No-Till Intensive Vegetable Culture: Pesticide-Free Methods for Restoring Soil and Growing Nutrient-Rich, High-Yielding Crops


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No-Till Intensive Vegetable Culture: Pesticide-Free Methods for Restoring Soil and Growing Nutrient-Rich, High-Yielding Crops Author: Format: Paperback / softback First Published: Published By: Chelsea Green Publishing Co
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Pages: 272 Illustrations and other contents: Full-color photographs and illustrations throughout Language: English ISBN: 9781603588539 Categories: ,

From a veteran organic grower: a unique agricultural methodology that delivers higher yields, higher quality, and higher profitability-absolutely free of herbicides or pesticides Farmers are rapidly adopting no-till techniques for the extensive benefits they provide by enhancing soil biological functions. The diverse, balanced soil environment in no-till beds and fields provides growing conditions for vibrantly healthy plants and bolsters crop and farm ecosystem resilience in the face of climate challenges and declining air and water quality. In No-Till Intensive Vegetable Culture, renowned grower Bryan O’Hara describes the multi-year process of transitioning his Connecticut vegetable farm to a no-till system. O’Hara uses absolutely no herbicides or other pesticides on his farm, and he asserts that this flexible, nature-friendly agricultural methodology is critical in maintaining the health of the soil and the farm ecosystem as well as for economic success. The methods developed at Tobacco Road Farm, now also in use on other farms in O’Hara’s region, have shown stunning results in yields, quality, and profitability. O’Hara delves into all facets of a holistic growing system perfected over 25 years of farming, including no-till bed preparation techniques, seeding and transplanting methods, irrigation, use of fertilizers (including foliar feeds), compost preparation and application, culture of indigenous microorganisms to support soil biology, reduced tillage systems, pest and disease management, weed control, season extension, and harvest and storage techniques. O’Hara also explores the spiritual dimension of managing a farm ecosystem: the importance of observing the natural balance between plants, soil, air, water, and sunlight and the ways in which working to maintain that balance influences practical production decisions such as when to plant, water, and fertilize a crop. O’Hara’s goal is to pass on his knowledge to those who feel the impulse to make their livelihood in harmony with nature. His techniques require a relatively small land base of a few acres or less and little capital investment in equipment. Because of this, home gardeners and homesteaders also find value in his methods. This manual provides growers with advanced techniques and insights not available in any other single book on vegetable production, a unique methodology that will allow them to continue to adapt to meet future challenges.

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“Bryan O’Hara has huge experience: His book has grown out of healthy soil and reveals an impressive amount about how to grow great food, practically and economically.”—Charles Dowding, no dig gardening expert; creator of the Charles Dowding No Dig website “No-Till Intensive Vegetable Culture is the best practical manual for vegetable growers that I am aware of. From his deep wisdom and experience, Bryan O’Hara covers tillage alternatives, planting, seed saving, mineral balancing, mulching, composting, marketing, and all the other dynamics of running a successful vegetable farm. Far beyond numbers, techniques, and prescriptions, Bryan describes the expressions of principles and forces that govern growth, capturing and explaining subtleties and nuances that are foundational to vitality and providing readers with a deeper understanding that allows for better decision making.”—Dan Kittredge, founder and executive director, Bionutrient Food Association “Perhaps no calling demands so many disparate skills as that of the cultivation of vegetables to provide for others in harmony with nature. The compleat farmer is a master of all trades: observer, synthesizer, balancer of polarities, soil chemist, labor efficiency expert, coach, decision maker, harvester, marketer, and deep thinker. Using detailed examples and sharp tools, master farmer Bryan O’Hara has built an integrated philosophical framework and operations manual for this blessed work that has so much to offer both farmer and eater.”—CR Lawn, founder, Fedco Seeds “Bryan O’Hara takes us on a journey to create a healthy, vibrant ecosystem that generates health through the production of nutrient-dense food while also helping to build community. I highly recommend this book to all those who seek a better future for humanity.”—Gabe Brown, rancher; author of Dirt to Soil “Bryan O’Hara is one of the most brilliant vegetable farmers in North America. Few have mastered the ability to grow vegetables without diminishing the soil with destructive tillage. This humble soil genius understands the true art and science of vegetable farming. I highly recommend this book to all those who want to farm well and restore soil.”—Ray Archuleta, farmer; founder, Soil Health Academy; partner, Understanding Ag LLC “A must-read for anyone looking to take regenerative farming to the next level. When I visited Tobacco Road Farm, I realized that in a single day, I could only scratch the surface of all that Bryan O’Hara has to teach us. Whether it be Bryan’s approach to no-till soil management, Korean Natural Farming and indigenous microorganism cultures, high-carbon composting, innovative mulching techniques, or year-round growing methods, every grower will find valuable ideas and instruction in this book. Bryan offers a whole-farm plan to grow productively while contributing to the healing of Mother Earth. Whether you follow Bryan’s method in whole or in part, his ideas will go a long way towards helping you ‘close the circle’ and farm more ecologically, efficiently, enjoyably, and profitably while reducing outside inputs.”—Andrew Mefferd, editor, Growing for Market magazine; author of The Organic No-Till Farming Revolution “No-Till Intensive Vegetable Culture is one of the most helpful guides for managing a vegetable production system I’ve encountered in over three decades of teaching in this area. Bryan O’Hara is a leading authority on building a farming operation that relies on knowledge rather than chemicals, and his concepts of balanced growth and crop plant polarities are innovative and insightful ways of looking at horticultural husbandry. Readers will gain intimate knowledge about working in an integrated manner with all components of a no-till production system. I take my students to Bryan’s farm to experience his wellspring of innovative organic practices firsthand, and I plan on using this book as a text for my courses.”—Dr. Gerald Berkowitz, professor of plant science, University of Connecticut “This book is a grower’s dream, filled with crisp and invaluable details and clear-eyed explanations and guidance that connect ‘how-to’ with ‘why.’ O’Hara’s innovative and pioneering methods amply demonstrate the power—and profitability—of prioritizing soil health and thriftiness alongside keen and insightful observations of field conditions. Simply put, you need this book at your fingertips if you want to successfully grow no-till vegetables.”—Anne Biklé, coauthor of The Hidden Half of Nature “An inspiring guide to merging traditional and modern practices for successful small-scale vegetable farming based on rebuilding soil life. Having seen the incredible soil at Bryan O’Hara’s farm, I can attest that it speaks for itself!”—David R. Montgomery, author of Growing a Revolution “Although I am not a no-till grower, I respect growers like Bryan O’Hara who are achieving great things using this method. No-Till Intensive Vegetable Culture is rich with intuitive detail; the text overflows with great understanding of soil and plants and how to cultivate them in a thoughtful, sympathetic, and beautiful way. To grow well, one must give of oneself, and Bryan O’Hara of Tobacco Road Farm has certainly done that. He is a true biodynamic grower, whose approach to the soil and its cultivation is assiduous. I have been a biodynamic grower for over twenty years, there is much for me to learn from O’Hara’s book.”—Jane Scotter, Fern Verrow Farm, Herefordshire; coauthor of Fern Verrow

Author Biography

Bryan O’Hara has been growing vegetables for a livelihood since 1990 at Tobacco Road Farm in Lebanon, Connecticut. He works with natural systems to build complex and balanced soil life, the result of which is a highly productive, vibrant growing system. Bryan was named Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Farmer of the Year in 2016. He speaks throughout the Northeast and beyond on vegetable production techniques and is known for providing mountains of details in a concise, practical, and cohesive manner.