Our Growing Practices
The road to quality in the field begins with responsible growing practices - sustainable farming. We believe that farms are ecosystems, not factories. Therefore, we need to be as richly diverse as the wild ecosystem we displace. In addition to providing the best food possible, we are committed to protecting the environment.
- We create healthy soils by adding composted manures from known sources, as well as compost made on our farm. Organically approved soil amendments and sprays are used minimally, and as carefully as posssible.
- We test and monitor water quality. We harvest rainwater and build high-organic soils which hold water longer and prevent soil erosion.
- We adhere to sanitary, post-harvest practices. These include using only clean, tested water to wash produce, and proper storage and transportation methods.
- We maintain a diversity of crops and a comprehensive landscape plan.
At Prescott's Farm our sustainable farming practices include a natural version of Integrated Pest Management. IPM is an approach to managing pests that combines the intelligent selection and use of pest control actions. These actions include: biological controls, cultural practices, physical tools, and if necessary, only naturally occuring chemical tools. We work to
ensure a favorable economic, environmental, and societal outcome. We involve the following practices in pest control:
- Documentation: Documenting problems and solutions as they happen. This gives a timeline for future reference as well as reference of best solutions over time.
- Monitoring Plants: Daily observations and close scrutiny of plants help to catch problems as they appear, before they become a nuisance or damage plants.
- Healthy Plants: Create proper growing environments for plant's optimal health. Remove any plants that are diseased or infested with pests at unmanageable levels.
- Resistance Management: Plant resistant varieties for main crop, sometimes plant a "trap" crop to lure pests away.
- Pest Management: Knowing which pests affect which plants, when they are most likely to show up, their life cycle and their preferred environment. Use of row covers to protect plants from infestations and planting strips of flowering plants to harbor predatory insects (insectory).
- Beneficial Predator Insects: Requires knowing which predatory insect and parasite eat or control which pest and releasing them during critical times of the pests life cycle.
- Weed Management: Rotation of crops, timely mowing and cultivation - catch them before they go to seed, mulching with organic matter and fabric, living mulches, lots and lots of hand weeding!
- Disease Management: Knowledge of which plants may be susceptible to which diseases, preventative management such as use of resistant varieties, monitoring, intercropping, rotation, balanced plant rotation, herbal sprays.
- Planning Ahead: Determine how we are going to handle problems before the season starts. Have a plan to handle pests, disease and other factors.