This is my culture

All those diagrams they show you about what makes up a “culture” are completely wrong:

I mean, that all makes sense in the world of “infographics” I guess, but to me, culture has really come to mean: what am I growing and what’s growing me.

Arguably a million house-plants could be included on this list. But as I don’t eat them, they aren’t technically “growing me” back, in that we don’t “share bodies” so to speak (you are what you eat).

Right now, that list includes:

  • Microgreens (already selling to restaurants)
  • Oyster mushrooms (first experiments with PF-Tek)
  • Laying hens (5, with 12 more on the way in less than two weeks)
  • Two Tamworth pigs
  • Shiitake mushrooms (on inoculated dowels drilled into logs and left in the woods in the Autumn of last year)
  • Garlic, just shooting up out of the soil, fertilized yesterday and covered with straw, leaf and wood chip mulch
  • Shallots, same status more or less as the garlic

Also going to get at the end of May from the Coop:

  • 100 broiler chicks (day old)
  • 6 turkey chicks (day old)

And around that time I’ll plan the rest of the annual vegetable garden, which will be planted rotationally with mostly rapid growing plants on an approximately “SPIN”-style non-certified organic system incorporating deep mulch.

For mulch, I’m on straw from a local dairy farm, purchased at $2 a bale and spread on the soil surface (not chopped and not tilled), plus about maybe two dozen bags of autumn leaves from last year. I’m steadily passing a pile of small branches through my cheap-o $150 wood chipper, little ones not suitable for building with in the garden or use as stakes, etcs. These wood chips get applied directly on top of the soil surface. I’m experimenting with them heavy on perennials, and lightly around annuals (especially garlic & shallots for now, which kind of behave like perennials in a lot of ways). I’ve also seen an insane uptick in mycelial action on composted soil made from roasted grains leftover from the brewing process. (I have access to a free source, and will experiment with them as a soil amendement in the garden this year. I tried feeding them as a test to compost worms last year, but didn’t have great success. Worms don’t have teeth, so they need a lot of help from their decomposer community associates to break down uncracked grains… I’m hoping my outdoor worm pile survived the Quebec winter. We’ll see after this forecasted week of Spring rain which is now just beginning to fall.)

I’m also on the trail of:

  • About 100 willow cuttings to get started with for windbreaks and sculpted hedges, biomass and commercialization
  • Rainbow trout to stock in a lake in our woods
  • Probably more compost worms
  • Maybe quail, but I’ll wait till everything else is set up and running smoothly first.

My outdoor culture will be approximately 1/4 acre or roughly 10,000 square feet. If I make $5,000, I win the privilege/obligation to register in Quebec as an agricultural enterprise with the Union Producteurs Agricole, a (the) government-sanctioned monopoly syndicate. If I keep at least those minimum sales levels up over two years, then we can win the right to build a second house on the land owned by the family.

This is my culture.