotation.
This section will detail the production and culture of asparagus, rhubarb, and Jerusalem artichoke. Chives, mint, and thyme can also be grown as perennials; see the herb section for their culture.
Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are warm season crops in the nightshade family (Solanaceae) and are closely related to potato. These solanaceous crops are transplanted, and yield higher and earlier when grown on plastic mulch. Peppers and eggplants benefit from early-season row covers or low tunnels.
Solanaceous crops are cold sensitive crops at all stages. Transplants should be set out only after the risk of frost is passed, and all fruit should be harvested before autumn frosts. Crop covers can be used to protect fruit if harvest cannot be completed prior to a frost event.
Cucumbers, melons, and squash are annual vines in the gourd family (Cururbitaceae). They are warm season, frost sensitive crops and should be grown on plastic much for maximum production. Growing on mulch also helps keep the fruit clean and reduces weed pressure until the crops have a chance to cover the ground.