Creating an Upward Spiral in Plant Health

Friday, January 24, 2020
1:15 pm to 4:15 pm

Workshop Description

This presentation is about my 10-year farming journey and how we have gone beyond organic farming and how we plan to leave this campsite better than we found it and still making a good living.

Our farm – Riverdale Farm & Forest – is built on an essential belief that to achieve optimal health and wealth in a plant one needs to increase the photosynthesis capacity of the plant.

This increases the microbial activity in the soil, which increases the soil mineral availability to the plant, which increase the photosynthesis capacity of the plant …thus creating an upward spiral of health.

When this upward spiral of health is happening…

  • insect and disease problems dissipate (from flea beetle, potato, cucumber beetles to tomato blight etc.,)
  • we see an increase in sugars in our fruits, vegetables and raw maple sap which all leads to a better tasting, nutritional and easier selling products.

I talk about the 3 areas in which I had the greatest influence in creating that upward spiral on our farm and the tools to monitor it.

I talk about our experiences using of sea salt, rock dust, humates, composting, kelp, no till and direct seeding etc.

By having a basic understanding of soil health in conjunction with grinding of our field stone, using biochar and wood ash, developing a static composting pile system and our community green waste drop off center we have slowly develop a cost efficient and internal nutritional input system for our farming needs.

I talk about our successes and failure with a little humour on the way.

Topics covered will include:

  • Creating Upward Spiral in Plant Health Vs Causes in Creating Downward Spiral in Plant Health
  • On Farm Soil and Seed Occultation; Development Program and Delivery Systems
  • Monitoring Plant Health from Scouting to DIY Instruments
  • Direct seeding procedures from Tomatoes to Potatoes
  • Strip Vegetable Farming – No hill potatoes to Mulching Program
  • Finding Minerals from the land that surrounds you
  • Community Leaf Collection and Garden Waste Drop Off farm opportunities
  • Static Pile Composting System which is the back bone of our farming operation

Wild Mushrooms – Foraging

Strip Gardens with Grass Laneway

Static Compost Pile System

Solarization – Leaf Lettuce

Soil Inoculation Potatoes

Maple Sugaring to Bio-Char

Direct Seeding Tomatoes – Mulch

Cover Crop – Oats & Peas – Haybine

Speaker: Owen Goltz, Riverdale Farm & Forest, Inglewood, Ontario

Owen Goltz’ working career spans over 35 years in the arboriculture industry as arborist, mentor, innovator, teacher and consultant.  He is the recipient of the Maple Leaf Award in Arboriculture for Leadership in Research Education and the Theory and Practices of Arboriculture.

In 2009 Owen left his private practice to pursue a childhood dream of become a farmer.

Since 2010 he has farmed with nature on 60 acres in Caledon with the use of Halfinger Horses when possible, operated on the principles of Organic and Regenerative farming practices.  Activities on his farm include:

  • 30/40 membership with a pay as go CSA Model, Farm Gate Sales, Inglewood Farmers Market
  • 40” x 300’ Strip farming of a variety of vegetables, dry beans and grain crops
  • Growing Raspberries, Apples, Pears, and Sea Buckthorn
  • Maple Sugar Operation – Manitoba Maples only
  • Wild Foraging of Oyster Mushroom from Manitoba Maples, Fiddle Heads etc.
  • 25 acres Custom Hay
  • Pasture Pigs, Layers, and Meat Goats rotational
  • Regenerative Forestry Business that supports our Bag Kindling, and Custom Lumber Requirements